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From V27 to V41

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GMAT 1: 760 Q51 V41
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From V27 to V41  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 15 Oct 2019, 09:22
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Hello everyone!!! My heartfelt gratitude to all the well-wishers and supporters of my earlier two posts about my journey and strategy related to GMAT. I am getting a lot of queries about strategies for Verbal. I myself wanted to be more precise and elaborate on that in my earlier post but could not really find the time because of the fact that I was traveling last 5 weeks (I was airborne when I typed my earlier post. Hahaha!). OK! So here are my 2 cents.

First of all, about my skills in the language. I have studied in very good English medium schools throughout (including 5 years in a Convent). The medium of instruction during my Medical degree (MBBS) was also in English. Also, I have lived in New Delhi for 14 years. So the language was never really alien to me. I had always been fluent when it came to writing and speaking English.

That said, GMAT is a different ballgame. I knew I was aiming to compete with candidates who have English as their first language. Plus, being an exam that GMAT is, I was sure I was going to be grilled.

I started my preparation for GMAT with an Official Mock. The idea was to gauge the baseline. I scored a 620 with a V27. I barely attempted 27 out of 36 questions by the time, time ran out. My takeaways were the following:
1. There were concepts I just did not know. As a result, many a times 3 out of 5 options appeared appealing.
2. I was getting lost shuttling between the question and the options, specially so in the case of Reading Comprehension. It would pull me into a vicious cycle, killing my time and God, it was mentally exhausting.
3. Time management framework needed building. I felt the need to know the ideal question number where I should be at, upon looking at the clock. It would help me prioritise my speed.
4. Attempting Verbal after a grueling session of Quant was not really a thing for me. It seemed a good idea to attempt Verbal in the very beginning.
5. Sentence Correction was the subsection I needed most work in. My familiarity and fluency with the language was not getting me where I wanted to go. I understood immediately that it had to do with grammar rules that I was not aware of.
6. Critical Reasoning questions: I did not understand the framework and parts of argument to answer any better. Plus, I later realized that I needed to differentiate between partially correct options from perfectly correct ones.
7. In case of Reading Comprehension, I was forced to read the passage multiple number of times for the reason I did not understand the passage the first time around.
8. For the ‘main idea of the passage’ question, I was confused between 2 to 3 options, all of which seemed relevant and correct.

I started with Manhattan for Verbal. Abhinav, my mentor swore by it. I was quite meticulous for its share. It took me a few weeks to complete the course. I revised it twice.

So its been 10 weeks of preparation and its June 2019. I was pretty much done with all my resources. I decide to take the Official Mock #2. Mmmm… the result was not encouraging to say the least. I scored a 660 with V32.
Takeaways this time:
1. Inability to complete the verbal section (again). I couldn’t find my way past 29 questions this time.
2. No major improvement in the overall experience. I was still feeling the absence of concepts that were needed to answer questions.
3. My experiences with sections of Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension were pretty much the same as described above (for my first Official Mock).

To put it in a nutshell, I was left wanting even after going through Manhattan thrice. {My personal experience. I would be happy to know if you think otherwise. :-) }

I was perplexed. My mentor was shocked. He did his background checks on various other Verbal courses for the next 6 days. In the end he persuaded me to go for e-GMAT (a course he himself took). I, desperate to change the state of affairs, immediately took the subscription.


Ok, so e-GMAT

I immediately started with all the subsections simultaneously (including Master Comprehension, a section small enough to spell out some insights and strategies for Verbal section). I followed the following strategy:
1. Devoting equal amount of time to Quant and Verbal in a day.
2. Taking a topic on Sentence Correction. Get done in totality. Move on to Critical Reasoning. Get done with that. Move on to Reading Comprehension. Get done. Go to Master Comprehension. Get done. Repeat.
3. I would take a good share of breaks. One time slot, one topic!!! I would make it a concern to give my mind a breather. The idea was to internalize what I was going through. Simply doing the courses was not enough.
4. I got back to my mentor every time I wasn’t sure of the concept I was going through. At many places I was certain that the answer and explanation on e-GMAT were incorrect. Wait, but were they?? Not quite! My mentor, Abhinav explained the nuances in the most formative way possible, putting my predicament to rest every time.
5. Importance of jotting: I was trying to make it a more active exercise. I would make notes on paper to ensure a greater sense of engagement. {they helped in the very end when I could not afford to search a particular flash file on the platform}
6. I started attempting the Official Guide through the platform (because, end of the day, that’s the real deal, right!!).


