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480 to 720. Emotional debrief. :)

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480 to 720. Emotional debrief. :)  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2015, 22:48
Finally after two years of preparation and 5 GMAT attempts scored 720 (Q 50, V 36).

Brief background about me :

I am 28 years old Indian IT male working in a big 4 firm in Delhi. After 4 years of experience I decided to start prepare for GMAT ( reasons are mentioned below). I used to teach mathematics to school students a few years back but had forgotten most of the concepts by the time I started my preparation. My verbal skills are very bad and I had no idea what SC, RC and CR are all about. Below mentioned tips will be very useful to anyone who thinks they are very weak in almost all the areas and are aiming to score 700+

My Inspiration for GMAT:

I am not sure if its relevant on this portal but just wanted to share a brief about my personal life with all of you. You can skip this section. 2 years back in Aug 2013 one of my team mate ( my best friend) saw the potential in me to clear the GMAT exam. I had very little knowledge about the exam and what it is all about. She inspired and motivated me throughout the journey. I used to take leave from office and she managed everything for me. We always had ISB as our primary target and the R1 deadline was in September. So we decided that lets study for 1.5 months and give our best shot. She supported me in everything that I did. Taught me basics of SC and helped in each and every topic.

In my first GMAT exam I scored 640 ( Probably more than what I deserved) . I studied OG and manhattan books but not in depth. Devastated by my performance I thought of giving up the GMAT. She made me realize the importance of having an MBA degree and how it can transform your life and overall personality. Day in and day out she loved me took care of me as a mother does and kept me motivated. Then in November 2013 I gave the exam again. My score was again 640. Quant score increased but verbal went down. Biggest mistake that I made during this attempt was I didn’t studied from Official GMAC material. I was preparing from the material available on the internet. As you will find out in my description below that there is nothing like Official material.

In December 2013 after long hours of discussion with my buddy we thought what are the reasons for not scoring well in the exam. We realized that I was spending too much time in office and commuting and was able to study only on the weekends. Since I was not paying much attention in the office my rating was affected and I didn’t got the promotion that I deserved. It was a major setback for both of us. Since we were not sure about the score that we can get in the exam we decided to look for a new job so that our package will increase and during my notice period I can study for the exam again. In Feb 2014 I got an offer and resigned from the organization. But I was not happy with the offer ( as it was a small organization) so we started giving interviews in other organizations as well. In the meanwhile I was preparing for GMAT and to improve my verbal score she asked me to join a coaching institute. My verbal teacher was very good and then I realized that the score of 640 that I got was actually more than I deserved. My life was focused on settling into a new job and getting a good GMAT score. My best friend’s role was immense. She supported me at each and every moment, without any complaints so that I can get into a good management school. In Aug 2014( a year back) I gave the exam for the third time. I had given more than 12-14 mocks and was scoring from 680-740 in all of the mocks. I was for the first time confident about my preparation. When I gave the exam I made two mistakes. First, I was not able to solve couple of questions in quant and spend too much time on them. Second, In the verbal section I was not able to solve a CR question( bread and butter for me) and got panicked. My score was again 640 ( Q 47, V30). 

My fourth attempt was a disgrace and won’t talk about it.

After the fourth attempt I gave up on the exam. I remembered answers to most of the official questions by now. My buddy still kept faith in me and saw that I needed a change. She took me out for a trip so that I can relax and recollect myself. For couple of months I relaxed and focused on my job. Then I picked up the books again and decided that come what may I will score 700+ this time around. I went through each and every concept in detail. Again got tremendous support from her. ( Love you my bacha ). Made few changes to my preparation: used error logs to understand my weak areas , spend more time on study material and less on mocks and studied consistently ( most of us who work 5 days a week are not spending too much time on weekdays and hence hampers the performance). Another important change was I didn’t study a day before the exam. She took me to a nearby temple and we enjoyed some good food. I was cool ,calm and collected before the exam. Finally when I saw the score of 720 on the screen. Tears came into my eyes. I was relieved and bumping with joy. Went straight to my office where my best friend was waiting for me. Saw the happiness in her eyes and that was the happiest moment of my life ever. We celebrated in the evening and thanked god for all his support.

To the love of my life : Can’t tell you what you mean to me. I know you have gone through a lot in the last two years. Hats off to your dedication towards achieving our goal. No words in this world can express my feelings for you. I still remember the first day when I downloaded the gmat prep software and gave my first mock. Scored 480 in that exam and getting 720 wouldn’t have been possible without you.

Tips related to Study Material:

There are lots of study material available on the internet . I have read all the materials right from Manhattan books to e-gmat to gmat prep study material. Below are some of the important tips:

There is no material available in the market that is similar to the material prepared by GMAC. Primary reason for the students who think they have studied lots of books and have practiced lots of questions but still can’t score well in the exam is the use of these kinds of rubbish materials. Rob from manhattan clearly states this fact.

So what constitutes as GMAC material? official Guide , official guide verbal and quant , GMAT Prep software , GMAT question pack and 2 mocks. GMAT prep software as most of you are aware has 2 mock tests but many of us are not aware that on portals such as gmatclub all the questions of this software are available on GMAT club. To find these PDF’s just search on google “GMAT club downloads”

So in total you will have lots of official questions to practice and won’t have to look anywhere else. Here are the approx numbers:

OG OG(verbal/Quant) GMAT prep software questions(can be downloaded from gmat club) Question pack(available on 2 additional mocks
PS 230 200 400 130
DS 180 150 350 130
CR 124 90 400 75
SC 140 113 500 75
RC 130 100 300 75

PS : 40% of the questions are easy and some questions might be repetitive.

