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GMAT Online - 750 (Q50 V41)

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GMAT 1: 750 Q50 V41
GMAT Online - 750 (Q50 V41)  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2020, 21:25
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So my GMAT journey started off in January 2020. Initially, the plan was to attempt the GMAT by April however, after the GMAT moved online I decided I should wait it out. Eventually, I ended up comparing the pro's and cons and decided to take the GMAT Online.


Preparation:

Stage1:

So initially, I started preparing for the GMAT in January with Princeton Review materials to get used to the question types and common strategies. In the first mock test (Princeton test 7), I scored a 680 (Q50, V34). After going through the course material, I felt like my scores would increase significantly, but my mock test scores still hovered around the 680-700 mark. My strategy at the time was to keep taking mock tests every 3-4 days and I did not spend enough time reviewing the same. Also, I noticed that the Princeton Rewiew scoring algorithm was really harsh even if you get 1 question wrong in the first 10 questions. So, you could end up with a Q45 with 2-3 questions incorrect, even if one question was within Q1-Q10. I had read that the first 10 questions matter, however, I found that the princeton algorithm was too extreme and was not as accurate. Though the course material is desigened well enough to get to the higher-600's, I had soon reached a plateau.

Stage2:

Since I was no where near my target scores, I decided to stop taking the Princeton mocks and switched over to taking the Manhattan mocks. I read from the forums that the Quants was way more challenging (and It really was) and verbal was more inline with the real tests. In the first Manhattan test I took, I ended up scoring a 640 (Q42 and V36). This really demotivated me and since I scored a Q42 and I was back on square 1. Till this point of time, I had completely ignored Quants since I was scoring a steady Q50 and Q51 in all my previous mocks (Princeton Mocks).
At this point of time, I knew that taking tests without really doubling down on what's going wrong will not help at all. I started maintaining an error log and started to systematically categorise all the errors and found out the weaker areas. Once I started doing this, I realised that a lot of "Self made theories" which I kept applying to verbal questions - for example "Being can never be the answer", "always prefer infinitive over -ing" is what kept getting me into trouble. Believe me, some of these self made theories can get you through the 600 level questions, however, they are almost certain to fail once you reach the higher difficulty levels. That's when it hit me that to get the score I needed, I have to unlearn all that I learned and fall back on Meaning. In CR, I realised that I chose the first option which I felt made sense and did not go over all the options and the strategy which I developed for RC (note taking) just slowed me down and by the end of the test fell short on time.

Stage3:

I decided that I should book the exam date and then work towards my goal in a systematic manner. I booked the test for 30/5/2020.I knew that whatever I've done till now will not get me to my target score and it was time for to change my plan of attack.

Verbal:

- For SC, I started to go over Manhattan SC guide. As soon as I opened the book, I was intimidated by the sheer amount of information. I believe this is one of the best and only resources you need to improve in sentence correction.

-Next, I discovered GMAT Ninja! (imo the best verbal instructor). Without his resources, I don't think I could make any significant increments in my verbal score. Once I started watching his videos on SC/CR, it totally changed the way I looked at the questions. This is also around the time that I discovered GMAT Club (yes, I was living under a rock before that :p). Once I went over the series of youtube videos and articles, I started seeing improvements in my verbal scores. Also, I no longer had to memorise the billions of Idioms! GMAT was fun again! I started looking for 4 incorrect asnwers, as opposed to finding the correct answer and started focussing more on meaning. (Thanks a lot Gmat Ninja! this would not be possible without you :D)

-For CR, I picked up a copy of Powerscore CR Bible, and that helped thouroughly strengthen my concepts such as "causal relationships" which appear all the time. The strategies and especially a summary of all the types of errors for each type of question helped develop an attack strategy for all types of CR questions.

