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GMAT 710 (V37, Q49) – Gratitude

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GMAT 710 (V37, Q49) – Gratitude  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 06 Jan 2020, 08:43
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GMAT 670 to 710 in just 15 days :)

And that is how the promotional posts go ;)

First things first, this is not a promotion for sure. I self-prepared i.e. no online course (well, almost !) for the test and if there is anything that contributed to my score and deserves thanks, it is this forum. This is just my small attempt to repay GMAT club – for all the resources and inspiration it provided during the journey.

My score is humble, but my learning is immense and valuable. Call it over confidence or faith, I had written this debrief on 30 September 2019, even before I enrolled for GMAT. I appeared for GMAT on 09 Nov 2019 and scored 670 (V36, Q46, IR6, AWA 5.0). Of course, that was not a score for which I had written my debrief in advance. One look at the ESR (attached), and I knew that I had screwed CR and that this is certainly not the score I should settle for. I enrolled again for 28 Nov and focused on CR only in the mean time– out of the 150 odd questions I solved from OGs, barely 5-7 were incorrect. I could not understand what went wrong on test day if I am conceptually ok with CR. I took the test again today, and although I have improved my score by 40 points, to my shock and disbelief, majority of it came from Quant with Verbal still hovering at 37. (I am still double minded about doing a postmortem by ordering ESR again :roll: )

For anyone wanting to avoid reading my entire story, here are the quick take-aways:
1. Verbal is the tougher part of test. It is the TOUGHEST part of test. No matter how good you think you are at it. There is a reason that people who score 51 in Quant struggle to get 40 in Verbal. So focus on V from Day 1.
2. There is no ‘one plan fits all’ approach for GMAT. Please take the pain of drafting your own study plan rather than downloading someone else’s. You know best how much time you need for which topic.
3. While you are preparing, have a clear vision of your goal and preparation levels in your head. Be consciously aware of various phases of study – getting to know the test well, understanding all concepts, subsequent practice, identifying areas that are still weak, error log analysis and final refinement. In between study, take a day or two off to introspect – see what is working what isn’t. Trust me, it pays.
4. Almost every debrief tells you about the importance of maintaining error log. Well guess what, they are all right  It is an inevitable tool. And again, have your own format and capture mistakes in your own style. For me, my error logs told me I had issues with past perfect tense and comparisons. I was actually totally unaware that those were my weak areas and that I was repeatedly doing the same mistakes until I started maintaining error log.
5. GMAT is a game of nerves. Study hard but make sure you stay cheerful and relaxed during preparation. Those memories stick to your mind and your mind behaves exactly in same fashion on test day.

My debrief is actually not very brief :blushing I shall be writing a separate post elaborating on these points linking them with my experience and listing the resources I used. I shall be using the same colour scheme to convey each point.

Cheers
Rachna

Pls see this post for ESR of 710 score:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-710-v37 ... l#p2416640

And here is my ultra-long story:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-710-v37 ... l#p2435318
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File comment: Unofficial score - 710
GMAT 2019 - 710.pdf [614.02 KiB]
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Rachna Khanduja_364247729_ESR.pdf [490.17 KiB]
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Originally posted by Rachna23 on 28 Nov 2019, 09:03.
Last edited by Rachna23 on 06 Jan 2020, 08:43, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: GMAT 710 (V37, Q49) – Gratitude  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Nov 2019, 10:08
Rachna23 wrote:


I self-prepared i.e. no online course (well, almost !) for the test and if there is anything that contributed to my score and deserves thanks, it is this forum. This is just my small attempt to repay GMAT club – for all the resources and inspiration it provided during the journey.

