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# an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680)

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Senior Manager
Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 319

Kudos [?]: 59 [12], given: 32

Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
Schools: CBS '14 (A)
GMAT 1: 590 Q47 V25
GMAT 2: 560 Q47 V20
GMAT 3: 600 Q47 V25
GMAT 4: 680 Q49 V34
an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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23 Mar 2012, 12:50
12
KUDOS
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This post was
BOOKMARKED
All,

My long struggle with GMAT has (hopefully) culminated with 680( Q49, V34). It may not be a stellar score, however, I have done reasonably well to prove my credentials. Although GMAT journey was difficult and left me emotionally drained, it has improved my overall personality, confidence, and of course, attitude.

Without further ado, let me jump right in and start explaining what has worked during the 4th GMAT attempt (Jan 2012- March 2012) along with the strategies and the study material. You can also follow previous two of three GMAT debriefs linked in my signature.

1. Background Info- 4th attempt
After three failures, I was totally devastated. However, I was very determined to get a better score, which is at least 80% reflective of my abilities. Also, I got \$345 refund from Knewton as my last attempt was within 50 point of my diagnostic score. So, i thought of giving GMAT yet another try without thinking about money part.

2. Finding out root cause
I participated in few discussions and tried to narrow down my weaknesses. Somehow, i couldn't reach to a conclusion that I lacked verbal or quant concepts. I tried to talk to MasterGMAT, GMATPill, Knewton (any instructor on a LIVE class) or e-GMAT (Rajat) instructor, but no one could really pin point the weakness. In fact, all of them gave very generic answers. To be fair to these companies, it's very difficult to tell the weakness unless you hire one-on-one tutoring program.

Later, I reached out to BB and asked him what I should do- no harm in asking even if the founder of GMATClub is extremely busy . To my surprise, BB was extremely helpful and suggested me to go through MGMAT's GMAT Roadmap, if i was interested in another attempt. I half-heartedly ordered the book and read only relevant portions in three days. I was dumbfounded after realizing the importance of timing aspects of the GMAT. Furthermore, in MGMAT Blog, it was mentioned that if there were a large (100 point or so) drop in the GMAT score from practice scores, the timing would almost always be the factor.

In addition, GMATLA's post opened my eyes. I immediately bought the scratch-pad and included essays in ALL gmat practice tests. Since I liked noise cancellation headphones during previous test, i bought them to simulate real test conditions.

Please don't be cheap in buying all the tools needed to replicate real gmat experience at your home or library. After all, you're targeting freaking 100k (or even more costlier) MBA programs. So don't be a penny-pincher. Believe me, nothing beats the feeling of getting a good GMAT score.

In short, timing, timing and timing were the REAL root cause of the low performances in previous GMAT attempts. It's hard to explain why i couldn't find it earlier, but better late than never .

3. so what was the timing strategy
I can't explain in my words but read GMAT Roadmap by MGMAT. Also, Stacey has written most of the strategies in MGMAT blog but it's so much easier to follow one book and get them all at one place.
Time Management
Educated Verbal guessing
Educated Quant Guessing.

In addition, you can go through following videos especially 2nd, 3rd and 4th lesson. They have paraphrased the same strategy in a small video.
http://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gener ... strategies

4. Study Material
Since i finished almost all resources, i had nothing new *official* or good quality material. So i got 3 GMAT paper tests package. I must admit that i didn't utilize the verbal portion completely, however, i timed all the tests and reviewed my mistakes. The results confirmed my observation that i had nice grasp on concepts but lack timing strategy during the test.

So i attempted all 9 verbal CR/SC sections under timed conditions. After that i switched again to Official guide 12th edition and did all sections in mini-tests of 15 question.

Mini-sets with 2 mins per question constraint:
15 PS +10 DS one day
10 CR + 15 SC questions following day.
2 RC passages with 3-4 questions along with any of one of days above.

Doing above helped me skip questions, which I can't answer with in 2 mins, and consolidate my timing strategy.

