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GMAT Debrief: 730(Q46 V45) IR 5

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GMAT Debrief: 730(Q46 V45) IR 5 [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2017, 14:06
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Hello. This is my first post so apologies for any errors. Even if 1 person takes something away from this will be worth it. This website and community has been so useful to me.

Background: International Indian student. Graduated with a sub 3.0 GPA from a top tier engineering university in USA. Found the last few semesters very difficult due to academics and other reasons. So, I had a point to prove. A big one.

Registered: 19th December for 23rd Feb 2017. Gave me about 8 weeks.

Target: As close to 700 as possible.

I am not a genius or naturally good at standardized tests or anything. Scored 700+700 in Math and CR on SAT = 1400/1600. Worked very hard for those scores too. Those are good scores but nothing special. Know scores of people who scored higher.

Diagnostic test: pretty much gave up half way through. Was rusty on lots of geometry, algebra. DS had me completely struck out. SC and CR were absolute disasters. Got Q27, V22 or something like that. Got a 430 or something. The only way to go is up right?

I’m a little hard up on money right now so a course was out of the question. I managed to get my hands on OG 15. Latest OG doesn’t matter. It’s mostly a question bank. 1st week of preparation wasn’t useful. Just started aggressively smashing quant and verbal questions. Found myself hung up on some nonsensical and obscure topics like remainders, mixture problems and boldface (maybe not so obscure) and SC could not make head or tail of the explanations. I realized I was getting nowhere. Then I found the link on this website that has grouped Quant/verbal by subtopics and difficulty. I’m not allowed to post the link for some reason. This was an absolute gamechanger in my preparation. Also discovered Magoosh blogs which are fun to read and extremely useful. I also started practicing meditation and positive thinking every day.

Quant Prep: Kept a decent error log. Logged questions I had no clue on, questions I got right but took too long on(there must be an easier/smarter way) and most importantly questions I thought I got right but got wrong. The latter was crucial in picking apart traps and see which ones I was falling into. Furthermore, every question was timed. Anything more than 2:15-2:30 was flagged.

PS Prep: Started with the sub-600 level on heavy hitting topics like Number properties (was terrible at odd/even and factors), Algebra, percentages, geometry, descriptive statistics. Quickly moved on to the 600-700 level questions. It is important you know how to solve questions in this level cold with a high accuracy. If you hope to reach 700 you cannot afford to get tripped up on this. Slowly it started clicking and I got better. Read a Magoosh blog where appropriate. Had some handy tricks on Distance Rate and Percents and Triangles.

DS prep: Found this horribly tricky/difficult. But same concept as above. Attacked it topic by topic and eventually got a sense of common traps. The “C” trap was a massive hurdle where it looked like an obvious one but “A” or “B” on greater scrutiny was the answer. Important to carefully read these questions. I always had a mental checklist of numbers. Positive/negative fraction/integer, 0 and 1! Always simplify the problem statement when you can. And finally, do not be afraid to pick E. Have faith in your abilities. Initially I felt like a failure but it's only a failure if you pick the wrong answer!

Quant final thoughts: A massive thanks to Bunuel. His explanations are fantastic and very easy to follow. Even when I got the questions right I would read his explanation if available. So thank you and here’s a virtual *hug* :-D

Verbal: While the ultra-competitive quant percentiles horrified me after scanning through the GMAT scaled score table I realized the verbal section is your golden ticket to a 700+ score. I am a native speaker and I do empathize with the non-natives but I don’t believe that was the defining factor in my verbal score.

RC: I truly cannot help you here. Apparently, I speed read. Actively. I am interested in financial markets so have gone through a lot of dry material like Economist, WSJ, financial articles etc. I liked reading the entire passage and then answering. Figure out what works for you. Some like to skim, some like to take notes. Just have a strategy, practice and do the same thing on the day of the exam. I practiced a passage or two every couple of days to keep myself in the zone. Sharpened main idea of paragraph/passage because that is the most common question.