There are so many official questions available so no need to do anything extra. Most important point : Don’t waste these questions. Try to clear your concepts first and then try these questions. They are very precious.

Tips for scoring

Let me talk a bit about scoring first. It is important to get your first ten questions correct. This is true, but it is not in our control. We always try to get each answer correct. 

You get 10 points extra on scoring 51 in Quant. Here is how a typical score breakup will be for a 700+ score.

700 – Q51/V32, Q50/V34, Q49/V35, Q 48/V36
710 – Q51/V33, Q50/V35, Q49/V36, Q 48/V37
720 – Q51/V34, Q50/V36, Q49/V37, Q 48/V38
730 – Q51/V35, Q50/V37, Q49/V38, Q 48/V39
740 – Q51/V36, Q50/V38, Q49/V39, Q 48/V40

*** These numbers can vary but generally remains the same.

Now every student has this question in his or her mind that how many questions can I get wrong.

Here is the simple breakup. (Assuming that your errors are spread out and not too many errors in the first 10 questions)

Q 51 – 0-2 errors
Q 50 – 3-5 errors
Q 49 – 5-7 errors
Q 48 – 7-9 errors

V40 – 5-6 errors.
V39 – 6-7 errors.
V38 - 8-7 errors.
V37 – 8-9 errors.
V36 – 10-11 errors
V35 – 11-12 errors

Hence in order to score a 720 (Q50,V36) you can still make 3-5 mistakes in quant and 10-11 in verbal. Also I have experienced that GMAT punishes more on CR and RC errors then SC.

Important : During the exam it is important not to make back to back mistakes and don’t get an easy or medium level question wrong.

Tips for each section :

Quant: Start with the theory. Understand each and every topic in detail and then practice the question. Don’t leave any of the topics. For e.g. In my first attempt I didn’t study Permutations and combinations and got 5 questions from it. You can study the theory from two sources. Manhattan books and GMAT club Math version 3. If you want to start with the basics then read Manhattan books otherwise the GMAT club one by Bunnel. If you are aiming for more than 48 in quant you will get more DS then PS questions. There is one more book available on the internet Quant 700-800 by Sandeep Gupta. It covers all the topics and most of the official questions. If you can go through the entire book then nothing like it. It will guarantee you Q 50 in exam.

Another important tip for the exam is that questions are easier in the beginning and gets tougher towards the second half of the exam. Try to keep some spare time for the questions in the end but don’t compromise on the strategy.

CR : If you are starting with your CR preparation and don’t have any idea about it then read PowerScore CR bible. This book helped me a lot in understanding the concepts. I enjoyed doing CR’s a lot. Do all the official questions, they are extremely important. Most important tip that I can share on CR is understand the premise completely. You will mark the wrong answer choice if you don’t read or understand the CR properly. Always try to break CR into different categories : Strengthen/ Weaken , Assumptions , Infer, Evaluate, Boldface etc and try to identify your weak areas. In the exam you will typically get 13-14 CR questions.

RC : Most ignored topic (We all feel we are good in RC ) . This is where entire battle is won and lost. Typical 700+ exam will have two short and two long essays(around 13 questions). We spend the least time in RC preparation because we are occupied with SC and CR concepts . Don’t do this mistake like I did in my first 4 attempts. Every student has a different point of view of approaching RC. Some prefer to understand the entire passage and then jump to the questions and others prefer to read the passage quickly and spend more time on the questions. I have tried both and personally prefer the first approach. Without understanding the entire passage you are bound to go back and forth trying to understand the passage and probability of getting the answer incorrect is greater in this case.

SC : Wow!!! Where should I start on this one. As you would have found already that my English and vocabulary is not great in fact it’s pathetic. 

When I picked up the OG two years back I had no idea what SC is all about. All the options looked the same. Terms like modifiers , parallelism , gerund were all new to me. I felt happy in the beginning if I got more than 1 out of 5 correct.

This was the biggest hurdle in the entire preparation. If you are struggling with SC as I used to read the below tips very carefully :

• Pick up no other book except the manhattan SC and read it thoroughly.
• As Rob always says concentrate on the grammar and the meaning of the sentence and use idioms later. All of us have the tendency to eliminate the option just on the basis of idioms.
• Don’t try any unofficial question. U will get confused. In case you are not sure why an answer is correct just copy paste on google and you will find your answers on the forum. You will improve your concepts and make sure you don’t make those mistakes again.
• If you are able to eliminate four options then don’t stop there. Try to understand why the fifth option is correct.

Some Final Tips :
• Maintain error log. It will help you identify the patterns of your mistakes and you can work on them.
• GMAT club sectional exams are very good. They are a bit tougher then GMAT exam but worth the time and money.
• Don’t waste your mocks until you are 90% prepared. Practice on GMAT prep 1,2 and two additional mocks available on
• In case you want more mock tests then buy manhattan test series.

Good luck for the exams!!! 
GMAT Club Bot
480 to 720. Emotional debrief. :) &nbs [#permalink] 14 Aug 2015, 22:48
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