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GMAT Mindset and Strategy - Chiranjeev's Posts

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Hello All,

For quite some time, I have been posting on Linkedin posts related to GMAT Strategy and Mindset. Given the popularity of and positive response to those posts, I am creating this thread here to share the posts with the GMAT Club community. I hope they help some of the students.

Here's the first post that I posted some time ago on my Linkedin wall:

-------------------------------------

‘If you want to draw water, you do not dig a hundred one-foot wells. You dig one hundred-feet well’, I have heard.

In the context of learning or more specifically GMAT, if you want to reach your target score, you don’t solve thousands of questions superficially; you solve a few hundred questions with clarity on each and every aspect of the question and the options.

In both the cases, you’ll work hard.

However, one hard work will lead you to your target score and the other nowhere.

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New post Updated on: 05 Oct 2018, 11:13
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How many questions do you need to practice in your GMAT preparation?



First, we need to understand that practicing questions is not an end in itself. The end result is learning; practicing questions is just a means to learn.

I believe the following equation holds:

Learning = No. of questions * Learning per question

Given this equation, we can see that the number of questions you need to do depends on two factors: the amount of learning you need to get to reach your goal and the amount of learning you get from each question.

Clearly, if you are not thoroughly analyzing each question, especially a question in which you are not sure or which you could not mark correctly, your learning per question is not high. Thus, you’ll need many more questions to practice than another person who is learning a lot from every question.

In my experience, I have come across many aspirants who are hardly spending the time to analyze the reasoning behind every option in a question. Such aspirants end up doing thousands of questions without any tangible improvement in their scores. Don’t be one of them! Don’t run after quantity (the number of questions you do)! Run after quality (the learning you get from questions)!
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Originally posted by ChiranjeevSingh on 04 Oct 2018, 22:32.
Last edited by bb on 05 Oct 2018, 11:13, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 05 Oct 2018, 11:30
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Thanks for starting this Strategy Topic Chiranjeev!

I wholeheartedly agree with your point - the key to a high GMAT Score is not solving thousands or tens of thousands of questions.

  • In General, questions are for testing. They are a feedback mechanism.
  • I absolutely agree that you NEED to be FAMILIAR with each question type but that should not take more than 20 questions per se
  • Most of your learning will come from books/materials/courses/etc
  • Something you CAN learn from questions is TRAPS and TRICKS. You won't learn that from books, so it is important to cover these tricks/traps questions and identify them in PS/DS/SC/CR for YOURSELF

I have personally only had access to perhaps a few hundred questions and about 10 CATs (I took the last GMAT Prep the night before the test and I have not started taking CAT's until AFTER I finished my Quant prep, and even then I only took just the QUANT portion of my CAT's). Then when I finished Verbal, I started Taking Verbal CAT's and FULL CAT's. Since I split my prep into Quant and Verbal, it was important for me to stay fresh with Quant and taking Quant CATs was the way I did it.
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New post 07 Oct 2018, 19:08
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Impatience gets you fast… to nowhere!



This is a time when a lot of GMAT aspirants feel impatient as B-School deadlines approach. No matter where they are their GMAT journey, they want to wrap GMAT up in a month or two. However, very consistently, this impatience makes them engage in counter-productive behaviors, such as not spending enough time thoroughly analyzing their mistakes or taking mocks too frequently, that elongate their GMAT journey.

There is a famous quote that says: Infinite patience produces immediate results.

Probably, one learning from this quote is that the more patient you are, the less you’ll focus on the end result and thus the more you’ll focus on the process. Such a mindset will help you learn faster and thus achieve your target sooner.

So, GMAT aspirants, take a deep breath and hold your nerves for some more time. Focus on giving your best and let the result take care of itself.
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Everybody wants success in something, whether it’s in work, love, play, finances, family, or an inner struggle. But success doesn’t come instantly. Life has a process of rejecting you to test you and prepare you to win.

Steve Harvey lived in his Ford Tempo and showered in gas stations when he couldn’t get enough comedy gigs to cover his rent. Halle Berry slept in a homeless shelter in New York when she was auditioning to become an actress. Even James Cameron, one of the richest directors in Hollywood, was reduced to living out of his car when he was trying to sell the screenplay for The Terminator. The list goes on and on.