-For RC, I followed the Manhattan strategy guide coupled with a few E-GMAT videos which helped me understand the different strategies I needed to follow for each question type. I made it a rule to refer back to the passage for detail specific questions and started investing more time upfront for reading the passage. Noticing conclusion markers and shift in ideas help me read faster and better understand the author's motive.

Quants

- For quants, I realised that my fundamentals were strong, but I needed to take more time in solving the questions since I often missed out on specific details such as "x is an integer" or "posetive integer". Once I started focussing on re-reading the question to get the details right, I started to see my quants score stabilize around the Q50-51 mark on the mock tests.


Stage 4

With around a month left, I started to follow GMAT ninja's advice to focus on Official GMAT questions.

The only thing that I focussed on was GMAT OG Questions for both verbal and quants (from OG2021 - 1998) along with OG Advanced questions for quants. I started to practice questions reularly from GMAT Club and the automated error log helped me keep track of my progress! I am a big data hoarder so the error log stats kept me motivated. I downloaded the error log files and started jotting down the mistakes I was making.

For verbal, I started implimenting the strategies I picked up from Manhattan, GMAT Ninja and started to see immeadiate improvements. Leading up to the test day, I did not make any other changes to my plan of action.


Study Routine

Once I decided that I'm going to take the GMAT Online, I started to get my body prepared to be at its best at the time I wanted to take the test. With the flexibility of the GMAT online test timings, I chose to take the test at around 5:45 AM while everyones asleep to reduce distractions.

Food and sleep play a very important role to prepare your mind for the test day and I stated ensuring that I hit the bed by 7 PM (yes, I know its weird) and wake up by 2:30 AM. I fixed a morning routine - a cup of coffee, followed by a quick jog on the treadmill and then a few Keto Waffles for breakfast. I started to prepare myself and optimise my water intake before the test so that I can endure 2 hours of the test without needing to go to the washroom :p

Whiteboard practice

After I decided that I'll be taking the GMAT Online, I started practcing exclusively with the whiteboard. Soon I realised that It was way easier for me to write down equations than to use the text feature. Here are a few tips which helped me a lot!

- adjust the DPI of your mouse if possible and reduce it so that you can make small precise movements. (this helped a lot!)
-remember to disable all extra buttons on your mouse if any
-a mousepad is highly recommended!
-for verbal, I stopped writing down A/B/C/D/E and started using my fingers as a Process of elimination and simply tucked in my finger to eliminate an option (This saved me atleast 3-5 minutes on the test). Infact I would recommend this strategy even for people taking the test with a scratchpad since it will save you a lot of time.
- I stared to memorise the timings for quants and looked at the clock for every digit ending in 1/6 eg - Q6 (50 mins), Q11(40 mins), Q16(30 min), Q21(20 min), Q26(10 min) and Q31(0 min). I did this because I found it was extremely time consuming to set up the whiteboard in a checkerboard mannar and sometimes due to glitches, the text disappers when you zoom in after setting up the whiteboard by zooming out. I would say just memorise this and dont waste time on setting up the whiteboard.
-for verbal, you could set up the whiteboard with the pacing strategy however, I felt like I finished in time and thus i did not use the whiteboard at all for verbal.


Days before Test Day!

So finally two days before test day, I took the last GMAT Prep test 6 which I saved and scored a 760 (Q50 V42). I would say that this is one of the most accurate indicators of your performance and you should save atleast one test for a few days before test day. This helped boost my confidence and for the last two days, I just went over the error logs and notes.

Test Day

The check-in procedure was relatively simple and I would recommend that every one tries out the system check to avoid last minute hassles. The checkin procedure was about 10 minutes and then I started my test. Here are a few things I did immeadiately:
a. move the floating window which shows up with a live feed from your camera to the extreme left so that you can't see it anymore - it can be really distracting otherwise.
b. Open up the whiteboard

Quants:

Initially, everything was going smooth however, for the first time one of the questions got the best of me. I spent 4+ minutes on a particular question and things started going downhill. I had to really increase my pace and hurry through the last few questions. Infact, for the first time ever, I felt like i needed more time on quants. I was nevous and my hands were a bit shaky which made writing down equations difficult. The last few questions seemed really easy and I was sure that I've blown it.

