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GMAT from 650 to 690 to 2x700 to 740

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GMAT 1: 740 Q50 V40
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GMAT from 650 to 690 to 2x700 to 740 [#permalink]

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Well, it has been a rewarding experience towards the end. Not super excited, but writing this debrief with a hope that it will help at least one person.
Attempts:

GMAT 1 650 (Q49, V29) --> Feb'14
GMAT 2 690 (Q50, V34) --> Dec'14
GMAT 3 700 (Q50, V34) --> Sept'15
GMAT 4 700 (Q51, V32) --> Oct'15
GMAT 5 740 (Q50, V40) --> Dec'15

Foundation:
I built foundation for GMAT from Manhattan GMAT materials (SC, CR and RC). Found them really good for building concepts and getting to know all question types. However, I didn’t realize full potential of Manhattan SC until my second attempt.

First Attempt:
My concepts were weak in all sections. During exam, I even ended up guessing 6 questions towards the end because of time constraint.

Second attempt:
I enrolled for e-GMAT Verbal online. They rock when it comes to SC. They didn’t have Scholaranium at that time. However, the video lectures were sufficient enough for developing concepts in SC and CR. RC was still my weakest area. I did manage to boost my verbal score from V29 to 34.

Third attempt:
At this point, I again enrolled for e-GMAT Verbal Live. This time it came with Scholaranium, Workshops and Live Sessions. I again revised concepts. I practiced a lot from all materials that I could find on GMATClub and elsewhere. This was the mistake!! It is okay to study less and focused vs to study from tons of material. Such unplanned study coupled with pressure to perform, as I was planning to apply in R1, didn’t move my score at all. I even got psyched the moment I switched to Verbal section. I scored V34 once again, with absolutely no improvement. CR was total disaster. I had no clue what CR option I was selecting and why.

For this attempt, members of GMATClub were really helpful. To name a few, I took help on CR from VeritasPrepKarishma and EMPOWERgmatRichC, and for general GMAT information from Engr2012 occasionally.

suggestions-for-increasing-v34-to-v40-after-3rd-attempt-205661.html

The real challenge was that I had exhausted all Official materials: OG13, OG Verbal, GMATPrep Tests (all 4) twice. Few of the GMATClub members guided me to overcome this issue.

Forth Attempt:
Having exhausted all OG materials, I focused on question sets that GMATClub has from free GMATPrep software. Instead of focusing on multiple materials, I now focused on this question set alone. I studied in reverse order.
i) Identified questions that I got wrong and studied its detailed solutions from GMATClub posts. Rather than going through all posts for that question, I focused on posts from users who has got kudos for that thread. This approach helped me minimize time taken for study and be very focused on right approach to answer a question. Only SC and CR were part of this strategy.
ii) For RC, it was simple formula: Do one RC a day, keep errors away. Ensuring that I distribute the limited RC passages (about 40) across entire month was the key. This helped me ensure that I have at least one RC to solve on any given day. Focused mostly on reading the passage and being able to comprehend it. I tested my comprehension capability by testing my understanding with “purpose of the passage” question
For some weird reason, I messed up SC badly- worst than my first practice test or first GMAT test or any other test ever- scored 700 again, with Q51, V32.

For final attempt, I was sure that SC disaster in prior attempt was merely bad luck or some other mysterious factor!! I kept solving random questions that I received from a friend or that I found on GMATClub. One mistake that I made in this attempt was that I didn’t revise Quant at all. May be that got me Q50 instead of Q51!! I saw couple of questions in quant that I thought, I could have solved without much stress had I just revised that concept for few mins.

Consolidation from all attempts- Learning:
SC:
SC is more about understanding meaning of the sentence. Spend most of the time in analyzing meaning of the sentence. There is no short cut to this. It is possible to skip this part and still score in V30s, but not higher.
In SC, understanding why an option is incorrect is really important.
e-GMAT is the best possible resource for this. They have dissected all fundamentals of SC and put it in a very clear and concise way. I used their videos to revise concepts and then solved each sub topic questions selectively from Scholaranium.
In parallel, I worked on Manhattan SC guide. Treat this guide as a bible for SC. It is really important to get a detailed view about why an option is right or wrong.