Overall material used in 4 attempts:
1. OG12, Verbal review and Quant review- Excellent.
2. MGMAT Books- Excellent including best SC book.
3. e-GMAT- Highly recommended for SC and CR.
4. Knewton- Okay or i wasn't able to extract much out of it.
5. MasterGMAT- Okay but level of questions are not similar to those in GMAT. Also, questions aren't GMAT like.
6. GMATPill (Verbal Pill)- Not sufficient enough. Stay away form the hype.
7. Critical Reasoning (PowerScore book)- Best CR book
8. Grockit- Okay for online simulation of mini-tests with GMAT like questions.

I have used other material aristotle sc grail, Nova Quant, Powerscore RC( hardly used) kaplan sc/cr workbooks but they might not have made any impact on my concepts.

Even though i failed in my second GMAT attempt with V 20 after going through e-gmat course, the course helped me to totally deconstruct CR and SC section. e-GMAT's course content is excellent, however, i think they can improve by adding some intangibles especially on timing strategies.

At last, I reset my MGMAT tests and did 4 of them along with the essays and recommended breaks at home. I couldn't find a public library which can provide steady internet connection near my home. So I did all tests at home.

Essays + MGMAT 1A (Q 48 , V 33)
Essays + MGMAT 2A (Q 47, V 37)
Essays + MGMAT 3A (Q 46, V33)
Essays + MGMAT 4a (Q 42, V35) ( poor concentration in quant)

MGMAT Quant questions are little tougher in different perspective, making you to do unnecessary calculations. But verbal is fairly representative. RC's may be a little off but what the heck. Practice tests are only to practice and to find weaknesses, right?

As you can see my scores jumped considerably while being persistent with the timing strategy. I knew the RC passages but didn't remember anything about the question or the answers. I was stunned to find out that even after getting many questions incorrect, i was able to score around V35. So, i accepted the fact that I suck at RC and won't be able to answer all 4 questions correctly. I never tried to spend more time than necessary especially on inference questions. After seeing performance reports, i decided not to get stuck on inference questions and guess on at least one inference question that asks to infer from complete passage. Please note that inference questions are of two types: general inference about a entity discussed in different paragraphs and specific inference from one section. The former is a tough one and i had least success in this question type. So i decided to skip this along with any not frequently asked CR question if I stand more than 2 mins behind the benchmarks.

5. Testing experience
AWAs went as usual with not many hiccups apart from the fact that i lost 2 mins of break when proctor didn't see me waving after deciding to take a break before Quant section.

I was really surprised to see during Quant section that applying timing strategy made me feel calm during the test and allowed me to answer questions that I can within 2 minutes. This is evident from the fact that i scored 49 in Quant despite not getting Q49 in any of my tests this time. I saw one geometry + time-distance problem with a weird picture, i laughed and skipped within 5 seconds:).

During verbal, i knew if I stick to the timing benchmarks, i'd do great. I found myself right on time at Q 10. I checked in at #15 and found 2 mins behind the level. I skipped one CR question before 20 and recovered some lost time. Then came a LONG RC. i kept my calm and answered the questions and skipped tough RC inference question. I was again 2 mins behind the timing and skipped one question to get back on track. I couldn't focus on last 3 verbal question and i thought i got them incorrect.

Then i completed formalities and found my GMAT score- 680. A feeling of accomplishment after struggling for 21 months. Then, i met my wife and hugged her and thanked her for the support during the last two years. More than anything, i proved to myself that i'm capable of achieving and prevailed in the end.

6. Last few strategies i used

1. Verbal and Quant timing
Attachment:

VerbalAndQuantTiming.png [ 21.24 KiB | Viewed 8304 times ]

2. Please check the screenshot of the laminated scratch pad. I always used to put dot(.) if I answer choice is a contender. If an answer choice is definitely wrong, i mark it crossed out. This way i don't need to write A, B, C, D, E for every question or make a big table within one minute before the section starts.
Also, divide the pad in two columns so that you can keep your old segregated from the work on the current question. This strategy helped me avoid potential mistakes in mixing responses of two different questions.

