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GMAT Debrief - 610(Q49 V24) to 710(Q49 V38)

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Intern
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Joined: 14 Jan 2018
Posts: 28
Location: India
GMAT 1: 610 Q49 V24
GMAT 2: 640 Q49 V29
GMAT 3: 710 Q49 V38
GPA: 3.2
WE: Information Technology (Consulting)
GMAT Debrief - 610(Q49 V24) to 710(Q49 V38)  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2019, 03:39
2
My year-long GMAT journey has been one with many mistakes.
I hope the learnings in this debrief could avoid people making the same mistakes I made and get their target at the first attempt.

I prepared for the GMAT as a working professional with long travelling hours and late working hours.

When I began, I did not have any concrete strategy for the GMAT. My understanding was that solving 2000+ questions would do the needful.
I bought the OG, Manhattan books, Powerscore CR bible, Aristotle SC prep and also got a subscription of e-gmat.
I felt solving everything from these resources would do the trick.

I was already strong at Quants so realised that not much effort was required. I hardly practised Quants. I just went through a bit of data sufficiency problems.
For verbal, I began reading up on techniques to solve questions. I read techniques from too many resources and used e-gmat mostly for their scholaranium and a few concepts.
Following the 3-step technique of e-gmat seemed to take long to solve questions so I left it halfway. RC was extremely weak.
Because of certain reasons, I could not postpone the date of the exam and gave the exam confused, with poor basics and reading speed.
I ended up with 610(Q49 V24)

I was not disheartened because I still had a lot of time for my applications.
I took a 3-week leave after 7 months and decided to give my best shot at GMAT.
This time it was different. I only used the OG and e-gmat. This time my strategy was to master SC and CR. I thought that keeping RC as a weak area could be compensated.
The e-gmat 3-step strategy built a strong foundation for my SC and CR. Another thing that helped me was I used to write down why every other option was incorrect and match it to the reason given by e-gmat. This strategy helped me learn more by solving fewer questions.
I made 2 big mistakes.

1. The strategy this time was to mark C for a long RC passage and use the gained time to solve the SC and CR questions properly.
2. I used to pause the timer in the mocks, take a picture and solve the question when I was behind time, hoping that during the exam, the exam pressure would allow me to solve questions faster.

Even though I scored 700+ in my mocks I ended up with a 640(Q49 V29). Probably all my C's on the long RC passage was incorrect. Also, I still did not have time for the last 2 questions.

I was heartbroken this time as I did not have much time for my applications nor any more leaves left. So taking another attempt seemed to be difficult.
I thought I can compensate for the low GMAT score with my SOP and LOR's.

But the thought of applying with a low GMAT score kept bothering me.
I took 1-month break to get settled with my work and recover my sanity. After that I decided to give one last attempt to the GMAT along with working with my applications parallelly. I went through the RC course of e-gmat and used all the strategies such as immersion, prethinking , predictive thinking and reading fast through dense details.
Parellaly my reading speed was improving because of the research I was doing for my applications.

I decided to do 3 RC's/ day from the OG using the e-GMAT strategy. Further, I revisited my error logs for SC and CR and brushed up the concepts from the notes I had made.

Finally, I scored a 710 (Q49 V38). I had time to give just one mock. If I could give 2-3 more I was pretty sure I could 20-30 points more.
But If's are always wishes and cannot be proven until achieved. After the exam, I was still satisfied with the score.

To summarize all my learnings.

1. Pre thinking is the most crucial part of CR and RC.
2. Focusing on the meaning side of SC is extremely important. Also reading the entire sentence looking for errors works.
3. Mocks are important so that you don't loose focus in the final minutes of the section. Also Mocks should be treated exactly as a the Exam-centre experience.
4. Reading from quality resources such as The Economist helps.
5. Leaving an entire RC could be extremely risky.
6. Do not use too many resources, instead learn as much as possible from fewer questions.

Cheers all. Hope this helps someone with a similar thought process and skillset as mine.