CR:
I found pre-thinking most important in CR. I think not to pre-think is as good as gambling. Pre-thinking coupled with the approach mentioned by Karishma worked really well for me.

VeritasPrepKarishma:
"I suggest you to start from the position of strength - the question stem. Read the question stem first and immediately classify the question as strengthen/weaken/inference/method etc. Then you know that no matter what the argument gives you, it is still just a ... question - a question with which you know how to deal. Then keep your focus on the concept - identifying the conclusion in strengthen/weaken questions, no new information in inference questions etc. Don't worry about the subject matter - the same framework will be applicable to all questions of a specific group."

e-GMAT CR is also good. Their 600 to 700 level CR is equivalent to 700+ level on real GMAT. The explanations for CR questions and the thought process given in solutions are really great. However, I did find few 700 level e-GMAT questions bit odd. Couple of them even felt controversial, so I didn’t practice a lot from there for 700+ levels. However, below 700 level questions on e-GMAT are really good for applying above mentioned pre-thinking and Karishma’s strategy.

RC:
RC is more about practice. I tried multiple strategies: from Kaplan, e-GMAT, Manhattan and so on. But none of them worked for me. The most efficient strategy that worked was to read entire passage carefully, summarize it and then attempt each questions. At start, this approach was time consuming, but with practice, one can get up to the needed speed. Try to practice 150+ RC passages before attempting real GMAT. Most importantly, do these questions on a daily basis. If GMAT is in 2 months then do 3 passages a day.
I found e-GMAT RC to be bit off the track. For each passage, they have 4 standard questions (1: primary purpose; 2: what would author agree with; 3: function of nth paragraph; 4: which of the following is mentioned in the passage). I could literally predict the next question for each passage. I used it more as a reading practice, as passage quality was really good.

Backward learning:
In V30+ zone, one generally has almost all concepts clear. At this level, it is essential to focus on backward learning. In backward learning you don’t go through all concepts one by one but essentially work backward, learning concepts that you are weak at. Basically give a practice test. Analyze it for all questions, including correct ones. Find out which questions you answered wrong and why did you mark incorrect option and why did you miss the correct option. Identify this sub-topic and relearn the concept. For SC, I went back to Manhattan SC guide and e-GMAT videos. I even tried GMATclub questions. For correct ones try to align your approach with the best solution for given question. Once all these steps are followed, then go for next practice test and repeat the process.

Practice Tests:
With right approach these tests can be used very effectively for above mentioned “backward learning”. Most students try to compare one test with another or try to relate scoring algorithm with actual gmat algorithm. Yes, it’s exciting and unavoidable. I did that until my forth attempt. But doing this has zero value addition.
Practice tests should be used relatively, and that relativity should be within the same test provider. While doing any test series (say Manhattan tests) compare your performance on M1 with M2, M2 with M3 and so on. Focus just on errors that you made in subsequent test and the area of improvement. There I no point in comparing M tests with Veritas tests or even GMATPrep tests. If one sees improvement across M1 to M6, then the purpose of taking practice test is fulfilled. Then if time permits, take upon next test series. To occasionally estimate your score, do GMATPrep Tests. Use these 4 tests very strategically.

Exam experience:
GMAT score can literally be defined as (Exam factors)*(Concept clarity)*(Understanding the trick in question). No matter how clear your concepts are, if you are adversely affected by any unfavorable exam factor then you are done. Unfavorable factors can be lack of sleep, performance pressure, time pressure or anything similar. It is essential to sleep well before the exam, no matter how good you are at concepts tested in the exam. Try to avoid performance pressure, both before and during the exam. Treat each question independent of prior and next question. Think of each question as a mini test in itself. For example, quant is a set of 37 mini tests. This trick helps in avoiding time pressure. Avoid looking at the clock. If you practice this in practice tests, then it is possible to replicate it in real exam as well.

