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660 to 770 (GMAT Online) in 2 months

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Joined: 14 Jan 2020
Posts: 24
Location: Japan
Concentration: General Management, Operations
Schools: Wharton, Booth, Ross'23, Tuck
GMAT 1: 660 Q49 V30
GMAT 2: 710 Q50 V35
GMAT 3: 770 Q50 V47 (Online)
WE: Design (Manufacturing)
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660 to 770 (GMAT Online) in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 15 Jun 2020, 04:24
18
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Rick and Morty watching Interdimensional Cable from an alternate dimension: TWO BROTHERS. In Japan. And then Corona hit. And they went as far as they could for the GMAT. And then scores were bad. And they were the only two people in the shinkansen. TWO BROTHERS. Take GMAT again. And again. This time they score. 770. Just kidding. It’s called 660 to 770 in 2 months. Just 660 to 770 in 2 months.

660 to 770 in 2 Months



Caution: Super long post and excuse me for any typos. Read it only if you have nothing better to do. For those in a hurry, my progress in various tests is marked in RED, and any tips/suggestions in BLUE. I am not really an expert to give away advices but here’s the whole story-the practice, the perseverance, and the perfect closure.

660 to 770 in 2 months? Not really. This isn’t one of those awesome stories of people improving over 100 points in 2 months. It all began 3 years ago, in 2017, when I first thought of preparing for GMAT and get into one of those awesome B schools.

I kicked it off with a diagnostic test -GMAT Prep-1 to gauge my current level. And to my dismay, I scored a 620. I had always thought that GMAT is just another regular exam that tests basic quant and verbal skills. I was wrong. That’s when I realized that if I wanted to do well in the test, I should take the preparation seriously. I bought the GMAT 2018 bundle, and before beginning with the OG, in order to improve my verbal skills, I made every Wednesday the Library day (a practice that I followed on and off until recently), when I used to go by the city library and borrow a bunch of magazines (The Economist, Nat Geo, New Yorker, TIME, etc.). For some reason, I prefer the print version, and why pay for your own subscription when you can borrow them from the library for free? !

Fast forward to mid-2019. 2 years have passed before I knew it and I started feeling the pressure to get my act right. I wouldn’t have taken this up seriously if it were not for my friend HSW2021 who also decided to take the GMAT. Having someone else going through the process together has been a priceless support.
This time, I went on to prepare seriously. Just as I did in my first attempt to start preparation, I took the GMAT Prep-1 once again to see if my basic level had remained the same. I scored a 690 this time with a decent improvement in my verbal score. (Part of this increment can be attributed to the fact that I recall reading some of the passages previously, however).

(2019/11/17) Mock 1: GMAT Prep-1: 690 (Q49 V34)

If you know how keeping track of one’s workout is way more effective than working out without a plan, you can see why I have the specifics noted down to the dates and scores on each of the mocks I attempted. Not included here, but I even maintained spreadsheets keeping record of the number of questions of each category I got incorrect. Well, most mock test bundles do that for us, but I wanted them all in one place.

FIRST ATTEMPT

Upon a friend’s suggestion, I subscribed to e-GMAT’s course (both verbal and quant) in November 2019. I really liked the way the whole course is structured. It walks you through each concept, gives you some practice questions before and after introducing the concepts, and provides detailed explanation to each of those practice questions. I spent a good part of 2 months going through all the material provided in e-GMAT verbal course. I had also subscribed to the quant course, but barely used it for anything besides the practice questions and cannot judge the quality of the material.
With enough preparation, I thought it was time to attempt some more mocks and see how much I had improved. I was looking out for any decent free mock tests available in the market and attempted the one provided my Economist.

(2020/1/18) Mock 2: Economist: 740 (Q51 V40)
Woohoo! I was almost there. I just need to perform consistently in this score range and I am ready to take the test. I believed that GMAT is a test where one needs to perform under pressure and as much as all the preparation and studying the concepts are important, practicing on the mock tests is equally necessary.
Following another 2 weeks of practice on Scholaranium (e-GMAT’s question bank), I decided to take the next mock. This time I chose the one offered by Experts Global.

(2020/2/2) Mock 3: Experts Global: 700 (Q50 V34)
Duh! I am back to where I started from. Guess my performance in the previous test was a one-time fluke. I needed to continue with my preparation. I thought I performed badly, but the next one was worse.

