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Freshie Calling out for help and guidance!! (IVY) (GMAT)

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New post 07 Dec 2018, 18:56
Hello everyone!

I am comparatively new here on gmatclub and still learning to use it fully. I have some queries that I need you to answer and help me!
I have registered for my Gmat in the coming week, but still I have failed to get a decent score in my online tests (last score : 430).
I am using Kaplan Prep Plus 2018 as guidance but when I solved manhattan free tests that were available here, they were way tough!
I am scared as hell as i dont know how to prep myself now, i feel i am underprepared ...

Questions:
1.PLEASE guide me how to prep myself now.??? How effective is Kaplan for gmat preparation?
2. IVY are my dream colleges but i dont think i have a good CGPA for that (3.09).
3. All the deadlines are next month, do u think i can apply to wharton or cornell still, as i am standing here at zero.
4. What suggestions and advices you have for me ? kindly feel free to discuss, as we have a serious situation here!

Profile:
Undergrad: BS in Accounting and Finance. 2017.
CGPA: 3.09
WE: currently 1.5 years.
Employer: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Age: 24.
Target colleges: Wharton and Cornell.

Please dont laugh at me.
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New post 08 Dec 2018, 05:40
1
**It would be an extremely bad idea for you to apply to Wharton and Cornell for R2 at this point**

Let's take a look at the Class Profiles of these schools:

Wharton: AVG GPA:3.6; AVG GMAT: 732 (Range: 500-790); AVG Work Exp.: 5 years
Cornell: AVG GPA: 3.39; AVG GMAT: 700; AVG Work Exp.: 5 years

For both schools you are well below average for GPA and well below average for work experience. If you are only scoring in the ~430 range on practice GMAT tests you still need hundreds of hours of studying to get into the 700 range, which I would say is the minimum practical score to give yourself a chance at being accepted at Cornell considering your GPA. I covered my approach to the GMAT HERE and there are plenty of other places on this forum that cover study strategies, review materials, etc... that you can find on your own with 2-3 minutes of searching.

You didn't specify what your function is at PWC, but I'm assuming it is probably audit based on the fact that you majored in accounting. Unfortunately this is not a particularly prestigious job, and if you are a male and/or from an over-represented demographic then you will have a hard time getting into Wharton with this professional background. Your years of work experience are also way below average for both of these programs and it will be obvious form the accomplishments you list on your resume vis-a-vis those of your peers. Unless of course you are some wunderkind at your company and have failed to reflect that in your post here.

Don't waste your time and money trying to apply R2 this year, you have virtually 0% chance of getting in based on what you have presented here.. Spend at least two more years working hard, building your resume through major accomplishments, and if possible transfer to a more prestigious firm/function. Study your ass off for your GMAT and get a 700+ score. Get involved with some activity outside of work that you are personally passionate about that makes sense in the context of your life story. After all of that revisit the idea of applying to B-school again.
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New post 08 Dec 2018, 07:06
Madavco
Thankyou for your opinion.
I know I fall far below the average CGPA and WE but I have gone through some posts here on the gmatclub only where people with as low CGPA as mines have gotten into wharton with a good GMAT and an impactful essay.
Its completely on luck and hardwork.
Also I have a low CGPA but I belong to the best business school of my country, where students really struggle to maintain their CGPA above 3, considering the strict grading system. My friends from lower ranked universities have CGPAs above 3.7. Now this really confuses me, does the repo and ranking of the undergrad university matter?

I chose PwC as with my degree I was given 9 paper exemptions in ACCA and 13 paper exemptions in CA, plus it was the first time that the Big Four recruited Bgrads, so it was a rigorous process that we had to go through. Offcourse, at that time I did not have any plan neither any idea for my masters. But I knew PwC was a globally reputed name and thought i might have an edge associated with it when applying abroad.

So what do you suggest I should do now? How to build my profile considering the 'long working hours'?
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New post 08 Dec 2018, 08:35
I'm guessing you're an Indian male? This is one of the most competitive demographics in the application pool because so many Indian males apply to business school. If you can only manage a ~400-500 GMAT your application will likely be auto-dinged.