I also want to thank all members of the GMATclub whose solutions to OG questions have been extremely helpful.
Advise and motivation was always available on this forum.
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GMAT Debrief - 610(Q49 V24) to 710(Q49 V38)  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2019, 14:39
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Congratulations, rohitsubr, on a fine turnaround, and thank you for sharing. I found the summary at the end to be of particular interest. My in-line responses below.

rohitsubr wrote:

To summarize all my learnings.

1. Pre thinking is the most crucial part of CR and RC.
-I agree that putting a finger on just what the question is asking before you look at the responses is vital to test-taking success. In some cases, your answer might not match one of the options, but thinking critically about the question in advance can help to cut right through some of those could-be-true distractions the question-writers like to toss in.
2. Focusing on the meaning side of SC is extremely important. Also reading the entire sentence looking for errors works.
-I have worked with a number of students aiming to cross the 700 threshold, and the number one consideration I ask such students to focus on is indeed clarity of meaning. When you keep modifiers straightened out and information together in a clear and logical manner, you keep getting Hard SC questions correct. At that level, it is a rare gift to arrive at the correct response through knowledge of grammar alone.
3. Mocks are important so that you don't loose focus in the final minutes of the section. Also Mocks should be treated exactly as a the Exam-centre experience.
-The latter point speaks to why many students earn inflated results and then bomb, relatively speaking, the day of the actual exam. They might skip the essay and even the IR, take a section at a time, or, worst of all, retake a mock and convince themselves that that 70-point jump represents genuine progress.
4. Reading from quality resources such as The Economist helps.
-I cannot speak to this point directly, as I probably read a lot of this sort of writing on a day-to-day basis as a tutor who jumps from one upper-level test to another. However, I have seen other prep companies recommend this exact approach (using sources such as The Economist, NY Times, or some such). I guess I am too bogged down in standardized test questions and passages to make this a priority.
5. Leaving an entire RC could be extremely risky.
-Definitely. I think it is risky, too, because the difficulty of the question set is hard to predict. Perhaps earlier in the test when most people tend to do a little better (with mental reserves up), the harder passages present themselves, but by later in the test, form may have dipped, and suddenly those RC questions are linchpins to earning that higher score. Nothing should be taken too lightly.
6. Do not use too many resources, instead learn as much as possible from fewer questions.
-I say this all the time in my posts. Especially when responding to students who are just starting their prep and blazing through OG questions one day after another, I like to point out that such an approach lends itself to making the same mistakes over and over and exhausting the best source of high-quality questions in the process. It takes a more mature approach to take maybe five questions, leave them unchecked upon completion, and sit down an hour or two later to mull over the same questions, tracing your thought process to see whether you would go down the same path as before. There are so many test-taking habits, good or bad, that you can develop over the course of completing the same questions, even the same number of questions, depending on how you approach them. I attempt to teach people to relish the opportunity to practice official questions, rather than seeing the task as a chore. When they spend some time with the questions and learn how to break them down, and they make an effort to learn from their mistakes, they tend to experience real gains, the type that you yourself experienced.

Cheers all. Hope this helps someone with a similar thought process and skillset as mine.
-Cheers. Your thorough and thoughtful debrief gets a kudos from me. I hope you might share with the community what your next step may be, even if that will take some time to develop.

I also want to thank all members of the GMATclub whose solutions to OG questions have been extremely helpful.
Advise and motivation was always available on this forum.


Good luck.

- Andrew
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 610(Q49 V24) to 710(Q49 V38)  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2019, 15:01
Congratulations rohit!! :)

You Quant performance is consistent. You kept improving in Verbal and that's exactly what GMAT rewarded you for.

Good luck with applications!
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 610(Q49 V24) to 710(Q49 V38)  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Dec 2019, 09:00
Congratulation rohitsubr. Wish you luck on your mba application and keep active in this forum

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 610(Q49 V24) to 710(Q49 V38)   [#permalink] 08 Dec 2019, 09:00
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