My score is humble, but my learning is immense and valuable. Call it over confidence or faith, I had written this debrief on 30 September 2019, even before I enrolled for GMAT. I appeared for GMAT on 09 Nov 2019 and scored 670 (V36, Q46, IR6, AWA 5.0). Of course, that was not a score for which I had written my debrief in advance. One look at the ESR (attached), and I knew that I had screwed CR and that this is certainly not the score I should settle for. I enrolled again for 28 Nov and focused on CR only in the mean time– out of the 150 odd questions I solved from OGs, barely 5-7 were incorrect. I could not understand what went wrong on test day if I am conceptually ok with CR. I took the test again today, and although I have improved my score by 40 points, to my shock and disbelief, majority of it came from Quant with Verbal still hovering at 37. (I am still double minded about doing a postmortem by ordering ESR again :roll: )

For anyone wanting to avoid reading my entire story, here are the quick take-aways:
1. Verbal is the tougher part of test. It is the TOUGHEST part of test. No matter how good you think you are at it. There is a reason that people who score 51 in Quant struggle to get 40 in Verbal. So focus on V from Day 1.
2. There is no ‘one plan fits all’ approach for GMAT. Please take the pain of drafting your own study plan rather than downloading someone else’s. You know best how much time you need for which topic.
3. While you are preparing, have a clear vision of your goal and preparation levels in your head. Be consciously aware of various phases of study – getting to know the test well, understanding all concepts, subsequent practice, identifying areas that are still weak, error log analysis and final refinement. In between study, take a day or two off to introspect – see what is working what isn’t. Trust me, it pays.
4. Almost every debrief tells you about the importance of maintaining error log. Well guess what, they are all right  It is an inevitable tool. And again, have your own format and capture mistakes in your own style. For me, my error logs told me I had issues with past perfect tense and comparisons. I was actually totally unaware that those were my weak areas and that I was repeatedly doing the same mistakes until I started maintaining error log.
5. GMAT is a game of nerves. Study hard but make sure you stay cheerful and relaxed during preparation. Those memories stick to your mind and your mind behaves exactly in same fashion on test day.



Nice score improvement with self-preparation. Thanks for sharing your experiences for the benefit of the people here.

I will echo and add to some of your points, so that they may be of help to others.

1. Verbal will indeed be quite tough. It will preparation from the very beginning as verbal skills are slow to build over time. The OG and other official questions are the best practice materials available in terms of actually learning to apply principles.

2. Absolutely. Testtakers should develop their own plans of study that suits them. They should be prepared to modify their plans as needed. Copying from others will rarely work on these types of tests. Every testtaker has their own strengths and weaknesses in different areas. These need to be individually addressed.

3. Having clear goals will help. However, note that goals will develop over time and may need modifications later. The goals should address each area of preparation. Taking breaks is essential to preparation. The type of breaks will also matter.

4. Error logs, whether in formal or informal forms, are helpful. However, if they become a chore to maintain and take significant time away from preparation, then it may be helpful to develop new forms of record keeping.

5. The mind can play tricks and bad study habits can become difficult to remove. Good study habits developed over time will prove very helpful when test date draws near.

Testtakers should also not underestimate the quantitative section. Although it is relatively easier to do well on this section, getting high scores under test conditions is quite challenging. So, preparation should take into account overall aspects of the test.

Congrats on the good score and keep learning!
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Re: GMAT 710 (V37, Q49) – Gratitude  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2019, 15:05
Thanks a lot for adding feedback. Yes, rightly said, error logs must be used wisely and judiciously.

Cheers!

Hovkial wrote:
Rachna23 wrote:


I self-prepared i.e. no online course (well, almost !) for the test and if there is anything that contributed to my score and deserves thanks, it is this forum. This is just my small attempt to repay GMAT club – for all the resources and inspiration it provided during the journey.

My score is humble, but my learning is immense and valuable. Call it over confidence or faith, I had written this debrief on 30 September 2019, even before I enrolled for GMAT. I appeared for GMAT on 09 Nov 2019 and scored 670 (V36, Q46, IR6, AWA 5.0). Of course, that was not a score for which I had written my debrief in advance. One look at the ESR (attached), and I knew that I had screwed CR and that this is certainly not the score I should settle for. I enrolled again for 28 Nov and focused on CR only in the mean time– out of the 150 odd questions I solved from OGs, barely 5-7 were incorrect. I could not understand what went wrong on test day if I am conceptually ok with CR. I took the test again today, and although I have improved my score by 40 points, to my shock and disbelief, majority of it came from Quant with Verbal still hovering at 37. (I am still double minded about doing a postmortem by ordering ESR again :roll: )

