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From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub.

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From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2017, 11:13
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I took my GMAT just a few days ago and I want to type this out as soon as possible so that I can capture as much detail as possible, so bear with me if it seems a bit haphazard. I will keep updating this to add any additional details and correct any errors (PM me if you find any)! Now let’s get to the story itself:

Background:

Currently, I am in the final year of my undergraduate education in business and finance, and though I had been pondering over whether to take the exam for the past year ( I wasn't sure if I should get it done with at such an early stage of my career) I finally decided to get the exam over with once and for all (while I still have the will to study and all those maths concepts are still floating around in by head) since the scores will be valid for 5 years, giving me ample time to get some work-ex or get enrolled in one of the early enrollment programs- ISB YLP, Yale SS & HBS 2+2. I am an Indian male (hit the jackpot there, didn't I? :roll: ) and my work experience is limited to 2 internships that I have done- one with an infrastructure finance company and the other, a PR internship, with my local government body. In addition to this I have a bit of experience working in my family run firm but I doubt if it'll count for much due to its inherent lack of objectivity.

I took the first steps of my GMAT journey around early June this year and since then it’s been a long rollercoaster ride! Oddly enough, my GMAT journey didn't start with any prep material, rather the first thing I did was sign up for gmatclub on the suggestion of a friend (god bless that soul :grin: ) and started to dig through the mountain of information that is available through these forums. It was only after a week of rummaging through threads that I actually got around to any test material.

Materials Used:

Manhattan Prep Strategy Guides (all 10 books)
OG 16
GMAT Prep (only the free stuff)
Comprehansive SC Guide - Whiplash Style
Comprehensive CR Guide

The Mahattan books are a must have. If used thoroughly and correctly, these books can genuinely provide a person with all that is required for a 750+ score. These books were the foundation of my test prep and I used them to develop my approach to Verbal. I had most of my quant concepts sorted even before I started my prep - one of the few advantages of the Indian education system (looking back, it might be the only advantage :roll: ). The effort that I needed to put in for quant was largely related to getting used to the question formats and the quirks of the DS questions.

Enough has been said about the importance of the OG and GMATPrep software so I'm going to skip over that part; however, I will highlight that I did not use these two tools in the order suggested by most people. I took the first GMATPrep exam half way through my prep and the second a week away from the exam. As for the OG, I only got around to it in the last 3 weeks of my prep. It took me a week to solve and I had it ready for review along with an error log in the week leading up to my exam. Invaluable resource none the less (more on that ahead).

The last two items on list are the reasons why I love gmatclub this much! Look for them on the forums, you will thank me later. The CR guide is a beautifully compiled document which boils down the CR process to its essence and allows anyone to unravel it.

Practice Tests

Veritas - 700
MGMAT - 640 (Q44,V32)
GMATPrep - 720 (Q50,V38)
MGMAT - 670 (Q43,V38)
MGMAT - 650 (Q45,V34)
MGMAT - 680 (Q45,V37)
MGMAT - 710 (Q46,V41)
MGMAT - 720 (Q48,V40)
GMATPrep - 760 (Q50,V41)

The reason why I had such low scores in the first few MGMAT tests was my pacing. I simply could not finish the quant section in time and had to guess multiple questions at a stretch, and the verbal was a work in progress at that point anyway so there was not much to expect from it. After the first few tests I realized that the timing on a MGMAT test is a bit off, in the sense that their questions inherently take longer to solve even if you know how to solve them. Using a pacing strategy is a must. I learnt this a bit late but the results of it are evident in my scores!

On a side note, the verbal section on the actual exam is a leap and a bound away from any material available to aspirants. Even the OG and GMATPrep questions do not match the "style" of the actual thing so discussing any other test is a futile excersice. However, the questions aren't actually "tougher" as long as you have your concepts cemented into your mind.

In addition to the tests I mentioned above, I got myself access to the gmatclub tests. This was probably one of the best decisions I made. I used the gmatclub tests primarily for quant since they lack a bit on the verbal front. However, for anyone serious about bringing their A game to the quant section, I would
definitely recommend these tests!

Test Day

During the weekend leading up to the test I spent most of my time relaxing (I actually managed to watch two seasons of Rick and Morty) and very brief periods of revision. I figured that if I didn’t know it by now I wouldn’t be able to make much of a difference overnight anyway so I just focused on getting what I did know cemented in my mind.

