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350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?)

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350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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I didn't want to write a debrief because there are debriefs with much higher scores and much more amazing stories. But I thought since I spent a great deal of time on this forum and learned from so many people on this forum that I can express my gratitude and also perhaps offer some motivation so you guys can score even higher and possibility learn from my mistakes. Also there are many stories about people going from 600 to 750 but not many from 350 to 700 so if you're starting out and struggling with GMAT, my story should comfort you. No matter what your starting score is, you can easily score 700+ with some discipline n hard work.

I started seriously studying for gmat at the end of last year around Dec and was hoping to have completed my prep by spring. I thought 3-4 months would be sufficient to score 700 on the gmat. I am generally a confident person and have confidence in my ability to accomplish things. So when initially set up my study plan I read a bunch of different debriefs and learn wrote a bunch of notes. Some suggested studying Quant first then verbal, some said study both at the same time. Many people offered great tips and insight into the exam and wrote down a great list of books to read for each section. So as per ppl's recommendations I picked up MGMAT books to start and thought I'd save the OG books for the end. I decided I was going to go through all 5 math books in one week. So I set aside a weekend and went to the library and spent 10-12 hours on the weekend and reviewed all the books. However reviewing all that info in 2 days didn't seem like a smart idea so I extended my prep over 2 weeks. I then went over the SC, CR and RC guide over the next two weeks. After about a month of review I took one a Gmatprep exam and scored about 400. Now let me add a caveat, during the math section I had paused the exam several times, and wrote down questions and tried to solve them on my pad to avoid running out of time and I also used the calculator for a few questions. So all in all the 400 wasn't as impressive as it sounds. Realistically I would've scored about 300-350 if i didn't pause and use the calculator. So 400! Wow I thought I can gain 100 points in one month, so 500 in 1 month, 600 in 2 and 700 in 3 and Viola! I am done. Boy was I in for a shock.

So seeing that I had my work cut out for me I reached out to BB, I messaged him asking for advice. I told him that I had decided I was going to score 700 ( i am sure he had a good laugh) and asked him where to begin. I asked him whether I should give Magoosh a try and he said sure why not. So I signed up or Magoosh ( it was only $80 which seemed like a bargain compared to MGMAT live prep and other courses) so i went through the Quant section over the next month only and scored a 500 in GmatPrep. So I thought Wow! Everything is transpiring according to my desire! (That's a lil star wars reference for Palpatine fans). I then spent another month studying verbal and wrote another mock test and scored approx 580 in MGMAT. Mind you that it took my 2 1/2 to finish the quant section but I was doing unlimited time tests. So I thought everything is going great!

So 3 months passed and I was ready to book a date for my test and I thought why not take a mock under test conditions not at my home and without pauses. So I went to my local library in the morning and took a mock and scored a 600. At this point I realized that everything wasn't going according to plan and that I had vastly underestimated the actual test. So now the real fun began. The real story starts now, everything up to this point was just prologue.

So lost, I started wandering the forum for a magic pill. I looked at advertisements that offered to help me increase my score by 100 points in 30 days, i saw plenty of tutors on the forum offering to help potential test takers. I thought up signing up for these services but for some reason was unconvinced that they could really help me. Although I did sign up for E-gmat for the verbal section, I only used it for sentence correction. I promise this won't turn into one of those stories that start with i was wandering through the desert until i came across xyz product that changed my life. In fact I only used E-gmat for a few weeks and it definitely helped but I couldn't take the course too seriously. The accent of the person explaining the concepts and often repeated mispronunciation of words would distract me from the actual points. But I still came away learning quite a bit from that course. However my real breakthrough came when i met stonecold I met him in the chatroom and started attending his daily Quant sessions. stonecold along with warriorguy were always in the chatroom in the early morning practicing really tough quant concepts. I started to practice with them and made it a point to attend everyday. The types of questions they were doing I couldn't find in Magoosh or anywhere else really and even the explanations were ingenious. These guys especially stonecold were playing at a very high level and I thought if I could just play a few level below this guy I would be set. I practiced Quant in the chatroom for about 4-6 weeks and my quant score shot up from Q35-37 to Q45+. I was easily scoring Q47-48 in the quant section. The questions we were going over in the sessions were 700+ and 750+ level questions and in comparison the gmatprep questions seemed very easy. I also went over @Buenel 's signature set and completed all the question. I would recommend everyone to go over these questions, a great investment for the quant section. I would also recommend going over Stonecold's math sets. Just google them and you will find 300-400 excellent questions on number properties.