For anyone wanting to avoid reading my entire story, here are the quick take-aways:
1. Verbal is the tougher part of test. It is the TOUGHEST part of test. No matter how good you think you are at it. There is a reason that people who score 51 in Quant struggle to get 40 in Verbal. So focus on V from Day 1.
2. There is no ‘one plan fits all’ approach for GMAT. Please take the pain of drafting your own study plan rather than downloading someone else’s. You know best how much time you need for which topic.
3. While you are preparing, have a clear vision of your goal and preparation levels in your head. Be consciously aware of various phases of study – getting to know the test well, understanding all concepts, subsequent practice, identifying areas that are still weak, error log analysis and final refinement. In between study, take a day or two off to introspect – see what is working what isn’t. Trust me, it pays.
4. Almost every debrief tells you about the importance of maintaining error log. Well guess what, they are all right  It is an inevitable tool. And again, have your own format and capture mistakes in your own style. For me, my error logs told me I had issues with past perfect tense and comparisons. I was actually totally unaware that those were my weak areas and that I was repeatedly doing the same mistakes until I started maintaining error log.
5. GMAT is a game of nerves. Study hard but make sure you stay cheerful and relaxed during preparation. Those memories stick to your mind and your mind behaves exactly in same fashion on test day.



Nice score improvement with self-preparation. Thanks for sharing your experiences for the benefit of the people here.

I will echo and add to some of your points, so that they may be of help to others.

1. Verbal will indeed be quite tough. It will preparation from the very beginning as verbal skills are slow to build over time. The OG and other official questions are the best practice materials available in terms of actually learning to apply principles.

2. Absolutely. Testtakers should develop their own plans of study that suits them. They should be prepared to modify their plans as needed. Copying from others will rarely work on these types of tests. Every testtaker has their own strengths and weaknesses in different areas. These need to be individually addressed.

3. Having clear goals will help. However, note that goals will develop over time and may need modifications later. The goals should address each area of preparation. Taking breaks is essential to preparation. The type of breaks will also matter.

4. Error logs, whether in formal or informal forms, are helpful. However, if they become a chore to maintain and take significant time away from preparation, then it may be helpful to develop new forms of record keeping.

5. The mind can play tricks and bad study habits can become difficult to remove. Good study habits developed over time will prove very helpful when test date draws near.

Testtakers should also not underestimate the quantitative section. Although it is relatively easier to do well on this section, getting high scores under test conditions is quite challenging. So, preparation should take into account overall aspects of the test.

Congrats on the good score and keep learning!
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New post 30 Nov 2019, 09:02
I wouldn't say that verbal is the harder part, it is more about how you are wired genetically. If you have a strong background in quant or in general always had an easy time with maths, do the hard work and focus on a study split in favour of verbal.

To me though, verbal comes a lot easier then quant and therefore I spent way more time in improving quant than I did on verbal. What I have to assert on top of that is, that quant is in my opinion way 'easier' than verbal. You can improve relatively quickly in SC but RC and CR won't come as fast if you are not familiar with the english language.
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New post 03 Dec 2019, 04:10
That is why I am calling V the toughest - scoring is the ultimate criteria against which to evaluate IMO. Quant is my weak are, and I could improve substantially on it with practice (read from 41 to 49). Improving scores on V beyond a point is tough.

chrtpmdr wrote:
I wouldn't say that verbal is the harder part, it is more about how you are wired genetically. If you have a strong background in quant or in general always had an easy time with maths, do the hard work and focus on a study split in favour of verbal.

To me though, verbal comes a lot easier then quant and therefore I spent way more time in improving quant than I did on verbal. What I have to assert on top of that is, that quant is in my opinion way 'easier' than verbal. You can improve relatively quickly in SC but RC and CR won't come as fast if you are not familiar with the english language.
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New post 03 Dec 2019, 04:38
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I finally ordered my ESR for the latest attempt. Attaching for everyone's reference.

