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570 -> 640 -> 680 in my Third attempt today (Missed 700 by a whisker)

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Joined: 06 Jun 2013
Posts: 106
Concentration: Technology, General Management
GMAT 1: 680 Q48 V35
GPA: 3.47
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570 -> 640 -> 680 in my Third attempt today (Missed 700 by a whisker)  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2015, 12:06
Hi Everybody,

I have taken the GMAT today and scored a satisfactory 680 (Q48, V35). I know a 680 will not be rated on this forum as a great score, but somehow compared to my earlier attempts, I feel the third attempt score was balanced in both the Quant/Verbal section. Though, I am contemplating another attempt, I am not very sure at this moment If I should focus on applications now or think of improving the score further.

Brief Information on my Background:

I am from the well represented group of people who desire to pursue their MBA - Indian - Male - Engineer - IT.
I have close to 8.5 years of work experience and work for a reputed MNC figuring in fortune 100 companies.

GMAT Preparation:

Attempt 1:

I started my preparation way back in June 2013. It has been a long journey for me to reach where I am today. For many, this would seem a humongous time period. But due to some unavoidable reasons/medical emergencies back home, my preparation for the GMAT was not very consistent.

Eventually my preparation for the GMAT got postponed to the next year and I started preparing for the exam seriously from June 2014. I booked for the GMAT appointment on Dec 1, 2014.
For the Quant section, I had prepared using the Manhattan GMAT guides and official guides.
For the Verbal section, I had used e-GMAT for the SC & CR. I was over-confident on the GMAT RC section and thought it would be a cake walk. I hardly practiced solving any passages during this attempt and the scores reflected my poor preparation.

Flaw in prep: I never reviewed any incorrect questions. I just was focused on solving more and more number of questions from various sources and did not check the quality of the questions I was picking up to solve.

I scored a paltry 570 (Q45, V24). I was totally clue less on solving verbal questions.

Attempt 2:

I realized that there was definitely a flaw in the strategy that I adopted for the Verbal section. I understood that I was never really using any elimination strategy to pick the right answer.

This is when I realized that I should focus more on the concept on the SC/CR/RC section. So I started by focusing on the SC section first. I used a combination of 2 sources for this attempt.
One was e-GMAT SC as well as crack verbal SC. Both were equally good in the course content. However I felt e-GMAT fared slightly better in this course as they had a number of questions to solve based on any given concept and these questions were very good in Quality and representative of the GMAT.

Next I focused on CR. Again used both e-GMAT and crack verbal. This is when I really understood that identifying the conclusion on CR arguments was the single most important factor in solving CR questions. If the focus was not on the conclusion, then no matter how much anyone would prepare, this section would seem tough.

Also, this was the time when e-GMAT announced the scholaranium. It was a phenomenal tool with very good quality questions. I used it religiously. I was able to get many questions right this time, but ignored one very important factor. I never really bothered about the time that I was taking to solve any questions. I always used to select a bunch 15-20 questions on any attempt with about 30 minutes to solve them. But, never could solve more than 8-9 questions and the timer used to be up. I immediately retook the attempts and answered the remaining questions and felt that I was good in solving the questions as I got most of the questions in scholaranium right.

This was one more flawed strategy. I used accuracy (% correct) to gauge myself of the understanding rather than focusing on all parameters.

I started my preparation for the second attempt in Dec 2014, and by the time I was good with my understanding on CR/SC, it was already end of March.
This is when I started my preparation for the quant section and gave myself 45 days to focus completely on the Quant section.

By mid-May, I felt that I had completed the portion for the GMAT (Ignoring the RC section completely - I thought solving them in mocks or focusing on it at the last would do).
I attempted my first mock and scored a pathetic 590. I was lost completely. I thought I did not make any progress in my GMAT preparation. Also, after 45 days of Quant, I was not remembering anything from the verbal section. All this led me to once again focus on the concept and resulted in vicious circle of me going back to revise the concepts.

By about August time frame, I started religiously giving some GMAT mocks and scored as follows:

Average score in Veritas prep - 610
Average score in Manhattan mocks - 650
Average score in Kaplan mocks 685
Scores in GMAT preps - 670 (Free test 1), 650 (Free test 2), 610 (Exam pack 1), 650 (Exam pack 2)

I had booked for a slot in October. I knew that my scores were not that great but hoped for some magic to happen on the d-day.

Took the GMAT on Oct 2, 2015 and scored a paltry 640 (Q47, V30)
From being in a very comfortable position while solving the GMAT quant section, I completely misjudged the time and landed myself in trouble.
I unconsciously took 18 mins to solve 3 questions and that was a recipe for disaster. I ended up guessing a lot of questions in the last in the quant section.