Experience: I was comfortable with the platform from the very beginning. I had a few issues with software aspect of a handful of files. E-GMAT team took the matter on priority. I found the sequence of files to be in a thoughtful order. I never really digressed from that. The difference I felt could well be summarized as the following:
1. Depth : the files were very elaborate for the topics they covered. They did not really leave anything to guess work. The rules, the concepts and the nuances of the matter were out there for you to see and learn.
2. I was understanding the structure and genesis of sentences and passages so much better. Instead of looking at raw pieces of information that would feel like a maze, difficult to find your way through; I was able to break things down to my own comfort. It was a good feeling.
3. Sizes of the files: were ideal to completea file in a sitting. I did not need to stop in between just because completing a file was taking too long.


Overall, it was a journey that I embarked on the vector called e-GMAT. For you all to better gauge what I am trying to get at, I would like to share a conversation I had with my mentor the other day. I was 6 weeks onto the platform. I was liking the rhythm and pace of the course. I was feeling the change in approach I was developing while solving Official Guide and Review material. I was seeing a sentence’s genesis, its core and its appendages. The mysterious maze was metamorphosing into comprehensible pieces of puzzles. The beauty was that I was feeling these changes. So Abhinav and myself are talking about it and I say to him, “ Taking e-GMAT feels like undergoing Neuro-linguistic Programming”. Ahahahahha… I still hold by it.

So various subsections (MC, SC, CR and RC) start coming to an end one after the other. I had a greater sense of completeness this time around. I got done with my theory and thought to test myself with it.

I took Official Mock # 3 in early August. I scored a 730 with V40. It was definitely a relief. Takeaways this time:
1. Could complete 32 questions in Verbal. :(
2. Better sense of connection with the asked questions. Less wandering on the screen.
3. The need to read passages repeatedly in both CR and RC significantly decreased. As a result, I could attempt the Quant section less exhausted than before.

Then, I focused on practice questions exclusively for another 10 days. Took the Official Mock # 4. I scored a 760 with V42. Man, it felt good!!! It was an indication that all that perseverance, patience and strategy was working out the way I wished. Highlights:
1. Completed all the 36 questions.
2. Further reduction in need to re-read passages.
3. Pre-thinking in CR saved a lot of time.
4. Felt familiarity with the concepts tested in cases of Sentence Correction.

By this time, I got nominated for a mandatory training by my Department in Govt of India. So, I decided to register myself for GMAT after a week i.e. a day before leaving for my training. The date was 28th August 2019.

I tried to get my focus from the exam point of view. Now was the time to make the internalized matter manifest itself on the D-day. I tried to give myself rest, not solve too many questions, eat healthy etc.
I took GMAT in the 8 am slot. I was connecting well with the paper. I had to rush through in the last 6 questions in the Verbal section. Frankly I solved them in last 1 minute. So, no surprises here. I scored a 700 with V38. It was a decent score. I thanked the heavens upon leaving the center but felt I could do better. I took a late-night flight my Training Academy, only to join the next morning. I decided to retake GMAT after my 5 week long training.

I gave myself 2 days to get acclimatized to training schedule that would span effectively between 9.30 am to 6 pm everyday. I would try to utilize whatever time I could gather before and after training modules. After a while, I tried to find time in between sessions as well.

It was this time that I laid my hands on Scholaranium for the very first time. It’s such a user-friendly interface. It allowed me to make custom tests, managing the difficulty levels and subsections. I tried to pick 5 questions of a particular type, at a time. Due to paucity of time, I would many a times create custom tests of 2 questions each. The idea was simple. To make most of what I had. At the end of the each day, I would have done a handful of questions in both Verbal and Quant.

This continued for 2 weeks, when I logged into my account on mba.com to find a tentative date for retaking GMAT. For some reason I still don’t understand, I booked a slot 48 hours from then. So, I took GMAT again on 13th September 2019. It was more to do with going with the flow this time. I did not cut myself from the world. I did not try to be too restrictive when it came to diet and routine.

As before, it was an 8 am slot, this time in New Delhi. Frankly, I was not riding on high hopes. Plus, I was running a mild fever.