At this point I turned my attention to verbal. I noticed that I was still struggling with some high level SC questions. So I watched Thursday's with Ron videos and went over all the SC sessions. I think that really helped take my SC to a high level. For RC (which was the biggest surprise for my test), i created my own strategy. Now I wrote a test in June where I completed wrecked the RC section and had to guess through a whole passage bcuz I was short on time). So i didn't want to repeat my mistake. So I created a strategy specifically for RC. I read many different approaches to RC, some suggested just skimming through the passage, some suggested just focusing on the structure etc... I took as many notes as I could but I wasn't convinced by all these techniques. I recognized that something was wrong with my reading approach. I am not a native english speaker, English is my second language but I did grow up speaking english so i figured I couldn't be that bad at comprehending a passage. Otherwise how could I have gone through high school and university and through my life if I wasn't comprehending the language? I mean something was wrong with how I was reading. So I thought that I have to change my reading habits and I have to strengthen my reading.... I read a lot but I only read stuff that I really like i.e. philosophy, business related material etc.... and I read really fast. I am a fast talker and I realized that I was reading faster than I was talking which at times meant that I wasn't thinking about what I was reading. So to fix I thought I must read 1-2 hours everyday and read really slowly and try to understand the underlying message of the author and not focus on the facts. So I bought several really dense science books to get used to reading tough material. The books I purchased:
1) -- on Astrophysics (written by UFT prof - on the formation of galaxies) I quite enjoyed this book since I like physics. So now I understand how Galaxies are formed and how rigorously scientist work to prove their findings. I thought jeez I have to be just as rigorous in my RC approach.
2) Origin of Species - Charles Darwin (this book and man needs no introduction). This is a super dense book and I love the Selfish Gene & Richard Dawkin's work so I thought I'd read this book.
3) Great compilation of Science Essays -- This book had essays from 15+ authors such as Planck, Einstein, Darwin and Newton just to name a few.
After about 3-4 weeks of reading I turned my attention to actual passages. Now I could read these passages with no difficulty at all but I was still getting tricked my answer choices. At this point i started eliminating rigorously. I read GMATNinja 's post on RC and that really changed my outlook on how to read these passages. I started being very very rigorous in selecting answers. Instead of selecting the correct answer as I did in the past, I eliminated all the wrong ones. This made my life a lot easier because I fell into traps less often. Many choices are designed in a way that they sound plausible and often 2 answer choices seem correct but one is more correct than another. If you eliminate ones that are not 100% correct then this makes life a lot easier. So thank you GMATNinja for your post.
I ended up scoring 91% in RC as a result. During the test I was just on autopilot, the questions seemed very difficult and I even guessed on a few questions but that didn't prevent me from getting a good score.

So now onto my actual test. I started the test of very very nervous, in the middle of the test I started freaking out because I was running out of time and that had an impact on my performance. During the test I recall some good advice from warriorguy who said treat it as a mock so I started to relax and you will notice that in the last section even though i had 10 mins left for last 10 questions I still somehow managed to not only finish but finish strongly. This is a scenario I had practiced in the last week. I practiced doing 30 questions in 45 minutes or 40 questions in 60 minutes instead of 75 mins.... I still had to guess on last 2-3 questions but i managed to finish on time.

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Onto Quant: The quant came really really easy, i was way ahead on my time. I had 30 minutes left with 10 questions to go. At this point I started to relax and lost my focus. This was a costly mistake. I hope you won't make the same mistake. But I started to doze off and day dream. I thought I had done very very poorly in verbal (less than V30) so I thought I didn't have a chance at getting 700 so I didn't put 100% on quant. Big mistake, no matter how you feel about your verbal or quant, do not let previous section dictate how you do on other sections. Give you 100% one every question.

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So I finished the section, guessed last 3 questions and moved onto IR. IR was super easy even though i didn't prepare for it. IR was a breeze much easier than some OG IR questions. They were like 500 level questions. Then i wrote the AWA ( i am a good writer so i didnt' even worry about this section. I wrote about 700-800 words, quickly proofread and submitted).