Dividing pad in two columns also gives more space for Quant. Otherwise you may end up using complete scratch pad and need to ask for a new one during the test, a process which may distract you and take up one minute from the time proctor sees you to the time proctor gets you the new pad.
Attachment:

AnsweringQs.JPG [ 2.24 MiB | Viewed 8324 times ]

I'd like to thank BB, GMATLA, Talk2VJ, dentobizz, windofchange, and many more great minds at GMATClub for giving encouragement, support and resources to prepare for gmat. I'll be soon joining other forums on GMATClub.

Please feel free to send me any PM for any questions.

RG
_________________

"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"--Henry Ford
680 Debrief
600 Debrief
590 Debrief
My GMAT Journey

Last edited by rg1 on 25 Mar 2012, 08:52, edited 6 times in total.

Kudos [?]: 59 [12], given: 32

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Manager
Status: One last try =,=
Joined: 11 Jun 2010
Posts: 139

Kudos [?]: 109 [1], given: 32

Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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25 Mar 2012, 00:10
1
KUDOS
Hey RG-

Great job! Congrats for the major improvement! 680 itself is a great score! I am very very happy for you and I am sure you deserve it! Your hard work and perseverance definitely paid off!

Sounds like your strategy for the 4th attempt is to (a) focus on the time management aspect, and (b) do practice problems in timed mode. Did you review any specific concepts or read books to improve your reading comprehension skill?

Best of luck with your application!
_________________

There can be Miracles when you believe

Kudos [?]: 109 [1], given: 32

Senior Manager
Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 319

Kudos [?]: 59 [1], given: 32

Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
Schools: CBS '14 (A)
GMAT 1: 590 Q47 V25
GMAT 2: 560 Q47 V20
GMAT 3: 600 Q47 V25
GMAT 4: 680 Q49 V34
Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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25 Mar 2012, 07:47
1
KUDOS
windofchange wrote:
Hey RG-

Great job! Congrats for the major improvement! 680 itself is a great score! I am very very happy for you and I am sure you deserve it! Your hard work and perseverance definitely paid off!

Sounds like your strategy for the 4th attempt is to (a) focus on the time management aspect, and (b) do practice problems in timed mode. Did you review any specific concepts or read books to improve your reading comprehension skill?

Best of luck with your application!

Thanks windofchange. To answer your question, i went through the e-gmat sc/cr concept specific notes for individual chapters when i got any specific type of questions wrong. Apart from that i did CR books(I and II) from Veritas. As i said earlier, since i was totally stuffed with so many books, i didn't read full books explaining concepts. But I had confidence after getting more than 80% success rate in e-GMAT, and MasterGMAT courses.

I didn't do anything specific to RC because i knew i could only answer 2-3 questions correctly during the test. So i didn't put myself under pressure for getting all the RC questions correctly. It's mentioned in MGMAT Roadmap that you don't need to answer EVERY question correctly to get a good (700 or so) score. So, i chose 4 freebies to keep pressure off of me, one in each verbal quarter of 10 questions. If i'm behind time at any verbal quarter and i see any question from my weaknesses ( Inference in RC, and any minor type CR question), i will guess and gain at least 2 mins to get back to the timing benchmarks.

Two remarkable things about RC are the structure of RC passages and question asked. No other sources have same quality of RC passages as OG have. So, go through them again and again. If you'd like to go through all GMATPrep rc passages, here is the link.

Question types:
- Main Idea/Purpose
- Specific detail
- Inference from complete passage/Author agrees or disagrees
- Inference from one specific section

I sucked at #3 above and guessed on this questions type if i'm behind timing benchmarks. Having 4 freebies for the whole test takes pressure off of you and allow you deal with other questions with best of your ability. Think about this- you're answering 37 questions and not 41:).