You say you went to the top B-school in your country... is it an IIM? If your school has tough grading standards and it mentions your class rank on your transcript then it is extremely important that you note your class rank or percentile in your application materials. At that point your class standing is more important than your GPA. If it does not note your class ranking/percentile on the transcript you can try to contact the registrar at you university to get an official letter noting your class standing.

Big 4 overseas is more competitive/prestigious, but you still have not specified your function. Passing a rigorous hurdle to be one of the first classes of undergrads should be noted on your resume, but what you've actually accomplished in your function is more important. I till stand by my statement, in light of you not presenting any SUPERSTAR work accomplishments here thus far, that you should get more work experience.

If you're working long hours what you can do is donate relatively large amounts of your paycheck to some local, relatively small charity/non-profit you care about and try to get some sort of board or advisory role. Donating huge amounts of time is not the only way to have an impact.

Quote:
I was given 9 paper exemptions in ACCA and 13 paper exemptions in CA

I have no idea what this means, and I'm guessing most Adcoms won't know either.

Rushing together an app at this point is a bad idea; actually is is the height of foolishness considering your circumstances. Round 2 deadlines are about 3 weeks away, you haven't taken the GMAT, and you're just starting your applications now! I do not believe that your resume, essays, and recommendations will be of the quality expected if you start this late in the game. Give yourself time to study and get a good GMAT score. Give yourself time to accomplish more at work. Give yourself time to build out your extracurricular activities. Give yourself time to research schools so you can write good essays. Save yourself time and money and set yourself up for success to apply in the future.
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New post 08 Dec 2018, 13:39
Hi bismamba,

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied?
2) What study materials have you used so far besides the book that you mentioned?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs/mocks (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
4) What is your goal score?
5) What is your exact Test Date?

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New post 10 Dec 2018, 08:26
To add another voice to this: I fully agree with the advice dispensed here. I fail to see an answer to both "why an MBA?" and "why now?" Simply stated, what's the rush?

One key item that you will hear from every information session at the top MBA programs is to apply when you are ready. 18 months of work experience without a clearly articulated goal, and frankly lackluster practice GMAT scores, is not the right time in my opinion.

Also, why only Wharton and Cornell? First, I don't think it's a solid approach to focus on only Ivies, and I say that as an Ivy undergrad alumnus. MBA programs matter more than university name, and they vary in terms of strength based on what you want to pursue post-MBA. Wharton is a top 3 school while Cornell is a top 20 - meaning there are 15+ additional schools to consider if you believe that is your range.

I'm sorry to be so pessimistic, but I agree with Madavco. If you were to rush R2 applications right now based on how you've presented your background, I would say there is a 0% chance of admittance to either school. Wait 2 more years, build professional advocates who can write killer recommendations, boost your GMAT, work to refine your "why MBA" and "why now" questions, and apply when you are ready.

Madavco wrote:
I'm guessing you're an Indian male? This is one of the most competitive demographics in the application pool because so many Indian males apply to business school. If you can only manage a ~400-500 GMAT your application will likely be auto-dinged.

You say you went to the top B-school in your country... is it an IIM? If your school has tough grading standards and it mentions your class rank on your transcript then it is extremely important that you note your class rank or percentile in your application materials. At that point your class standing is more important than your GPA. If it does not note your class ranking/percentile on the transcript you can try to contact the registrar at you university to get an official letter noting your class standing.

Big 4 overseas is more competitive/prestigious, but you still have not specified your function. Passing a rigorous hurdle to be one of the first classes of undergrads should be noted on your resume, but what you've actually accomplished in your function is more important. I till stand by my statement, in light of you not presenting any SUPERSTAR work accomplishments here thus far, that you should get more work experience.

If you're working long hours what you can do is donate relatively large amounts of your paycheck to some local, relatively small charity/non-profit you care about and try to get some sort of board or advisory role. Donating huge amounts of time is not the only way to have an impact.

Quote:
I was given 9 paper exemptions in ACCA and 13 paper exemptions in CA

I have no idea what this means, and I'm guessing most Adcoms won't know either.

