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Third time is the charm - 600 to 760

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Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 9
Concentration: Leadership, Strategy
GMAT 1: Q V
GMAT 2: 600 Q49 V23
GMAT 3: 760 Q51 V41
GMAT 4: Q V
GMAT 5: 760 Q51 V41
GPA: 3.85
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Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2013, 20:25
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I am an engineer turned business analyst by profession seeking to become a consultant. I took the GMAT three times and scored 550, 600 (Q49, V23) and finally 760 (Q51, V41) :woohoo . My first attempt was cold while my second attempt is where I put in the most time. The resources used are:

1. OG 13, Verbal review 2nd edition (very useful)
2. GMAT PREP question bank (super useful, most representative)
3. GMAT Prep exam pack 1 (super useful, most representative)
4. MGMAT books (partially useful)
5. Local GMAT institute (not worth it)
6. E-GMAT course (very useful, probably the best resource for non-natives)
7. GMAT Club quant questions – Mostly DS ( very useful if you are good in quant)
8. Gmatprep Verbal RC/CR/SC Questions collection by Souvik101990
9. GC forum questions

Second Time

Studied from books + a local coaching center. While the quant was quite good, Verbal was so-so. They taught Verbal right out of Manhattan books with heavy emphasis on terminology. For once, I felt as if I was back in my Biology class in 11th where I was asked to mug all the theory (for the record - I left bio half way in 11th for Economics).

Overall, I put 250+ hours of effort in my prep the second time, did MGMAT books at least twice, attended the prep course and completed 12 mock test, yet I was not confident. My mock scores, even in MGMAT mocks were up to 710, with Verbal imrpoving to 37, however I was never confident about verbal.

As a result, I was very anxious the night before the exam and could not sleep- a recipe for disaster. The test was schedule in the morning and my anxiety grew as the test progressed. By the time I reached the Verbal section, I had little desire to continue. After a SC and CR question, I got a completely underlined question and I had no clue how to approach the same. From that point, after spending 3 minutes on it, I lost the plot. It was all downhill from there and I ended up with :pc V23 and a 600. Frankly, even after spending 300+ hours on the Verbal Section, I felt that I did not know the :drunk :help2 beast at all. What I studied and what I was tested on were completely different. I was extremely disheartened and Right on the day of the exam, I came back and decided to go for the e-GMAT course

Third Attempt

I started studying for the third attempt 3 months after my purchase. I sent an email to Rajat - the founder of egmat narrating him my story and asking him to personalize the my study plan for me. He mentioned two things:

1. Forget the previous two attempts. He cited data where folks has gotten into top b schools with multiple attempts.
2. Study the verbal section over completely. It did not make sense to personalize my study plan given that my verbal score was less than 40 percentile.

Initially #2 seemed harsh (especially given the time I had spent studying Verbal) but I soon realized how true it was. After attending SC1 - importance of meaning, I realized how elegantly could one solve GMAT SC questions by focusing just on meaning. While the local institute and the MGMAT mentioned meaning, none came close to teaching how to apply the same. That one session helped me realize my shortfalls in my verbal strategy. I fully attribute my success to the teachers at e-GMAT (Shraddha, Payal, Rajat and Chiranjeev). The course gave me the right tools to apply what I had learned.

Similar to SC, the Prethinking approach in CR was equally helpful. I was quite good in CR during my second attempt, however there were questions that would confuse me and simply accepted that selecting the correct answer was not as much of a science as one would expect. However, e-GMAT's CR sessions changed all the above. The endless debate and the impromptu examples helped me understand why the correct answer is the correct one. Their article on Alternate Cause - A weakener or not addressed a key issue. The concept of Author-it was super helpful in Assumption, Str, WK and Evaluate questions and the method to distinguish IC from MC was extremely helpful in Bold face problems. Fundamentally, right answers started jumping out with the prethinking approach. I solved some questions in less than 90 seconds on my test.

Score Improvement Stages
I had absolutely no mocks left after my second attempt. I did not trust the 800 score tests so I tried out the Edvento mocks. The Edvento ability prediction was at V37 in the diagnostic that I took - a good improvement from V23. Whats more - I was confident this time. This is definitely a helpful platform.

The last leg of improvement

My last leg of improvement came from the GMAT Verbal workshop conducted by e-GMAT. This is one killer webinar that simulates the real test. Killer because it contains really good questions and they give you really good feedback. I scored 65 (70 percentile) in the workshop. What was shocking for me was that I needed to improve further on SC (55 percent scaled score) and RC (63 percent scaled score). This is something that did not show up on any of the mocks. This allowed me to direct my efforts on these two areas on the last two weeks which led to my verbal score crossing 40.

My Key take aways for Verbal
When it comes to SC, focus on meaning first and then move to POE. For most 700+ level questions, you probably need to spend half the time in analyzing the original choice. Avoid rushing through this step (trust me - you will have a tendency) as the SC section can make or break your overall score.

