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770 (Q50, V44, IR8) - 2 weeks prep - longish debrief

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770 (Q50, V44, IR8) - 2 weeks prep - longish debrief  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2019, 11:32
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Hello everyone!

Background:

I live in India and have just completed my engineering (my convocation is next week). I will also be joining work next week. I took the GMAT on 1st August 2019 after a long process of delay and dilly-dallying. I had been considering giving the CAT (which is the entrance exam to Indan Institutes of Management, the top B schools in India) for almost more than a year now. I did, in the end, register for the CAT but barely studied for it and hence never appeared for it. The reason for not studying wasn't laziness or lack of interest in an MBA. The reason why I could not study for the CAT (which was in Nov 2018) was a combination of personal reasons and the fact that I had my job interviews in December 2018 (which require a couple of months of serious prep). I guess CAT was never much of a priority. Anyway, once I secured a job, I decided that I would take the GMAT. After that, I decided that I would take the GMAT sometime during the summers as I was looking at a long summer vacation of 3 months before joining my company. I finally registered for the GMAT on 9th June for a test date of *30th July*.

Preparation (the slow start):

Now this is the place where I would like to caution everyone to take the ensuing experience with a healthy amount of salt. With such a long summer vacation (May-July), I naturally became extremely lethargic. For someone who had been thinking of taking the GMAT since December 2018, I had done absolutely no prep (hell, I did not even know the format or the total score!). After much goading by my mother, I took the diagnostic test in OG on 8th July which I did well in. Given that I performed well in the diagnostic test, I became further complacent. I would seriously urge all the readers to make sure that they do not let complacency set in because of good results in a test. Every now and then, I would get the slightest amount of panic for my GMAT performance but my lazy ass would not move.

It was in one of those moments of intermittent panic that I took the first GMATPrep free test (around 10th July). I scored 710 (Q49, V38). This was considerably lesser than my aim of 750+. It was only after this that I realized that I must start getting to the grind or I might end up with a score that I would not like.

Actual Preparation (the real stuff):

After a few agonizing days of cursing myself, I finally got down to the dirty business to studying. This was exactly two weeks before my GMAT. Before this, I had only taken the diagnostic test in OG and the free GMATPrep test. It was clear to me that my Quant was almost at the level where I wanted it to be. I, however, had to really work on my Verbal, especially Sentence Correction. I had two weeks to prep so I decided to divide the period into two equal halves. I reserved the first one for finishing OG and the second half for tests (I signed up for a lot of free tests online lol, details follow). I also reserved the last day before the exam for absolute chilling ;)

I decided to start with Verbal (RC then CR and then SC) and then I moved to Quant (PS then DS). This totals to around 800 questions in 7 days so I averaged 115 questions per day. I never solved untimed and I think this is essential. The GMAT is not about what you can achieve in a leisurely pace of 7-8 hours. It is a test of speed and accuracy. I would select 30 odd questions, set the timer, and solve until I was done with those number of questions.

After these bouts of 30 odd questions, I would check the solutions to the questions I got wrong. I would also circle questions, while solving, whose answers I wished to see later or the ones I guessed. After finishing each subsection like RC, I would note down the average time I took per question, compared with the required time and worked accordingly. I also calculated my accuracy in each subsection. I aimed for 90+ accuracy but was also okay with 85+. This was my first week of prep in which I, incidentally, also fell sick because of a viral infection (I had a fever for 3 days). I generally achieved my time and accuracy goal of 85+ in all the subsections except SC (ugh!).

Once the week was done, I took 1-2 tests per day. I reserved the GMATPrep free test 2 for the very last. My strategy for prep tests was the same as for OG. Here is the chronology and scoring of my prep tests:
GMATPrep 1 retest - 770 (Q50, V44)
Economist - 720 (Q51, V38)
MGMAT - 680 (Q47, V36)
e-GMAT - 740 (Q48, V42)
Veritas - 720 (Q51, V38)
GMATPrep 2 - 770 (Q50, V44)

Last leg of the journey:

While I did do a fair amount of chilling even while prepping, I really chilled out once I saw 770 on the official test on 28th July. That was the last time I solved anything before my actual GMAT. I watched a couple of Disney movies (I am a big fan!) and also finished a few seasons of Veep (Julia is an absolute gem) on the last day. I had planned to solve 10-15 Quant sums and an equal number of Verbal questions on D-Day but I got up too late to solve anything :P
My exam was at 4 PM and I left home at 12:30. I had two heavy meals before the test so I was sufficiently full. I reached the center on time and got done with the basic formalities. I was seated on my assigned computer and I started the test. I was only on the very fourth question of my first section (Q), all the computers in the center went kaput. After an hour of trying, the test administrator offered all the candidates a free rescheduling. I thankfully got my exam rescheduled to 1st August. Now ideally I should've prepped on 31st July or so to remain in touch with my problem-solving skills on the 1st August but I just did not have the motivation to study anymore. I highly discourage this. I reached the center on the 1st at the appointed time and took the test again.
My section ordering was Q-V-IR-AWA. I always prefer to keep my easiest section first and toughest section second. My Quant went tougher than I expected and I took almost the entire time. Verbal was FRICKING tough. I guessed the last three questions and, I have a feeling, missed the last one at the nick of the time. IR and AWA were fairly chill. I was not shocked to see 770 as my score because I was expecting a 750-780 ballpark score. But hey, seeing it in real does make you feel nice :')

Epilogue:

Well, that is it from my side. While there is hardly anything inspirational in this story, I intend for this to be laundry list of things that you should not do for a great GMAT score. .I strongly believe I was extremely lucky in my attempt but that may not be the case with everyone. If y'all really need advice, here it is: OG is the best source for questions and honestly, sufficient. Take as many tests as possible but believe most strongly in GMATPrep tests.

For my future plans, I am still largely undecided. Let's see how things go. Lastly, a huge shoutout to GMATClub community! I have gained a lot of useful insights from this place :D

Happy to answer queries in the comments.
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Re: 770 (Q50, V44, IR8) - 2 weeks prep - longish debrief  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2019, 08:44
Congrats for your nice score. Your real score is the replication of your 2 gmatprep mocks. I am astonished seeing those score!
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Re: 770 (Q50, V44, IR8) - 2 weeks prep - longish debrief  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2019, 09:10
Fantastic debrief and congratulations on that amazing score!

Saved yourself a lot of trouble by appearing for the GMAT instead of CAT. The GMAT is a much better test and opens up many and better opportunities. Focus on building a profile that aligns with your interests and I am sure that you will get into a top 5 or 10 university.

All the best!:)
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Re: 770 (Q50, V44, IR8) - 2 weeks prep - longish debrief  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2019, 09:25
770 in 2 weeks is phenomenal!!

All the best for your next phase :)
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Re: 770 (Q50, V44, IR8) - 2 weeks prep - longish debrief  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2019, 11:45
Asad wrote:
Congrats for your nice score. Your real score is the replication of your 2 gmatprep mocks. I am astonished seeing those score!


Thanks a lot!
That is exactly the reason why I believe that the GMATPrep tests are the best way to gauge one's level. I used the other free tests primarily for prep and timing.
On average, I found unofficial tests more difficult and inelegant, if I may say so. GMATPrep tests have a certain beauty that was not replicated in these tests.
Cheers!
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Re: 770 (Q50, V44, IR8) - 2 weeks prep - longish debrief  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2019, 11:47
cfc198 wrote:
Fantastic debrief and congratulations on that amazing score!

Saved yourself a lot of trouble by appearing for the GMAT instead of CAT. The GMAT is a much better test and opens up many and better opportunities. Focus on building a profile that aligns with your interests and I am sure that you will get into a top 5 or 10 university.

All the best!:)


Haha, you know, deep down I guess I knew that I wanted more than what CAT could offer me. Hence the lethargy maybe. Who knows?
Thanks for your appreciation, fingers crossed :)
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Re: 770 (Q50, V44, IR8) - 2 weeks prep - longish debrief  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2019, 11:49
gmat1393 wrote:
770 in 2 weeks is phenomenal!!

All the best for your next phase :)


Thanks a lot :D
I hope the spell of good luck does not wear off any time soon xD
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Re: 770 (Q50, V44, IR8) - 2 weeks prep - longish debrief   [#permalink] 03 Aug 2019, 11:49
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