(2020/2/7) Mock 4: Veritas Prep-1: 650 (Q47 V33)
No way! The score was not what I had hoped for. And the questions felt quite different from the usual GMAT questions. Although I couldn’t tell whether the questions were harder or easier compared to the official questions, they certainly felt different. That’s another realization that taking the GMAT Prep mocks is the only way to decently estimate my skill. And that’s exactly what I did a few days later.

(2020/2/11) Mock 5: GMAT Prep-2: 680 (Q50 V31)
Now I seriously started doubting myself. What have I been doing for the past 3 months? I haven’t improved at all. (But that wasn’t true. I did learn a lot of new concepts which I would have mistaken without the preparation. Then what is it? Why did I score even less than what I had scored before I began my preparation?) It was evident that I needed some strategies to manage my time and get into the exam mindset. Even though I had learnt many concepts, I was barely applying them in the actual test, and was answering most of the questions instinctively as I had done a couple of months ago.
After practicing some more questions on Scholaranium, I finally decided to take the first Sigma-x mock test.

(2020/2/15) Mock 6: SigmaX-1: 680 (Q49 V34)
Still don’t see any improvement. And more importantly the questions on the test felt absurdly difficult, making me guess more than just a few questions.

Deep down I had a feeling that I haven’t booked my appointment yet, and that is the reason I am not taking these mocks seriously. So, I just made up my mind, and booked a slot one month away. I had just a little more than 1 month to complete my preparation. I drafted a detailed schedule comprising of problem solving on the weekdays and one test on each of the weekends and holidays.
The sigma-X tests which I felt difficult in the beginning seemed doable, and my performance in the remaining Official Prep tests also improved greatly.

(2020/2/22) Mock 7: SigmaX-2: 660 (Q50 V30)
(2020/2/23) Mock 8: GMAT Prep-3: 750 (Q51 V40)


This is where my performance in the mocks took a turn. What did I do different? Nothing. Well not exactly nothing. I read every question with the intention of getting it right. Tried to pay more attention to the questions and looked out for any hidden tricks. Also controlled the time of the day for taking the test. Not very early, not very late. Around 10:30-11:00am when I was wide awake and not particularly tired of anything. And so, with a right mindset supplemented by the confidence I gained from the mocks, I continued a similar performance streak in the mock tests that followed.

(2020/2/29) Mock 9: SigmaX-3: 740 (Q50 V40)
(2020/3/7) Mock 10: GMAT Prep-4: 720 (Q49 V39)
(2020/3/8) Mock 11: SigmaX-4: 760 (Q51 V42)
(2020/3/15) Mock 12: SigmaX-5: 710 (Q49 V38)
(2020/3/20) Mock 13: GMAT Prep-5: 740 (Q49 V41)
(2020/3/22) Mock 14: GMAT Prep-6: 750 (Q50 V40)

After every test, I made sure to review the solutions to all the questions irrespective of what my answer was. This helped me understand the questions in ways I hadn’t thought of during the test.

DAY OF THE TEST: GMAT#1
After more than 4 months of preparation, it was the big day (or so I thought).
My testing center was about 2 hours drive away from where I live. As I needed to give the test with full energy, I went to the city of the test center the day before, checked out the location of the test center, and went to bed early. It was hard getting myself to sleep, though. The next morning, I sat down in a café, revised some of the notes I had prepared, had two large coffees, and a red bull (none of which I do before a regular mock test)-clear signs of increased anxiety levels-lol!
I was clearly super nervous at the start of the test but calmed down after 2 or 3 questions. I started with the verbal section and thought that I was killing it. The questions were relatively easy, and I was confidently answering most of the questions. The quant section was a similar experience too. Of all the questions, I only had to guess 1 question because it seemed unnecessarily time consuming. IR and AWA went by without any issues. I was so confident about the performance, that I didn’t want to leave even AWA to chance. Thoroughly reviewed my answer and pressed the submit button.

And there it was, the sight of the score that gave me a mini stroke. I see a score that reads 660 in small, bold letters, hardly discernible from the rest of the text that read UNOFFICIAL SCORE. I didn’t understand what an unofficial score means as I was taking the official test. Deep down I knew that I had bombed my test but hoped that this screen is just the sample of a report, and my score would be presented when I press next. Nope, the next was the timed screen to decide whether I wanted to accept or decline the score. I would have accepted a 700 or more, but a 660 was considerably below my target score and therefore cancelled it. Disappointed like never before, I got on the return bus and booked the next slot right away.

(2020/03/26) GMAT (First Attempt): 660 (Q49 V30 IR8)- EPIC FAIL!!!