For the test day itself, I had booked an afternoon slot for my exam since I wanted to get as much sleep in as possible by waking up late (I get really nervous before exams and never manage to sleep on time the night before). I reached the test center half an hour before my appointment and finished off the formalities in a relaxed manner. The lady at my test center was very nice and explained all the procedures to me and answered all my questions very well.

I carried a simple snack with me for the breaks: almonds, two small bars of chocolate, a cheese sandwich and a bottle of water. I chose to take the test in the order Quant-Verbal-IR-AWA because I wanted to get quant out of the way and focus with a clear mind on verbal, which I had worked harder for and knew would yield more in terms of results than would quant. My test taking experience was very pleasant and I didn’t face any issues whatsoever. However, I would like to state that I was a bit taken aback by the verbal section: it was very different from what I had prepared for. It was of a different style compared to all the other tests I had given. The ever so familiar 3:2 split was not as common on the actual exam as it is in the test prep material and the exam may test multiple errors in one question, which was not a common theme in my prep at least. But on the whole, as long as you’ve got your basics on your side, it shouldn’t be too difficult to manage.

After I had a look at my final scores, I was a bit disappointed with my quant score, especially since I felt the entire section went well except for 2 questions which I struggled with. I guess I underestimated this section and could have done better. With verbal, however, I was ecstatic. It was exactly what I had hoped for and I felt as if my hard work had paid off. For a moment though, I was sad about my quant score and even considered a retake but then I convinced myself that the idea of improving another 10 or 20 points was just not worth my time or effort.

My GMAT experience has been a pleasant one especially since I decided to go the self study route and controlled the progress of my own study. I’m glad that I achieve a satisfactory score in my first attempt and that my hard work paid off, but to mention my story without mentioning the part gmatclub played in it would be wrong. I owe a significant part of my success to the help and advice I received through gmatclub and I would definitely direct anyone who is serious about their GMAT exam to these forums. Thank you gmatclub!

Last edited by Sammy599 on 29 Sep 2017, 11:16, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2017, 12:11
Great debrief and congratulations on the AWESOME score!! :-D

Could you please share how you took care of the pacing issue in the MGMAT tests and/or GMAT in general? Since MGMAT Quant is really tough compared to the actually GMAT, I see that your scored jumped from low 40's to high 40's. Was it purely timing that took care of this? It would be great if you could share your strategy for both Verbal and Quant.

Thanks for your help!
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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2017, 22:25
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yt770 wrote:
Great debrief and congratulations on the AWESOME score!! :-D

Could you please share how you took care of the pacing issue in the MGMAT tests and/or GMAT in general? Since MGMAT Quant is really tough compared to the actually GMAT, I see that your scored jumped from low 40's to high 40's. Was it purely timing that took care of this? It would be great if you could share your strategy for both Verbal and Quant.

Thanks for your help!


Personally, I don't believe that the MGMAT quant is "tougher" than the actual thing, rather its more arduous- even if you know how to solve the question, it'll take you the full 2 mins to get an answer. The test of concepts on the MGMAT is a very good mix and replicates the mix of the actual thing very well!

Coming to the timing issue, I had a two pronged approach. First, I realised that the exam is a test of management as much as it is of knowledge. Each question is not a challenge and to be a perfectionist on this exam is to invite your own doom. 2 incorrect difficult questions spaced out across the exam will very marginally hurt your score but 3 incorrect easy questions back-to-back in a rush to complete the section (my problem with the first few MGMAT CATs) will leave a very noticeable dent. Second, I used a fixed system for managing time - 10 mins for every 5 questions on the quant section and 9 mins for every 5 questions on the verbal section. So, whenever I was about the sit for a CAT, the first thing I would do is write down on the top right corner of the page the question numbers and the time that i should be at when answering those questions.
Eg:

Q - Time
5 - 65mins
10- 55mins
15- 45mins

I tried my best to stick to the time structure under all circumstances and if I lost more than 2 mins on the plan, I would take an educated guess on the next question to come back in line (I didn't have to guess because of time even once on the actual exam). This structure ensures that you can use the time you save on "easy" questions against a "tough" question within reasonable limits. It allowed me to spend more time on questions which were a bit tedious while not worrying about my pace! If this system clicks with you, it'll be a big boost to your self confidence on test day because you know that you can't mess timing up.

To answer your last question, the large part of my gains came from pace management, though not all. The great part about pace management is that if you know your pace is under control, you will remain calm and be able to dedicate more processing power to solving instead of worrying. These two things when put together put you in a frame of mind which brings out the best in you. Having said this, I would like to mention having knowledge of certain axioms and theories does help a lot on the exam - there is no substitute for good preparation. Is there anything else you need clarified?