The thought of having screwed up the Quant section lingered in my mind while I was solving the verbal section too. I was not able to focus on any RC questions.
I ended up guess-estimating most of the RC questions though I had attempted the CR/SC questions relatively well.

Attempt 3

I knew I had the potential to score more. I did not want to give up and hence wanted to give one more shot at the GMAT.
I ordered for the ESR and as predicted, I scored 15% in the RC section.

Having realized the mistake I was doing for the past 2 attempts, I quickly read through some debriefs and realized that LSAT RC/CR would help.
Also, I did not want to take more than 45 days to take another attempt. So I made sure that I plan to focus heavily on the GMAT RC section.

I solved close to around 140 passages in this time frame and slowly started getting a feel of the question patterns and improving on my accuracy.
Parallely I solved all questions from the Sandeep Gupta SC/CR document (Past GMAT-Prep) questions.
I religiously went through the explanations given by Ron Purewal for many of the SC/CR questions.

Also, I had renewed the membership of the GMAT club tests and was solving one test every alternate day.
One more source that I solved was Magoosh Question bank. I must tell that their Quant question back is really a good source to practice. Some of the question explanation just blow your mind off.

In crux, by solving more and more GMAT prep questions in verbal, I started getting a feel of the patterns that are being frequently tested and revised every question that I was attempting to make sure that I understand why I was getting right and what I was not looking into when I got questions wrong. This was definitely helping me a lot.

I revised every GMAT club tests and was averaging around Q49 on the GMAT Club Quant. GMAT club questions are simply superb in quality and I definitely recommend it to any one looking to score >= 49 on the quant. They may seem difficult initially, but one look at the bunnuel explanations and will notice that these questions are very likely to be tested on the actual GMAT.

During the mocks, I scored 740, 700 in kaplan.

GMAT prep Exam pack 3 repeat - 700
GMAT prep Exam pack 4 repeat - 730

Third attempt Experience:

The AWA section went well. I was able to put across the ideas well and was able to write a convincing argument to indicate that the author's argument in its claims was not fully justified.
Next the IR section started. I must confess here that If there was one section that I did not focus much, then it was the IR section this time. However, I just managed to scrape through this section. I guessed the MSR and solved the other questions.

Took the 8 min break. Had bread-jam, vitamin drink, used the restroom and entered back with a vengeance that I would not score anything less than Q49.
I hit some very easy questions in the beginning and the questions started becoming difficult around the 11 question. I skipped this one and went ahead attempting questions that I was sure to get right. I told to myself that it was ok to get some questions incorrect and still get a higher Quant score. I guessed questions 11, 22 and 29. I had about 50 sec remaining when I was on the 36 question. It was a DS question. It looked easy to solve, but because only 50 secs were left, I glanced through the question and took a guess-estimate. Next the 37'th question was a damn easy question, but again had to guess because I had only 20 secs left.

I am sure these 2 questions alone would have led my score to fall from Q49-Q48.

Took the 8 mins break. Had bread-jam, vitamin drink, used the restroom and signed back to start the Verbal section. One of my friend had recently taken the GMAT and scored a V35. I discussed in length with him regarding the strategy that he used and tried adopting the same. I always used to practice according to a strategy that I should be solving 10 questions in some time frame and the next 10 questions in some other time frame etc. However, this caused a lot of panic when I was unable to meet the time frame that I had set for myself. So instead of keeping multiple milestone, I just had one milestone in my mind and this was solving 30 questions in about 60 mins.

Though the math would work out more or less to be the same, I was more relaxed now than before.

Also, I did not give up on any SC/CR questions as these were my strengths. I made sure that i eliminate the wrong answers for convincing reasons. I hit an RC question at question# 3. It was a tough RC passage, but 2/3 were doable. After this passage, I hit the SC/CR questions which were doable more or less. I hit the second RC at question#15. This was extremely tough passage to comprehend. I tried my level best to understand the gist of the passage and answered the questions accordingly.

The third and fourth RC passages were very long but at the same time doable. I was left with 13 mins remaining when I was at question# 29. I bucked up and started solving the questions faster. I was more focused on what could be the right answer than eliminating the incorrect options. With about 50 secs remaining, I hit an SC question which was relatively easy and most probably got it right.

I was praying and hoping for a score beyond 680. As luck would have it, I ended up scoring a 680

The 2 questions in the last in the quant section must have resulted in my score dropping to Q48. Otherwise, I would have seen a coveted Q49 and ended up scoring a 700 instead.

To sum it up, it was a long journey for me to reach 680.

Thank you e-GMAT, Magoosh, Crack Verbal for your valuable support and a wonderfully crafted GMAT course.

Good luck everyone.
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570 -> 640 -> 680 in my Third attempt today (Missed 700 by a whisker)   [#permalink] 24 Nov 2015, 12:06
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570 -> 640 -> 680 in my Third attempt today (Missed 700 by a whisker)

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