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740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution

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740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Dec 2019, 13:42
5
6
I gave the GMAT on 26th Nov, 2019. It was my first attempt, so I experienced my fair share of both excitement and nervousness. Achieving my target score was an absolute relief and it actually took a few hours after the screen flashed a 740 for the reality to sink in. Here, I’d like to share a few details that aided me in my preparation in the hopes that you may find them useful too.

I started my prep 2 months ago. I asked friends who had appeared for GMAT about how to prepare and they really saved me the hassle of searching for a prep course. With conviction, the e-GMAT course was recommended to me and, in hindsight, that was the first critical decision that I made in my prep journey. In the following paragraphs, I start with how I planned my prep and how to leverage data analytics provided via e-GMAT to identify strengths and weaknesses. Then, I have mentioned a few general tips and tricks sub-section wise which I believe can be of use to all aspirants.

Planning
Following in the footsteps of my friends, I would whole-heartedly recommend the e-GMAT course. It might sound like a product endorsement but frankly the course is simply that commendable. First, it is 100% online, saving precious time that would otherwise be wasted in travel. Second, you can go through the entire course at your own pace. At the very beginning, you are encouraged to create a personalized study plan, which is the second critical decision I made and probably the most important. You don’t step on the field without a game plan. e-GMAT has built a powerful automated tool which can guide you with respect to the amount of time you should spend on a particular section based on an estimate of your current ability and the target score you wish to achieve. Having a plan in place is half the strategy. The other half is sticking to it religiously and executing it purposefully.

Here, I would like to highlight an execution strategy based on constant data-driven feedback. Being an online course, e-GMAT tracks your ability and improvement constantly. Whether you’re going through a module or attempting a sub-section-based ability quiz, you will get feedback in the form of your practice quiz scores, your timed quiz percentiles, etc. It’s of utmost importance that you read the numbers and pinpoint your strong as well as weak areas in order to manoeuvre your prep in the right direction and to devise a test-day strategy.
Now, getting to the real deal – the GMAT sections. I am no expert instructor but I will do my best to summarize my approach to each section. I hope you find it useful and can mix it up with your own ideas to create a unique approach that works for you.

Verbal
I began with Verbal because it felt new and interesting (and I was bored with Quant, engineers might know that feel). Now, before beginning any section among SC, CR and RC, I went through the Master Comprehension module on e-GMAT. This sets up the foundation for what you need to master SC and I believe will prove to be especially helpful to non-native English speakers. Next, jumping to the actual 3 sub-sections of the Verbal section:

SC: I found Sentence Correction to be the most mathematical of the Verbal sub-sections. And by mathematical, I mean the approach and of course not the content (so all the math-haters out there, nothing to fret about here). SC questions are basically a problem dealt to you which you need to solve while keeping a few rules in mind. Just as addition & subtraction can help solve complex equations, knowing the concepts of Subject-Verb Agreement, the use of pronouns, and the rulebook for the dreaded ‘modifiers’ will simplify SC questions immensely. You just have to perform the right operations on the given problem and voila you will have your answer! And the best part is, most of the given answer choices can easily be eliminated once you know how to apply these ‘Verbal Operations’ leaving you with either the right choice or 2 confusing answer choices at the most in questions of higher difficulty level. Such questions, then require of you an understanding of the intended meaning of the original sentence. Equipped with the rules and a logical understanding of the meaning of the statement, you might actually find SC questions to be the easiest of all Verbal questions.

CR: Personally, Critical Reasoning questions were a constant struggle. These were the questions I failed at the most (during prep and on the GMAT). So, I can particularly tell you what not to do in such questions. The biggest challenge, I feel, is to resist the urge to go through the answer choices and mark an answer. The GMAT is no easy exam and the makers are smart enough to give exceptionally close answer choices in each CR question. So this approach will, most likely, rarely bear fruit. Here, e-GMAT’s approach of pre-thinking is a saviour. Trading off a few seconds on the clock for a higher accuracy on CR questions, pre-thinking teaches you to try and figure out the answer even before you have a look at the answer choices and this can prove to be the X factor that helps you dissect the correct answer choice from the extremely close other answer choices.

RC: From my experience, slow and steady wins the Reading Comprehension race. Spending a little more time on reading the passage is absolutely fine if it aids your comprehension of the passage, which is what is ultimately being tested. Slower reading and deeper understanding can help you make the connections between various elements of the passage. Especially focus on words used for transition (such as moreover, however, despite, etc.) to understand precisely what the author’s thought is. Understanding every little detail is important in a RC passage. Thus, read it slow at first and notice how many of the answers can be found in the passage upon close inspection. Identifying this pattern will help you better prepare for any passage. Then, practice against the clock so that you figure out the optimum speed required to both comprehend the passage and not use up too much time in doing so.