My sequence of attempting sections was the same i.e. Verbal --> Quant --> IR --> Essay.
I tried to be calm, stick to the clock and skip a question if it was taking too much time. The good thing was that I finished all 36 questions this time. God, that was a relief!!! Then came Quant. I was connecting with the questions fine. I attempted all the questions in Quant as well. I finally got done with IR and Essay.
While making the final submit, I was not very ecstatic about my attempt. It was an attempt given with the flow without making too much ado about it. Plus, I did not have as much time to myself for preparation as I wanted. The screen flashed 760 with a V41. I breathed a sigh of relief (not because of the score but because it was finally over). I went to get my Unofficial score from the desk. I told the guy that his centre was lucky for me. He smiled. I left. As soon as I could, I thanked the heavens looking up ( I kinda do that no matter how good or bad my exam goes). Fever was kicking in again. I took a cab for my hotel to take medication and rest for the rest of the day. :-)

My giveaways:
1. Slow and steady: Solving 2 questions at a time did not make me feel very good. But that’s all I could do, so many times. I think those small sessions helped me stay connected to the exam.
2. Importance of holding ones nerves: Managing GMAT preparation with meetings and site visits was a challenge. It took a lot to not lose focus or get disheartened. Plus, I developed fever a night before exam. I guess I just went easy on myself after that.
3. E-GMAT: What more could I say? Great platform. Prompt response by team. Meticulously crafter curriculum sequenced in a very thoughtful manner. My advice to optimally utilize it are the following:
i. Do not focus on one area at the expense of others. An armour with soft spots is no armour.
ii. Check answers to every question you solve. It will help you evaluate your approach for the correct ones and well, will enhance your skill on the incorrect ones for future.
iii. Even the incorrect options are important. While reviewing, I always would try to know why the incorrect ones are you know, incorrect. This is important. I picked up on a lot of new concepts. Also, it was a check on myself, as to how accurately I was eliminating options.
iv. Data matters: the stats I got about myself was helpful in subtle but powerful ways. It was a constant reminder of time and accuracy. Also, it helped me identify my weak areas.
v. Scholaranium: I read a lot about it as to how beneficial it had been to so many people. Now, I am one more to the list. The tool is phenomenal. It was what I needed given the constraints I had. Customising it to my requirement helped me take baby steps at a regular pace.

In the end, I would like to state (at the risk of repetition) that this was my individual journey. I encourage you to modify the ways and means stated above as per your requirement (should you decide to follow them). For any help or query, please feel free to drop a private message. It will just be a matter of time that I get back to you with a solution (to the best of my ability).

Thank you so much guys… All the very Best!!!

Stay hungry… stay foolish…

Originally posted by rsmalan on 14 Oct 2019, 02:03.
Last edited by rsmalan on 15 Oct 2019, 09:22, edited 2 times in total.
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New post 14 Oct 2019, 02:32
Great!!. I read your last debrief as well. Indeed very inspiring.
I hope i get good score after months of prep. Btw, any suggestion to control/manage my neurons? they aren't working effectively i believe :)
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New post 14 Oct 2019, 04:21
Haha. I myself relied on meditation my friend. All the best. DO tell me about your GMAT.



fauji wrote:
Great!!. I read your last debrief as well. Indeed very inspiring.
I hope i get good score after months of prep. Btw, any suggestion to control/manage my neurons? they aren't working effectively i believe :)


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New post 17 Oct 2019, 09:55
Hi,
Congratulations on the great score.
Did you take the Sigma Mocks at Egmat? If yes then can you please share your score
Thanks

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From V27 to V41  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2019, 11:35
Warraich54 - Since Rohit was a Verbal Online student, he did not have access to the mocks. I would be happy to answer any questions you have about the mocks. You may also look at the articles below:

What insights can you derive from these mocks: https://e-gmat.com/blogs/sigma-x-mocks- ... udy-plans/
How have people used these insights to create their study plans: https://e-gmat.com/blogs/sigma-x-mocks- ... in-1-week/

Tracking improvement
Rohit tracked his improvement using data in the course dashboard as well as in Scholaranium. I am sure rsmalan would be able to provide more insights here. I also did an analysis of his CR course attempt which you can watch below:



Lastly, write to our support team if you need help tracking your score improvement.

-Rajat
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From V27 to V41   [#permalink] 17 Oct 2019, 11:35
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