SECOND ATTEMPT

Unwilling to accept that I screwed up my test, I started researching if some technical anomaly could produce wrong GMAT scores. Although there “seemed” to be a few such cases in the past, I had to face the truth that the exam pressure got the best of me and it was time to move on with a more definite strategy to perform well in my next attempt. The only issue bothering me was that the test center where I had my previous GMAT had closed permanently the day after my test. (I was the last one to take GMAT there), and the next closest center isn’t anywhere within 500 miles of where I live. And its still COVID out there, only getting worse.

My company has a weeklong break early May, and I had my next appointment during that period.

Discussions of an online GMAT were underway and I planned to cancel my test center appointment if I could do well in the online test. With that in mind, my next strategy to performing well was to practice extensively on higher difficulty questions. Various reviews indicated that Manhattan Prep’s MGMATs are relatively harder than the official questions and if one could perform well in these, the actual results would be in line. So, I bought the MGMAT mock tests bundle of 6. I soon started to realize how valuable mock tests were. DO NOT WASTE THE MOCK TESTS UNLESS YOU ARE DETERMINED TO PERFORM WELL. THEY AREN’T A THING TO PASS TIME.
Just 2 days after my first GMAT, and before starting with MGMATs, I decided to try the second of the free mock tests by Veritas Prep.

(2020/3/28) Mock 15: Veritas Prep-2: 720 (Q51 V38)
What?! I scored 720 in a Veritas Prep mock where I scored 650 previously. I certainly improved. I guess it just wasn’t my day on the GMAT.

Constantly reminding myself that I needed to prepare something, I was mentally exhausted and decided to simply do the mock tests every weekend and learn from my mistakes. So, for the next few weeks, I attempted MGMATs and the retakes of Official Prep mocks alternately. Although retaking the official tests wouldn’t be representative of my performance and the scores would be inflated, I decided to practice them anyway. I still couldn’t get a very high score on the Official Prep’s retakes- made me realize that the retakes are still good to take, after all. Initially the MGMATs felt difficult, and most of the question pool was disproportionately comprised of 700-level questions. But the solutions were very helpful, and I made considerable gains with consistent practice. The next couple of weeks went something like this….

(2020/4/5) Mock 16: MGMAT-1: 710 (Q51 V36)
(2020/4/11) Mock 17: GMAT Prep-3#2: 740 (Q51 V36)
(2020/4/12) Mock 18: MGMAT-2: 680 (Q51 V33)
(2020/4/18) Mock 19: GMAT Prep-4#2: 760 (Q50 V44)
(2020/4/19) Mock 20: MGMAT-3: 710 (Q49 V38)


(GMAT announces the online version of the test)
I rescheduled my test center appointment on 2020/05/05 to 2020/05/16 and booked an appointment for the online GMAT instead on 2020/05/05. After booking my appointment, I learnt about the online whiteboard thing and instantly regretted my decision. But, instead of braving the outside world in the middle of a pandemic, I decided to give the online version a shot and if I don’t do well there, then I’ll go to the test center test as planned.
By then, MGMAT had already released the online whiteboard on their website for practice and so I used that for the rest of my mock tests. Surprisingly, using the online whiteboard hardly affected my quant scores. That gave me the confidence to do well in the coming test.

(2020/4/25) Mock 21: GMAT Prep-5#2: 760 (Q50 V42)
(2020/4/29) Mock 22: MGMAT-4: 720 (Q51 V37)
(2020/4/30) Mock 23: GMAT Prep-6#2: 770 (Q51 V46)
(2020/5/1) Mock 24: MGMAT-5: 750 (Q49 V44)
(2020/5/2) Mock 25: GMAT Prep-1#2: 720 (Q50 V38)
(2020/5/3) Mock 26: MGMAT-6: 760 (Q49 V45)


DAY OF THE TEST: Online GMAT

I logged into my account and proceeded with the system check and other procedures 30mins before the scheduled start time of my test. And everything went very smoothly that I was facing my first question only 15mins after logging into my mba.com account.
But right from the first question, my system froze and was unresponsive to any actions. A click of the mouse to select the answer choice took more than a minute to execute and pressing the submit button and the confirm button took another couple of minutes. I was looking at 3-4 mins to submit each question. And the problem was the same with the online white board. I couldn’t write anything on it. Somehow finishing the second question, I’ve found out that I am not going to make anything good of this test. I raised my hand and alerted the proctor. A chat window popped up asking if I have any problem, but my system was unresponsive, and I couldn’t even send the texts. Minutes later I received a phone call from the proctor, and she instructed me to note down the 9-digit access code on a paper, restart the mac and return to the test. I did so and the system worked fine. But the clock was already at 42:00 (I had lost 20mins!), so I requested the proctor to either reset the time or file a case under technical difficulties. Since I had already seen a couple of questions, she was only allowed to file the case for a retest.