Hope this helps!

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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2017, 17:12
Congrats on the awesome score, Sammy599! And good luck with your applications!
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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 00:24
Congratulations on your wonderful score. Really inspiring for the other aspirants like me.................................................................
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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 13:00
How exactly did you make use of Gmatclub? Could you please elaborate on that....Thanks in advance


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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 13:56
Sammy599 wrote:
I took my GMAT just a few days ago and I want to type this out as soon as possible so that I can capture as much detail as possible, so bear with me if it seems a bit haphazard. I will keep updating this to add any additional details and correct any errors (PM me of you find any)! Now let’s get to the story itself:

Background:

Currently, I am in the final year of my undergraduate education in business and finance, and though I had been pondering over whether to take the exam for the past year ( I wasn't sure if I should get it done with at such an early stage of my career) I finally decided to get the exam over with once and for all (while I still have the will to study and all those maths concepts are still floating around in by head) since the scores will be valid for 5 years, giving me ample time to get some work-ex or get enrolled in one of the early enrollment programs- ISB YLP, Yale SS & HBS 2+2. I am an Indian male (hit the jackpot there, didn't I? :roll: ) and my work experience is limited to 2 internships that I have done- one with an infrastructure finance company and the other, a PR internship, with my local government body. In addition to this I have a bit of experience working in my family run firm but I doubt if it'll count for much due to its inherent lack of objectivity.

I took the first steps of my GMAT journey around early June this year and since then it’s been a long rollercoaster ride! Oddly enough, my GMAT journey didn't start with any prep material, rather the first thing I did was sign up for gmatclub on the suggestion of a friend (god bless that soul :grin: ) and started to dig through the mountain of information that is available through these forums. It was only after a week of rummaging through threads that I actually got around to any test material.

Materials Used:

Manhattan Prep Strategy Guides (all 10 books)
OG 16
GMAT Prep (only the free stuff)
Comprehansive SC Guide - Whiplash Style
Comprehensive CR Guide

The Mahattan books are a must have. If used thoroughly and correctly, these books can genuinely provide a person with all that is required for a 750+ score. These books were the foundation of my test prep and I used them to develop my approach to Verbal. I had most of my quant concepts sorted even before I started my prep - one of the few advantages of the Indian education system (looking back, it might be the only advantage :roll: ). The effort that I needed to put in for quant was largely related to getting used to the question formats and the quirks of the DS questions.

Enough has been said about the importance of the OG and GMATPrep software so I'm going to skip over that part; however, I will highlight that I did not use these two tools in the order suggested by most people. I took the first GMATPrep exam half way through my prep and the second a week away from the exam. As for the OG, I only got around to it in the last 3 weeks of my prep. It took me a week to solve and I had it ready for review along with an error log in the week leading up to my exam. Invaluable resource none the less (more on that ahead).

The last two items on list are the reasons why I love gmatclub this much! Look for them on the forums, you will thank me later. The CR guide is a beautifully compiled document which boils down the CR process to its essence and allows anyone to unravel it.

Practice Tests

Veritas - 700
MGMAT - 640 (Q44,V32)
GMATPrep - 720 (Q50,V38)
MGMAT - 670 (Q43,V38)
MGMAT - 650 (Q45,V34)
MGMAT - 680 (Q45,V37)
MGMAT - 710 (Q46,V41)
MGMAT - 720 (Q48,V40)
GMATPrep - 760 (Q50,V41)

The reason why I had such low scores in the first few MGMAT tests was my pacing. I simply could not finish the quant section in time and had to guess multiple questions at a stretch, and the verbal was a work in progress at that point anyway so there was not much to expect from it. After the first few tests I realized that the timing on a MGMAT test is a bit off, in the sense that their questions inherently take longer to solve even if you know how to solve them. Using a pacing strategy is a must. I learnt this a bit late but the results of it are evident in my scores!

On a side note, the verbal section on the actual exam is a leap and a bound away from any material available to aspirants. Even the OG and GMATPrep questions do not match the "style" of the actual thing so discussing any other test is a futile excersice. However, the questions aren't actually "tougher" as long as you have your concepts cemented into your mind.

In addition to the tests I mentioned above, I got myself access to the gmatclub tests. This was probably one of the best decisions I made. I used the gmatclub tests primarily for quant since they lack a bit on the verbal front. However, for anyone serious about bringing their A game to the quant section, I would
definitely recommend these tests!