Rushing together an app at this point is a bad idea; actually is is the height of foolishness considering your circumstances. Round 2 deadlines are about 3 weeks away, you haven't taken the GMAT, and you're just starting your applications now! I do not believe that your resume, essays, and recommendations will be of the quality expected if you start this late in the game. Give yourself time to study and get a good GMAT score. Give yourself time to accomplish more at work. Give yourself time to build out your extracurricular activities. Give yourself time to research schools so you can write good essays. Save yourself time and money and set yourself up for success to apply in the future.
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New post 12 Dec 2018, 10:54
Hi bismamba,

Given that you recently scored 430 and likely need a 700+ GMAT score for your desired schools, you will not be ready to apply by next month. That being said, I’m happy to provide some further advice but first would like to learn more about your situation with the GMAT. Once you respond to the questions asked, I can provide some specific advice.
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New post 09 Apr 2019, 02:18
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi bismamba,

Given that you recently scored 430 and likely need a 700+ GMAT score for your desired schools, you will not be ready to apply by next month. That being said, I’m happy to provide some further advice but first would like to learn more about your situation with the GMAT. Once you respond to the questions asked, I can provide some specific advice.



I'm sitting on a 510 with one month preping from KAPLAN PREP PLUS and some online practice GMAT, recently i took one month coaching from a local institute but it didnt help much in raising my scores.

My goal in a 700 atleast but how??
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New post 09 Apr 2019, 02:27
Madavco wrote:
**It would be an extremely bad idea for you to apply to Wharton and Cornell for R2 at this point**


Don't waste your time and money trying to apply R2 this year, you have virtually 0% chance of getting in based on what you have presented here.. Spend at least two more years working hard, building your resume through major accomplishments, and if possible transfer to a more prestigious firm/function. Study your ass off for your GMAT and get a 700+ score. Get involved with some activity outside of work that you are personally passionate about that makes sense in the context of your life story. After all of that revisit the idea of applying to B-school again.


You suggested to get involved with some activity outside work. Well I'm a freelance photographer and I like to capture nature, apart from that I'm an instablogger and youtuber too (though with not a strong following, but its gradually increasing). Yes, i'm a female.

By activity outside work, it does or doesnt necessarily have to be social welfare? or if it does kindly let me know. Kindly give me some suggestions.

Thanks!
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New post 09 Apr 2019, 12:29
Hi bismamba,

It's been about 4 months since your original posts in this thread, so it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) What type of study routine have you been following over the last 4 months? Have you taken any "time off" from your studies? How many hours do you typically study each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far (including books, courses, etc.)?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs/mocks (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

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New post 09 Apr 2019, 14:48
Hi Bismamba,

It's nice to see that you have some artistic inclinations, and no, I don't think that "social welfare" is the only path to admittance, but I would encourage you to think holistically about the package you are submitting to a business school. For example, why the YouTube and IG blogging? What does it explore? How does it demonstrate that you would be a good fit for their program?

There is no magic pill for the GMAT. Study hard and consider taking a class or getting some other sort of external help if you feel that you're plateauing on your score. To be clear, I think to have a shot at Wharton you need to target a 720+ score. Cornell would be closer to 680.

bismamba wrote:
Madavco wrote:
**It would be an extremely bad idea for you to apply to Wharton and Cornell for R2 at this point**


Don't waste your time and money trying to apply R2 this year, you have virtually 0% chance of getting in based on what you have presented here.. Spend at least two more years working hard, building your resume through major accomplishments, and if possible transfer to a more prestigious firm/function. Study your ass off for your GMAT and get a 700+ score. Get involved with some activity outside of work that you are personally passionate about that makes sense in the context of your life story. After all of that revisit the idea of applying to B-school again.


You suggested to get involved with some activity outside work. Well I'm a freelance photographer and I like to capture nature, apart from that I'm an instablogger and youtuber too (though with not a strong following, but its gradually increasing). Yes, i'm a female.

By activity outside work, it does or doesnt necessarily have to be social welfare? or if it does kindly let me know. Kindly give me some suggestions.