I saw my score 700! I was in disbelief. I couldn't believe that I had scored V39... this couldn't be correct. I thought there must be some error somewhere cuz I felt like I did horribly in verbal. I got my ESR (following day), it showed that RC had pushed my score up. RC? My weakest section had somehow helped me get 700? Wow never did I expect RC to boost my score. Going into the test I felt that RC was going to drag my score down by 2-3 verbal points but I was happy that my work had paid off. When I walked out of the test centre I was still confused about what had happened... I msged hazelnut warriorguy Vyshak abhimahna and they congratulated me. Somehow it didn't feel as if it was all over, i was hoping to score atleast 10-20 points higher but given that my initial goal was 700 when I set out to write this exam the result felt poetic. Despite all the ups and downs, I accomplished what I set out to do... even if it took few months longer than I had expected.

Special thanks to hazelnut stonecold souvik101990 warriorguy @Buenel bb Vyshak gmatexam439 abhimahna GMATNinja Without all your support I wouldn't have been able to achieve my goal. So my deepest gratitude to you all.

Originally posted by jkolachi on 09 Aug 2017, 12:33.
Last edited by jkolachi on 06 Dec 2017, 19:46, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 13:31
Congratulations on entering the 700 league
Thanks for the wonderful debrief which offers a lot of things to learn. You worked really hard for this score and your effort is a motivation for many people.
Thanks and good luck for the future
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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 14:31
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So here is the magic score you yearned for and that you rightfully deserved. I told you the last time itself you will break it :)

stonecold is a real life saver....one can't ignore his tips and practice sessions. I miss the quiz sessions. I am hoping that he will start coming to chatroom frequently at nights again, so that people like us could benefit from such great discussions.

Jko 1 question for you, apart from Thursday's with Ron, what else did you go through for SC ??

P.S. It will our turn next to make you proud !!
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6. Challange OG RC
7. GMAT Prep Challenge RC

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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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Congratulations, jkolachi! Holy crap, I didn't really know your whole story until just now. It's been a ton of fun interacting with you here on GMAT Club, but I had no idea that you'd been through so much.

The "750 on my first try!" stories are popular around here, and they're perfectly awesome, but THIS story is the real deal. It's really what this f*#!ing test is all about: getting punched in the mouth -- hard -- and fighting like mad night after night after night to get better. You earned every single point of this the hard way, and I have endless respect for what you've accomplished.

Let us know where you land for business school! You've been a wonderful presence here in this community over the past few months -- keep coming to our verbal chats when you need a laugh. ;)

Keep in touch, and good luck with your applications!
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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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Congrats! Great to be reading a great success story. A 300/350-point improvement is basically as amazing of an improvement story as it gets.
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congrats on a great score jkolachi. Your hard work has paid off.
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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2017, 05:02
Congratulations mate. This is like a rags to riches story to savour. Amazing effort!
Best of Luck with your applications now. I hope you get into the schools of your choice ;) Cheers!


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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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Awesome! Congratulations Jkolachi..inspirational debrief.
Warriorguy,Stonecold and you are very helpful,you guys are life savers.
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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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First Congrats! Second...THANK YOU sooo much for this! I got a 390 on my first exam and I plan on taking it again. I really needed to see this message today because I have been seriously doubting myself.
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New post 10 Aug 2017, 12:28
Congratulations!!

Your debrief is such a motivation . Consistent hard work does pays off.

The part where you have shared how you improved your RC score by reading science books on heavy topics will be helpful for me. Even I am an avid reader but when it comes to RC I usually select the second best answer and do the question wrong. I will now implement your strategy and will work on it. :)

Good Luck!
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These are the books I read. Strange New Worlds this book is a mind blower. You learn about how star dust particles form into planets and eventually into galaxies....

Excerpt from the three books:

Great Essays by Martin Gardner "Biologists have long sought to understand which genes and what kinds of changes in their sequences are responsible for the evolution of morphological diversity. Here, I outline eight principles derived from molecular and evolutionary developmental biology and review recent studies of species divergence that have led to a genetic theory of morphological evolution, which states that (1) form evolves largely by altering the expression of functionally conserved proteins, and (2) such changes largely occur through mutations in the cis-regulatory sequences of pleiotropic developmental regulatory loci and of the target genes within the vast networks they control."

