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GMAT Debrief: 760 (Q50, V42)

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GMAT Debrief: 760 (Q50, V42)  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Mar 2017, 04:16
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Hi All, I recently gave the GMAT and would love to share my experience with you. I hope this helps others just as all the posts on this amazing forum have helped me throughout my prep.

Background: Indian | Engineer + MBA(India) | WE 5 Years

I had originally planned to give the GMAT in November 2016, and had budgeted two months for preparation, followed by a month and a half for applying in round 2. I started my prep on September 9th with the diagnostic test (had no idea where I would stand as I was giving an aptitude test after ages). I struggled with the formulae in quant and felt VERY rusty, especially in DS. I was still able to finish the quant section in time, but was not very confident about my performance. I was more confident coming into the verbal section, and thought I did great. However I ended up scoring a 680 with 47Q 36V and IR7. Turns out, I overlooked a ton of technical details in the verbal section and I knew there was a lot of wood to chop.

Target Score: Was aiming for a 700+ score, hopefully in the upper half :) . However, I knew that I couldn't take out more than a couple of hours a day so would have settled for the best I could do with what I had.

Booked a date for 15 November for the exam and got down to preparing. I travel very frequently for work and had to budget for at least a couple of 2 day trips before my exam date.

Prep Material that I used was:
OG guide 2016 (borrowed from a friend who guided me on the GMAT basics)
GMAT Verbal Review 2016
Quant 700-800 Problems
Other interesting material on GMATCLUB Downloads tag

Since I started studying after a long gap, I knew that the first 2-3 weeks would be fairly slow and would have minimal impact. Just as I was getting some momentum in October, I was down with a viral 5 weeks before my exam, and had to be admitted to the hospital for about a week. At this point, I knew that the only option left with me was to reschedule the exam especially since I had no idea when I would be in a position to start preparing again. There was no point in rushing the exam with a weak body and tired mind. Rescheduled for 4th of Feb, and decided to take a few weeks off from preparation to rest myself and catch up on work I missed. Started preparing again on December 15.

Preparation Plan: I have read a few posts where the authors had a very specific plan about their preparation with a break-up by topic. I made no such detailed plan and honestly, reading those posts gave me second thoughts about my approach. But I continued with my approach since I was more comfortable with that. I would suggest other applicants to stick to what they are comfortable with, considering the fact that the pace and structure of your preparation can be best made by one who knows you best - and that is yourself. Here is how I went about it - I knew I was rusty after a long break and did not take the diagnostic test very seriously. I knew no matter what I scored, I HAD to do a thorough review of ALL concepts in quant as well as Verbal. This is where the OG 2016 came in handy. I carefully went through the material in the quant section even before I solved my first problem. I also followed it up with some deep dive in sections where I felt the OG was not very detailed. Google comes in handy for that. I made notes of the basics, especially things I knew I would forget and would go over them at least twice a week. I went through the concepts a couple of times before solving problems. Initially, My focus was more on getting the concept right with the correct approach than on getting the answer right. I did not time my answers initially but reviewed the difference in approach from my solving and what was mentioned in the book. One point to note here is that having your own approach to solving a problem is not always wrong, however it always helps to know the different ways to look at a problem as it might help you solve some other problem that you get a stuck in. I run a couple of ventures, and therefore it was difficult to take out a lot of time for the prep. I studied for about 2 hours per day on average and alternated between my verbal and quant preparation. Throughout my preparation I spent more time on evaluating HOW i solved a problem than on evaluating if I got it right or wrong. I believe this made the biggest difference to my preparation. I knew I did not have time to practice my way to a good score, and the only way I could do it would be by improving the PROCESS of solving the problems. If you ask me for one single piece of advice for your prep, then this is the one I would share - better the system - how you read, process and interpret the question and your approach to answering it. If you get more efficient at that with strong basics and you will find your accuracy improving automatically. I did not have enough time to solve every single problem on the OG 2016 or the verbal review 2016. I think I got around to solving only about 60% of the problems. This was 6 days before my exam and I had not discovered the GMAT club downloads tag till then :? . I had not ventured into any AWA or IR preparation