CR: Very similar strategy to quant. Focused on the big boys through the topic link. Strengthen, weaken, assumption, conclusion/infer, evaluate (this was a pain). Mostly ignored bold face. Pre-thought assumption, strengthen and weaken. Opposite for the rest. Only cold hard facts on evaluate, boldface and conclusion. Found an attachment on this website. “97 CR questions”, “97 CR answers”. Excellent explanations. Another one “CR 700 to 800 level practice questions” and a solutions link. Not sure if they were 700-800 but I will take their word and did them anyway but saved it mostly for later.

SC: I am a native speaker but I’m certain I make all the standard conversation errors. If you approach SC with this mentality I guarantee you will be at the 550-600 level by solving questions by what “sounds right”. I managed to scavenge a file from this file called “MR-GMAT-Sentence-Correction-Guide”. I think it’s from 2011 because there’s no mention of IR in the intro but my logic is the grammar rules haven’t changed. I painstakingly started going through the book. For example if the topic was S-V agreement, I read all the rules then went to the link on this website and practiced all the S-V questions at sub-500 and 600-700 level. Skipped some topics like gerunds (still can’t define a gerund though I probably know what it is) and subjunctive. I did see an improvement. My accuracy did improve but it was still frustrating. I would always be stuck between two. Also, I wouldn’t understand why I was eliminating some choices. Accuracy was far too low at the 600-700 level. Was taking far too long as well. Over 2 minutes per question. Also, it’s possible to get 6 or 7 SC in the 1st 10 Verbal questions so if you bomb those you’re in trouble.

SC Extended: I downloaded the magoosh idiom book available free on their website. It didn’t really help me. Will probably help the non-native speakers. I then somehow stumbled upon a free e-gmat video. They didn’t give away too much but one thing that stuck with me was “meaning based approach”. Just 3 words but they changed the way I approached SC. If you are a non-native or find SC especially difficult I suggest you take their course. I started spending 15-20 seconds (sometimes even 30) on figuring out what the sentence was trying to say. I was stunned at how many options the GMAT threw were just changing the meaning of the sentence. Armed with this approach and the grammar rules, I saw a dramatic spike in my SC improvement. Not only that but I got SC down to 1:20/question. Some would finish as quick as 45 seconds. Do the math. Saving 30 seconds on average on a SC over 16 of them gives you around 8 extra minutes. Priceless time to crack a particularly difficult RC or CR!

I was ready to start giving practice exams.

January 27: GMAT PREP Exam 1: Q46 V35 670. Skipped IR and AWA. Was happy but also cautious because I had seen some quant and verbal questions before.

Prep after exam 1: I now stopped focusing exclusively on topic by topic. I started doing timed drills on quant. Started working through the OG well as Manhattan GMAT in SC around 10/day. Also, I started working through the two CR files I mentioned as well as the OG. I would spend a lot of time on the solutions understanding what they are looking for.

Feb 9: GMAT PREP 2: Q48 V 38 710. Skipped IR and AWA. Quant mistakes were varied and borne of time constraint. Verbal CR evaluate and SC parallel structure were flagged.
Kept up the drills. Purchased the GMAT exam Pack because I didn’t trust the free tests online, wanted only PREP questions and wanted the official (or as close as) scoring algorithm.

Feb 16: GMAT EP Exam 3: Q45 V38 670. IR 3 wrote an AWA. I was a bit under the weather. Don’t think the extra time spent on IR/AWA had an impact. Got 4 questions wrong out of the 1st 15 in verbal. Felt low but told myself my range seemed to have been established and if I didn’t panic this would pretty much be the worst it could be.
Started practicing some IR. Kept up the quant SC and CR drills.

Feb 19: GMAT EP Exam 4: Q48 V 40 IR 5 720. This built some serious confidence. Quant was frustrating. Varied mistakes. Verbal was good. Only 1 mistake in the 1st 15. CR evaluate and boldface was still a sticking point. SC got tripped on some weird stuff.

Do analyze your exams quite thoroughly. Took screen shots of all mistakes and sent the SC to my lawyer friend to help me parse through incorrect options. Why is this wrong? Why is this right?

Exam Day:
Try to keep everything as same as possible from your mock exams to your real day. I never showered before my practice so I did not shower before the real exam as well. Took some nuts and red bull because exam was while lunch time and I knew I would feel the effects of skipping a meal on my energy levels. Had a good breakfast too.

