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780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy

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780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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Hey guys,

I am extremely happy to be finally done with the GMAT, and wanted to share my experiences with the forum that has been so helpful in my journey.
Warning: Long post ahead!

Background:
Indian Engineer, Female, 22. Recently joined as at a data analyst in one of the top consulting firms.

Starting Off:
(October 2017) I quit my job and moved back home to take a break for a few months. The GMAT was something that had been pending for a while, so I felt there was no better time to tackle the biggest fear I had. Despite being an Indian Engineer(Stereotype!), I was absolutely terrified about Quant. I've had a mental block against Math since school (bad teachers), and have never loved the subject since then. In fact, if you take me by surprise and throw simple arithmetic at me, my brain shuts down and refuses to process any numbers!

So I decided to join classes because I felt classes would help me a bit more disciplined in my approach. Especially considering that I was at home for most of the day, classes helped me get out and have some human interaction. I also needed some help brushing up my basic Quant concepts. I joined the Jamboree Classes in Chennai, Nungambakkam after hearing good things about their Quant classes. The classes were a good Quant refresher, and the materials allowed me to get in some practice. I was getting in 2-3 hours per day (combining Quant + Verbal). I attended classes for about 6 weeks, until the end of November and booked my exam for the 29th of December.

I started writing some Mock tests by the end of November. I occasionally struggled with Quant timing, but was finishing Verbal with 20-30mins to spare. In Quant, I tended to struggle with Data Sufficiency and silly mistakes in PS. In Verbal, I was pretty comfortable with RC's and to some extent CR. However, I really struggled with SC as my English was "colloquial" and more about the "feel" of the sentence. <Tip: It doesn't work that way in the GMAT!> I attended a couple of EGmat webinars and their meaning based approach to the sentences really helped me turn a corner in my SC preparation. The EGmat Team was super helpful, and I bought their SC course. I did not have time to finish the entire course (Mid Dec already), but it helped me get some finer points right, such as the usage of "Like" vs "As". Honestly, the Webinar made the majority of the difference. Kudos to the team for having so many free webinars with such great content.

Where it all went wrong:
My GMAT Mock test scores were pretty encouraging as I only scored 750 or above. One would think that I was all set for the exam. Yet, I managed to completely psych myself out for my first attempt. Not being satisfied with the GMAT Mock scores, despite reading tons of reviews about its accuracy, I started trying to find reviews that told me that actual GMAT was a lot harder than the GMAT Prep Mocks. I managed to convince myself that all the scores in the mock tests were mere flukes, and that the actual test would be a lot harder. I was targeting a 750+ score, but at the same time, I framed anything below a 750, as an absolute failure. I had nightmares about scoring a 760 which converted to a 560 in front of my eyes.

My first attempt:
I was extremely anxious and fidgety prior to my first attempt. I was finding it difficult to focus on my preparation without absolutely psyching myself out. In my first attempt, I chose the order of sections as: Quant, Verbal, IR and AWA.

I struggled in the Quant section, especially in the beginning. The timing was a struggle and I often caught myself making a lot of silly mistakes. The verbal section went fine. I scored a 740(Q49,V44).
I know it's a great score, but because I had framed anything below a 750 as an "absolute abject failure" in my head, I was devastated after the exam. I had never scored below a Q50 in the mocks, and felt that the split was quite skewed. It felt as if all my fears about my Quant abilities were well founded. All in all, it was quite upsetting. More here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/retaking-a-7 ... l#p2004508

The Recovery:
Immediately after the exam, I took a holiday and tried to forget all about this disaster. I was torn between writing the GMAT again immediately, or just forgetting about it till I absolutely needed a score. My mum suggested I write it again at the earliest, as she felt I had probably made a ton of silly mistakes in Quant as I was very stressed and anxious. She wasn't very familiar with the GMAT syllabus, but knew me well enough to make the assessment. The ESR I ordered only confirmed what she said (Mom's are always right!). I had a higher accuracy in DS, compared to PS which was completely contrary to all my Mock tests. I spoke to a couple of my mentors and chose to write the exam this weekend (Jan 27 2018, in 15 days), despite the fact that I had started my new job and would not have much time to study.

