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Even a below average student can get a 700: Here is my story...

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Even a below average student can get a 700: Here is my story...  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 03 Nov 2018, 08:07
10
Hi everyone,

I have been waiting for this day to come where i am done with the GMAT and i can share my success story here. I scored a 700 on my GMAT and for me, this is an achievement!

Anyway, just a little background about myself. I was never brilliant in studies, not even average. I was a back bencher through out my entire schooling phase. I was the one who would get 40-50% in school. Did my university from some Tier 2 college in Delhi University in Business Economics. So you can safely assume that i was never brilliant at maths or any subject for that matter.
I genuinely want to study in a really good B School and i decided to take GMAT. So here is my debrief:

I wanted to prepare while working, but my office hours were lengthy and i had Mon-Sat working, so i left it. For someone of my calibre, i had to be realistic. I would have never gotten the sufficient amount of time to study.
It took me 3 and a half months for my prep.

It all stared with a diagnostic test where i scored a 500 and then i realised i am way off, and i wasnt too surprised. I used to study 5-6 hours a day split between maths and verbal.


Quant:
There were some conceptual gaps and for that i referred to Veritas for basics. I did all the topics in one month and practiced all their questions which they have in the end. It's a really good resource to lay the foundations, it was really helpful for me. However, it wasn't enough. I bought the e-gmat verbal live and got my free access to GMATclub Tests. TRUST ME, if you practice from this, your quant scores will go only up. I used to get 40-45 and by the end of it i was at Q48-49 and i was happy with that.
How i prepared:
1. Start the basics with Veritas, completed all the books in a month.
2. After that i took 10 question quiz with GMATclub tests (about 4 tests everyday)
So first i started with a topic of arithemetic (percents, number properties,etc). So lets say GMATclubs tests have 80 number properties questions, i would do 50-60 in total. So about the same ratio with every other topic. After 1 test i would go through the incorrect ones and solve them again.
3. After this entire exercise i basically solved every type of question. And if lets say i was not able to do a certain topic, i was weak in coordinate and probability, i would go back to Veritas and revise.
4. I was pretty confident about my quant. Then i moved on to my error log and solved the incorrect questions in the last 20 days.
5. Post all of this i was getting Q48-49 everytime in my mocks.

Verbal
I HATED verbal, i just could not figure how to get a good score in this section. I wasted the first 5-6 weeks on manhattan and OG but i just did not know why one answer was incorrect, and why the other was correct. I came across e-gmat and read a lot of good reviews and i would see this constantly on my FB feed as well. So i being a Marketing person started doubting such a heavily marketed product. Thankfully, i got to know a friend of mine who used egmat and said that it was legit.
I purchased the Verbal Live Course and there was no looking back. The way they have approached Verbal changed everything and it was very easy to follow as well.
Here is how i went about the Verbal section
1. I completed all the modules on egmat - took me about 5 weeks.
The modules have enough concept files and practice files for your basics.
2. After i was done with the modules i had about 20 days to practice the 700 questions in scholaranium, so i did those but in a very different approach. At first i did 10 question quizzes, but when i gave my mocks there was no improvement. I was continously getting V25-V28. Then i realised that verbal is really more of an endurance game. The mind works very differently when you attempt 10 questions and when you attempt 36 questions. It can be a lot of words and statements for the brain to comprehend and you can easily get lost in words.
3. So after this epiphany i decided to do a test of a mix 36 of questions of the scholaranium. 1 test everyday and then i started to see the results with V32+

Also egmat has IR practice modules which is very helpful. I used only that for practice

The last 10 days.
These last few days are very important, i didnt do anything new, i went through my error logs in quant and continued with my 36 question test on verbal. For verbal i pretty much understood my weaker areas from the analytics and went through their concept files later in the day and practiced 5-10 more questions of that topic.
I also gave some GMAC mocks which i will share below. These are super important.


MOCKS
1. Diagnostic Mock(Princeton Review) - 500 - Q35/V19 (June)
2. 1st Mock (Princeton Review) - 550 - Q45/V21 (1st August)
3. 2nd Mock (Princeton Review) - 540 - Q35/V29 (8th August)
4. 3rd Mock (GMATprep 1) - 570 - Q43/V25 (23 August)
I stopped givings mocks after this as i realised in need to first do all the concepts and applications

5. 4th Mock (GMATprep 2) - 640 - Q49/V28 (17nd Oct)
6. 5th Mock (GMATprep 3) - 670 - Q49/V32 (22nd Oct)
7. 6th Mock (GMATprep 4) - 670 - Q49/V32 (27 Oct)
8. 8th Mock (GMATprep 1 - retake) - 710 - Q48/V40 (29 Oct)

The last 4 mocks were given fully with IR and AWA. My test date was 31st October 2018 and i just had to give these full mocks for practice. I really wanted to touch 700 and i wasn't getting anywhere near. So i retook the GMATprep 1. I scored a 710, but i know this wasn't the exact representation but at least i got the idea how your score sheet should look like for a 700!
I had some insights and i figured few things i learned from my last mock.

1. Don't go for the first 10 question strategy. You will end up wasting time and you miss the balance. I had some questions wrong in the beginning, so i figured, the first 10 question strategy isn't correct.
2. The verbal section in GMAT can be very tricky and specially SC and RC have options that are different to each other, but its a very subtle difference. (this applies for all mocks :P)
3. I figured which questions i was getting wrong more. Eg - SC - Modifiers, Parallelism and Comparision was a weak area in the actual GMATprep, however, i was getting them correct in egmat. So this was worth noting.
4. I was way more calm in this attempt, hence, the MUCH better score. I could only recognize 4-5 questions from the retake.