Side note: The proctor did try convincing (in a suggestive way) that I can continue with the test if I wish to, and at the end of the test if I don’t feel satisfied, then I may file a case for retest. The offer did seem like a reasonable one but with all the action right from the beginning of the test, I was in no state to proceed with the test. I politely declined the offer stating the obvious that I cannot perform to the best of my potential under these circumstances (And that there was the most important decision in my GMAT’s journey).

There went my chance to finish off GMAT for good with the technical glitch. I already had a GMAT appointment in a test center 500 miles away and had no choice but to take that.

Meanwhile, a couple of miles away HSW2021 was taking his Online GMAT too. After his test, he came over for a drink and we talked about the whole Online GMAT experience.
He eventually went on to score a 710 (Q50 V36) and decided to take the test again.

(2020/05/05) GMAT Online (First Attempt): TERMINATED!

THIRD ATTEMPT

By now, I used up all the mock tests I had purchased and was left with nothing else to do except the GMAT Official Prep-2 retake which is still pending. The tempo of the next few lines reflect how demoralized I was.
This whole GMAT thing is turning out to be the one with no end. The test was just 10 days away, and for the sake of it because I had to do something, I opened up e-GMAT’s Scholaranium and solved the remaining MEDIUM and HARD level questions from its question bank. There was some learning involved but nothing significant. A day before the test I took the pending mock test.

(2020/5/15) Mock 27: GMAT Prep-2#2: 770 (Q51 V42)
Although it’s a retest, the last time I had taken this test was over 3 months ago, and most of the questions seemed new. Word is that the question bank of Official Preps 1&2 is much larger than the other two sets.
A great score just before the day of the test was a confidence booster.
That evening, HSW2021 and I travelled to the test center city, had a good dinner and tried to sleep-without any luck. The mere fact that I have come so far to take the test put a lot of pressure on me. With barely 4-5 hours of sleep, I woke up, joined my friend for a light breakfast and headed to the test center.

DAY OF THE TEST: GMAT #2

We had to check out of the hotel by 10am, so I went straight to the test center. HSW2021’s test was scheduled at 10:30 and mine at 11:30, but since there was nobody else taking the test on the work station allotted to me, they let me start the test right away, around 10:30.

Verbal
The questions didn’t seem as easy as they did in my first attempt (which means I am doing better than last time), but I didn’t find them challenging enough. Halfway through the test I checked the clock and I still had around 35mins left. With 18 questions left and 35mins, I was doing great with the time too.
I continued answering the questions and some uncalled time pressure pushed me through the next 10 questions and I was looking at 20mins for the last 8 questions. I found the questions relatively easier-probably due to consecutive mistakes in one of the passages that I didn’t fully understand. I spent more than usual time in the last 8 questions and finished the section just in time.

Quant
I took the break and returned to my spot. By now I was totally in the exam mode and began the quant section. The questions all seemed doable too. In fact, they felt much easier than the official prep’s questions. This could be partially because I was solving the MGMAT’s which were of a relatively higher difficulty level.
(Inside my head-I probably shouldn’t have downed that whole can of red bull during the break.)
I was solving questions at a very high pace and by 42-43 mins into the test, it was already question number 28. Since the question quality was reasonable, I believed that there was no point in solving the remaining questions extra slowly. I did the remaining questions-finished the quant section in less than 50mins and rushed to take the next break. (Phew!!)

IR & AWA
I still don’t understand the intention behind this section. Just show me my scores already and I can go home, make myself a gin and tonic and relax. But hey, you won’t get your scores unless you attempt all the sections. I went with the rest of the test without anything much in my head.

Time to open the chocolate box
Reviewing my AWA answer, I was thinking about how I had performed in the test. I knew the test wasn’t very challenging, but I didn’t struggle too much-maybe I was doing fine, and I might get a V40-42 like one of those mock tests. Anyway, its all done, the AWA seems fine too…time to push the submit button and reveal the score.

Unlike the first time, I knew exactly where on the screen I should look at. 710. It’s a 710. A very ambivalent score. What do I do? Still not my target level, but much better than the 660 I scored previously.
With a minute of though, that’s all they give us, lol, I decided to accept the score. I knew my GMAT journey isn’t done yet, though. Well, coming this far for the test shouldn’t be completely worthless. Lets just take it and have something in the bag.