Hope this helps.
_________________

"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"--Henry Ford
680 Debrief
600 Debrief
590 Debrief
My GMAT Journey

Kudos [?]: 59 [1], given: 32

Founder
Joined: 04 Dec 2002
Posts: 15572

Kudos [?]: 28477 [0], given: 5106

Location: United States (WA)
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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23 Mar 2012, 12:55
Wow - what a journey indeed! Congratulations and Kudos for the perseverance!
_________________

Founder of GMAT Club

Just starting out with GMAT? Start here... or use our Daily Study Plan

Co-author of the GMAT Club tests

Kudos [?]: 28477 [0], given: 5106

Intern
Joined: 08 Jan 2011
Posts: 15

Kudos [?]: 4 [0], given: 12

Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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24 Mar 2012, 11:51
I was concerned about taking the test more than twice, but after reading your post I don't think it matters how many times you take this test.
I'm in the same boat. I have the concepts down but timing is very difficult for me.
When I took my 1st GMAT exam, I got 4 back to back really long and strange geometric problems and I paniced, eventually shot myself in the foot.
Every post I read MGMAT is always mentioned so I think its about time I got myself the set also.

btw...680 is a stellar score

Kudos [?]: 4 [0], given: 12

Senior Manager
Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 319

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 32

Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
Schools: CBS '14 (A)
GMAT 1: 590 Q47 V25
GMAT 2: 560 Q47 V20
GMAT 3: 600 Q47 V25
GMAT 4: 680 Q49 V34
Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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24 Mar 2012, 12:32
Thanks guys.

@clicker- I've learnt hard way how important timing is. Please spare 4-6 weeks to learn timing aspects and force yourself to give up questions that are too difficult for your level or questions where you are stuck between two choices.

GMAT Roadmap book has chapters dedicated to HOW to effectively tackle timing issues. I couldn't find anything better than that.

Let me know if i can be of any help.
_________________

"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"--Henry Ford
680 Debrief
600 Debrief
590 Debrief
My GMAT Journey

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 32

Manager
Joined: 16 May 2011
Posts: 71

Kudos [?]: 18 [0], given: 2

Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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24 Mar 2012, 13:01
I'm doing the quant for the MGMAT untimed because I find the questions quite difficult. Do you suggest I should do them timed?

Kudos [?]: 18 [0], given: 2

Intern
Joined: 08 Jan 2011
Posts: 15

Kudos [?]: 4 [0], given: 12

Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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24 Mar 2012, 13:05
I would definitely suggest you do them timed after you have all the concepts down.
Also do the MGMAT quant available via GMAT Club Tests. These are very difficult problems and you are most likely to get few like these, I did.

Kudos [?]: 4 [0], given: 12

Senior Manager
Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 319

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 32

Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
Schools: CBS '14 (A)
GMAT 1: 590 Q47 V25
GMAT 2: 560 Q47 V20
GMAT 3: 600 Q47 V25
GMAT 4: 680 Q49 V34
Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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25 Mar 2012, 00:05
dchow23 wrote:
I'm doing the quant for the MGMAT untimed because I find the questions quite difficult. Do you suggest I should do them timed?

dchow23- Here is review of the book by BB. I finished this book in couple of weeks, however, i could only finish 40-50% of questions with in two minutes. I couldn't do rest all of them even after 10 minutes.

If you think you're trying to learn some strategy or concept from this concept, do the questions untimed once. After understanding concepts, you should ALWAYS do questions timed. Moreover, when we say timed, it means to treat it like a test. Keep a timer and check yourself if you're above 2-2.5 minutes mark. If yes, skip the question and come back later to review the question after mini-test. This will give you the feel of real test and make you learn how to skip questions you can't solve within reasonable amount of time.

Hope it helps.
_________________

"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"--Henry Ford
680 Debrief
600 Debrief
590 Debrief
My GMAT Journey

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 32

Senior Manager
Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 319

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 32

Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
Schools: CBS '14 (A)
GMAT 1: 590 Q47 V25
GMAT 2: 560 Q47 V20
GMAT 3: 600 Q47 V25
GMAT 4: 680 Q49 V34
Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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01 Apr 2012, 14:50
hi windofchange- You're absolutely right. I focused on time management and solved questions in mini-sets under timed conditions. However, before jumping into this, I ensured that I didn't lack major conceptual knowledge, displayed by high accuracy while working through OGs, e-GMAT practice problems, Veritas CR practice questions and Grockit question bank.