How you handle rejection is very similar to how you’ll handle success. If you’re strong enough to handle rejection without taking it personally, without holding a grudge, and without losing your passion and drive, then you’ll be strong enough to reap the rewards. But if you’re too weak to handle failure and disappointment, then you’re too weak to handle success, which will only end up damaging your life and happiness.

– From the book ‘I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons’ by Kevin Hart
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“GMAT preparation is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.”



This is what I told my Chinese student who was trying to cover too much too soon. There is a difference between giving your best and burning yourself out for the fear of missing out. I could sense she was beginning to fall in the later set out of stress that she wouldn’t be able to meet her deadlines.

The reality is that we cannot completely control the time we’re going to take to get our target score. The best thing that we can do to reach our target score faster is to give our best every day. However, if we stretch ourselves beyond a point, we’re going to burn out and will not have the energy to last the marathon.

Probably, we don’t need to make everything in life into a life-and-death scenario. We need to relax ourselves a bit. And the good thing is that when we are relaxed, we learn more and faster.
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One of my friends got a GMAT 540 after months of preparation but then made an improvement to GMAT 710 in 3 months. I asked him what made this significant jump possible. Below are his words:

‘Simply put, the moment I strayed away from the “score” and started focusing on the “improvement”, the results came.’
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ChiranjeevSingh wrote:

“GMAT preparation is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.”



This is what I told my Chinese student who was trying to cover too much too soon. There is a difference between giving your best and burning yourself out for the fear of missing out. I could sense she was beginning to fall in the later set out of stress that she wouldn’t be able to meet her deadlines.

The reality is that we cannot completely control the time we’re going to take to get our target score. The best thing that we can do to reach our target score faster is to give our best every day. However, if we stretch ourselves beyond a point, we’re going to burn out and will not have the energy to last the marathon.

Probably, we don’t need to make everything in life into a life-and-death scenario. We need to relax ourselves a bit. And the good thing is that when we are relaxed, we learn more and faster.


Hi Sir, your posts are very informative and helpful.please suggest how to prepare for CR?while solving 600 level questions,i don't face much problem.accuracy is also 85 to 90%.but in 700 level questions accuracy goes down.sir please suggest how to cope up with this problem?

Thanks



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sonusaini1 wrote:

Hi Sir, your posts are very informative and helpful.please suggest how to prepare for CR?while solving 600 level questions,i don't face much problem.accuracy is also 85 to 90%.but in 700 level questions accuracy goes down.sir please suggest how to cope up with this problem?



The questions you have asked in a very apt and a very commonly asked one. I believe it deserves a separate article. I'll write an article on it as soon as I find the time. However, I'll address the question briefly here.

We have to understand that:

1. CR, or rather GMAT, is a test of certain skills. It is not a test of question types.
2. CR tests two specific skills: your ability to understand statements precisely and your ability to critically reason.

Now, to consistently do better on CR, you need to build those skills. How do you build those skills?

1. By trying to understand each statement precisely in a CR question. A precise understanding of a statement means that you know 'exactly' what the statement means and what it does not mean. From my experience, I understand that the lack of this skill is the most common problem.
2. By trying to understand 'exactly' why each option is correct and why each option is incorrect. Whatever reasoning you read for an option, don't accept it. Evaluate it! See if the similar reasoning will hold in a similar argument. Try to create analogies - similar and simpler arguments. Also, play with the options. See if you change certain words, does the incorrect option become correct? or if you change certain words, does the correct option become incorrect?
3. By trying to build your skills through non-GMAT material. You need not build your skills only through practicing CR or GMAT questions. Try to be precise and critically evaluate everything you read. Once you make these skills a part of your daily life, your skills will improve way faster than if you limit their application to just GMAT questions.

Hope it helps!

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These days, as many GMAT aspirants face disappointment or failure at the hands of GMAT or Adcoms, I'd like to say one thing:

While a test or an admission may be very important at this stage of your career, if you believe in some sanity in this world, you have to recognize that one decision or outcome cannot determine your life. If you continue to persist/continue to believe in yourself and work diligently toward your goals, different - and probably bigger and better - opportunities may knock at your doors.