The Comeback:
This time, I kept myself occupied with my job, but managed to get in an hour a day for a week. I mostly focused on Quant, and tried to answer sets of 37 questions so that I could improve my timing. I still often caught myself spending 5 minutes on a question, refusing to give up on an "easy" question. In the final week, I felt I had made no improvements, and resigned myself to a "wasted GMAT attempt". I considered rescheduling, but it was too late. I still decided to at least try for the sake of the 250$. I would get in an hour or two before office in the morning, before revising the mistakes before I slept in the night. My exam was in the morning, so I wanted to teach my body to be "alert" during that time.

D-Day:
The exam day could not have been more dramatic. I could barely sleep the previous night thanks to nightmares about failing the GMAT again (a Q37 featured in there too). On the morning of the exam, I couldn't find my passport for a good hour, and had almost resigned myself to not writing the exam. However, by some miracle, I found the passport and made it to the center on time. Because my zen had gone for a toss thanks to all these events, my mom suggested I write Verbal first because it would give me a chance to calm myself down and get into "exam mode". I started with Verbal, but my brain was incredibly restless as I had never changed the order of sections before. I would catch myself reading the RC on auto pilot whilst my brain would be trying to remember Quant formulas. I only finished the exam with 1 minute to spare, unlike my usual attempts. The questions seemed harder as well, but I thought it was all in my head as I couldn't focus.
In Quant, I was extremely careful about time, and wrote down the time when I started each question. It took me 2 seconds extra per question, but it allowed me to catch myself before spending 5minutes on a question. I also tried to work neatly, and make tables for DS questions. <Tip: They really help!> I finished the section with a minute to spare as well. All in all, I hadn't done Quant very badly.
I finished IR and AWA in a blur, but somewhere I felt that this time I had flunked Verbal. When the score flashed on the screen, I couldn't believe it. A 780 with 48 in Verbal?! What? A Q50? REDEMPTION!! I was literally shaking when I came out of the exam hall and couldn't believe my score till I held the print out in my hand. I had never expected to score so well.

Key Takeaways:
- Do NOT psych yourself out. I honestly felt my "knowledge" didn't change even a bit between my first attempt and second. It was all about my mental approach to the exam. There is a fine line between doing research and becoming a nervous wreck.
- Be aware of your flaws and choose your order of sections carefully. Yet at the same time, I would advise against trying a new order on D Day.
- Attend classes if you need discipline, but the concepts of the GMAT aren't too hard. I had a small notebook that had all the Quant and SC concepts consolidated that I used for revision (About 35pages), and that's all I frankly needed. The quant section often has a lot tricks and traps that you need to be aware of. <If anyone needs my consolidated study material, please ask>
- Be calm before the exam and keep all your paperwork and ID ready.
- It's good to set targets but not good to make your goals absolutely binary. 1- celebration; 0- absolute failure.
- Have someone to study with. I often had Skype study sessions with a friend just to help me focus. He would do his work and I would do mine, but having someone around helped me.
- Figure out a timing strategy that works for you, and use tables for DS.
- Speak to someone who has done this before. It helps to discuss your fears and thoughts with someone who has walked this path before. I was lucky enough to have a mentor who was an absolute gem and was always around to try to calm me down.

Well, that's it! I'm happy to share any material you guys want, or help in any other way I can.
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2018, 04:33
Hi. Excellent score and well written brief. Congrats.
Please share your notes.
imemanik@gmail.com

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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2018, 05:32
Hi Samiya, Congratulations on your success at the GMAT!! Can u kindly share your material? aramide.gbenga@yahoo.com
Thanks.


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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 06:34
Lots of things I could identify with there. Definitely taking that into my next attempt. After my last attempt, even I thought doing your strong section first makes so much more sense, giving you time to settle. Also, since I thought my prep was more solid than the test score suggested, I registered for another test due month later.