CR is all about conclusion. As questions get more challenging, the conclusion becomes all the more twisted. Spend time on Analyzing the conclusion and then the argument structure. Spend time on analyzing the argument more closely. Use the ABCDE approach in rejecting the answer choices. Its key to read and forget the incorrect answer choices. This ensures that the answer choices do not cross-contaminate the argument.

RC is often the most dreaded section. I discovered something interesting about RC. Passages from Humanities though difficult to read are easier to answer once you get somewhat a hang of them. The key is to understand the transitions well. Slow down where you start to lose the passage. Re-read again. You need just two things in RC - good comprehension and a systematic approach in Main point, Inference and detail questions.


Improvement in Quant
I was quite good in Quant. I realized that to score Q51, I needed to do better in DS. I mainly looked to do three things:

1. Reduce my time to answer 3+ minute questions: Being good in quant is a sin. You don't worry about time spent on a question. Trust me, if you spend 3 minutes on certain question, it is because you don't know optimum approaches. figure out the optimum approaches. This helps in two ways - it gives you more time, which is always good. It also ensures that you do not make a mistake when facing a similar problem

2. Made myself comfortable in uncomfortable areas: I knew that I was able to solve questions in number properties and Coordinate geometry, yet my gut always told me that I could do better. So I revised these areas again and I think it helped. Bottom line - if you heart tells you that you need to improve in a certain area - then you do.

3. Did as many difficult DS questions: PS was not a problem for me, DS was. So I solved as many DS questions as I could. I focussed on getting as many DS questions right. From every difficult DS question, I would have a take away that I would write down in the form I have learned that if X then Y. I even spent extra time on some questions and experimented with multiple approaches. I think it really helped. When studying quant, my goal was to solve 20 questions and get 18 right. I would miss half of my dinner if I got 3 wrong, all of it if I answered 4 incorrectly. This and a few nights sleeping empty stomach instilled a sense of discipline.

One thing that worked in my favor was that I could sleep well this time. This could be partly due to the fact that I was quite satisfied with my preparation. I was confident of scoring 700, which is all that I hoped for. I had not hoped for 760 but who am I to complain.


A few final tips

1. Make sure that you have a good sleep before the exam. You need a calm mind to tame this moster.
2. Don't take the exam if you are not sure of your preparation. Trust me, you need to restart your preparation after a failed attempt.
3. GMAT SC is not about grammar it is about logic.
4. GMAT is beatable. You dont need to be super smart to score 700.
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2013, 23:47
Hi prsht,

That's an awesome score and a great improvement. All the best for your B-school apps now.

Am glad you found Edvento platform useful.
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2013, 01:25
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prsht wrote:

My last leg of improvement came from the GMAT Verbal workshop conducted by e-GMAT. This is one killer webinar that simulates the real test. Killer because it contains really good questions and they give you really good feedback. I scored 65 (70 percentile) in the workshop. What was shocking for me was that I needed to improve further on SC (55 percent scaled score) and RC (63 percent scaled score). This is something that did not show up on any of the mocks. This allowed me to direct my efforts on these two areas on the last two weeks which led to my verbal score crossing 40.



Can you elaborate on the webinar how did it take place. was it like a verbal only section 75 mins and 41 questions or was it something else?
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Amazing Free video explanation for all Quant questions from OG 13 and much more http://www.gmatquantum.com/og13th/

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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2013, 23:32
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Can you elaborate on the webinar how did it take place. was it like a verbal only section 75 mins and 41 questions or was it something else?


I think Prashant is referring to the Verbal workshop. It's amongst a slew of new products (improvements) that we added to Verbal Live Prep. Workshop = Proctored testing + analysis + solution discussion in one 4 hour marathon. At the end of Verbal workshop, you get your SC, CR, RC performance; not just as accuracy but on a scale of absolute ability, which IMO is a much better metric. Every workshops contains fresh questions that are very representative of those on the GMAT.

Workshops are designed to bridge the gap between your true potential and your performance on the real test, helping you put your best foot forward. Those who have prepared thoroughly will find that these workshops will give them that one last push they have been looking for – whether it’s taking a leap from V32 to V35 or from V38 to V40.

These workshops are essentially supercharged classrooms with multiple instructors. Each workshop serves a specific purpose. We now offer 4 workshops as a part of Verbal Live Prep 3.0. Workshops have helped 8+ students improve tremendously in the last 2 months. Hereis one more.

Three out of the Four workshops are this weekend. Click herefor the details of Verbal Workshop

Here is what people said about the Verbal Workshop:
gmat-verbal-workshop-decoding-the-x-factor-156168.html

-Rajat
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2013, 05:16
Hi Prashant ,

Congrates for excellent score.
Could you please share link for below 2 sources which you mentioned in your original post

2. GMAT PREP question bank (super useful, most representative)
3. GMAT Prep exam pack 1 (super useful, most representative)
8. Gmatprep Verbal RC/CR/SC Questions collection by Souvik101990
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2013, 06:08
Hey Prsht - That's an awesome score. A dream score I must say...!!