I sat at the reception waiting for HSW2021 to come out. And I was paying extra attention to hear the printer printing the result. If there’s a sound, then my friend had scored better than his online test. And then there was the sound-a sound that sank my heart a little because now I must go about travelling the country all alone to take the test. He did a poker-faced nod and whispered - 710. What? Unbelievable. You scored another 710? What was the whole point of coming out so far and taking the test? And why did he submit that score? He could have sent the scores for free using his online score!
It was just a minute and that was the decision he seemed to make. Okay. Same scores. No feelings. Let’s go home. A 5-hour train journey back home. And we were the only two passengers in the whole train besides the conductor.

(2020/05/16) GMAT (Second Attempt): 710 (Q50 V35 IR7)- 😐 😐 😐

FOURTH ATTEMPT

Back in town, I was anxiously waiting for GMAC to respond to my pending case. Its been over 10 days and I haven’t heard about the retest. Should I wait? Or Should I make a preparation plan and book a slot at the test center again? And just to make life difficult, the next available slots in the whole country were 1 month later in a city 800 miles away. Its around 20th May and I do my routine checking up with the PearsonVUE chat representative “Scott” (sometimes it was Scott, sometimes not, but let’s call him Scott), about my case. That day he says that the link for a retest has been added to my profile and I can book my slot again, and that a refund of my initial test shall be processed in a couple of days-not really a couple of days if I am still waiting after 3 weeks, however, but okay.

I was very restless, and wanted to do away with the retest as soon as possible, but I am glad I didn’t rush through with the appointment. I made myself one last preparation strategy- for a week- and booked a slot on May 30th.

The last step was pretty much what most people on this platform are expected to do, and I regret not doing it sooner. Take all the free CATs provided by gmatclub. The process was simple.
1) Attempt a Verbal CAT.
2) Get the score-but do not worry if the score is bad. Use it as a learning material and mistakes are good. Mistakes help me learn.
3) Check the solutions-All of them irrespective of what my result was.
4) Not just the solutions, check out all the posts and replies by users, experts, expert users-everyone. This is the most important part. The questions on GMAT are graded for their difficulty level not because they are inherently difficult, but because statistically, many people got it wrong. So, what one thinks as easy could in fact be over the roof difficult for someone else and vice versa. Gmatclub is a platform where arguments of all sorts are compiled in a single place and reviewing the solutions and comments taught me the numerous ways how one can get a question, which I thought was easy, wrong. I can be that person for some other question. There are a few ways to get an answer right, but the number of ways to get something wrong is innumerous. And GMAT throws questions at us, quite often, where knowing what is wrong in an answer choice is more important than knowing what makes some other answer choice correct.
5) Repeat steps 1 through 4 for the remaining 8 CATs. (I might have used up some questions in stand alone quizzes and only had 8 CATs in total)


I have had a couple of “bad-days” but I was pretty much satisfied with my performance as I was averaging around 40.

(2020/5/22) Test 1: GMAT Club Verbal: V39
(2020/5/25) Test 2: GMAT Club Verbal: V41
(2020/5/25) Test 3: GMAT Club Verbal: V35
(2020/5/26) Test 4: GMAT Club Verbal: V36
(2020/5/26) Test 5: GMAT Club Verbal: V45
(2020/5/27) Test 6: GMAT Club Verbal: V43
(2020/5/27) Test 7: GMAT Club Verbal: V38
(2020/5/28) Test 8: GMAT Club Verbal: V45


An hour doing the CAT, and another couple of hours reviewing the solutions was all I did for a week.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the town, HSW2021 already booked a slot on 18th June at the test center and was preparing to go there alone. The same case as mine, he had exhausted all the mock tests too, and bought the bundle of Veritas Prep.

And before I know it, I have an another GMAT. Oh boy! I need a break-I haven’t been to the movies as often in my whole life as I am taking the GMATs!!!

DAY OF THE TEST: GMAT Online #2

It was 30th of May and the weather is as gloomy as my mood-raining at times and cloudy for the rest of the day. And my exam was at 4:45pm, the earliest slot I could get in the whole day, or on any of the weekends the test was available.

Check-in Process
I did the system check a couple of times the night before and another couple of times on the day of the test. I didn’t have it in me to face another system error. Also rebooted my mac a dozen times in those two days-that’s easily more times than I did in the past 2 years.