I see I my CR stands at 80% now (up from 20% in my earlier attempt 15 days ago), but SC and RC have come down keeping the overall score just at 37. Also, would like to share that the RC passages I got this time were a lot harder - probably because I improved on CR and the first few questions were attempted correctly. This time I had changed the order of sections and attempted Q first. I was really doubtful of my Q performance as some of the questions were quite difficult and I could not complete the test. The fear of penalty for not completing the test really weighed me down but I tried to relax myself during the breaks.

Also, imo my Quant score has a lot to do with the first few being 100% correct. I performed well at the beginning and at the end of test in Q (as totally opposed to the V section) - though this was not a deliberate attempt. In the end, I ran short of time and one question (which was fairly easy and that prompted me try to solve it within 30 odd seconds left with me) was left unmarked which is perhaps reflecting as wrong in ESR.

Hope this helps everyone !
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New post 03 Dec 2019, 07:12
Rachna23 wrote:
That is why I am calling V the toughest - scoring is the ultimate criteria against which to evaluate IMO. Quant is my weak are, and I could improve substantially on it with practice (read from 41 to 49). Improving scores on V beyond a point is tough.

chrtpmdr wrote:
I wouldn't say that verbal is the harder part, it is more about how you are wired genetically. If you have a strong background in quant or in general always had an easy time with maths, do the hard work and focus on a study split in favour of verbal.

To me though, verbal comes a lot easier then quant and therefore I spent way more time in improving quant than I did on verbal. What I have to assert on top of that is, that quant is in my opinion way 'easier' than verbal. You can improve relatively quickly in SC but RC and CR won't come as fast if you are not familiar with the english language.


Yeah my post was a bit ambigous ... I did not want to say Quant is easier, I wanted to say improvement in quant comes easier.
If you are bad in geometry - fine - do problems everyday and even though you wont become a expert, you should get a good chunk of the questions right.

The studying is more mechanical, whereas if you have a weakness in english in general I would tend to say it's nearly game over for 700+ ambitions in at least somewhat short timeframe of a couple of months.
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New post 09 Dec 2019, 02:43
Rachna23 wrote:
Also, would like to share that the RC passages I got this time were a lot harder - probably because I improved on CR and the first few questions were attempted correctly.

Hi Rachna, it doesn't happen that way. Just because you attempt first few CR questions correct, would not mean that the first RC passage would be of a higher difficulty.

Perhaps the topic/theme of the RC passages was just more unfamiliar to you, than it was the last time around.
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New post 11 Dec 2019, 23:17
EducationAisle wrote:
Rachna23 wrote:
Also, would like to share that the RC passages I got this time were a lot harder - probably because I improved on CR and the first few questions were attempted correctly.

Hi Rachna, it doesn't happen that way. Just because you attempt first few CR questions correct, would not mean that the first RC passage would be of a higher difficulty.

Perhaps the topic/theme of the RC passages was just more unfamiliar to you, than it was the last time around.


Oh ok - thanks for enlightening :) Yes, I got really long scientific passage this time around.

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New post 12 Dec 2019, 01:15
Rachna23 wrote:
Oh ok - thanks for enlightening :) Yes, I got really long scientific passage this time around.

I just realized that with a 700+ on GMAT, the exam is firmly behind you, and you don't need this enlightenment :| .

All the best for your apps Rachna. :thumbup:
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New post 06 Jan 2020, 08:39
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On to my story (undue delay caused by very obvious reasons).

Disclaimer: This is my story about how I struggled and learned. Of course, there may be other/better ways of preparing. Feel free to follow your heart wherever you feel any disconnect.

My first brush with GMAT was in 2014 (yeah, way back!). I am a Chartered Accountant by profession and was keen to change my profile when one of my friends suggested attempting GMAT and getting an MBA degree. I joined classroom coaching in Delhi, India over the weekends and the course ran for about 3 months. It gave me a fair idea of the test and I got pretty comfortable with V. My pain area was Q - not being from an engineering background has its own drawbacks of course. I was very dissatisfied with the Q teaching at the institute and thus was nowhere close to appearing at the test. I thought I would revise and practice Q for few months and then try my hand at the test. I was living alone in Gurugram, India and was working full time and so really could never manage to study after my classes ended. Add to it the denied possibility of getting even 2 weeks’ leave before the test. Months turned into years and GMAT became kind of a buried dream.