Test Day

During the weekend leading up to the test I spent most of my time relaxing (I actually managed to watch two seasons of Rick and Morty) and very brief periods of revision. I figured that if I didn’t know it by now I wouldn’t be able to make much of a difference overnight anyway so I just focused on getting what I did know cemented in my mind.

For the test day itself, I had booked an afternoon slot for my exam since I wanted to get as much sleep in as possible by waking up late (I get really nervous before exams and never manage to sleep on time the night before). I reached the test center half an hour before my appointment and finished off the formalities in a relaxed manner. The lady at my test center was very nice and explained all the procedures to me and answered all my questions very well.

I carried a simple snack with me for the breaks: almonds, two small bars of chocolate, a cheese sandwich and a bottle of water. I chose to take the test in the order Quant-Verbal-IR-AWA because I wanted to get quant out of the way and focus with a clear mind on verbal, which I had worked harder for and knew would yield more in terms of results than would quant. My test taking experience was very pleasant and I didn’t face any issues whatsoever. However, I would like to state that I was a bit taken aback by the verbal section: it was very different from what I had prepared for. It was of a different style compared to all the other tests I had given. The ever so familiar 3:2 split was not as common on the actual exam as it is in the test prep material and the exam may test multiple errors in one question, which was not a common theme in my prep at least. But on the whole, as long as you’ve got your basics on your side, it shouldn’t be too difficult to manage.

After I had a look at my final scores, I was a bit disappointed with my quant score, especially since I felt the entire section went well except for 2 questions which I struggled with. I guess I underestimated this section and could have done better. With verbal, however, I was ecstatic. It was exactly what I had hoped for and I felt as if my hard work had paid off. For a moment though, I was sad about my quant score and even considered a retake but then I convinced myself that the idea of improving another 10 or 20 points was just not worth my time or effort.

My GMAT experience has been a pleasant one especially since I decided to go the self study route and controlled the progress of my own study. I’m glad that I achieve a satisfactory score in my first attempt and that my hard work paid off, but to mention my story without mentioning the part gmatclub played in it would be wrong. I owe a significant part of my success to the help and advice I received through gmatclub and I would definitely direct anyone who is serious about their GMAT exam to these forums. Thank you gmatclub!


First of all congratulations!
You certainly deserve more than a Kudo.

Now that you have real exam experience , how about hanging around in the forums and helping us.

Also How about having your score validated in GMAT club, you know there is a small question mark against your score at GMAT CLUB, if you click on that it will guide to on how to validate your score I think.
That looks more awesome.

Again congrats on a wonderful journey and a great score. :thumbup:
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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 20:26
Sammy599 - How did you improve your Verbal score from V32 to V41?! That's amazing! Although I am a voracious reader & have a good grasp on Grammar - I feel stuck on Verbal. Any tips?

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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2017, 00:13
GMATNinja wrote:
Congrats on the awesome score, Sammy599! And good luck with your applications!


Thanks! I'm glad that I got a good GMAT score but I feel like its only a small checkbox on the adcom's checklist. I have a lot of work ahead with my applications, and I hope the help and guidance of the wonderful experts of gmatclub will pull me through once again. :grin:

Jabjagotabhisavera wrote:
Congratulations on your wonderful score. Really inspiring for the other aspirants like me.................................................................


Thank you!

When I was preparing for the exam, I used to read a lot of debriefs so that I could stay motivated - they're a wonderful way to remove the element of suprise from test day as well (it almost felt like I've done this before when I walked into the test center).

I just thought I should contribute my 2 cents in the event that it may help someone the way other debriefs helped me.

Last edited by Sammy599 on 15 Sep 2017, 02:40, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2017, 00:49
sidharthbanda wrote:
How exactly did you make use of Gmatclub? Could you please elaborate on that....Thanks in advance


Sent from my iPhone using GMAT Club Forum


Hi Sidharth,

If I tried to answer that question with details, I would probably end up with a 5000 word essay. However, I will try to provide you with a gist of it:

1) Mistakes are a good thing - they tell you about the things you don't know (well) - so make as many as possible BEFORE the exam so that they don't pop up in the middle of hammer time. Having said this, there is no better place to make mistakes than gmatclub. You have an inbuilt error log and timer which comes with literally every question, an army of helpful experts who will break down concepts to the most rudimentary levels to explain concepts and access to an endless source of practice material from a variety of sources.