Nevertheless, loved reading the experience. You mentioned the consolidated study material? Would you be able to share? utkarshsinha24@gmail.com

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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 08:08
Wow that's an amazing score. Good luck with your applications. Please do email me your materials bhandaripiyush5@gmail.com

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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 08:15
Hi...
Great score congratulations to you...
As u said consolidated note, could you plz mail me https://gmatclub.com:443/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&un=..... Viveksinghania007@gmail.com....


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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 08:16
viv007 wrote:
Hi...
Great score congratulations to you...
As u said consolidated note, could you plz mail me https://gmatclub.com:443/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&un=..... Viveksinghania007@gmail.com....


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viveksinghania007@gmail.com

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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 09:13
Hi
Congratulations on your great score.
Apart from Jamboree and Egmat webinars, have you used any other resources or books?
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 09:46
Hi Samiya,
Congratulations for a great score.
I am impressed with your dedication and confident.
I would be happy to receive your note at erajay.iitb@gmail.com


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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 21:42
northstar wrote:
Lots of things I could identify with there. Definitely taking that into my next attempt. After my last attempt, even I thought doing your strong section first makes so much more sense, giving you time to settle. Also, since I thought my prep was more solid than the test score suggested, I registered for another test due month later.

Nevertheless, loved reading the experience. You mentioned the consolidated study material? Would you be able to share? utkarshsinha24@gmail.com

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I hope your retake goes just as well! I'm in the process of scanning my notes and will upload the same as soon as they're done!
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 21:44
souvonik2k wrote:
Hi
Congratulations on your great score.
Apart from Jamboree and Egmat webinars, have you used any other resources or books?


Hi,

I did do the OG thoroughly. It was my primary resource for Verbal. I also used Magoosh for some Quant practice questions.
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2018, 22:47
Hey.. Congratulations on your great score.
Your article is very informative.
Can you please mail me your consolidated notes on mitali9sept@gmail.com


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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2018, 05:44
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Ohhh waoo congrats on the great score ! Could you please share your notes through my email hathikhanhvan@yahoo.com

And you mentioned abt using tables for DS, could you please tell me more about this approach ? Thank you so much !!!


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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2018, 06:21
Great score.can u share ur notes rrakes2111@gmail.com

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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2018, 09:16
Samiya – 780 is an amazing score and Kudos to your for setting such a high standard for yourself and for acing the test despite the chaotic morning prior to the test. FYI.. most of us have nightmares before the exam. Trust me – I still dream about sitting on the test, having no clue as to how to answer questions.

I am also glad that you embraced the meaning based approach in Sentence Correction. We absolutely love it. Good luck for your post GMAT journey. When/where do you plan to apply?

-Rajat
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2018, 20:39
egmat wrote:
Samiya – 780 is an amazing score and Kudos to your for setting such a high standard for yourself and for acing the test despite the chaotic morning prior to the test. FYI.. most of us have nightmares before the exam. Trust me – I still dream about sitting on the test, having no clue as to how to answer questions.

I am also glad that you embraced the meaning based approach in Sentence Correction. We absolutely love it. Good luck for your post GMAT journey. When/where do you plan to apply?

-Rajat


Haha, it's a relief to know I'm not alone. I hope to apply in the first round of intake for the class of 2020-21/22. I would have 3 years of experience at that point.


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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 03:22
Can you please share the material to
shivacharan1997@gmail.com


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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 09:56
Congratulations dear
Please share your notes to:

mostafataher@yahoo.com


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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 10:12
WOW! that's an AWESOME score!
It'd be so great of you, if you can help me out by sending your notes at:
akash2601@gmail.com
Please and thank you!

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Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 20:22
Hey Samiya! Congrats

Your 35-page notes can prove gold for most of us. Could you please share them with me as well? I cannot be grateful enough! :)

Email ID - haritrathi94 at gmail
Re: 780 (Q50, V48): 3Month prep; The Mental Strategy   [#permalink] 01 Feb 2018, 20:22

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