I washed my face, filled myself a glass of water, and sat down 20 mins before the start of the test. Uploaded the pictures of myself, my ID and my room from my phone, refreshed the page on the browser and waited for the proctor to show up.

15 mins later…. I am still waiting-awkwardly looking at my own face on the screen. Sigh!!! It’s probably around 5pm now, I can’t tell because I don’t have any clock around to check. Then, finally, a chat window pops up and the proctor told me that the check in process is almost complete, but he couldn’t find the picture of my ID. Tiny panic-Oh GOD! I didn’t even start my test this time and a technical issue already? Well, the proctor got it covered. “Nothing to worry”, he said and asked me to grab my phone and passport again, take a picture of the ID sitting at my desk, and upload the picture again. I did as he had asked, and it seemed to do the trick. Finally, he wished me the much-needed luck and I am off to begin my test.

Organizing the whiteboard:
There are still a lot of known issues with the Online whiteboard. While GMAC provided a sample whiteboard on mba.com, the one in the test seems to work entirely differently. We are paying for the test, and deserve an error free version of it, but the complaints don’t seem to have much effect, until recently when GMAC rolled out an option to take the test using a physical whiteboard, a system GRE had right from the beginning.

As soon as the page with terms and conditions popped up (A screen that isn’t timed), I opened the white board. My last attempt went without being able to use the whiteboard at all, but this time I wanted to check its functioning before the test.


・I set the fill color to none.
・Drew a couple of overlapping squares and circles to see if I can draw Venn-diagrams.
・Opened the text box and wrote all the letters from a to z, all the numbers, the basic mathematics signs. As expected, the functioning was not without any error. My whole text window vanished and gave me back my overlapping circles whenever I typed the letter Z. Checked it for X and Y, but they seemed to work fine. Okay, just one issue. Do not use the letter Z. I can work with that. (Although midway through the test, the letter Y went crazy too…I had to abandon the whole X Y Z. I stuck with the A B and Cs for the rest of the test.

Everything set-lets move on with the test.

Quant
Probably because of my strong quant base (just the GMAT level quant, I struggled with the engineering mathematics), I breezed through most of the questions without having to do much. Finished around 12 questions in the first 10 mins. That’s when it struck me. What’s the hurry? I’ll probably get a 50 again, or worse case a 48 or 49, but if I put in some more effort, who knows I might even get a Q51!, So I slowed myself down, and gave ample time for each question.
As I started to think more in each question, I faced a peculiar situation. Many answers to the DS questions were an E. Am I doing something wrong? The questions were reasonably difficult but a non-stop streak of E’s for 4-5 questions? Let’s spend an additional minute each to think of any way which can eliminate the E as the correct answer- but no. Its still an E.
And I had a couple of PS questions with the ‘I, II and III’ thing. And not so surprisingly, the answer to one of them was a None of these. Things were really getting to me now. Something is going either well, or I am making the biggest mistake of my whole GMAT life.
Things seemed to calm down at the end of the test and my answer choices were more evenly spaced. I finished with 4 or 5 minutes to spare but decided to while away those extra minutes on the last question before hitting off the verbal section.
20 seconds left, and I press submit on the last question, notice that there’s a 30second instruction window before the start of verbal section. Nothing particular to read so I press next to begin my verbal section.


Verbal
I usually consider RC as my weakest section of the test. Not because I always get the most incorrect answers here but because of the likely probability of getting a whole passage wrong. A streak of 3 or 4 incorrect answers and I am done. For these reasons, I always wish for the RC passages early in the test when the level is still moderate, and I can tackle the more logical CR and SC questions later in the test.

I was down 10 questions and there was no sign of a reading comprehension passage yet. Then there it was, a short passage. The first question seemed straight forward that it made me triple check my answer. I read through the whole passage 3 times and finally concluded that there really isn’t much to think about in this question. I answered that and the next two questions were simple enough that I marked the answers without having to review the passage for any more information. After that passage was a long streak of CR and SC questions.
Where are the RC passages? Could it be that sometimes GMAT doesn’t necessarily give 4 RC passages? Or could it be that they are all stacked up in the end (that’s a nightmare!) :shock: :shock:

Its question number 24 and still no sign of another passage. But then there was. A long passage. I still had a reasonable 23-24 mins on the clock. But there could be 2 more RC passages in the shadows, and I can’t afford to spend more time than needed. I read the whole passage-It’s a biology experimental research passage. One full reading and I had no clue what the passage was talking about. After going through the first question, the passage seemed to make sense. So, I read the whole passage once again. The answer choices were a little confusing, too. I narrowed down the first question to 2 options and recalled everything from gmatclub comments and took my bet on the answer that GMAT most likely tests us for. The hint to the solution was a very subtle preposition which on a regular day I wouldn’t have noticed. I took my bet on that choice and the following question was a relief. It was a follow up question and I knew it right then that my first answer was right. I kept answering the questions and suddenly the question seemed to make no sense. What in the world is XXXXXism? Where’s the research?