AWA: Broke the argument. Figured out some nice assumptions. Haven’t got my score but felt okay.

IR: Annoying. 3,4,5 were hard which stalled any momentum from 1 and 2. Ran out of time badly but wasn’t too bothered with IR.

Break: Nuts. Gather thoughts.

Quant: Began disastrously. Messed up the algebra on #1 easy ratio question and got an answer that matched none of the choices. Similar with #3 median question. Took 3.5 mins on each and I know in my heart I got both wrong. I felt like crying. Got even more worried when #11 was laughably easy :( . Anyways, I rallied hard after that and combined accuracy with some speed and finished the section on time.

Break: Felt like shit. Ate some nuts, chugged some red bull. I told myself that Quant had nothing to do with Verbal. My meditation practice really came in handy. Joked with the proctor.

Verbal: Began well. Question #6 was an RC so I figured I had a good shot at getting the 1st 10 right. At #15 I realized I was way ahead of time and told myself to calm down and take it slow. Got a real curve ball on #25 evaluate but another RC seemed to have me back on track. Found everything from #36 horribly tricky which in hindsight makes complete sense.

Saw the 730 first and everything else was a blur. Only saw V45 when I got my unofficial printout. I was done! A twinge of regret at my quant score but it could have also been a lot worse.
I realize this is a long one but hope it helps someone :) If you got this far, thanks for reading and let me know if you need anything.
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 730(Q46 V45) IR 5 [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2017, 01:15
hey, congrats on the great score!

Can you help me find the link to the 97 CR questions and answers that you talked about in your debrief?

I tried a random search on this forum and could not locate it. Any leads would be appreciated.

thanks!
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GMAT Debrief: 730(Q46 V45) IR 5 [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2017, 12:19
Congrats on the great score!

Thanks for the debrief.

I am assuming that this is the link to the above mentioned CR questions
https://gmatclub.com/forum/97-cr-questi ... l#p1488667
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 730(Q46 V45) IR 5 [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2017, 19:37
burzman92 wrote:
Hello. This is my first post so apologies for any errors. Even if 1 person takes something away from this will be worth it. This website and community has been so useful to me.

Background: International Indian student. Graduated with a sub 3.0 GPA from a top tier engineering university in USA. Found the last few semesters very difficult due to academics and other reasons. So, I had a point to prove. A big one.

Registered: 19th December for 23rd Feb 2017. Gave me about 8 weeks.

Target: As close to 700 as possible.

I am not a genius or naturally good at standardized tests or anything. Scored 700+700 in Math and CR on SAT = 1400/1600. Worked very hard for those scores too. Those are good scores but nothing special. Know scores of people who scored higher.

Diagnostic test: pretty much gave up half way through. Was rusty on lots of geometry, algebra. DS had me completely struck out. SC and CR were absolute disasters. Got Q27, V22 or something like that. Got a 430 or something. The only way to go is up right?

I’m a little hard up on money right now so a course was out of the question. I managed to get my hands on OG 15. Latest OG doesn’t matter. It’s mostly a question bank. 1st week of preparation wasn’t useful. Just started aggressively smashing quant and verbal questions. Found myself hung up on some nonsensical and obscure topics like remainders, mixture problems and boldface (maybe not so obscure) and SC could not make head or tail of the explanations. I realized I was getting nowhere. Then I found the link on this website that has grouped Quant/verbal by subtopics and difficulty. I’m not allowed to post the link for some reason. This was an absolute gamechanger in my preparation. Also discovered Magoosh blogs which are fun to read and extremely useful. I also started practicing meditation and positive thinking every day.

Quant Prep: Kept a decent error log. Logged questions I had no clue on, questions I got right but took too long on(there must be an easier/smarter way) and most importantly questions I thought I got right but got wrong. The latter was crucial in picking apart traps and see which ones I was falling into. Furthermore, every question was timed. Anything more than 2:15-2:30 was flagged.