2) People before you (and me) have already put in the effort to compile guides and test taking strategies, so make sure you leverage them properly. The members on this forum have tried to assimilate the very essence of test taking through various PDFs and documents available free for all on these forums. You just need to identify where you need help and take out a few hours to hunt down the resources you need.

3) The gmatclub tests - you definitely need to take them if you're serious about your quant. They run you through the whole gamut of concepts and put you in the habit of test taking in general. And the data analysis. Don't even get me started on the wonders of having so much data at your disposal. I was able to identify my weak areas by not broad headings but literally down to chapters. It will be of immense use if you're capable of interpreting the data properly.

4) Debriefs and test day strategies - As a lot of experts on these forums will tell you, test day will generally mess with your score if you don't go prepared. People react in odd ways to new environments, especially under the stress. So these forums will help you get as accustomed to the process as possible before you walk into your test center.

Best of luck for your prep!

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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2017, 01:04
stne wrote:
First of all congratulations!
You certainly deserve more than a Kudo.

Now that you have real exam experience , how about hanging around in the forums and helping us.

Also How about having your score validated in GMAT club, you know there is a small question mark against your score at GMAT CLUB, if you click on that it will guide to on how to validate your score I think.
That looks more awesome.

Again congrats on a wonderful journey and a great score. :thumbup:


Thanks!

I plan on helping out as much as I can! I find myself here at least once a day no matter what. (habits die hard I guess? :grin: )

As for score verification, I've always been very particular about sharing personal information (yes, I am that person :roll: ) so I'm still pretty unsure about the score report verification (those things have a lot of critical info!) though I am still considering it.

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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2017, 01:41
Yashita wrote:
Sammy599 - How did you improve your Verbal score from V32 to V41?! That's amazing! Although I am a voracious reader & have a good grasp on Grammar - I feel stuck on Verbal. Any tips?


Hi Yashita,

To be honest, taking V32 as a baseline isn't justified. The problems I faced in the first few CATs were time related and required a strategy tweak to overcome (more on that in my answer a few above this one if you're interested in that). So realistically, at least in terms of knowledge, my jump was from a V36-V37 to a V44. I have written a lot about my verbal section above, so you can refer to that as well. Having said this, let me tell you a fun fact about GMAT verbal: it's doesn't test your English (SC falls in a bit of a grey area), it tests your reasoning VIA English. So if you're a voracious reader, you've got a good grasp on the language but you've still got to work on reasoning and logic.

Most SC questions can be solved by looking for the true meaning of the sentence (sometimes they're ridiculous!). CR is another beast altogether (I absolutely love it), the only part English plays in CR is to convey the information properly and to state the options in a proper manner, beyond that, English has almost no role to play. Finally, with respect to RC, English is once again only a medium for the transfer of information. What matters more is whether you can comprehend that information. Here, you, being a voracious reader, will have an edge in terms of speed and ease of understanding but once again, the trick lies in how you interpret that information before you answer a question. Granted that the GMAT expects a certain level of competency in English but why would it test it? It's management aptitude test after all. So if you're honestly interested in pulling up your score, look at the verbal section form the perspective of an aptitude test. You have a strong base in English so working on the other aspects of the section you can get a great score.

Other than that, use the set-piece methods (they are super easy to find on these forums) to solve the questions you come across in the tests. The exam only throws unconventional questions at you after you have crossed a certain level (you'll know when that happens) so until then work on the basics! A lot of people make the mistake of practicing only the 700+ questions while ignoring the easier ones. There are a lot of concepts that stay exclusively below the 700 level and many which exclusively stay above, so unless you've got your base mastered you'll probably never see all those tricky questions you practiced!

Let me know if you want help on a more specific area.

Best of luck for your prep!

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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub. [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2017, 13:23
Hi Sammy599

First of all, congrats on your score

Second, I am too struggling with my timing strategy for verbal side and am struggling to complete my mgmats in time (32 out of 37 q) and (31 out of 41) ?

Third, will like to know your analysis strategy of SC questions , I generally tend to revise both right and wrong questions and end up investing quite a lot of time , exhausting myself in process .

Last, haven't started maintaining a error log , though I write concepts that I have missed post analysis in a diary. Would like to know about its importance?

TIA
Best,
Puneet


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Re: From confused to 760 (Q49,V44)! Thank you gmatclub.   [#permalink] 30 Sep 2017, 13:23
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