At this point, I decided to give one more mock test, and was hoping to make some improvement over my first diagnostic test. Gave the Veritas free Mock test and scored another 680 Q45 V38. I was a little surprised but was also aware while giving the test that the questions and test structure in general felt slightly tougher than the GMATprep test and did not let the score discourage me. Decided to give another Mock test the next day, and chose the Manhattenprep free test. Guess what, I scored another 680 Q45 V37. That's 3 in a row folks. However, I didn't really panic and thought that the GMATprep Mock test would be a better gauge and decided to give that test 3 days before the exam. Over the 3 days gap I solved the 700-800 level quant question bank I downloaded from GMATclub, and I feel it made a big difference in my approach to solving quant problems. Special mention and thanks to Bunuel for all his posts, I loved the way he approached quant problems and tried to alter my approach based on his answers on the forum. It was like a 3 day crash course but definitely helped. I then gave the Gmatprep test with a couple of days to go, thought of it more as a warm up than a scoregauge. Was relieved to see some improvement with a 730 Q49 V40. Spent the last 2 days in a relaxed atmosphere, solving the 700-800 level quant problems. I looked into AWA on the last Day (Have always been good at writing, so was confident about it) and went through the post by chineseburned. Kudos to him for an amazing post, I didn't need anything else other than that.

TestDay: I used the last couple of days to get focused to give my best shot, without worrying about the end result. I had the 9 am slot. I slept for 8 hours, had a very light breakfast and was at the center an hour before the exam. The proctors were very cheerful and professional and the initial check-in was a breeze.
Another tip I would like to share with you is that no matter what happens in one section of your test, don't let it impact your performance in the other sections. Look at the next section as an opportunity to improve - DO NOT LOSE FOCUS. My AWA went pretty well and I was confident of getting a 6 based on what I had written. While doing The IR section,I had a glitch with the pen and erasable notepad I was given. For some reason every pen they gave me seemed to be faulty and just didn't work on the erasable notepad. At one point, on the 2nd question I decided to chuck the pen and notepad and solved the IR section without noting anything down. The mix up cost me some valuable time and loss of focus initially and I was short of time for the last 2 questions. This experience had me really agitated and irritated with the proctor for not keeping the right equipment. In the break I approached the proctor and told her about the issue, when she calmly explained to me that the pens only work when you don't put any pressure on them (not something I naturally do). I was really surprised at the casual attitude she had, especially because if she knew it all along, she could have told me this before I went in for the exam, or at least while she saw me struggling with the stationary. I knew I could have done a better job with the IR, but used the break time to focus on the remaining exam and forget about the IR. It helped and i was ready for the next leg in a couple of minutes. For both quant and verbal, I did not think much about the difficulty level of the problem or whether I got a previous problem right or wrong. I focused only on the question at hand and solving it. No point getting second thoughts in your head, what's done is done, right or wrong don't let that take your focus away. I was in the nick of time for my quant section and was able to solve all problems. Verbal went by much faster and I remember having a good 9 minutes for the last 2 questions. Both these sections are more of a blur and I don't remember the specifics of the questions until I submitted my score.

Finally, It felt good to see a 760 Q50 V42 IR7 on the screen. I later received my AWA score of 6.

That is all I can think of for now. I really hope this debrief helps you guys. Would be happy to answer any specific questions any of you have.

My best wishes to those who are giving their exams in the coming days

Cheers
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New post 05 Mar 2017, 03:49
okay wrote:

Great job! Thanks for the debrief.



Happy to help :). Hope it helps at least a few applicants with their prep.
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New post 05 Mar 2017, 20:22
Congrats on scoring 760 - top 1 percentile :good . Even with pen issue , you managed to score 7 in IR - that's pretty impressive :)
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New post 07 Mar 2017, 00:57
Skywalker18 wrote:
Congrats on scoring 760 - top 1 percentile :good . Even with pen issue , you managed to score 7 in IR - that's pretty impressive :)


Thank you. I was very comfortable with the IR section, especially since I was used to doing that kind of analysis while I was working for a hedge fund. Which is probably why I didn't struggle as much, but the pen issue was distracting to say the least and I had to make a few calculations multiple time since I couldn't note them down and forgot the numbers before I could solve the rest of the question :roll: . But as they say - all's well that ends well :) , I don't hold it against the proctors.
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New post 09 Mar 2017, 11:18
Thanks for the detailed debrief.
One off-topic question - I noticed that you have a prior MBA. could you suggest a reason for taking GMAT? Are you planning for another (E)MBA? Which schools?
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New post 09 Mar 2017, 18:39
Hey DRB5,

I wanted to know more about the 700-800 problem set. Where did you find this set? How did you spend your time on that set? Particularly, which questions did you pick out? It seems you vastly improved your score in a short amount of time (I have also been getting around the same score on the Veritas Prep exams).

