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GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression

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GMAT 1: 750 Q47 V47
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GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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New post 25 Aug 2017, 01:41
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Hi All,

I have been lurking on this forum since 2014 and writing this debrief is a way of bringing my GMAT journey to a close. It is also an attempt to help anyone else on this forum who may have struggled with issues similar to the ones I faced.
I started my journey in 2014, read up on this forum and bought the Manhattan GMAT guides (5th Edition), the OG set (Including Quant and Verbal Review) and PR1037. I found the guides to be reasonably helpful, since by that time most of my concepts were rusty and I am not a quant whiz/engineer.
My job at the time was fairly demanding so I would study in fits and starts, gather some momentum, and then get busy with work and lose all steam. I am a perfectionist and wanted to leave no stone un-turned and so every time I resumed studying, I would go over all the materials again - One fatal mistake I made was to misunderstand the GMAT - It is a test of ability/aptitude (of a certain kind) - you do not have to finish a set "syllabus"; you have to get to a certain level of ability, and the best barometers for that ability are the official mocks.
In 2015, after some more research, I went ahead and bought all the Official Materials - The Question Bank, GMAT Write, The IR Tool, Paper Tests, The Quant Diagnostic and the Exam Pack 1 (Exam Pack 2 came out later and sure enough, I bought that as well).
I had all the ammunition but never had the time to go through it in its entirety, I took no mocks and did not assess where stood waiting for some perfect time in the future when I would have time to finish ALL these materials at once and take the test.
Thankfully, life jerked me out of this stupor. I went through a HUGE personal setback in early 2016 and ended up having to change cities and jobs. I managed to eke out a 1 month sabbatical in between the 2 jobs and thought, okay, here is my chance, I will kill it now and score a 780, but life had other plans.
Again, coming from a "syllabus" mindset, I decided to do Quant first because I like verbal and find it easy and wanted to fight the difficult demon first. BIG MISTAKE. Anyway, after finishing quant and verbal, I did the official CATs and was scoring around 760-780 on all these tests, but there was one fatal mistake I was making, I had been struggling with time management for quant and would pause my tests and do the rough work for 1-2 minutes in between to save time. I thought to myself, its only 5 minutes, I will cover up in the real exam...Again, WHO WAS I KIDDING?


First Attempt - 750


So cut to exam day, I had been out of touch with quant for around 10 days and as expected, I had a brain fart on an easy question in the beginning, messed up the time and screwed up 3-4 more questions later. Rest of the test was uneventful. Result - Q47V47 IR7 AWA 6 - Score 750.
It was PURE anguish...1) I missed the 99th percentile by the skin of my teeth 2) My Quant Percentile score was abyssmal @ 65%ile and I knew I would have to re-take (my demographic is very competitive) 3) I asked for advice and most people told me not to retake but they didn't understand the sectional cut-offs 4) I was joining a new job in a new city and did not know how to manage GMAT prep with this upheaval.


Second Attempt - Depressing 730


I read online about how to remedy my quant and all answers pointed me in the direction of the GMAT Club Math Tests - So I bought a subscirption, scheduled a test for around 50 days later and really went to town with those tests. I was managing with another demanding job, but managed to get through the entire question bank. I had been doing verbal as well simultaneously from some notes and collections of 700+ questions that I downloaded from GMAT Club.
I have never really understood what went wrong on Take 2, I took the exam and ended up with a 730 Q50V40. I cancelled the score so do not remember the IR score. I know 730 is not bad per se, but I had been studying verbal as well and I am normally very good at verbal so the V40 was disappointing. Anyway, long story short, I cancelled the score.


Final Attempt - 770 Thank God!


After Take 2 I was totally demotivated. 4-5 months slipped by and I couldn't even get myself to touch the books again. I consoled myself saying that 730 is decent and I can always reinstate my 730 when I apply or take a risk and go with the skewed 750, but somewhere inside something kept gnawing at me that said , "NO, you can do better." I had a 3 week leave in May 2017, when I somehow forced myself to read the guides and get through the OGs again - I did, but with very little motivation. Then I let the ball drop again. Finally, In July, under a lot of pressure from my parents, I realized I cannot procrastinate anymore and need to apply this year (2017). I tried to talk myself into applying with the 730, but I couldn't get on board with the idea, finally, I booked a test date for the 20th of Aug, 2017 and set about preparing. Again my motivation was low and I was under a lot of pressure at work so did not have much time. I went through the OGs and Verbal and Quant Review Guides - 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and the Official Question Bank. Then I took the Official Mocks - Scored 770-780, did not cheat with timing this time.
Test day - I was not as nervous because I knew I haven't done much anyway, went in with low expectations. Quant was okay till I encountered a question more than half way through where I spent too much time, and messed up the timing again. I had to take educated guesses in a couple of places. Rest of the test was uneventful - Result 770 Q50V46 IR 8 AWA6.
I was so scared of something going wrong that I could not get myself to even write the debrief till the official score report came - but it's here now! Thank God!