Then came 2017 when finally one of my bosses understood my passion for GMAT and sanctioned one month leave for me to take the test. I studied from OG 13 and whatever material I had with me from the classes. I scored a dismal 650 (V40, Q41). In hindsight, I feel that given the fact I prepared for only one month after a gap of 3 years, 650 was not that bad; but certainly not good enough to get into any worthy school. I again got caught in the rut of hectic work life and never studied for GMAT. I wonder till date how people manage to study while working.

Cut to 2019, I quit my job in May to make a whole-hearted attempt at GMAT and relocated to my hometown for a dedicated effort. I knew I wanted to focus on Q – it was as much a psychological barrier as it was an actual academic issue. In June, I enrolled for an online Quant course from an Indian tutoring institute. It was a low-cost course (about $40) that just taught the basic concepts in a very school-like fashion. There was no focus on GMAT style questions or on developing strategies to solve the questions in the given 2 minutes. Further, there was no question bank provided for practice. But it helped me to consolidate Q concepts at one place and I spent roughly 2-3 months preparing my notes which I could then revise near the test. That is how I suggest customizing the study plan – for me it was all about conquering fear of quantitative reasoning.

Once I was reasonably done with Q, I revised Verbal concepts and strategies that I had learnt back in 2014.
At this stage, I came across video series by Charles on YouTube. It helped me immensely and took my understanding to a whole new level. Honestly, when I watched his video lessons, at times I felt I knew nothing about V. His emphasis on developing the right mindset and following the right approach for each question type helped me prepare my mind for the ultimate battle. I truly think GMATNinja is the superstar of GMAT club.

As for resources, apart from the notes I had prepared for Q, I used OG 13 and OG 18 for practice. I watched a lot of YouTube videos by Aditya from Crackverbal which really helped me to understand how to approach a question. I used his videos to improve on my weak areas i.e. Inequalities and Sets-Probability-P&C.

At this stage, I realized that the first phase of my prep is over and I need to start taking mock tests. I tried a few free mock tests by different Testprep companies and my score ranged between 650-680 with V score going down to 35-37 from my earlier 40 in GMAT and Q improved to 45 from 41. I was quite disappointed to see my mock scores as even after studying for roughly 4 months, my overall score had not improved much. In fact, any improvements that I made in Q were set off by low V score and I was not even able to sustain my earlier score, let alone improving.

Strangely, whenever I used to practice from OG, almost 90% of the questions I attempted were correct. I realized that I was not as comfortable with the online format as I was with paperback. When solving questions online under time constraints, my performance dipped like anything. Hence, I decided to stop studying from paper editions altogether. At this stage, GMATclub question banks became my saviour. I used to solve high difficulty questions everyday at GMAT club by using the timer. I limited myself to official questions and always practiced mix bag of questions including PS, DS, RC, CR & RC. This helped me in multiple ways – apart from improving my comfort with the online format, it provided me with a ready error log and highlighted areas where I was taking too much time to solve a question. This can be a good starting point for anyone till you develop your personal error log. Surprisingly, my error log showed trends of repeated mistakes in CR, Inequalities and SC questions testing past perfect tense. (Or should I say not so surprisingly  I am sure this happens to everyone – unaware of our own shortcomings, we are often repeating the same mistakes again and again).

I then targeted my efforts to improve on these identified weak areas by revising concepts, practicing more questions and watching webinars (which often leave you with interesting tips!). Thankfully, I was doing ok at the basic stuff like percentages, ratios, equations, geometry etc.

Then came the final phase of preparation i.e. making my mind accustomed to full length tests. I decided to take up at least 10 mocks (before attempting 2 GMAT prep tests) and keeping cost factors in mind, bought the Experts Global test series which offered 14 tests additional to the free mock which I had already tried. I started attempting tests every few days and this really helped me overcome my anxiety. My test results, however, were fairly inconsistent. On some days, I would score well above 700. On other days it would be in the range of 670-690. Although the tests are not adaptive, they give a fair idea of your expected scores. I used to score in the range of 35-37 for V and 45-48 in Q and my final GMAT score is quite close to that.