PS Prep: Started with the sub-600 level on heavy hitting topics like Number properties (was terrible at odd/even and factors), Algebra, percentages, geometry, descriptive statistics. Quickly moved on to the 600-700 level questions. It is important you know how to solve questions in this level cold with a high accuracy. If you hope to reach 700 you cannot afford to get tripped up on this. Slowly it started clicking and I got better. Read a Magoosh blog where appropriate. Had some handy tricks on Distance Rate and Percents and Triangles.

DS prep: Found this horribly tricky/difficult. But same concept as above. Attacked it topic by topic and eventually got a sense of common traps. The “C” trap was a massive hurdle where it looked like an obvious one but “A” or “B” on greater scrutiny was the answer. Important to carefully read these questions. I always had a mental checklist of numbers. Positive/negative fraction/integer, 0 and 1! Always simplify the problem statement when you can. And finally, do not be afraid to pick E. Have faith in your abilities. Initially I felt like a failure but it's only a failure if you pick the wrong answer!

Quant final thoughts: A massive thanks to Bunuel. His explanations are fantastic and very easy to follow. Even when I got the questions right I would read his explanation if available. So thank you and here’s a virtual *hug* :-D

Verbal: While the ultra-competitive quant percentiles horrified me after scanning through the GMAT scaled score table I realized the verbal section is your golden ticket to a 700+ score. I am a native speaker and I do empathize with the non-natives but I don’t believe that was the defining factor in my verbal score.

RC: I truly cannot help you here. Apparently, I speed read. Actively. I am interested in financial markets so have gone through a lot of dry material like Economist, WSJ, financial articles etc. I liked reading the entire passage and then answering. Figure out what works for you. Some like to skim, some like to take notes. Just have a strategy, practice and do the same thing on the day of the exam. I practiced a passage or two every couple of days to keep myself in the zone. Sharpened main idea of paragraph/passage because that is the most common question.

CR: Very similar strategy to quant. Focused on the big boys through the topic link. Strengthen, weaken, assumption, conclusion/infer, evaluate (this was a pain). Mostly ignored bold face. Pre-thought assumption, strengthen and weaken. Opposite for the rest. Only cold hard facts on evaluate, boldface and conclusion. Found an attachment on this website. “97 CR questions”, “97 CR answers”. Excellent explanations. Another one “CR 700 to 800 level practice questions” and a solutions link. Not sure if they were 700-800 but I will take their word and did them anyway but saved it mostly for later.

SC: I am a native speaker but I’m certain I make all the standard conversation errors. If you approach SC with this mentality I guarantee you will be at the 550-600 level by solving questions by what “sounds right”. I managed to scavenge a file from this file called “MR-GMAT-Sentence-Correction-Guide”. I think it’s from 2011 because there’s no mention of IR in the intro but my logic is the grammar rules haven’t changed. I painstakingly started going through the book. For example if the topic was S-V agreement, I read all the rules then went to the link on this website and practiced all the S-V questions at sub-500 and 600-700 level. Skipped some topics like gerunds (still can’t define a gerund though I probably know what it is) and subjunctive. I did see an improvement. My accuracy did improve but it was still frustrating. I would always be stuck between two. Also, I wouldn’t understand why I was eliminating some choices. Accuracy was far too low at the 600-700 level. Was taking far too long as well. Over 2 minutes per question. Also, it’s possible to get 6 or 7 SC in the 1st 10 Verbal questions so if you bomb those you’re in trouble.

SC Extended: I downloaded the magoosh idiom book available free on their website. It didn’t really help me. Will probably help the non-native speakers. I then somehow stumbled upon a free e-gmat video. They didn’t give away too much but one thing that stuck with me was “meaning based approach”. Just 3 words but they changed the way I approached SC. If you are a non-native or find SC especially difficult I suggest you take their course. I started spending 15-20 seconds (sometimes even 30) on figuring out what the sentence was trying to say. I was stunned at how many options the GMAT threw were just changing the meaning of the sentence. Armed with this approach and the grammar rules, I saw a dramatic spike in my SC improvement. Not only that but I got SC down to 1:20/question. Some would finish as quick as 45 seconds. Do the math. Saving 30 seconds on average on a SC over 16 of them gives you around 8 extra minutes. Priceless time to crack a particularly difficult RC or CR!