Study/Exam Tips


I have some unsolicited advice for those who want to take the test and who like me, are not savants/ quant whizzes.
  • Try to avoid taking a diagnostic before you start studying. I scored a 530 on my diagnostic all those years ago when I first decided to try the GMAT in 2014. Its depressing and will throw you off unnecessarily.
  • Build a theoretical base - The MGMAT Guides are solid, but not enough, use the GMAT Club Math Books, it has a lot of stuff that may come naturally to the quant geniuses and engineers, but those tips really help the hoi polloi like us save calculation time. Also, write your own brief notes for quick reference before the exam.
  • Build a Practical Base - The OG+Verbal Review+Quant Review - These will not get you to 700+ level but are necessary building blocks, nonetheless. Then do the Official GMAT Question Bank. That collection is PURE GOLD.
  • Now, take an Official Mock and see where you are
  • After that practice-practice-practice and keep taking weekly mocks - don't overdo the practice, you don't have to "finish" any material, you just have to get to a certain level - when you get there, STOP.
  • BALANCE - do quant and verbal simultaneously - working on them one after the other will invariably result in a skewed score.


My Reviews of Additional Material


  • PR1037 - Riddled with errors and explanations are not great; can avoid
  • Advanced GMAT Quant by MGMAT - This is strictly "okay". The ROI is not great, it takes a lot of time, do it if you're gunning for a Q51 - I could manage Q50 twice without it and the only time I used it (the first time), I ended up on Q47!
  • Official Paper Tests - I never had the time to use these, although I bought them - My guess is these would be a decent use of your time, all the Official Material I have used has been really helpful.
  • GMAT Club Tests - These are very good - If you can, do them.
  • GMAT Quant Diagnostic (Available on Official Website) - Its nothing great - you're okay with the question banks and tests.
  • MGMAT Question banks - these are okay - If you have time, do them, if you get them free with the books, not worth paying for.
  • MGMAT Mocks - BIG NO - too tough and demotivating - use if you get them free with the books and use them for practice, not as mocks
  • Official Mocks - YES YES YES YES - The Exam Pack 1 and 2 are both excellent investments - You should Ideally have all 3 - the 2 free tests plus exam pack 1 and 2
  • GMAT Write - It's decent - get it if money is not an object
  • Official IR Tool - Not required, the 39 IR questions in the Official Question Bank are enough.
  • Materials available on GMAT Club Fora - I don't deal too well with lack of structure, so they did not work for me, but to each his own. I had 2 sets of tough Verbal Questions which I got from a friend and those were good.
  • Foundations of GMAT Quant/Verbal by MGMAT - Do if you have time - not necessary unless you are really lagging behind on concepts somewhere.
    m) GMAT Club Math Book - PLEASE COVER.

That's all, folks! Pls PM if I can be of any help and all the best for everything!

Last edited by Narenn on 31 Aug 2017, 05:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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New post 25 Aug 2017, 02:08
Happy for you, hope u get into a kickass college now! All the best! :) :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :-) :-) :-)
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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New post 25 Aug 2017, 07:12
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Thats an incredible story. All the best with your college search. 770 is more than you need for any school of your choice. Focus on your other parts of app.
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350--> 700

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

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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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New post 26 Aug 2017, 07:34
Congrats! How did you use the GMAT Club tests? In terms of how often, were you doing full sections (37q/75min), how did you review, etc?
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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okay wrote:
Congrats! How did you use the GMAT Club tests? In terms of how often, were you doing full sections (37q/75min), how did you review, etc?


I think the number of quant questions in the bank outnumber the maximum possible number of tests you can take. I took all 26 tests available and did the remaining questions as quizzes. Timed tests are so important - for a lot of people - it's not that you can't reach the correct answer - its that you can't get there in 2 minutes - which is where these tests helped.

I would review errors at the end of each test and flag those questions in the system and then I re-visited all the questions I had gotten wrong earlier ad re-did them as quizzes too. I wouldn't redo the incorrect questions immediately after, though, because you kinda tend to remember the answer.