IR: Not much to say here and thus am not dedicating a separate paragraph for it. Knowing basic concepts of statistics is essential. Also, read graphs very carefully. Understand which axis is indicative of which parameter. Finally, time management is crucial as there are quite a few questions and relatively little time.

Quant
PS: Problem Solving questions should be fairly easy after learning the concepts, a few formulae and some practice. Overall, in the quant section, keep a steady pace and resist the tendency to linger on a question for too long in the hopes of getting it right soon.

DS: Data Sufficiency questions gave me nightmares when I first began. I was finding it very difficult to get them right, especially the ones on number properties, GCD/LCM, etc. Then, I realised there was a pattern in my errors. There are a few common pitfalls to bear in mind. Basically, key points such as 2 is the only even prime number, or that when you take the square root, you get two values (+/-), or when you have a quadratic equation, you might get 2 roots or equal roots are some examples. Also, some questions are trickier in which both statements, when solved completely, lead to the same two equations, thereby being insufficient together. If you can steer clear of errors involving these concepts, you will be able to improve your accuracy.

AWA
Didn’t give a lot of time for this section. Spent just a day on it. Scored a 5. The template by chineseburned (a fellow GMAT Club member) can serve as the backbone of your essay. And, going through a few sample essays will show you the kind of flaws in the argument you are expected to address. Maybe writing a few essays for practice could have helped me reach a 6, so that’s something you can try too.

OG and Mocks
In the final 15 days, I started attempting the Official Guide (OG) questions. I believe it’s best to attempt these questions only after you feel you’re somewhat ready to tackle the GMAT. Since, these are questions that have been asked previously on the exam, it’s best to attack them once you’re well-equipped with all your weapons and your armor. As for the mocks, I found the following helpful tips during my research. So, I’ll just restate them here. Do not overdo it. Two to three mocks should give you a fair idea provided you can see consistency in your score. GMAC offers two mock tests for free once you have registered for the exam, which are known as the GMAT Official Practice Tests. They are the best indicator of your score as they are provided by GMAC and use the same algorithm as is used for the exam. I would recommend not to waste any of these for diagnostic purpose at the start of your prep. These are too valuable and better serve their purpose towards the end. I attempted these two mocks, one 11 days and the other 3 days before test date. I’d like to point out something absolutely crucial here. Even though my accuracy was the same in both the mocks, I scored 750 in one and 720 on the other. Now, I don’t know the intricacies of the algorithm but upon observing my incorrect responses, the biggest difference was that in the second mock where I scored lower, I had got the first two questions on the Verbal section wrong, which probably dropped the level of difficulty of the following questions significantly, answering which correctly DID NOT compensate for this initial drop. So, I’d suggest try and get the first few questions absolutely right. Finally, it is recommended that you give these mocks around the same time of day that you’ll be giving the actual GMAT, so that your brain is trained to perform in those hours.

So, these were my two cents. I apologize if it’s too long, I just wanted to put down everything that helped me in my journey. Hope some of it helps you too and the best wishes for your attempt!
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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Dec 2019, 20:34
shreyas99 - Congratulations on getting a 740 on your first attempt. Thank you for sharing your debrief. All the best with the applications.
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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Dec 2019, 23:54
shreyas99
Congratulations. What a stellar score!!
Thanks for your effort in writing this great debrief.
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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Dec 2019, 03:32
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Congratulations! Thanks for the detailed and inspiring debrief!

Good luck in your future endeavors!
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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2019, 05:45
Thank you all for the feedback on the debrief and for your kind wishes! :)
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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2019, 06:05
Congratulations Shreyas!
Mine's on December 18th.
And Now on to Applying for Round 2? Which Schools are you planning to apply?
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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2019, 07:26
Congratulations shreyas99 on the 740!!
All the best for your apps
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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2019, 09:01
Congratulations. What a great score! Thanks for your effort in writing this typical debrief.

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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2019, 10:31
Congrats Shreyas

Nice debrief and insight about SC.
All the best for your applications

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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Dec 2019, 21:35
1
Thanks all, glad you found the debrief helpful.
sharathnair14 All the best for your attempt! Yes I will be applying in Round 2. Have shortlisted a few programs viz. MSc. Finance at LSE, HEC Paris, MIT Sloan, Imperial College, MFA at LBS and MFE at Oxford.