Besides, even if an MBA seems to be the best way for you, the current disappointment or failure may be just prodding you to stretch your current abilities. The current situation may just be an avenue for you to do something inspirational in life - to persist in the face of failures. I believe at the end of this life, you'll pat yourself not for what all you accumulated in life but for how you lived.
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Everybody wants success in something, whether it’s in work, love, play, finances, family, or an inner struggle. But success doesn’t come instantly. Life has a process of rejecting you to test you and prepare you to win.

Steve Harvey lived in his Ford Tempo and showered in gas stations when he couldn’t get enough comedy gigs to cover his rent. Halle Berry slept in a homeless shelter in New York when she was auditioning to become an actress. Even James Cameron, one of the richest directors in Hollywood, was reduced to living out of his car when he was trying to sell the screenplay for The Terminator. The list goes on and on.

How you handle rejection is very similar to how you’ll handle success. If you’re strong enough to handle rejection without taking it personally, without holding a grudge, and without losing your passion and drive, then you’ll be strong enough to reap the rewards. But if you’re too weak to handle failure and disappointment, then you’re too weak to handle success, which will only end up damaging your life and happiness.

– From the book ‘I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons’ by Kevin Hart
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Detailed Solutions to all SC questions in OG 2019, OG 2018,and OG 2017
My experience with GMAT (Score 780) and My analysis of my ESR
Three pillars of a successful GMAT strategy
Critical Reasoning and The Life of a GMAT Student
The 'Although' Misconception
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New post 31 Oct 2018, 20:46
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You don’t need more practice. You need right practice.

Very consistently, I see that when people don’t hit their target scores on #GMAT, they reason that they need more practice. They feel they just need to do the same thing (practice) more.

Only after they have failed twice or thrice do they realize that ‘probably’ they don’t need more of the same thing, that they need something different.

What they need is right practice.

Practice doesn’t help you if not done the right way. The right way to practice is to analyze each and every question thoroughly: to understand why each incorrect option is incorrect and why the correct one is correct, to try to find all the problems with each incorrect option (and not just move on after finding one), and to play with the words to see whether changing certain words can make the incorrect option correct or the correct one incorrect. This will require you to spend more time per question. You may end up doing significantly fewer questions but will end up learning more. Ultimately, it’s not the number of questions but the learning that is going to get you the desired score.

So, practice. But more importantly, practice right.
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“The sooner you want to get done with it, the longer it takes.”

This was my response when a girl, who came to meet me for GMAT preparation, said that she wanted to get done with GMAT ‘as soon as possible’. An achiever throughout her life, she was not used to the struggle that GMAT was putting her through.

I come across such people frequently – people who are tired of their GMAT struggle, people who are frustrated with not seeing the fruition of their efforts, people whom GMAT reminds that they are not as talented as they thought. Most of them are restless and want to get done with GMAT ASAP.

However, I have seen that such a mindset hinders and thus elongates the learning process. Since the learning process takes time, the mind, which wants to get done with the thing asap, sees the learning process as a hurdle to its goal and not as a way to its goal.

The way out of restlessness is to be patient with yourself. Just that you are taking time does not mean you are not intelligent. Intelligent people are so because of their past struggles. Even if the application deadlines loom, recognize that impatience will not take you to your goal. Take a deep breath and enjoy the process of learning; you’re getting closer to your goal!
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As I go through the forum gmatclub and read the option explanations by different people, I realise how easy it is to justify a correct option. A significant proportion of the users who get the answer correct are wrong in their reasoning for why the correct option is correct and why the incorrect ones are incorrect. Interestingly, many of them end up getting a lot of kudos for their posts when their seemingly correct (and actually incorrect) explanations fit into the question at hand. However, since the reasoning is wrong, it won’t work in any other question. Thus, neither the poster nor the users who appreciate the post gain anything from the question. Let alone gain, they lose since they carry with them a misunderstanding that may cost them a question in the actual exam.

Therefore, I strongly recommend that one follow only the expert explanations on the forums. Following other explanations may be not only non-productive but also counter-productive. In addition, always cross-check your own understanding of the different options since you may also be justifying the correct option and eliminating the incorrect ones for the wrong reasons.
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New post 12 Nov 2018, 19:46
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Have a look at this video if you are preparing for GMAT or rather any exam since effective practice is needed to excel in any exam…ummm actually, to excel in any domain of life.

