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450 - 670 in 3 Months. Impact of last 3 weeks.

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Joined: 13 Apr 2015
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Location: India
Schools: IIMA
GMAT 1: 670 Q48 V34
GPA: 3.4
450 - 670 in 3 Months. Impact of last 3 weeks. [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jun 2016, 12:53
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Dear All,
I gave my GMAT today and scored a modest 670 - Q48 and V34. I am happy with the way things have gone and would like to share my experience of GMAT preparation.
I am in Indian male with over 12 years of IT (Major Indian IT company) experience. of which close to 6 years was at customer site.
When I first took a test in GMAT Prep last year, got a score of 450 (Prep1, Q32, V20). I started my GMAT Preparation but all of that was based on OG13. However, I got lost again in the demand of my job and preparation was very irregular. I kept pushing the date.
The work was getting increasingly frustrating and I wanted to break-free. After careful thought and planning alternates I decided to quit. Got all worked on by February, which is when I quit. I thought, three more months at work and being last days I should be able dedicate time for GMAT and Re-Scheduled the date to 07.06.2016, with last day being 13.05.2016. However, it was more madness at work and my travels only increased.
The preparation was on and off again. Retook GMAT Prep 1, on 26.03.2016 and the result was same - 450 (Q32, V20).
Disappointed, I started to read more on test taking strategies, read a lot of posts in GMAT Club and understood that my irregular preparation based on only OG was not helping and I needed more tests for practices to be able to understand what works for me as a strategy. I was always confident about Quant, I just needed more practice and review of some basics. Verbal gave nightmare thoughts. I brought the E-GMAT Verbal Online course which gave me 25 Q and 9 V CATS in GMATClub. Additionally, I got 5 free tests in 800 Score.
It all came down to last 3 weeks, post my last day at office. With no burdens of office rigour I could spend complete time only on GMAT Prep. With only 3 weeks to go, my strategy was below:
Quant - Take test almost every alternate day. Assess and review results, even the correct ones and make log sheets and improvement strategy for next test.
Verbal - To complete E-GMAT Course and practice the Scholarinium quizzes. Again take as many tests as possible and focus on learnings from mistakes and logs.
My Quant scores in GMAT Club Cats ranged from 23 to 36 for the first two weeks and were quite inconsistent. The comprehensive analysis from all tests made it clear that it was all down to focus i.e. just cutting down on silly mistakes and not leaving any question unanswered (best possible guess or even a blind option if time is not permitting). GMAT Math Book (GMAT Club Math Book v3 - Jan-2-2013) and the Tough problems pdf (GMAT-Maths-Tough-Problems) was all that I reviewed and they were great sources. Thanks GMAT Club! Post this change in strategy I started scoring above 40 in Quant.
Verbal was a different ball game altogether. E-GMAT was a great course, but, lack of time meant that I had to rush through the lessons and very less time to practice the methodologies taught. But it helped me practice a lot. I relied more on quality than quantity in E-GMAT Prep. I hardly could cover 50% of quizzes but whatever I did, I reviewed multiple times, made logs and kept going back. The feature of book marking questions and playing them back in test mode helped a lot. I was not getting good %ges in their ability quizzes but it was all about learning as much possible. It is a weak area, was clearly known and can be improve only to a certain extent in short time. So it was all about playing back as much possible.
I took all the tests seriously, but was experimented a bit on pacing strategies as it was about getting acquainted more and more with the test and get the right strategy, for each question type. This is very critical as the whole test is largely about how one manages the pac and deals question type of varying difficult levels, IMO.
Below was how it went:
26.05.2016 - Quant - GMAT Club - Q39
28.05.2016 - Full Length - 800 Score - Q42 and V19 - 520
29.05.2016 - Quant - GMAT Club - Q26 (Focus was to get the pacing strategy right)
29.05.2016 - Quant - GMAT Club - Q46 (More serious than above)
31.05.2016 - Full Length - MGMAT Free Test - Q42 and V32 - 600 (Felt Verbal was getting right, it was easy compare to GMAT Club)
31.05.2016 - Verbal - GMAT Club - V21
02.06.2016 - Fulllength - 800 Score - Q42 and V25 - 560 (Thought their scoring algorithm is too stringent, I got 28 out of 41 correct, but was penalized for 5 errors in first 10).
03.06.2016 - Quant - GMAT Club - Q27 (An eyeopener, it was important to review some concepts and question types, especially in mixture, ratios and probability. Also, multiple streaks of 3 to 4 going wrong consecutively.) Spent whole evening reviewing some of these concepts and telling myself to focus more to minimize silly errors. Some problems will go wrong anyways but silly mistakes will make it a consecutive error streak which as I understood pulls the score down).
04.06.2016 - Quant and Verbal in GMAT Club - Q37 and V29 - Indicative score was 550
05.06.2016 - Full length including AWA and IR - GMAT Prep 2 (Not taken earlier) - Q47, V23 - 580. Was disappointed with Verbal. I could not concentrate well during verbal as the energy drained out by that time. Felt I could do better, atleast to get above 600.
06.06.2016 - One day before exam - Quant and Verbal in GMAT Club - Q42 and V35 - Indicative score was 640
Reviewed SC and CR bookmarked questions from E-GMAT. Reviewed error questions from some concepts from all tests of GMAT Club. Was thinking not to give any test but then it did'nt feel right. My observation was, whenever I had a gap of a day, I was committing more mistakes and losing on strategy a bit. So it was important to give a test, though risky, to hold on to the strategy. Result was decent and I felt good. Confidence booster, it turned out to be.