I took my GMAT last month and am planning to give a retake in the next 2-3 months.
Can you please give a rough time-frame for your preparation?

I, just like you, have exhausted my resources.
I scored a V36 in my previous attempt. How much time, do you believe one needs to put, say 3-4 months after your previous exam (since you also started preparing after the same time period), to score a 40+ in verbal.

Also, other than e-gmat, what extra efforts are required to target RC specifically as I absolutely fumbled at my 3rd RC question.

Thanks a lot...!!!

Also, enjoy your score dude.....!!
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2013, 06:41
Hi Prashant,
Congrats for the awesome score. Can you please share the link for the material that you mentioned in your post?
GMAT PREP question bank (super useful, most representative)
GMAT Prep exam pack 1 (super useful, most representative)
Gmatprep Verbal RC/CR/SC Questions collection by Souvik101990

Thanks,
Priyanka
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Concentration: Leadership, Strategy
GMAT 1: Q V
GMAT 2: 600 Q49 V23
GMAT 3: 760 Q51 V41
GMAT 4: Q V
GMAT 5: 760 Q51 V41
GPA: 3.85
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2013, 22:56
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Hi all,

Thanks for all the Kudos. The Question pack and exam packs can be purchased through GMAT PRep app. Here are the links:

All materials: http://www.gmac.com/gmat/prepare-candid ... dents.aspx
Exam pack: http://www.mba.com/store/store-catalog/ ... ack-1.aspx
Question Pack: http://www.mba.com/store/store-catalog/ ... ack-1.aspx
Souviks collection: the-most-comprehensive-collection-of-everything-official-sc-140372.html

All the above are super useful.

Vivek: I responded to you regarding RC. I think you need to make sure that you read once and remember. I applied the strategies and practiced. For three days, I just solved RC (40 passages). I said to myself - I am going to read the passage once and should be able to answer 80% of the questions without going back to the passage. Doing so improved my comprehension.

I practiced from OG13 and verbal review 2 in addition to the passages in egmat course. I think we are all prone to read without understanding. We can succeed if we can avoid the same. It slowed me down initially but by the second day I kind of got a hang of it.

One thing I realized is that reading becomes faster when you can predict a few things that the passage can talk about. YOu get that prediction ability once you practice 10 passages once after another...
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2013, 03:15
Hi Prashant,

Firstly congrats on your amazing score and thanks for the inspiring debrief.

Can you highlight any particular strategy you might have adopted to answer questions in both the sections ie. devote more time to get the first 15 correct or anything as such?



Regards

Argha
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GMAT 1: Q V
GMAT 2: 600 Q49 V23
GMAT 3: 760 Q51 V41
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2013, 13:48
@argha The first 15 questions do matter in terms of your performance. I realized the samefrom reading the posts, listening to Rajat@egmat and reviewing my gmatprep tests. However, I discovered that there was little to gain in terms of performance in terms of spending extra time on first 10. For me, if I could solve a question, I could do it in 1:45. Spending another 45 seconds created more self-doubt than helped. So my strategy was to make sure that I follow the process and take the first 10 questions as a practice test that I want to ace.
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2013, 12:15
Great job. I really appreciate the hints you gave on SC.

I dont think that can be stressed enough. SC is the easiest section to master with some hard work, but I think people dont spend enough time on it or focus on the wrong aspects of SC.
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2013, 22:32
prsht wrote:
A few final tips
1. Make sure that you have a good sleep before the exam. You need a calm mind to tame this moster.
2. Don't take the exam if you are not sure of your preparation. Trust me, you need to restart your preparation after a failed attempt.
3. GMAT SC is not about grammar it is about logic.
4. GMAT is beatable. You dont need to be super smart to score 700.

Your final tips are a classic, congrats! Looking to tame this monster soon.
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2013, 12:39
Hi prsht
Great Job. Can you help me by giving the quant materials over my email. If you can I will give my email address.You
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Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760 [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2014, 14:26
prsht wrote:
I am an engineer turned business analyst by profession seeking to become a consultant. I took the GMAT three times and scored 550, 600 (Q49, V23) and finally 760 (Q51, V41) :woohoo . My first attempt was cold while my second attempt is where I put in the most time. The resources used are:

1. OG 13, Verbal review 2nd edition (very useful)
2. GMAT PREP question bank (super useful, most representative)
3. GMAT Prep exam pack 1 (super useful, most representative)



Congratulations!!. Excellent debrief Prashanth.

I found some tips very useful.

Can you please share your score on mocks?


Thanks.
Re: Third time is the charm - 600 to 760   [#permalink] 29 Jun 2014, 14:26
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