Origin of Species "I have now recapitulated the .. facts and considerations which have thoroughly convinced me that species have been modified, during a long course of descent. This has been effected chiefly through the natural selection of numerous successive, slight, favourable variations; aided in an important manner by the inherited effects of the use and disuse of parts; and in an unimportant manner, that is in relation to adaptive structures, whether past or present, by the direct action of external conditions, and by variations which seem to us in our ignorance to arise spontaneously."

Strange New Worlds " Since faint planets are hard to see next to bright stars, astronomers have had to come up with clever ways to unveil them. The Doppler technique—using spectral line shifts to trace the subtle dance of stars as planets tug on them—has been the most successful in the first fifteen years. But two other methods have also reached maturity—and are paying off handsomely. Both depend on finding chance alignments of celestial objects through brightness changes of stars. The first technique exploits a remarkable property of gravity that Albert Einstein discovered: its ability to bend light, thus to magnify..."


Text this dense forces you to pay attention at a much higher level than you would reading the newspaper. You have no choice but to force yourself to reread and read between the lines to understand the text on paper.... Initially I would lose concentration for 5 seconds and would realize that the text I was reading made absolutely no sense so I would go back and start from the beginning. This helped me break my bad reading habits. I learned to focus on a higher level. I also just constantly asked myself, why is the author saying this? Where is he leading? Why is he taking me through this maze and whats his intention? Often I would realize at the end but after a while I started to pick up on the idea quickly. For example there would be one sentence that would be the main point like "Variations in bigger genera of species tend be larger than smaller genera...." Then there would be 20-30 pages of discussion about Big vs Small genera and at the end the point would be stated that Bigger genera are bigger because they tend to dominate in their natural habitat and have advantages so they consequently they are more common compared with smaller ones...

Same thing with the Strange New worlds book, the author would mention for example discovery of a new technique i.e. the Doppler technique at the beginning of the chapter and then go on and on about how the old technique had accuracy issues and how scientist spend decades after decades trying to create newer more accurate instruments and eventually come back to the Doppler technique and how it allowed scientist to make more accurate estimates which eventually led to the discovery of a certain type of planets...... This trains you to keep focus for long periods of time and not get lost in the details....

2201neha Lnstnbass4 SMD sarbjeetsingh777 hazelnut Good luck with RC!
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New post 10 Aug 2017, 13:15
Congratulations, inspiring debrief. Good luck with applications :)
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Jkolachi ! Have been hearing about you on the chat . Someone mentioned you got a 700 and everyone was so happy for you :) this is like the one of the most legendary debriefs I have ever read .. and like most of the other folks wanting to crack the f*** out of this exam your story is super inspirational !! I can totally relate to some of the stuff you've mentioned like your experience with RC, and love the fact that you started reading dense material to cope with the difficult passages and increase your accuracy !! Who does that ? Mind blown ! Like GMATNINJA mentioned above this is the real deal ! RESPECT !!!

I'm so glad I'm on Gmat club and to be able to read such an inspirational story ;) fantastic mate ! Good luck with your applications and hope you get the business school of your choice . All the best

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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2017, 13:51
jkolachi wrote:
Image

These are the books I read. Strange New Worlds this book is a mind blower. You learn about how star dust particles form into planets and eventually into galaxies....

Excerpt from the three books:

Great Essays by Martin Gardner "Biologists have long sought to understand which genes and what kinds of changes in their sequences are responsible for the evolution of morphological diversity. Here, I outline eight principles derived from molecular and evolutionary developmental biology and review recent studies of species divergence that have led to a genetic theory of morphological evolution, which states that (1) form evolves largely by altering the expression of functionally conserved proteins, and (2) such changes largely occur through mutations in the cis-regulatory sequences of pleiotropic developmental regulatory loci and of the target genes within the vast networks they control."

Origin of Species "I have now recapitulated the .. facts and considerations which have thoroughly convinced me that species have been modified, during a long course of descent. This has been effected chiefly through the natural selection of numerous successive, slight, favourable variations; aided in an important manner by the inherited effects of the use and disuse of parts; and in an unimportant manner, that is in relation to adaptive structures, whether past or present, by the direct action of external conditions, and by variations which seem to us in our ignorance to arise spontaneously."

Strange New Worlds " Since faint planets are hard to see next to bright stars, astronomers have had to come up with clever ways to unveil them. The Doppler technique—using spectral line shifts to trace the subtle dance of stars as planets tug on them—has been the most successful in the first fifteen years. But two other methods have also reached maturity—and are paying off handsomely. Both depend on finding chance alignments of celestial objects through brightness changes of stars. The first technique exploits a remarkable property of gravity that Albert Einstein discovered: its ability to bend light, thus to magnify..."