Quant:
Has been my strongest area since beginning.
i) Avoid overconfidence and revise concepts at least once before exam, if you are an expert in quant
ii) Even when I got Q51, I got a question at around 15+ in real GMAT that raised questions: how can this question be here? Have I performed bad so far? The question was as simple as if sides of square are x, then what is the diagonal of the square.
I spent most of the time in this question to make sure that what I was reading was the right thing. So, take away is that one should avoid doubting his/her performance during exam, if all of a sudden an easy questions pops up.
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Re: GMAT from 650 to 690 to 2x700 to 740 [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jan 2016, 13:48
popov - Congratulations on scoring 740. I am glad that you were able to improve your verbal score to V40 (from V28). It will definitely help your candidacy.

I liked the fact that you looked at data from your ESRs, interpreted the same, and contextualized it (as you did in the case of SC). Its very important to understand that your approach on a particular day can have a major impact on your performance, even in areas where you consider yourself to be traditionally strong.

Quote:
ii) Even when I got Q51, I got a question at around 15+ in real GMAT that raised questions: how can this question be here? Have I performed bad so far? The question was as simple as if sides of square are x, then what is the diagonal of the square.


I agree with your conclusion that while in an exam, one should not judge the question. The entire focus should be on taking the test. However, remember that you will face experimental questions on the test and it is very possible that one of the experimental questions may be much easier than the other questions that you have faced till then. This question may be one of the experimental questions.

I am also glad that you found Prethinking in CR useful. It's one of the most useful techniques to ace GMAT CR. I am sure that you did much better in CR in your fifth attempt.

Take Aways from your Fourth and Fifth attempts

There is a very important lesson that one should take away from your final two attempts. Essentially, you peaked in your final attempt. This was because you were calm and had revised most things (other than Quant). Its very important that students realize that they need to brush their fundamentals, be calm, and have revised their mistakes before they take the real test. GMAT is a very long exam and acing the GMAT is similar to running a marathon. Your body should be rested and you should have a plan if you are to clock your best!!

Congratulations once again and good luck for your applications. Do drop in a line at support@e-gmat.com. It would be great to have a face to face debriefing.

Regards,

Rajat Sadana
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Joined: 18 Jan 2014
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Location: India
GMAT 1: 740 Q50 V40
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Re: GMAT from 650 to 690 to 2x700 to 740 [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jan 2016, 09:21
Thanks Rajat.

Sure, we can catch up for detailed discussion soon.

P.S. I think few edits are needed in my debrief. Wrote it under tight schedule.
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Joined: 29 Apr 2014
Posts: 128
Location: Viet Nam
Concentration: Finance, Technology
GMAT 1: 640 Q50 V26
GMAT 2: 660 Q51 V27
GMAT 3: 680 Q50 V31
GMAT 4: 710 Q50 V35
GMAT 5: 760 Q50 V42
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GMAT from 650 to 690 to 2x700 to 740 [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jan 2016, 18:00
popov wrote:
Well, it has been a rewarding experience towards the end. Not super excited, but writing this debrief with a hope that it will help at least one person.
Attempts:

GMAT 1 650 (Q49, V29) --> Feb'14
GMAT 2 690 (Q50, V34) --> Dec'14
GMAT 3 700 (Q50, V34) --> Sept'15
GMAT 4 700 (Q51, V32) --> Oct'15
GMAT 5 740 (Q50, V40) --> Dec'15


Congrats Popv. How great your attempts are!

I have been in the same progress like you:
GMAT 1 640 (Q50, V26) ->June 15
GMAT 2 660 (Q51, V27) -> August 15
GMAT 3 680 (Q50, V31) -> December 15
GMAT 4 710 (Q50, V35) -> January 16.