I would also like to know from the community more suggestions on early-stage finance programs particularly in US Schools.
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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Dec 2019, 23:25
1
shreyas99 wrote:
I gave the GMAT on 26th Nov, 2019. It was my first attempt, so I experienced my fair share of both excitement and nervousness. Achieving my target score was an absolute relief and it actually took a few hours after the screen flashed a 740 for the reality to sink in. Here, I’d like to share a few details that aided me in my preparation in the hopes that you may find them useful too.

I started my prep 2 months ago. I asked friends who had appeared for GMAT about how to prepare and they really saved me the hassle of searching for a prep course. With conviction, the e-GMAT course was recommended to me and, in hindsight, that was the first critical decision that I made in my prep journey. In the following paragraphs, I start with how I planned my prep and how to leverage data analytics provided via e-GMAT to identify strengths and weaknesses. Then, I have mentioned a few general tips and tricks sub-section wise which I believe can be of use to all aspirants.

Planning
Following in the footsteps of my friends, I would whole-heartedly recommend the e-GMAT course. It might sound like a product endorsement but frankly the course is simply that commendable. First, it is 100% online, saving precious time that would otherwise be wasted in travel. Second, you can go through the entire course at your own pace. At the very beginning, you are encouraged to create a personalized study plan, which is the second critical decision I made and probably the most important. You don’t step on the field without a game plan. e-GMAT has built a powerful automated tool which can guide you with respect to the amount of time you should spend on a particular section based on an estimate of your current ability and the target score you wish to achieve. Having a plan in place is half the strategy. The other half is sticking to it religiously and executing it purposefully.

Here, I would like to highlight an execution strategy based on constant data-driven feedback. Being an online course, e-GMAT tracks your ability and improvement constantly. Whether you’re going through a module or attempting a sub-section-based ability quiz, you will get feedback in the form of your practice quiz scores, your timed quiz percentiles, etc. It’s of utmost importance that you read the numbers and pinpoint your strong as well as weak areas in order to manoeuvre your prep in the right direction and to devise a test-day strategy.
Now, getting to the real deal – the GMAT sections. I am no expert instructor but I will do my best to summarize my approach to each section. I hope you find it useful and can mix it up with your own ideas to create a unique approach that works for you.

Verbal
I began with Verbal because it felt new and interesting (and I was bored with Quant, engineers might know that feel). Now, before beginning any section among SC, CR and RC, I went through the Master Comprehension module on e-GMAT. This sets up the foundation for what you need to master SC and I believe will prove to be especially helpful to non-native English speakers. Next, jumping to the actual 3 sub-sections of the Verbal section:

SC: I found Sentence Correction to be the most mathematical of the Verbal sub-sections. And by mathematical, I mean the approach and of course not the content (so all the math-haters out there, nothing to fret about here). SC questions are basically a problem dealt to you which you need to solve while keeping a few rules in mind. Just as addition & subtraction can help solve complex equations, knowing the concepts of Subject-Verb Agreement, the use of pronouns, and the rulebook for the dreaded ‘modifiers’ will simplify SC questions immensely. You just have to perform the right operations on the given problem and voila you will have your answer! And the best part is, most of the given answer choices can easily be eliminated once you know how to apply these ‘Verbal Operations’ leaving you with either the right choice or 2 confusing answer choices at the most in questions of higher difficulty level. Such questions, then require of you an understanding of the intended meaning of the original sentence. Equipped with the rules and a logical understanding of the meaning of the statement, you might actually find SC questions to be the easiest of all Verbal questions.

CR: Personally, Critical Reasoning questions were a constant struggle. These were the questions I failed at the most (during prep and on the GMAT). So, I can particularly tell you what not to do in such questions. The biggest challenge, I feel, is to resist the urge to go through the answer choices and mark an answer. The GMAT is no easy exam and the makers are smart enough to give exceptionally close answer choices in each CR question. So this approach will, most likely, rarely bear fruit. Here, e-GMAT’s approach of pre-thinking is a saviour. Trading off a few seconds on the clock for a higher accuracy on CR questions, pre-thinking teaches you to try and figure out the answer even before you have a look at the answer choices and this can prove to be the X factor that helps you dissect the correct answer choice from the extremely close other answer choices.

RC: From my experience, slow and steady wins the Reading Comprehension race. Spending a little more time on reading the passage is absolutely fine if it aids your comprehension of the passage, which is what is ultimately being tested. Slower reading and deeper understanding can help you make the connections between various elements of the passage. Especially focus on words used for transition (such as moreover, however, despite, etc.) to understand precisely what the author’s thought is. Understanding every little detail is important in a RC passage. Thus, read it slow at first and notice how many of the answers can be found in the passage upon close inspection. Identifying this pattern will help you better prepare for any passage. Then, practice against the clock so that you figure out the optimum speed required to both comprehend the passage and not use up too much time in doing so.