Happens to most of us all the time I believe- it’s a different passage. So, I read it-super dense. No emotions. The author seemed to have no interest in writing the passage at all. Why did anyone ever write something this useless? Well-my bet is that somebody wrote it just so that GMAT can make our lives miserable. I read through the passage two or three times and with 80% understanding and 20% instinct, answered the next three questions. I was dying to finish this passage and move on.

Then came the next passage-oh my god! Please stop this. I am beat and I give up. What is this passage? And I only have 7 mins on the clock with three questions of this passage and two other questions remaining. It was just a single paragraph passage, I read through it, saw the questions, and I went back to the passage without even thinking why- I didn’t understand anything. I was only rolling my eyes-there was nothing going in my exhausted thick head. This time I read it with more comprehension, but the questions didn’t make my life any easy. Time to eliminate unlikely options-and go with the feel. There isn’t much time to waste, either.
I finished the passage and noticed a short CR question. Relief! Its easy-
Wait a minute. Panic! I think the last passage was the decider and I blew it. I still have 3 and half minutes- and I know the correct choice to this question.

Moving on, the last question-an SC question, very short…only a couple of words underlined. I couldn’t tell if it was easy or difficult, but I was thinking fast, and I was thinking right. It was a pronoun question without an antecedent. I evaluated each answer choice, made up reasons why each of them could be wrong and went with the option that made the most sense. I still have a minute left- Regret!! I should have spent this minute in that last passage. But its over now. Nothing much to do. Just press the submit button and hit the washroom. Its over 3 hours on the chair already.

IR
I came back after a quick break, had another couple of minutes left but let me be done with it.

I was praying to god (not really a believer but that is all that was left to do) for my test to be difficult, so that I can perform to the best of my potential, and I wasn’t disappointed. I was never this exhausted, mentally and physically, after a test.

IR questions were normal, although I did end up spending a lot of time on the MSR question. The pie chart question seemed to contain excessively large amount of information in the description and I wasted a lot of time here. In the end, I could only answer 10 questions and had to guess the last two questions. IR was not satisfactory but its over.
I finished my test. Laid back on the couch, checked my body temperature and I am on fire. It’s a 37.3C. COVID is bad and it gives you a fever, but 3 consecutive RC passages would do the same too. Its 8 in the evening, I lie down, tired. It’s over.

The WAIT
I spent most of my Sunday sleeping. Went back to work on Monday, and the anxiety is killing me.
The longer the wait, the more I am worried that I might not have done as well as I assumed. I knew that the results are going to take a while but kept checking my mba.com account every chance I had.

Tuesday went by as well, and I even dreamt of receiving a 730, a score I had never gotten in all my mocks and GMATs. Still better than my last two attempts.

Wednesday came, the 3rd of June, and I checked my account first thing in the morning. Came to work and checked my account around again at 10am. Nothing.
I checked it again in some time and there it was. A green VIEW GMAT ONLINE SCORE button in the middle. *heart beats faster*
I press the button and without any delay, it’s there, with a golden ribbon on top.

770!!!!!

Get outta here!! Is this for real? My hands won’t stop shaking. I text my friend whom I was talking just a while ago about how this wait is killing me.
He is in awe too.
I cover my face with my palms and sink back in the chair. Its OVER. For real this time.
I go back to the browser and see my score carefully again.
It’s a Q50, V47, IR6. IR and Quant were expected. But that there was my highest verbal score yet. I have scored 45s and 46s in mocks, but never seen a 47 before.

Back in my head I feel that I don’t deserve it, and that I wasn’t confident in that last passage, but I’ll take it. Its been a challenging journey and I owe myself this one. Thank you everyone on this platform and elsewhere for playing a huge role in my journey.
(2020/05/30) GMAT Online (Second Attempt): 770 (Q50 V47 IR6)- THE END.

HSW2021 is still at it, alone. On 5th June, GMAC announces the option to retest Online GMAT for all those who attempted using the online whiteboard. He jumps in on that option, with a slight hope that a better performance in the online test can save him the trouble of travelling so far again, perhaps the only one on the train this time.