I think I am not going to write the test any more because I need time to focus on the application. However, your achievement is an encouragement to me, and I probably think of another test if any B-School asks me to improve my score. So if possible, I hope I could reach out you one day to ask more details about the preparation before your final attempt. A V40 has always been my dreaming goal :)

Also, I was with e-GMAT SC course, then upgrade to Verbal online before 1st attempt, and then upgrade to Verbal Live before 2nd attempt. I found the SC course is really good, but unfortunately the CR and RC courses did not help me much as they did to you.

P/s: I've read your thread on Suggestions for increasing V34 to V40. So I wonder what factors give you the incentive to write the test the 5th time because I saw you said you were done with GMAT :).
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GMAT 1: 740 Q50 V40
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Re: GMAT from 650 to 690 to 2x700 to 740 [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2016, 10:03
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tronghieu1987 wrote:

Congrats Popv. How great your attempts are!

I have been in the same progress like you:
GMAT 1 640 (Q50, V26) ->June 15
GMAT 2 660 (Q51, V27) -> August 15
GMAT 3 680 (Q50, V31) -> December 15
GMAT 4 710 (Q50, V35) -> January 16.

I think I am not going to write the test any more because I need time to focus on the application. However, your achievement is an encouragement to me, and I probably think of another test if any B-School asks me to improve my score. So if possible, I hope I could reach out you one day to ask more details about the preparation before your final attempt. A V40 has always been my dreaming goal :)

Also, I was with e-GMAT SC course, then upgrade to Verbal online before 1st attempt, and then upgrade to Verbal Live before 2nd attempt. I found the SC course is really good, but unfortunately the CR and RC courses did not help me much as they did to you.

P/s: I've read your thread on Suggestions for increasing V34 to V40. So I wonder what factors give you the incentive to write the test the 5th time because I saw you said you were done with GMAT :).



Yeah, your score is on similar trend. :)
Its almost R3 time. Yes, you should focus on application with full concentration, if you are applying for R3. But, I dont think they will give you feedback to improve your GMAT!! May be I am wrong, but I have noted that hardly any school gives you feedback!!

For 4th to 5th attempt: the biggest driver was my friends telling me not to apply to schools from top 10, citing my lower GMAT (700). It was hard to digest that I can not or should not apply to these schools of my choice for merely 20 30 point score difference than "ideal". So, although I had given up hope by the end of 4th attempt, I purchased ESR and noted that my SC was lowest than any test or actual exam that I had ever attempted, while CR and RC were showing quite an improvement. This changed my mind and I gave 5th attempt.

After making applications, I noted that there is more to application than merely GMAT. I would say balance your time and energy between improving your score and applying to schools with best application.

Feel free to ping me, if I can help you.
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Re: GMAT from 650 to 690 to 2x700 to 740 [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2017, 15:57
popov wrote:
tronghieu1987 wrote:

Congrats Popv. How great your attempts are!

I have been in the same progress like you:
GMAT 1 640 (Q50, V26) ->June 15
GMAT 2 660 (Q51, V27) -> August 15
GMAT 3 680 (Q50, V31) -> December 15
GMAT 4 710 (Q50, V35) -> January 16.

I think I am not going to write the test any more because I need time to focus on the application. However, your achievement is an encouragement to me, and I probably think of another test if any B-School asks me to improve my score. So if possible, I hope I could reach out you one day to ask more details about the preparation before your final attempt. A V40 has always been my dreaming goal :)

Also, I was with e-GMAT SC course, then upgrade to Verbal online before 1st attempt, and then upgrade to Verbal Live before 2nd attempt. I found the SC course is really good, but unfortunately the CR and RC courses did not help me much as they did to you.

P/s: I've read your thread on Suggestions for increasing V34 to V40. So I wonder what factors give you the incentive to write the test the 5th time because I saw you said you were done with GMAT :).