IR: Not much to say here and thus am not dedicating a separate paragraph for it. Knowing basic concepts of statistics is essential. Also, read graphs very carefully. Understand which axis is indicative of which parameter. Finally, time management is crucial as there are quite a few questions and relatively little time.

Quant
PS: Problem Solving questions should be fairly easy after learning the concepts, a few formulae and some practice. Overall, in the quant section, keep a steady pace and resist the tendency to linger on a question for too long in the hopes of getting it right soon.

DS: Data Sufficiency questions gave me nightmares when I first began. I was finding it very difficult to get them right, especially the ones on number properties, GCD/LCM, etc. Then, I realised there was a pattern in my errors. There are a few common pitfalls to bear in mind. Basically, key points such as 2 is the only even prime number, or that when you take the square root, you get two values (+/-), or when you have a quadratic equation, you might get 2 roots or equal roots are some examples. Also, some questions are trickier in which both statements, when solved completely, lead to the same two equations, thereby being insufficient together. If you can steer clear of errors involving these concepts, you will be able to improve your accuracy.

AWA
Didn’t give a lot of time for this section. Spent just a day on it. Scored a 5. The template by chineseburned (a fellow GMAT Club member) can serve as the backbone of your essay. And, going through a few sample essays will show you the kind of flaws in the argument you are expected to address. Maybe writing a few essays for practice could have helped me reach a 6, so that’s something you can try too.

OG and Mocks
In the final 15 days, I started attempting the Official Guide (OG) questions. I believe it’s best to attempt these questions only after you feel you’re somewhat ready to tackle the GMAT. Since, these are questions that have been asked previously on the exam, it’s best to attack them once you’re well-equipped with all your weapons and your armor. As for the mocks, I found the following helpful tips during my research. So, I’ll just restate them here. Do not overdo it. Two to three mocks should give you a fair idea provided you can see consistency in your score. GMAC offers two mock tests for free once you have registered for the exam, which are known as the GMAT Official Practice Tests. They are the best indicator of your score as they are provided by GMAC and use the same algorithm as is used for the exam. I would recommend not to waste any of these for diagnostic purpose at the start of your prep. These are too valuable and better serve their purpose towards the end. I attempted these two mocks, one 11 days and the other 3 days before test date. I’d like to point out something absolutely crucial here. Even though my accuracy was the same in both the mocks, I scored 750 in one and 720 on the other. Now, I don’t know the intricacies of the algorithm but upon observing my incorrect responses, the biggest difference was that in the second mock where I scored lower, I had got the first two questions on the Verbal section wrong, which probably dropped the level of difficulty of the following questions significantly, answering which correctly DID NOT compensate for this initial drop. So, I’d suggest try and get the first few questions absolutely right. Finally, it is recommended that you give these mocks around the same time of day that you’ll be giving the actual GMAT, so that your brain is trained to perform in those hours.

So, these were my two cents. I apologize if it’s too long, I just wanted to put down everything that helped me in my journey. Hope some of it helps you too and the best wishes for your attempt!





Hello!

First, heartiest congratulations on getting that score!

Second, do mind telling just how your timetable was? I have two months on hand and quite a few hours to give into GMAT prep. I have had already given it once (2nd Dec'2019) and shockingly scored a 530 though I had been preparing for the last 3/4 months and my mocks average was about 600+.

Anyway, I have taken up e-gmat for this attempt and just want to know how did you study - like verbal and quant together? Or just followed egmat timetable alone and how many hours did you give in?

I do have almost 2 months in hand (next attempt on 12th Feb'2020) and would love to gain some insights and/or any helpful advice/suggestions.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2019, 08:23
Thank you Kjol. I prepared a personalized study plan devoting 5 hours each day of the week, and more or less stuck to it. Spent the first 1.5 week studying SC, then 1 week each for CR and RC, followed by a little over 1 week each for Algebra and Arithmetic.

e-GMAT's study planner will help you assess the amount of time you should spend on each section. The inputs you will need to provide is your current score and your target score. With these inputs it will generate a time-table which you can tweak as per your schedule. Sticking to it will definitely help you cover the concepts well in time and hopefully provide you enough comfort with all types of questions that you can tackle OGs and mocks. All the best for your next attempt!
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Re: 740 - V40 Q50, IR8 - First Attempt - My Journey: Planning to Execution   [#permalink] 26 Dec 2019, 08:23
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