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From 580 to 700 on the 6th attempt, Never give up!

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Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 21
Location: United Arab Emirates
GMAT 1: 610 Q45 V28
GMAT 2: 620 Q44 V32
GMAT 3: 640 Q49 V29
GMAT 4: 700 Q48 V38
GPA: 3.76
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From 580 to 700 on the 6th attempt, Never give up!  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jan 2019, 03:24
First of all, I'd like to thank the community here for the amazing advice it provides and I apologize for this long winded post :). Over the past 2.5 years I've had 3 separate sessions on studying for the GMAT and even after 5 attempts I felt like it would be impossible for me to break the 700 barrier. While I know 700 is an amazing score compared to all the 740s-770s you see out there now, its a score that I'm happy with as it took a lot of hard work to get here. I want to share my experience as I know there are a lot of people out there like me who felt so dejected by this test and thought about giving up multiple times. I'm here to tell you to never give up, if I can do it so can you :).

I'm a non-native English speaker and I've been working in the health care IT industry for the past 6 years in the US, Middle East, and recently Singapore. My undergraduate was in Systems Engineering at the University of Illinois.

First session - August 2016 to December 2016
I started my prep with purchasing the Manhattan Interact course online supplemented with all the Manhattan prep books. The course proved extremely useful for familiarizing my self with the test and to learn strategies how to tackle certain questions. However I had a major timing issue in Verbal and Quant that I couldn't get over, I gave my first test on November 8 2016 and scored a 610 (Q45 V28). I knew I had to work on my verbal so I purchased empowerGMAT this time to try and boost my verbal score to take the exam again on December 26 2016. I focused on SC and CR since those were where I lost most points on the test, and while I felt I was getting better, I still struggled with timing. When I took the test again on December 26th, I scored a 620 (Q44 V33), and this time I struggled on RC.

At this point, I decided to take a break from the GMAT and wasn't planning to apply to schools until round 1 in fall 2017.

Second Session - April 2017 to September 2017
This time I knew I had to put all my efforts into raising my verbal score. I took some one-on-one lessons from Manhattan Prep and practiced from the OG, Verbal Review, and GMAT Prep question bank. I even purchased all 6 practice tests from GMATPrep. I started from scratch on SC, CR and practiced RC as well doing about 16 questions daily and focusing on their review and maintaining an Error log. This really seemed to work as I scored a 660, 690, 700 on my GMAT Practice tests, the highest I had scored. I was ready to take the exam again and scheduled it for July 22nd 2017.

I felt great during the test and seemed to be cruising along but when my final score came up, I was shocked. I got a 620 (Q42 V35), I thought to myself how did my Quant fall so low?! I had focused all that time on verbal leading me to suffer on my quant side as I made silly mistakes. I immediately canceled the scores as I did not want the schools to see my huge drop in quant.

I decided to take the test again and this time add in a lot of quant studying as well. I used the same prep materials as last time but focusing more on quant now and took the test on September 23 2017. This time I could feel I was doing very well in Quant but Verbal seemed much tougher and I started to panic in the test, I was getting distracted by my panic and ended up wasting a few minutes over it causing me to guess a good number of questions. When the score popped up on the screen it showed a 640 (Q49 V29). I decided to accept this score but felt utterly defeated and thought I would never be able to break the 700 barrier.

At this point, work was starting to get very busy and I decided I needed to clear my head from this test.

3rd and final session October 2018 - January 2019
I had planned to restart my studies in February of 2018 but I got an amazing opportunity for work in Singapore so I decided to move there. Life got extremely busy and there was never an opportunity for me to restart my studies. In late September I decided I needed to try for the GMAT again as I wanted to attempt to apply for business school again and change roles into product management.

This time I undertook the 3-month study plan, which btw is fantastic, that Magoosh has focused on improving my verbal score. I also purchased e-GMAT's online verbal course. This was a game changer for me, especially in SC, as I could now see the bad habits I had created by only looking for grammatical errors and not focusing on the meaning. For quant, I purchased the Quant review guide to practice problems from there. I made myself a daily schedule and made sure to stick to it, started waking up earlier in the day and even stayed later at work to study GMAT since I knew I would be lazy when I came home.
My daily schedule consisted of the following:
[*]16 Verbal Problems (rotating between RC, CR and SC), and 16 Quant Problems. Reviewing them and creating an Error Log
[*] Read 2-3 articles from the Wall Street Journal
[*] Revise Error log

I did this consistently for 3 months and starting in mid- November I started taking weekly practice tests. My scores were the following:
[*]620 (Q44 V33) GMATPrep November 12
[*]700 (Q48 V37) GMAT Prep November 18
[*] 710 (Q49 V38) GMAT Prep November 25
[*] 710 (Q49 V37) GMAT Prep December 2
[*] 710 (Q49 V39) GMAT Prep December 9

I scheduled my exam for December 17 and was feeling very confident this time. I started the exam of strong with the verbal section first but was quickly thrown off by a hard SC question and wasted a lot of time on it. This sent me in a mode of panic and I decided to guess between 2 answer choices whenever I initially couldn't tell which was better. This led to my downfall as I stopped applying the principles I had spent months honing. Quant section seemed fine and I felt like the test went okay overall but when my score popped up and I saw a 580 (Q47 V23), I was in disbelief. How could I have scored so low after practicing so hard? And that too with the worst verbal score I had ever gotten in any capacity. After feeling sorry for myself for a few hours after the test, I believed in all my hard work and preparation and decided that it was just a bad day where I had panicked.

I soon scheduled the exam as soon as possible as I wanted to submit my round 2 applications. I scheduled for the exam on January 8 2019. I followed my same routine as last time and took 2 practice tests from GMAT Prep before my real test. I scored a 710 (Q48 V40) and 750 (Q49 V42), the 750 was slightly inflated as I had seen some repeat questions. I made sure to focus on my methods during the practice test and not panic on hard questions.

On January 8th I walked into the test center feeling extremely nervous. I did some deep breathing exercises and kept telling myself not to forget the principles I had learned. The test started out fine but got hard quickly but this time I didn't panic even when I saw I was 3-4 minutes behind. I stuck to my principles and towards the end, I ended up guessing 2 CR questions. The quant section seemed to go quite well but I was thrown off on how easy the questions were making me feel like I was making silly mistakes. So I slowed down a bit and finished on time. When I saw the 700 (Q48 V38) on the screen I could not believe it, after 2.5 years I had finally done it!

Key takeaways:
[*]While its good to focus on your weak areas, don't forget about your strengths as well and make sure to practice them!
[*]Focus less on doing questions and more on reviewing WHY you got the question wrong. Why was the answer you picked wrong? Why did you eliminate the right answer? What can you do next time to make sure you pick the right answer?
[*] The GMAT loves to see people panic. Make sure to remain as cool as possible even if you think you're not doing well.
[*]Believe in yourself :)
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Joined: 11 Feb 2018
Posts: 280
Location: India
Concentration: General Management, Finance
GMAT 1: 690 Q47 V37
GMAT 2: 710 Q50 V36
GMAT 3: 750 Q50 V42
Re: From 580 to 700 on the 6th attempt, Never give up!  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jan 2019, 04:12
Congrats buddy..???.The way i see it you must give it again.When you have attempts left why not give it again..?After all you do an MBA just once in life..give it a will surely reach the 740-770 range.Congrats again on your good score..

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Re: From 580 to 700 on the 6th attempt, Never give up!   [#permalink] 09 Jan 2019, 04:12
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From 580 to 700 on the 6th attempt, Never give up!

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