TEST DAY (31 October, 2018)

One day before the D-day, i did my revision in the morning in like an hour, and i was done. I spent the rest of the day watching 14 episodes of Brooklyn 99 to take my mind off the stress.
Now coming to the actual D-Day - I realised that this was an important exam, but its just an exam. So you gotta chill and solve question by question.
I panicked in some questions in quant. I was taking more than 2-3 minutes and my brain just stopped working. So i just guessed and moved on. This really helps to save time.

Every other section went by and i didnt even realise that the exam was over. I got a screen full of numbers. It took me some time to realise that it was my score card. I got 700!!!
I was full of relief.
Final score - 700
Q49 V35 IR 4
———————
Edit : I scored 5/6 in AWA


Some tips:
(may not work for everyone, but might help some)

1. I treated this exam like there is no plan B
2. Your concepts should be on the tip of your hands. Then practice questions that test the applicability.
3. GMAT is not just a game of how many questions you get correct, but also a lot about your attitude and your mental endurance, so test that during your prep as well.
4. Give those mocks and dont be intimidated by them!
5. Don't be negative, if you have studied hard, the results will show!
6. If you weren't a brilliant academic in school, it does not mean you can't score a 700. Just ask me! :D
7. Don't stress while taking the exam. Solve and don't think about anything else!

Thank you to this lovely forum, for all the information and support!
Please do let me know if anyone needs guidance, i will be happy to help!

Originally posted by aparvez85 on 31 Oct 2018, 02:56.
Last edited by aparvez85 on 03 Nov 2018, 08:07, edited 3 times in total.
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New post 31 Oct 2018, 07:09
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Hello aparvez85 ...... First of all CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!
Thanks a bunch for the great detailed debrief. For sure it will motivate a lot and lot of people in the community.

All the best for the next phase.
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New post 14 Nov 2018, 07:52
Congrats on a getting a very nice score on GMAT.

Thanks for sharing a detailed debrief. All the best for the applications.
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New post 14 Nov 2018, 08:35
Great debrief aparvez85!

Congratulations on the 700. Seeing hard work pay off always motivates me. Thanks for the tips on how you attacked GMAT Club Tests as well. Very useful!

All the best for your applications!
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Re: Even a below average student can get a 700: Here is my story...  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2018, 08:52
Congrats. However, did you really quit your job to prepare for GMAT?

Which schools are you targeting? Please remember that a lot of Business Schools take work gaps very seriously. Preparation for GMAT wouldn’t be considered a very good explanation in my opinion.

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New post 14 Nov 2018, 08:55
schadenfreudehere wrote:
Congrats. However, did you really quit your job to prepare for GMAT?

Which schools are you targeting? Please remember that a lot of Business Schools take work gaps very seriously. Preparation for GMAT wouldn’t be considered a very good explanation in my opinion.

Posted from my mobile device


Hey,

I didnt leave to study for GMAT only. I actually had to take a medical leave. So i have proof of that. And my company didnt have any sabbatical policies.
I am looking at ISB, NUS, HEC Paris and McGill.
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New post 14 Nov 2018, 10:28
aparvez85

Thanks for sharing such an informative debrief.
Best of luck for applications.
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Re: Even a below average student can get a 700: Here is my story...  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2018, 23:06
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aparvez85 – thank you for taking the time out to post your journey. Given the feedback on this forum, it is clear that many have benefited from your post. Your success re-enforces the point that acing the GMAT is more about diligence than about innate intelligence. In fact, innate intelligence is massively over rated while true grit and diligence is are not given due credit.

You improved an impressive 200 points in ~3 months despite working 6 days a week. Achieving this feat requires faith in oneself and a true resolve to get there. Continue working hard as you work on your applications.. this attitude will serve you well. Lastly, thank you for being a student ?.
Good luck!!

-Rajat
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Re: Even a below average student can get a 700: Here is my story...  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2018, 23:20
egmat wrote:
aparvez85 – thank you for taking the time out to post your journey. Given the feedback on this forum, it is clear that many have benefited from your post. Your success re-enforces the point that acing the GMAT is more about diligence than about innate intelligence. In fact, innate intelligence is massively over rated while true grit and diligence is are not given due credit.

You improved an impressive 200 points in ~3 months despite working 6 days a week. Achieving this feat requires faith in oneself and a true resolve to get there. Continue working hard as you work on your applications.. this attitude will serve you well. Lastly, thank you for being a student ?.
Good luck!!

-Rajat


Thank you so much! I would like to correct that i was not working while preparing for GMAT. But due to medical issues it was still a challenge.
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Re: Even a below average student can get a 700: Here is my story...  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2018, 21:38
congrats on your score :)

Can you please share the exact books you used to learn the foundations for math.
Is it only the veritas ? Does that cover all the topics asked in the GMAT ?
I Would appreciate your help on this.
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New post 15 Nov 2018, 22:09
poornimaprabhakar wrote:
congrats on your score :)

Can you please share the exact books you used to learn the foundations for math.
Is it only the veritas ? Does that cover all the topics asked in the GMAT ?
I Would appreciate your help on this.


Hey,

Thank you! Yes, i used Veritas books. I used the Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Word Problems and Probability and Combinatorics books. They have separate books for these topics. This should be enough for basics. It will mention all the formulas and basic question types that you can face on the GMAT. You may find 1 question of each type which is why you need to practice more. And for that i used GMATClub Tests.

You can also use the GMATClub Maths Book for quick formula references, but don't use only that. Here is the link:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-math-bo ... 30609.html

Good luck!
Let me know if i could be of any further help.
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Even a below average student can get a 700: Here is my story... &nbs [#permalink] 15 Nov 2018, 22:09
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