Text this dense forces you to pay attention at a much higher level than you would reading the newspaper. You have no choice but to force yourself to reread and read between the lines to understand the text on paper.... Initially I would lose concentration for 5 seconds and would realize that the text I was reading made absolutely no sense so I would go back and start from the beginning. This helped me break my bad reading habits. I learned to focus on a higher level. I also just constantly asked myself, why is the author saying this? Where is he leading? Why is he taking me through this maze and whats his intention? Often I would realize at the end but after a while I started to pick up on the idea quickly. For example there would be one sentence that would be the main point like "Variations in bigger genera of species tend be larger than smaller genera...." Then there would be 20-30 pages of discussion about Big vs Small genera and at the end the point would be stated that Bigger genera are bigger because they tend to dominate in their natural habitat and have advantages so they consequently they are more common compared with smaller ones...

Same thing with the Strange New worlds book, the author would mention for example discovery of a new technique i.e. the Doppler technique at the beginning of the chapter and then go on and on about how the old technique had accuracy issues and how scientist spend decades after decades trying to create newer more accurate instruments and eventually come back to the Doppler technique and how it allowed scientist to make more accurate estimates which eventually led to the discovery of a certain type of planets...... This trains you to keep focus for long periods of time and not get lost in the details....

2201neha Lnstnbass4 SMD sarbjeetsingh777 hazelnut Good luck with RC!



Thank you so much jkolachi for detailing the books for RC preparation. I think I will start with Great Essays. :)

I get nervous whenever I encounter a RC passage that deals with finance/economy topic. Do you have any book suggestions on this topic too?
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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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2201neha I have a business backgeround so didn't find the business RCs that difficult. But if you want to read some tough business material than definitely check out Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, and also feel free to check out Maynard Kayne's books. They are great books.

Also check out Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan & Fooled by Randomness. Thomas Pikety's Capital, Thomas Friedman The World is Flat. Anything by Milton Friedman. You can also just read the business section of NY Times or WSJ.

Good luck!
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Congratulations buddy !!!

Wow this post has actually inspired me , I'm giving my gmat in months end , this could be of real motivation .. thanks


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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2017, 21:10
Congratulations mate! I started around December too, haven't been able to reach 700 yet. How much were you scoring towards the end of your prep in GMAT mocks?


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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2017, 21:31
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Already a lot of people there congratulating you! But here I am, again! :)
As axelpuri mentioned above, everyone is happy for you, and believe me this is not superficial happiness!
:woohoo

Thanks for the debrief man! I was waiting for it!
Its nice to read a debrief- especially when you have seen someone grow. Its like having watched a live match, reading about it in a newspaper the next day. This feeling cannot be explained :)
You have summed up everything. And RC surely was a great improvement-your determination, persistence, and hard work paid off. You are "few" of those guys I look up to if I feel low.
Thanks for everything.
All the best for the applications. I would like to know where you land. Keep us posted.
And don't leave gmat club, please?

Jko: :snipersmile:GMAT


Edit: (I know some sentences are not perfect SC, but will leave them that way-because I am too excited to think :P )
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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2017, 07:07
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Congratulations my friend.
You deserve every ounce of that score.

The fortitude and grit you have shown after your first attempt is estimable.
If your essays are half as novel,erudite and esoteric as your chatroom comments then I have no doubts that you ARE gonna get into your dream program.


To everyone who visits this page and reads this debrief => Going from 350 to 700 is 10x times more arduous and byzantine then from say 650 to 750.
We all have so much to learn from this guy.


Cheers
Stone Cold


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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?) [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2017, 07:08
stonecold wrote:
Congratulations my friend.
You deserve every ounce of that score.

The fortitude and grit you have shown after your first attempt is estimable.
If your essays are half as novel,erudite and esoteric as your chatroom comments then I have no doubts that you ARE gonna get into your dream program.


To everyone who visits this page and reads this debrief => Going from 350 to 700 is 10x times more arduous and byzantine then from say 650 to 750.
We all have so much to learn from this guy.


Cheers
Stone Cold


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I agree completely!


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Re: 350 --> 700 Q47 V39 - IR 7 AWA (6?)   [#permalink] 11 Aug 2017, 07:08

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