Congratulations on your score and good luck on your application.
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GMAT Debrief: 760 (Q50, V42)  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2017, 23:06
abishr12 wrote:
Hey DRB5,

I wanted to know more about the 700-800 problem set. Where did you find this set? How did you spend your time on that set? Particularly, which questions did you pick out? It seems you vastly improved your score in a short amount of time (I have also been getting around the same score on the Veritas Prep exams).

Congratulations on your score and good luck on your application.


Hey abishr12,

check this out https://gmatclub.com/forum/download.php

search for specific topic you would get the 700-800 level questions for specific topics . hope this helps (Y)

Regards ,
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New post 09 Mar 2017, 23:17
Congrats for such a nice score ...please tell me about Mocks
How much total mocks you have taken and what was your score in each?
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New post 11 Mar 2017, 20:23
target7xx wrote:
Thanks for the detailed debrief.
One off-topic question - I noticed that you have a prior MBA. could you suggest a reason for taking GMAT? Are you planning for another (E)MBA? Which schools?


There are a couple of reasons actually -
1. I did My previous MBA right out of grad school with 0 experience and feel I can (after all these years of working) relate to a good MBA curriculum and leverage the resources available in a much better way, especially now that I have started a couple of companies and would look to find ways to grow.

2. I feel the resources and platforms available in many of the top 10 schools are especially helpful for entrepreneurs and would look to learn from and utilize that platform.

Hope that answers your question :)
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New post 11 Mar 2017, 20:31
Hatakekakashi wrote:
abishr12 wrote:
Hey DRB5,

I wanted to know more about the 700-800 problem set. Where did you find this set? How did you spend your time on that set? Particularly, which questions did you pick out? It seems you vastly improved your score in a short amount of time (I have also been getting around the same score on the Veritas Prep exams).

Congratulations on your score and good luck on your application.


Hey abishr12,

check this out https://gmatclub.com/forum/download.php

search for specific topic you would get the 700-800 level questions for specific topics . hope this helps (Y)

Regards ,
HK



Thanks HK,

abishr12 I didn't really pick out specific questions. Soon into that doc, I realized that the difficulty level was considerably higher than the avg question in the OG, and decided to cover as many questions as I could, spread over all the topics. Since I had only 3 days to do that, i started by solving questions from each topic in batches of 10-15, then moving to the next topic. Again, just like in the OG, I couldn't cover all the questions, but I made sure that with each question I solved, I analyzed my approach at understanding the question and solving it - looked for more efficient ways to do it and I guess that process helped the most.

It definitely helped me solve the tougher problems faster and added to the score, But I wouldn't attribute the entire jump in score to just this.

I have attached the question and solution set for you, hope it helps :)
Attachments

Quant 700-800 Solutions.zip [1.12 MiB]
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Quant700-800 set.zip [2.01 MiB]
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New post 11 Mar 2017, 20:34
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SajjadAhmad wrote:
Congrats for such a nice score ...please tell me about Mocks
How much total mocks you have taken and what was your score in each?



Thanks SajjadAhmad. I have taken a total of 4 Mocks (including 2 GMATprep), and the scores of each with break-up are mentioned in the debrief.
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New post 11 Mar 2017, 21:29
Good job buddy, whats next for you? Applying to schools, taking a few years to relax in between, party???

A score like that is very impressive and wondering what you are going to do next with life, career, etc..
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 760 (Q50, V42)  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Mar 2017, 02:53
DRB5 wrote:
... diagnostic test (had no idea where I would stand as I was giving an aptitude test after ages). I struggled with the formulae in quant and felt VERY rusty, especially in DS. I was still able to finish the quant section in time, but was not very confident about my performance. I was more confident coming into the verbal section, and thought I did great. However I ended up scoring a 680 with 47Q 36V and IR7. Turns out, I overlooked a ton of technical details in the verbal section and I knew there was a lot of wood to chop.

That's pretty good initial score, what was your prior knowledge about GMAT before taking that test?

I also see that you focused only on OG and had a really good approach to learning... Congratulations!
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New post 12 Mar 2017, 11:42
Keepushinalmosthere wrote:
Good job buddy, whats next for you? Applying to schools, taking a few years to relax in between, party???

A score like that is very impressive and wondering what you are going to do next with life, career, etc..


Keepushinalmosthere thanks. I think I'll take things as they come and keep pushing ;)
might look at schools and the curriculum this summer to find a good fit.