Yeah, your score is on similar trend. :)
Its almost R3 time. Yes, you should focus on application with full concentration, if you are applying for R3. But, I dont think they will give you feedback to improve your GMAT!! May be I am wrong, but I have noted that hardly any school gives you feedback!!

For 4th to 5th attempt: the biggest driver was my friends telling me not to apply to schools from top 10, citing my lower GMAT (700). It was hard to digest that I can not or should not apply to these schools of my choice for merely 20 30 point score difference than "ideal". So, although I had given up hope by the end of 4th attempt, I purchased ESR and noted that my SC was lowest than any test or actual exam that I had ever attempted, while CR and RC were showing quite an improvement. This changed my mind and I gave 5th attempt.

After making applications, I noted that there is more to application than merely GMAT. I would say balance your time and energy between improving your score and applying to schools with best application.

Feel free to ping me, if I can help you.


This is literally my dream... I've take the test 3 times over the last 2 months, I got 700, 690, 690. Similar situation as yours, I've had consistently high quant scores (50's) and low verbal scores. My SC is the worst, followed up CR. RC for me is surprisingly easier than the other two areas.
First time I barely studied and just went for it. I guess it's just beginner's luck, I got 700 (Q50 V33) - I didn't even finish the Verbal section! Guess through the last 6 or 7 questions. 2nd time I studied Manhattan's SC and CR bibles, and I paced myself well but somehow was short on time for Quant. Anyway, got 690 (Q51 V32). 3rd time I was confident because I actually spent time studying the OG questions. Unfortunately, I was short on time for both sections, guessed the last 2 or 3 questions for each section. Got 690 again, Q50 V33.
At this point I'm extremely conflicted. I've spent A LOT of time and money on GMAT but didn't get anywhere/any better. The consistency in my scores has (almost) convinced me that I've hit my plateau. But there's a part in me thinking that if I got a bit luckier, if I watched the time more closely and paced myself better, I could potentially get a 740. The reason why I'm so obsessed with my GMAT score is that I'm trying to shoot for Columbia's MS Marketing but my GPA is embarrassingly low. (3.2) Anyway, I'm going away to visit family from 11/27 - 12/16. Columbia's deadline is 12/31.

So I guess my question is - Would you recommend me giving GMAT one more go? Or spent the limit time I've got left on my essays?

Thanks!!
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GMAT from 650 to 690 to 2x700 to 740 [#permalink]

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New post 21 Nov 2017, 09:36
agentcooper - I understand your conundrum.A high score on the GMAT will definitely mitigate a low GPA. To score high on GMAT, you need to improve your ability scores in the respective sub-sections - SC, CR, and RC. As a first step, understand your current ability scores in these sub-sections. You can find these scores in your Enhanced Score Report.

Once you have your current scores, decide on your target score. You can use GMAT Planner of the same. GMAT Planner is a tool that allows you to define target abilities:

Link to GMAT Planner: https://gmatplanner.e-gmat.com/
Help Video for GMAT Planner: https://e-gmat.wistia.com/medias/n7xbqjmmfr


Improving to your ability scores



Since you are already at V33, you are probably know a good number of concepts and just need to brush up a few areas. Use data analytics to isolate those areas. Click on the video below to know more about how to isolate your strengths and weaknesses:

https://e-gmat.wistia.com/medias/m5xjo9lls9

Once you have worked on your weaknesses, take ability quizzes to confirm your improvement. Watch the video below to know more:

https://e-gmat.wistia.com/medias/vjtfta6egn

Lastly, take a look at one recent success story to know more about how to achieve the same:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/680-to-750-a ... l#p1966070

Do let me know if the above helps.

Regards,

Rajat Sadana
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| '4 out of Top 5' Instructors on gmatclub | 70 point improvement guarantee | www.e-gmat.com

GMAT from 650 to 690 to 2x700 to 740   [#permalink] 21 Nov 2017, 09:36
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