Before the start of the test, the proctor asked him to show around the room using the web camera of his laptop. This was in addition to the pictures uploaded during the system check. He had to show the whiteboard towards the screen. Apparently, there are instructions saying that one needs to show the clean whiteboard to the camera once before the test, before and after the breaks and finally at the end of the test. The proctor also told him that he was the first person to take the Online GMAT with a physical whiteboard.

More on his exam experience from his own debrief, if there’s one. I am not sure what a debriefing means anymore. This is a super long post and not brief at all. (Apologies to anyone who made it all the way till here.)

He finishes his exam on 6/11, and in less than 48 hours he had his scores (first to take the online GMAT with physical whiteboard and the fastest to receive the scores?!!). An early Saturday morning. It’s a 770 as well. What are the odds?! A 770!
A sigh of relief, he laid there in his bed, smiling. Its over. 😊

660 to 770 in 2 months? Technically, but not really.

Post credits:
Interdimensional Cable: TWO BROTHERS. In Japan. And then Corona hit. And they went as far as they could for the GMAT. And then scores were bad. And they were the only two people……….660.710. 770. Its over.

I am still nowhere close to starting off my applications, but a good GMAT score is certainly a confidence booster. I would be glad if my story could help even a single aspirant out there. Good Luck and Cheers!!
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Originally posted by reddy10d on 14 Jun 2020, 23:10.
Last edited by reddy10d on 15 Jun 2020, 04:24, edited 4 times in total.
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New post 14 Jun 2020, 23:23
Reddy Garu, Remarkable achievement. A big big congratulations on scoring a FANTASTIC 770 ! You are an inspiration.

Now, I will go back to reading your debrief.
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New post 15 Jun 2020, 00:26
SRH750 wrote:
Reddy Garu, Remarkable achievement. A big big congratulations on scoring a FANTASTIC 770 ! You are an inspiration.

Now, I will go back to reading your debrief.


Hi SRH750,

Thank you so much and good luck with your preparation.
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New post 16 Jun 2020, 00:07
First of All Congratulations for such an amazing score.


What strategy you used for Quant? any specific materials for Quant?
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New post 16 Jun 2020, 00:32
ricky05 wrote:
First of All Congratulations for such an amazing score.


What strategy you used for Quant? any specific materials for Quant?


Hi ricky05,

Thank you so much.

For quant, to get an understanding of the syllabus, I revised through the concepts provided in the Official Guide.
After that my primary focus has been problem solving and learning from them. I cannot comment about any other source, but e-GMAT has a huge collection of questions sorted according to the question category and difficulty level.
Solving those questions extensively helped me develop my speed and know various ways to solving particular types of questions.

For mock tests, I would recommend Manhattan Prep's MGMATs. Although they are of higher difficulty level than the official questions, using those helped me improve my speed and accuracy greatly.
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New post 16 Jun 2020, 08:26
V30 in your first attempt, to a V47 in your latest attempt, is just a big WOW!
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New post 17 Jun 2020, 03:20
Hey reddy10d
I started browsing these GMAT debriefs hoping to get some inspiration, and boy did your story deliver! Big, big congratulations for getting such fantastic score! You fully deserve it after this roller coaster ride. Best of luck with the rest of your application :)
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New post 17 Jun 2020, 05:55
EducationAisle wrote:
V30 in your first attempt, to a V47 in your latest attempt, is just a big WOW!


EducationAisle,

Thank you so much.

It has been a very stressful 2 months but I am glad my hard-work paid off.
Although, I believe that the V30 in my first attempt was a result of exam day pressure, the consistent practice helped me gain around 10 points from my average performance.
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New post 17 Jun 2020, 05:59
mfr0503 wrote:
Hey reddy10d
I started browsing these GMAT debriefs hoping to get some inspiration, and boy did your story deliver! Big, big congratulations for getting such fantastic score! You fully deserve it after this roller coaster ride. Best of luck with the rest of your application :)


Hi mfr0503,
Thank you so much. I spent a whole day writing the debrief :lol: :lol: . I hope you found my story helpful for your preparation.
Good luck, and work hard.
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New post 17 Jun 2020, 08:15
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I cannot believe this is possible.
770 is no joke.
Congratulations buddy.

Did you maintain error logs?
What was your strategy for the last week?

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Re: 660 to 770 (GMAT Online) in 2 months   [#permalink] 17 Jun 2020, 08:15

660 to 770 (GMAT Online) in 2 months

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