I still decided to go ahead with the test and booked it for 11 Oct 2019. Strangely, I received no confirmation from GMAC and after 2 days, the money I had paid came back to my account. (My story has enough twists to keep you hooked and entertained :cool: ). Before I could enroll again, I fell ill and later on actually thanked God for the failed bank transaction. I would anyway not have been able to appear/perform at the test will bad health. Then came the festive season in India and I decided to postpone the test until after Diwali.

I enrolled again for 09 Nov 2019 and chose a test center about which I had already read many bad reviews. My reasons were not so sound though! I wake up quite late and the test center was offering me time slot of 11 AM. With a deflated car tyre, I found the test center with great difficulty. It was as small as a hatchback car and had just 4 seats. The reception was right outside the test room and I could hear noises from outside all through the test. Not to blame the test center entirely for my bad performance, but it is true that environment impacts our performance. I am bringing this up just to convey that please choose your center wisely and if it is in another city, please reach a day in advance and avoid travelling on the test day. My heart sank when I saw score of 670 (V 36, Q 46) :( .

My friends really guided me well throughout this journey and encouraged me to appear again. My ESR made even more sense for me to reappear. I applied again for 28 Nov (which was the only date available during November) for another center in my city and the test timing was 8 AM. This center turned out to be extremely professional and way bigger and better. In the two weeks that I had before the next test, I kept myself extremely relaxed. I focused on CR and used to just leisurely revise notes for other topics. I did not study more than 3 hours on any day. I tried just one mock 2 days before the test day just to make my mind tick and didn’t score too well.

On the test day, I was quite apprehensive of the 8AM timing and I thought my mind would be too sleepy at that time to score well. I tried solving 2-3 questions each of V and Q at home before leaving for the test center. Once at the center, I opted to do Quant section first. I saw some really difficult questions on the test (i.e. they were difficult for me at least ;) ) and missed to attempt the last question. I do not have many memories of the other 3 sections as my mind kind of got onto auto-pilot mode after the first break.

I was relieved to see a 710 on screen !!! Happy ending to a loooooooong journey.

While I was preparing, I have been inspired by many such stories that people share on GMAT club. I hope mine gives inspiration to a few as well.

Good luck!
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Re: GMAT 710 (V37, Q49) – Gratitude  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Apr 2020, 08:02
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I am wildly embarrassed that I failed to respond to this sooner, but hopefully this is a "better late than never" sort of thing...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Welcome to the 700 Club. :)

And thank you so much for the kind words. I'm thrilled that we could play a tiny role in all of this.

Please let us know where you end up for grad school, and congratulations again!
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Re: GMAT 710 (V37, Q49) – Gratitude  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Apr 2020, 19:48
Better late than never :lol: (I can tell you Rachna23 that's faster than GMATNinja replies to me :-P )

Have you applied anywhere in R2? How did you do? or you targeting R1 next season?
Congrats on the score!
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Re: GMAT 710 (V37, Q49) – Gratitude  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2020, 11:42
bb wrote:
Better late than never :lol: (I can tell you Rachna23 that's faster than GMATNinja replies to me :-P )

So not true. There was that one time when I responded to you in only two months! Much faster than my reply to Rachna23. :D
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SC articles & resources: How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

RC, CR, and other articles & resources: All GMAT Ninja articles on GMAT Club | Using LSAT for GMAT CR & RC |7 reasons why your actual GMAT scores don't match your practice test scores | How to get 4 additional "fake" GMAT Prep tests for $29.99 | Time management on verbal

SC & CR Questions of the Day (QOTDs), featuring expert explanations: All QOTDs | Subscribe via email | RSS

Need an expert reply? Hit the request verbal experts' reply button; be specific about your question, and tag @GMATNinja. Priority is always given to official GMAT questions.
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Re: GMAT 710 (V37, Q49) – Gratitude   [#permalink] 11 Apr 2020, 11:42

GMAT 710 (V37, Q49) – Gratitude

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