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GMAT Debrief - 650 to 710 (Q48, V40) - a long summary!

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Joined: 18 May 2016
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GMAT 1: 710 Q48 V40
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GMAT Debrief - 650 to 710 (Q48, V40) - a long summary! [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2017, 11:59
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Hello everyone,

After 6 months of a roller coaster ride, I am happy to be here to share the debrief (Q48,V40,IR8, AWA 5.5), something I didn’t think will happen this time too!

First of all I want to thank everyone on GMATClub for being the ultimate guide to me for 99% of the time, I would give 1% credit to all other factors. Especially I would mention Bunnel, bb, and souvik101990! i started my GMAt journey in June 2016, but then could not focus and stopped preparing. I again planned to study in Oct but that also didn’t materialise at the rate it should have owing to professional commitments. Finally I realised in December end that if I do not crack it by mid 2017 I will miss out on 2018 apps too which was simply not feasible for me. So I winded up my professional commitment in the next one month and started preparing in Feb until March end.


First Attempt - 650


Took first official GMAT on 31st March with a very disheartening score of 650 as I was expecting to touch the 700 score if not beyond. I had given my heart and soul to preparation, but I realised late that with a continuous focus of 2 months, it had all taken a toll on me. I was exhausted by the time I went for my exam. ESR broke the sad news that RC was another factor that took me so down, quant wasn’t great either at 47 and verbal at 34.

Then I took a break of a month and half to really get back to studies, as I did not even plan for this situation and didn’t realise that GMAT can be so disheartening if it doesn’t go as per our expectations. This one and half month break was a welcome breeze and it just freshened up the brain, may sound poetic but it just made me look at CR and SC more comfortably than I used to. I practiced RC more religiously and analysed my mistakes rigorously while also getting back to weak areas in Quant. Even though I still did silly mistakes in the 2nd and final attempt, I was much more confident this time round with probability and geometry, where I fumbled the first time round. I will talk about AWA and IR below.


Books/materials I used in the preparation:
1. Quant – GMAT Club Maths book, OG and Quant review, GMAT Prep Question bank, GMATclub question banks for 700-800 questions, Bunnel’s collections, GMATClub Test – mainly did quizzes of 50 questions each, I also completed all of MGMAT guides

2. VerbalMGMAT SC, CR, and RC guides.
    A. SC 1000s, SC topicwise questions and solutions was extremely helpful in the final one month prep as it pointed out just what I was committing my mistakes in, GMATclub flashcards
    B. CR – Powerscore Bible is such an awesome source to clear your concepts, I read it 5-6 times and it’s a delight to go through the concepts. A must have. I did join eGMAT course for CR after the 1st attempt, but since my basic concepts were clear, I couldn’t find it of much use. I am sure it will be very helpful for beginners.
    C. RC – mainly practised only from official sources, OG, and GMATPrep question bank, and the 4 question papers

3. AWA – Thanks to the most famous template around by chineseburned, I practised 4-5 AWAs without the practice tests to get used to the language and flow of thoughts. I did not learn the document but practicing it made my thoughts pretty much in line with what is needed and I used very basic terminologies, followed the 4 paragraph articulation in the final AWA as much as I wanted to give up on 3rd! Since it was the last section for me, I was quite exhausted and worried how I would score in it. It was a delight to see a 5.5. A 0.5 point jump from previous attempt, and a whole 30%ile more!! Even if it doesn’t matter, it’s a feel good factor! No more than 2 hours are required to ace this section. DO not waste your precious time on worrying about AWA.

4. IR – I was terrified of IR and yet scored an 8! No formula there, I practised all the 50 official practise questions (from the link that comes with OG) twice, in addition to the GMATPrep question bank’s 39 questions which have a sort of pattern to how GMAT expects the answers. I believe with a focus to understand how its looking for the answer, I could develop a comfort with this section. I did not study IR in the last week, I rather completed the reviews 15 days before the exam. I also think IR can get on our nerves if we are tense while attending it, so stay calm and you will win it! It was the third section for me, after Quant and Verbal in that order. Though I was worried in the beginning that this order will make it worse for me to perform in IR, I thought Quant and Verbal are key factors, if I don’t ace these two, IR wont even matter end of the day. So choose your battles wisely! I was quite OK after the two sections, as I practiced not to think of the previous question once its over! Move on!


Practise tests:
1. GMAT Prep – Question paper 1 and 2 ( the free ones) and EP 1 & 2 (paid ones, set 1)
I did these tests as many as 4-5 times each. Initially to see where I stand. I was getting a score of 710 - 730 before my first attempt.
Before the 2nd attempt, I started with 730 scores and then moved on to 770-80 as I knew most questions. My aim was to dig out as many official questions as I could as they give the real picture of the level of questions we face in GMAT

2. MGMAT tests – I took 4 MGMAT tests, score 690 max in the last one.
Since, I didn’t do any fresh practice test, I cannot provide a fair idea of how I fared wrt to practice tests. When you improve, you know it. So trust your instincts.