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New post 12 Mar 2017, 11:54
kivalo wrote:
DRB5 wrote:
... diagnostic test (had no idea where I would stand as I was giving an aptitude test after ages). I struggled with the formulae in quant and felt VERY rusty, especially in DS. I was still able to finish the quant section in time, but was not very confident about my performance. I was more confident coming into the verbal section, and thought I did great. However I ended up scoring a 680 with 47Q 36V and IR7. Turns out, I overlooked a ton of technical details in the verbal section and I knew there was a lot of wood to chop.

That's pretty good initial score, what was your prior knowledge about GMAT before taking that test?

I also see that you focused only on OG and had a really good approach to learning... Congratulations!



Thanks kivalo. I'm guessing that when you ask about my prior knowledge about the GMAT, you're talking about the test and the topics that are covered. I guess I had a basic idea about how aptitude tests are in general and that it would cover the basics(10th standard) of mathematics and English. I knew Nothing beyond that, not even the break up of the sections or the break in between.

Yes, my primary focus was the OG because, well, that's the best source and was fairly well paced for starters, Specially because I was studying after a long gap. I think one major factor behind taking the approach I did was the general lack of time I was able to devote for the prep, preparing in the traditional way would'be been very challenging.

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New post 13 Mar 2017, 15:41
DRB5 wrote:
Thanks kivalo. I'm guessing that when you ask about my prior knowledge about the GMAT, you're talking about the test and the topics that are covered. I guess I had a basic idea about how aptitude tests are in general and that it would cover the basics(10th standard) of mathematics and English. I knew Nothing beyond that, not even the break up of the sections or the break in between.

Yes, my primary focus was the OG because, well, that's the best source and was fairly well paced for starters, Specially because I was studying after a long gap. I think one major factor behind taking the approach I did was the general lack of time I was able to devote for the prep, preparing in the traditional way would'be been very challenging.

Posted from my mobile device

Posted from my mobile device


Congratulations on that! Since it was a quick prep, If you have time can you share something more about how you approach SC & CR questions)? It seems that you managed to do it without all of textbook stuff, so it would be interesting to know more about it.
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New post 14 Mar 2017, 10:03
DRB5 wrote:
target7xx wrote:
Thanks for the detailed debrief.
One off-topic question - I noticed that you have a prior MBA. could you suggest a reason for taking GMAT? Are you planning for another (E)MBA? Which schools?


There are a couple of reasons actually -
1. I did My previous MBA right out of grad school with 0 experience and feel I can (after all these years of working) relate to a good MBA curriculum and leverage the resources available in a much better way, especially now that I have started a couple of companies and would look to find ways to grow.

2. I feel the resources and platforms available in many of the top 10 schools are especially helpful for entrepreneurs and would look to learn from and utilize that platform.

Hope that answers your question :)


Thanks for the reply. I am actually in the same boat (mba long time back), feeling stagnate in career and MBA to accelerate career progression. I heard that many schools (such as UC Berkeley) do not allow prior MBA candidates. What's your thoughts on this and would appreciate if you share the programs you are considering. Thanks again.
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New post 19 Mar 2017, 05:29
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kivalo wrote:
Congratulations on that! Since it was a quick prep, If you have time can you share something more about how you approach SC & CR questions)? It seems that you managed to do it without all of textbook stuff, so it would be interesting to know more about it.


I wouldn't say I managed to do it without the textbook stuff. I think in my case my hobby of reading was of immense help with the prep. I am an avid reader and have always careful with grammar and sentence formation, even while writing emails and reports at work (I would google things I didn't know, even if it wouldn't help me immediately - just to understand the usage better). I would say that this fact added to the general lack of time I had was the major reason behind my approach to the verbal section, I was much more confident about it and felt that I needed to dedicate more time to quant to balance my score out. I solved about 50% of the verbal problems in the OG and about 50% in the Verbal guide 2016 (compared to about 60% in OG quant and the 700-800 problems). Used the same approach I mentioned in my debrief - identify how I solved the question and understand other ways to do it.
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New post 19 Mar 2017, 05:33
sevenplusplus wrote:
Thanks for the reply. I am actually in the same boat (mba long time back), feeling stagnate in career and MBA to accelerate career progression. I heard that many schools (such as UC Berkeley) do not allow prior MBA candidates. What's your thoughts on this and would appreciate if you share the programs you are considering. Thanks again.


I have heard that as well (Duke, Haas and a couple of others probably). To be honest, I am still trying to figure out a good fit on the applications part. Fortunately there is some time, which I plan to use and get to know the programs better before I decide anything.
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