As i mentioned above i accepted the fact that I wouldn't be able to score 100% in RC. So i only focused on parts i can improve: main idea, specific inference, detail questions and ,of course, how to get engaged in the RC passage. After going through many tests and practice passages from more than a year, my RC fear went away, whether i got 50% questions correct or 100%. I started to learn every aspect of what GMAT tests.

Let me give you a funny example. I was working on a passage from MasterGMAT on the history of diamond business and how companies use advertising as a tool to enhance sales. I copied the passage and sent it to my wife. Obviously she didn't like the passage because it mentioned that advertisements and marketing from various companies had actually affected the perception of diamond and transformed the stone into a REAL token of love, as perceived by women. I was amazed by how much i learnt from reading RC passages about variety of topics. So, i would recommend to attack or read the passage fearlessly.

Hope it helps.
_________________

"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"--Henry Ford
680 Debrief
600 Debrief
590 Debrief
My GMAT Journey

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 32

Manager
Joined: 10 Sep 2010
Posts: 120

Kudos [?]: 110 [0], given: 4

Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Operations
GMAT 1: 720 Q48 V40
Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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17 May 2012, 15:22
Congrats rg1. And I echo bb's comment. You have shown a great deal of perseverance. Sorry, I don't come to forum very often as I used to. But this is the only forum I visit.

Best of luck for the next phase of this journey. Soon you will realize that it's never ending story. Let me know if you need any help. Glad to do so.
_________________

----------------------------------------------
My GMAT Experience : http://gmatclub.com/forum/name-of-the-game-do-not-giveup-112609.html

If you like my post, Kudos me.

Don't forget to visit me - http://mbaido.wordpress.com/

Kudos [?]: 110 [0], given: 4

Senior Manager
Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 319

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 32

Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
Schools: CBS '14 (A)
GMAT 1: 590 Q47 V25
GMAT 2: 560 Q47 V20
GMAT 3: 600 Q47 V25
GMAT 4: 680 Q49 V34
Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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23 Jun 2012, 10:12
Thanks talk2vj.

Finally, i've been admitted to EMBA Program at Columbia Business School, my dream school. My GMAT journey has truly culminated with acceptance from CBS.

Real fun begins now:).
_________________

"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"--Henry Ford
680 Debrief
600 Debrief
590 Debrief
My GMAT Journey

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 32

Manager
Joined: 10 Sep 2010
Posts: 120

Kudos [?]: 110 [0], given: 4

Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Operations
GMAT 1: 720 Q48 V40
Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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23 Jun 2012, 11:23
_________________

----------------------------------------------
My GMAT Experience : http://gmatclub.com/forum/name-of-the-game-do-not-giveup-112609.html

If you like my post, Kudos me.

Don't forget to visit me - http://mbaido.wordpress.com/

Kudos [?]: 110 [0], given: 4

Senior Manager
Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 319

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 32

Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
Schools: CBS '14 (A)
GMAT 1: 590 Q47 V25
GMAT 2: 560 Q47 V20
GMAT 3: 600 Q47 V25
GMAT 4: 680 Q49 V34
Re: an arduous journey to CBS (From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2012, 12:53
Thanks all.

Please feel free to PM me for any help and will be glad to share my experience.
_________________

"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"--Henry Ford
680 Debrief
600 Debrief
590 Debrief
My GMAT Journey

Last edited by rg1 on 30 Jun 2012, 16:15, edited 1 time in total.

Kudos [?]: 59 [0], given: 32

Intern
Joined: 12 Apr 2012
Posts: 3

Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 7

Concentration: General Management, Finance
WE: Analyst (Venture Capital)
Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680) [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2012, 23:45
Omg!!!! Congratulation ) I've been a quiet observer of GMATClub but I decide to post my 1st post here )! I laughed so hard with the question on your last attempt involving Geometry and time-distance as well as your wife-hug after 21 month of fighting ) geez, really, what a story! Congratulation on CBS EMBA also! You must be very proud of yourself!

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Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 7

Re: an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680)   [#permalink] 29 Jun 2012, 23:45
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# an arduous journey ended with 680(From 590, 560, 600 to 680)

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