07.06.2016 - Real Test - IR 4, Q48, V34 - 670
The best was final :). I finished AWA on time but while just about to hit next, it got expired. IR started. For 5 minutes I went blank as I was not sure if AWA is accepted. It took 6 - 8 minutes for me to get back and start on IR which hit the final score. I had to guess a lot of questions and was not feeling good at all. Disaster written all over. But my every day test practice experience came to help here. I took 8 minute break, reassured myself to enjoy whatever in store and to just focus on the moment. Retold my strategies to myself and started with Quant. Some questions was tricky and my strategy of reading with question stem again before confirming helped in correcting atleast a couple. Verbal experience was similar to GMAT Club, RCs were a bit lighter. But frankly, I cannot judge this at all :). But it just went fine at the end.

I not applying immediately and moving to an education based NGO (my area of interests being Sustainability and Public Administration). With an understanding of the test strategy and course (E-GMAT) availability at hand, I am contemplating retake. For the moment, it feels good.

Thank you GMAT Club moderators for the great sources consolidated, it helped me a lot. Thanks a lot E-GMAT for giving directions in verbal which obviously helped improve final score.

Best Regards,

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Re: 450 - 670 in 3 Months. Impact of last 3 weeks. [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jun 2016, 13:15
isitfine - congratulations on scoring 670. 220 point improvement in 3 weeks is huge. Rather than finishing the course, you have demonstrated your overall maturity (10+ years of Work Ex) by studying efficiently and excelling on whatever you could complete. I am also amazed that you improved great deal on Quant, Verbal, and your test taking capacity in such a short time. I have seen students improve mostly on one aspect or at the most two.

Students like you prove that a planned approach + dedicated hours is what you need to do well on the test. If consistent, one does not need to study for months at a stretch. I am certain that you can crack 720+ bracket if you put in a couple of more weeks in the same manner. For the time being though - celebrate your achievement.

-Rajat

PS: Please let the e-GMAT support team know the result as well. You may pause your account so that you still have it available for your next attempt.
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Re: 450 - 670 in 3 Months. Impact of last 3 weeks. [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2016, 04:57
Incredible buddy. This definitely inspired me today. 3 weeks of intense strategic preparation is worth more than 3 months of randomly preparing. GMAT is all about strategy + hard work + ability.
Good Luck on retake.

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Re: 450 - 670 in 3 Months. Impact of last 3 weeks.   [#permalink] 08 Jun 2016, 04:57
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450 - 670 in 3 Months. Impact of last 3 weeks.

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