A couple of points from the video that I want to specifically highlight:

2:16 Mastery isn’t simply about the number of hours of practice. It’s also the quality and effectiveness of that practice. Effective practice is consistent, intensely focused, and targets content or weaknesses that lie at the edge of our current abilities.

3:06 – Start out slowly or in slow-motion. Coordination is built with repetitions, whether correct or incorrect. If you gradually increase the speed of the quality repetitions, you have a better chance of doing them correctly.

[you-tube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=f2O6mQkFiiw[/you-tube]
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New post 15 Nov 2018, 23:46
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“Do you think I can ever crack GMAT?”

Over the last few months, I have been asked this question by a few students. The question reflects despondency that one experiences on failing after trying hard.

Lately, I’ve responded by asking “What if I say ‘No, you can never crack GMAT’? What would you do then?”

As they introspect after hearing the question, they realize that there is a hope in their hearts that will not be extinguished even if I say ‘No’. It’s as if their hearts already know that it cannot be impossible.

That is my purpose of asking that question.

Nothing is impossible for a human being to achieve, especially a thing that so many others have already achieved. It’s just a matter of time and direction. If you are ready to invest time and if your direction is right, you’ll eventually reach wherever you want to reach, no matter how far the destination is right now. The distance from the destination can only dictate the time it’ll take to reach there; the distance cannot make the journey impossible.

Believe in yourself! And look into the deepest part of your heart; it already believes in you!

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New post 18 Nov 2018, 18:56
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One way to improve your GMAT score quickly and reliably is to use the skills tested on the test in your daily life. For example: Sentence Correction (SC) is a test of the skill of writing grammatically correct sentences that convey the intended meaning unambiguously.

The more you use this skill in your daily life, i.e. you evaluate the content you read or write in your daily life on its grammatical correctness and ability to convey the intended meaning unambiguously, the more you’ll build this skill in yourself, and thus the more your score will improve in a given amount of time.

Similarly, the more you apply logical reasoning in your daily life – while reading articles, hearing news, or writing arguments – the more you’ll improve in the Critical Reasoning section.

However, I see a very significant proportion of test takers limit their skills building to just GMAT questions. They bring no change in their daily lives. They continue to make mistakes while writing emails even as they practice SC questions. They continue to read articles or news without applying critical reasoning. As a result, they end up spending a significantly greater amount of time in preparation.

We have to recognize that GMAT is not a test of certain question types. It is a test of skills.
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My articles:
Detailed Solutions to all SC questions in OG 2019, OG 2018,and OG 2017
My experience with GMAT (Score 780) and My analysis of my ESR
Three pillars of a successful GMAT strategy
Critical Reasoning and The Life of a GMAT Student
The 'Although' Misconception
Dear GMAT Aspirant, You need not swim against the tide

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Re: GMAT Mindset and Strategy - Chiranjeev's Posts  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2018, 20:04
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If you approach every test as an end in itself and try to ace it with tricks and tactics without building in yourself the core skills the test is trying to test, every new test is going to be a challenge in itself.

On the other hand, if you focus on building and growing yourself, not only will you ace the immediate tests but you’ll also be much better prepared for the next test, since, in a way, new understanding builds on existing understanding and thus, every new test also assesses the skills tested in earlier tests.

When we look at people who could score very high on some tests, we should think them not as born-intelligent but as people who have built in themselves the core skills tested on the tests. While the earlier perspective (born-intelligent) may not benefit, or rather may disempower us, the latter perspective (success through growth) may empower us and lead us to the path of success.
_________________

Website: http://www.GMATwithCJ.com

My articles:
Detailed Solutions to all SC questions in OG 2019, OG 2018,and OG 2017
My experience with GMAT (Score 780) and My analysis of my ESR
Three pillars of a successful GMAT strategy
Critical Reasoning and The Life of a GMAT Student
The 'Although' Misconception
Dear GMAT Aspirant, You need not swim against the tide

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Re: GMAT Mindset and Strategy - Chiranjeev's Posts &nbs [#permalink] 24 Nov 2018, 20:04
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