I was ready to start giving practice exams.

January 27: GMAT PREP Exam 1: Q46 V35 670. Skipped IR and AWA. Was happy but also cautious because I had seen some quant and verbal questions before.

Prep after exam 1: I now stopped focusing exclusively on topic by topic. I started doing timed drills on quant. Started working through the OG well as Manhattan GMAT in SC around 10/day. Also, I started working through the two CR files I mentioned as well as the OG. I would spend a lot of time on the solutions understanding what they are looking for.

Feb 9: GMAT PREP 2: Q48 V 38 710. Skipped IR and AWA. Quant mistakes were varied and borne of time constraint. Verbal CR evaluate and SC parallel structure were flagged.
Kept up the drills. Purchased the GMAT exam Pack because I didn’t trust the free tests online, wanted only PREP questions and wanted the official (or as close as) scoring algorithm.

Feb 16: GMAT EP Exam 3: Q45 V38 670. IR 3 wrote an AWA. I was a bit under the weather. Don’t think the extra time spent on IR/AWA had an impact. Got 4 questions wrong out of the 1st 15 in verbal. Felt low but told myself my range seemed to have been established and if I didn’t panic this would pretty much be the worst it could be.
Started practicing some IR. Kept up the quant SC and CR drills.

Feb 19: GMAT EP Exam 4: Q48 V 40 IR 5 720. This built some serious confidence. Quant was frustrating. Varied mistakes. Verbal was good. Only 1 mistake in the 1st 15. CR evaluate and boldface was still a sticking point. SC got tripped on some weird stuff.

Do analyze your exams quite thoroughly. Took screen shots of all mistakes and sent the SC to my lawyer friend to help me parse through incorrect options. Why is this wrong? Why is this right?

Exam Day:
Try to keep everything as same as possible from your mock exams to your real day. I never showered before my practice so I did not shower before the real exam as well. Took some nuts and red bull because exam was while lunch time and I knew I would feel the effects of skipping a meal on my energy levels. Had a good breakfast too.

AWA: Broke the argument. Figured out some nice assumptions. Haven’t got my score but felt okay.

IR: Annoying. 3,4,5 were hard which stalled any momentum from 1 and 2. Ran out of time badly but wasn’t too bothered with IR.

Break: Nuts. Gather thoughts.

Quant: Began disastrously. Messed up the algebra on #1 easy ratio question and got an answer that matched none of the choices. Similar with #3 median question. Took 3.5 mins on each and I know in my heart I got both wrong. I felt like crying. Got even more worried when #11 was laughably easy :( . Anyways, I rallied hard after that and combined accuracy with some speed and finished the section on time.

Break: Felt like shit. Ate some nuts, chugged some red bull. I told myself that Quant had nothing to do with Verbal. My meditation practice really came in handy. Joked with the proctor.

Verbal: Began well. Question #6 was an RC so I figured I had a good shot at getting the 1st 10 right. At #15 I realized I was way ahead of time and told myself to calm down and take it slow. Got a real curve ball on #25 evaluate but another RC seemed to have me back on track. Found everything from #36 horribly tricky which in hindsight makes complete sense.

Saw the 730 first and everything else was a blur. Only saw V45 when I got my unofficial printout. I was done! A twinge of regret at my quant score but it could have also been a lot worse.
I realize this is a long one but hope it helps someone :) If you got this far, thanks for reading and let me know if you need anything.




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Re: GMAT Debrief: 730(Q46 V45) IR 5 [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2017, 02:15
1
Amazing... Congrats for the high score! Your write up is so motivating, to the point and just what I need. About two weeks away from my exam. I still have to purchase the GMAT exam. Have exhausted prep exams and working hard on CR. Evaluate and bold face are my weak points too.

So far Q48-49 consistency is there. I hope to sustain it. Working hard on Verbal and your post just makes me much more confident that its not impossible.

Thanks again! Best wishes for your application process!

Sent from my A0001 using GMAT Club Forum mobile app
Re: GMAT Debrief: 730(Q46 V45) IR 5   [#permalink] 09 Mar 2017, 02:15
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