Any sum I couldn't solve in 3 attempts - I would memorize the solution methodology.
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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okay wrote:
kmwantstogoschool wrote:
okay wrote:
Congrats! How did you use the GMAT Club tests? In terms of how often, were you doing full sections (37q/75min), how did you review, etc?


I think the number of quant questions in the bank outnumber the maximum possible number of tests you can take. I took all 26 tests available and did the remaining questions as quizzes. Timed tests are so important - for a lot of people - it's not that you can't reach the correct answer - its that you can't get there in 2 minutes - which is where these tests helped.

I would review errors at the end of each test and flag those questions in the system and then I re-visited all the questions I had gotten wrong earlier ad re-did them as quizzes too. I wouldn't redo the incorrect questions immediately after, though, because you kinda tend to remember the answer.

Any sum I couldn't solve in 3 attempts - I would memorize the solution methodology.


Got it- how often were you doing a GC test?


I did one every alternate day and 3-4 on weekends. But I cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting through the OG/Quant Review and Official Question Pack before you do GC tests. They're tough and if you haven't built a base with the other material before, it can be taxing and de-motivating.
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2017, 15:48
you should give one last try to get a 800. your quant is not in the 90+ percentile range. a q51 with a v48-49 would give you an 800. Even a 750 as well as a 730 (balanced score) were great scores but you wanted more so why stop?
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2017, 18:03
premprabhs111 wrote:
you should give one last try to get a 800. your quant is not in the 90+ percentile range. a q51 with a v48-49 would give you an 800. Even a 750 as well as a 730 (balanced score) were great scores but you wanted more so why stop?

The 750 was not balanced and with the 730, I felt I could do better with verbal. It was about knowing that I had done the best I could have, regret is poisonous.
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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New post 31 Aug 2017, 08:39
"the 39 IR questions in the Official Question Bank are enough."
Where will I find Official Question Bank? I have covered OG. But don't understand what Official Question Bank reffers?

And did you do the same OG questions again? Is that fruitful?

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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gmat is only instrumental in proving that you can cope with academics of an MBA.

However, admission committee will look for many other skills such as leadership and teamwork. They will want to see a good career progression. It is smarter to devote time to extracurricular activities as well.
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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New post 31 Aug 2017, 17:23
Hi kmwantstogoschool,

Congratulation on great score. All the best for applications.
Could you shed more light on verbal preparation please.

Thank you
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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New post 31 Aug 2017, 22:48
rma26 wrote:
"the 39 IR questions in the Official Question Bank are enough."
Where will I find Official Question Bank? I have covered OG. But don't understand what Official Question Bank reffers?

And did you do the same OG questions again? Is that fruitful?

Posted from my mobile device


Sorry, I meant the GMATPrep Official Question Pack 1 has 39 great IR questions - I did those. I had done the OG questions also for the first attempt but for take 2 and 3 I just stuck to the aforementioned 39 questions.
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression [#permalink]

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New post 31 Aug 2017, 22:58
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sashiim20 wrote:
Hi kmwantstogoschool,

Congratulation on great score. All the best for applications.
Could you shed more light on verbal preparation please.

Thank you


Hi, I read somewhere on this forum, that you don't study for GMAT - you "train" for it, it's a test of a certain kind of ability. One important aspect of deciding how to study is knowing where you stand ab initio. While I don't recommend taking a mock without studying at all, I would recommend the following course of action:
1) If you think your English is weak, read the MGMAT Foundations of GMAT Verbal, if your command over the language is acceptable, skip it.
2) Go through some theoretical material - I read the MGMAT guides, you can try any publisher, but definitely read up.
3) Do the Verbal Review and OG
4) Now, take an Official Mock and see where you are.
5) From here it's a game of practice, practice, practice - log errors - read solution logics of questions you get right and those you get wrong - and test yourself every week.
6) Materials for additional practice - GMAT Prep Official Question Pack 1, MGMAT Question Banks (available free with the guides), PR 1037 (This is VERY bad for quant but decent for verbal) and there are some good 700 Level CR and SC questions available on GMAT Club.
7) The challenge with verbal is that there is far lesser material available for verbal than quant so at some point you may want to consider taking a course, I cannot help here, because I did not take one.
8) Try to read as much as you can - I would recommend The Economist - reading helps develop the verbal muscle.
Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 to 770 via Depression   [#permalink] 31 Aug 2017, 22:58
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