Verbal:

Verbal went really well. I tried my best to not let the quants performance bring me down. SC's and CR's went well and i felt that I struggled a bit with the last few RC's. However overall, It went well.
The only hiccup I faced was when there was 30 seconds remaining on the clock. Due to the quarentine, I was not able to get a haircut and hence, to prevent my hair covering my eyes, I was wearing a baseball cap. The proctor who joined initially had no problems with the same. But with 30 seconds on the clock when I was on the last question, the proctor pinged me and asked me to take of the cap. This was really stressful since I almost missed the last question. I took off the cap and luckily made it in time. So just keep in mind that proctors might change in between and what is okay with one proctor, might not be with the other!

IR:

I quickly grabbed a cup of tea during the break and headed into the IR section. I did score consistant 7-8's in most of the mocks however I felt that the questions were a bit challenging.

Results

So as soon as I finished the test, I started preparing for quants again and purchased a copy of the advanced manhattan guide for quants since I thought I could do much better in Quants. However, within 2 working days I received the scores (750 Q50 V41 IR6).

Preparing for GMAT has been an amazing experience and I just realised that how big of a role this community played in this journey. Thanks a lot for all the help and support from all the amazing people here!
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Re: GMAT Online - 750 (Q50 V41)  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2020, 21:50
Congratulations on scoring a fantastic 750 !! Could you please shed some more light on CR preparation? I see that you gained a lot of help from PowerScore CR Bible to improve your CR skills. How did you use the book to solidify your skill? How many readings did it take for you to grasp as much from the book?

My CR accuracy is inconsistent. Any insights on how to improve CR skill would be helpful.

Thank you in advance.
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Re: GMAT Online - 750 (Q50 V41)  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2020, 22:11
Thanks for your sharing. You had a great study strategy to get a prodigious result. Could you tell me approximately how many total hours you spent on preparing for the GMAT?
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GMAT 1: 750 Q50 V41
Re: GMAT Online - 750 (Q50 V41)  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2020, 00:55
ARIEN3228 wrote:
Congratulations on scoring a fantastic 750 !! Could you please shed some more light on CR preparation? I see that you gained a lot of help from PowerScore CR Bible to improve your CR skills. How did you use the book to solidify your skill? How many readings did it take for you to grasp as much from the book?

My CR accuracy is inconsistent. Any insights on how to improve CR skill would be helpful.

Thank you in advance.


To be honest, the best thing to do for CR is to find the conclusion and read each and every word literally. The power CR book is amazing at categorising the types of problems and definining a path to approach each question type uniquely. Also, finding 4 incorrect options (and not 1 correct one) will always help you get to the correct answer.

Where the powerbible CR excels is at summarising the most commonly used traps for each question type. So if you already know what kind of traps GMAT sets up in CR questions, it becomes easier to eliminate the same. According to me, the pre-thinking method works wonders for sub 600 and sometimes even 600-700 level questions, but once you reach 700+ questions, Unfortunately, it falls apart.
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GMAT 1: 750 Q50 V41
Re: GMAT Online - 750 (Q50 V41)  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2020, 00:58
ostrick5465 wrote:
Thanks for your sharing. You had a great study strategy to get a prodigious result. Could you tell me approximately how many total hours you spent on preparing for the GMAT?


Thanks a lot ostrick5465!
Well, I don't think I have an accurate number for that, but on average maybe 3 hours a day for around 3.5 months. A lot of that time went towards un-learning self made theories. I belive how long preparation will take completely depends on your study plan and resources.
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Re: GMAT Online - 750 (Q50 V41)   [#permalink] 06 Jun 2020, 00:58

GMAT Online - 750 (Q50 V41)

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