Few tips I find worthy of sharing:
  • Stay calm throughout the preparation
  • Stay calm throughout the exam – I didn’t stay calm in Quant and I regret it big time. I remember doing silly mistake in two questions – one because I couldn’t keep my eyes off the timer, second because I was too tense to think straight!! think of it I had 4 mins extra at the end of the section. I know it sounds foolish, but I should have focused better on the questions rather than on the time! So remember not to disappoint yourself with such mistakes.
  • Verbal needs lot of focus. I find each section equally gruelling. CR and RC have the overlaps and its helpful to have clear concepts of CR for a decent RC score. I don’t know how I performed in the individual sections, but I believe CR was very easy throughout the exam, except for one with close answers. I cant thank Powerscore bible enough for sailing me through!
  • SC – please make sure you know the idioms like the back of your hands if you are aiming at a high score. It’s a big confidence booster, because idioms are so frequently tested in the exam, you never know how much you bring your score down with one wrong idiom, when just a lil hard work on remembering them can take your scores higher up.
  • If you are overconfident, you will kill your score! Please stay grounded and then go for the exam. To test this, take a practise test even if repeated, it will show you the mirror.
  • MOST IMPORTANT – practice not looking at the clock while taking the test, I would advice following the method that Manhattan suggests. Marking on the sheets or in your mind to look at the time after every 6-8 questions. It just kills your confidence, focus and time when you are constantly worried about it. Have faith on your preparation, and in yourself that you cannot grossly go beyond the time that you took in practice tests. How I wish I could go back and redo Quant with a better focus.
  • Organized Answer sheet – I follow the Manhattan’s way of organizing the answer sheets, with 6 partitions neatly laid out on each leaf. This doesn’t mess up our minds and you easily move on to the next question. Give it a try even in your practice on paper, and you will find a sea change in how it affects your efficiency.
  • Timed tests/question banks – As much possible, do timed practice, I think this has been stressed upon in the forum time and again. You will be much more confident on the final day and might as well perform at par with your practice tests, if test anxiety doesn’t play with you.
  • Last but not the least, don’t judge yourself too much on the basis of the score. If high score matters a lot, then a low score is an opportunity to work towards your goal. As has been mentioned in the forum again and again, we should strive to get the score that will take us to the interview, anything above is more of a bonus!



Test Day
Exam sequence selection: Q- V - IR- AWA
I contemplated going for the usual format but on the test day I was somehow pretty sleepy - very unfortunate! Since I reached the center 45 mins before time which was at 1 oclock, I had the time to ponder over the situation and restrategize, reorganize my thoughts around it. With my last experience I could imagine that one hour of IR AWA may take further toll on me and hence I went for Quant as I love maths, it just wakes me up! And it did. The strategy worked very well in my favour, even though I was sceptical about not practising the order at home.

I was pretty relaxed after Quant and Verbal, to my surprise and IR became easier to tackle.

So I would suggest understand how you are comfortable with these sections, if you have time and patience, try all the three formats and then decide what works best. If you don't want to waste GMATPrep tests on this experiment, use MGMAT or Kaplan tests to analyse and then proceed. I suppose this will help you decide what suits you. Do not follow majority or minority, follow yourself. This test is all about you.

I will upload and update this lengthy debrief with links and documents in the next few days!
Wishing all the future test takers all the very best! Believe in yourself!

Thanks for reading!!
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Joined: 12 Oct 2015
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Concentration: Leadership, Accounting
GMAT 1: 700 Q47 V39
GPA: 3
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 650 to 710 (Q48, V40) - a long summary! [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2017, 12:44
Congrats thats a great score. Thanks so much for sharing your story with everyone. 710 is an excellent score. Best of luck with your apps.
_________________

Winners dont make excuses.

350--> 700

https://gmatclub.com/forum/700-q47-v39-ir-7-awa-246682.html

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Joined: 04 Jan 2016
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GMAT 1: 620 Q44 V32
GMAT 2: 600 Q48 V25
GMAT 3: 660 Q42 V39
GPA: 3.48
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 650 to 710 (Q48, V40) - a long summary! [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2017, 18:10
Amazing. Congratulation on your score.
It is a great score, one that you can rely on to get you to a good school of hopefully your choice.
I am gong to have my exam in one month and, as i am heading toward a very high wall, i hope i managed to get a good score in the range of 700 as well.
My last MGMAT practice exam last Sunday was 680 and i have not yet started to work on GMAC Exam since i saved them toward the last three weeks of my preparation.

Thank you for sharing your experience.
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 650 to 710 (Q48, V40) - a long summary! [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2017, 09:18
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Jkolachi...thanks a ton!

Heseraj - Thanks and wish you all the best for your test! Stay calm and you will surely jump the high wall!!
Re: GMAT Debrief - 650 to 710 (Q48, V40) - a long summary!   [#permalink] 16 Aug 2017, 09:18
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