Thanks!
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New post 09 Apr 2019, 19:48
Hi bismamba,

The short answer is YES; as long as you follow a thorough study plan and a realistic timeline, you can achieve a 700 on the GMAT. That said, you cannot expect to increase your score by 190 points overnight, right? Since you are at a 510, it’s clear that you lack the GMAT quant and verbal fundamentals you need for a high score. To improve those skills, you need to follow a study plan that allows you to learn GMAT quant and verbal from the ground up. In other words, follow a study plan in which you individually learn each topic, starting with the foundations and progressing to more advanced concepts. Let me expand on this idea further.

If you are learning about Number Properties, you should develop as much conceptual knowledge about Number Properties as possible. In other words, your goal will be to completely understand properties of factorials, perfect squares, quadratic patterns, LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, and remainders, to name a few concepts. After carefully reviewing the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions, practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see, types that you would rather not see, and types that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

Follow a similar routine for verbal. For example, let’s say you start by learning about Critical Reasoning. Your first goal is to fully master the individual topics: Strengthen the Argument, Weaken The Argument, Resolve the Paradox, etc. As you learn about each question type, do focused practice, so that you can track your skill in answering each type. If, for example, you get a weakening question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize the specific question type? Were you doing too much analysis in your head? Did you skip over a keyword in an answer choice? You must thoroughly analyze your mistakes and seek to turn weaknesses into strengths by focusing on the question types you dread seeing and the questions you take a long time to answer correctly.

When practicing Reading Comprehension, you need to develop a reading strategy that is both efficient and thorough. Reading too fast and not understanding what you have read are equally as harmful as reading too slow and using up too much time. When attacking Reading Comprehension passages, you must have one clear goal in mind: to understand the context of what you are reading. However, you must do so efficiently, so you need to avoid getting bogged down in the details of each paragraph and instead focus on understanding the main point of each paragraph. That being said, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can just read the intro and the conclusion and thereby comprehend the main idea of a paragraph. As you read a paragraph, consider how the context of the paragraph relates to previous paragraphs, so you can continue developing your overall understanding of the passage. Furthermore, as you practice Reading Comprehension, focus on the exact types of questions with which you struggle: Find the Main Idea, Inference, Author’s Tone, etc. As with Critical Reasoning, analyze your incorrect Reading Comprehension answers to better determine why you tend to get a particular question type wrong, and then improve upon your weaknesses. Keep in mind that GMAT Reading Comprehension passages are not meant to be easy to read. So, to better prepare yourself to analyze such passages, read magazines with similar content and style, such as The Economist, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

Sentence Correction is a bit of a different animal compared to Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. There are three aspects to getting correct answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions: what you know, such as grammar rules, what you see, such as violations of grammar rules and the logic of sentence structure, and what you do, such as carefully considering each answer choice in the context of the non-underlined portion of the sentence. To drive up your Sentence Correction score, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, the likely reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is that you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not really a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning the grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. Likely, the main reason that Sentence Correction has not "clicked" for you is that you have not put enough work into developing your skill in seeing what is going on in the various versions of the sentence that the answer choices create. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending less than two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see in order to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and none of those reasons are that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answers were always the ones that sounded right, then most people most of the time would get Sentence Correction questions correct, without really knowing why the wrong answers were wrong and the correct answers were correct. So, you have to go beyond choosing what "sounds right" and learn to clearly see the logical reasons why one choice is better than all of the others.

As for the third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct, what you do, the main thing you have to do is be very careful. You have to make sure that you are truly considering the structures of sentences and the meanings conveyed rather than allowing yourself to be tricked into choosing trap answers that sound right but don't convey logical meanings. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice until you start to see the differences that make all choices wrong except for one. Often, when you first look at the choices in a Sentence Correction question, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to take the time to see the differences between answers and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off, and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did to arrive at that answer and what you could do differently to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could do differently to extend your streak.

As with your Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension regimens, after learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your skills improve, you will want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple Sentence Correction topics.

In order to follow the path described above, you may need some new quant and verbal materials, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses. You also may find it helpful to read the following articles about
How to Score a 700+ on the GMAT and The Phases of Preparing for the GMAT.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions. Good luck!
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Re: Freshie Calling out for help and guidance!! (IVY) (GMAT)   [#permalink] 09 Apr 2019, 19:48
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