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If You Want it bad Enough, You Will Get It - 750 (Q50,V42)

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If You Want it bad Enough, You Will Get It - 750 (Q50,V42) [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 19 Nov 2017, 21:38
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Guys,

There comes a time you are failing at every possible step
But you still don’t give up because the end is not always a logical extension

There comes time when you need miracle at every possible step
Illogically enough, you still keep trying

The lunatic poem that I wrote sometime back has started making little sense to me now.

Took GMAT yesterday. Finally, a third-time lucky. It's a good feeling - achieving what you aimed for!

Before everything, thank you, everyone, on this club for help. I apologise beforehand for keeping the debrief long and verbose.

First Mock Score (GMAT Prep) - 580
Average Mock Score - 710-730
GMAT - April 26th, 2017 - 680 (Q51, V29)
Average Mock Score - 730-740
GMAT - July 18th, 2017 - 700 (Q49,V37)
Average Mock Score - 740 (Scored 780 in Manhattan twice, but I was giving them for third time)
GMAT- Nov 16th, 2017 - 750 (Q51,V42)

My story has been a hell lot of struggle. I work in a startup, where I spend 12-13 hours a day. This leaves little time for study. However, sacrificing a bit of sleep, I used to regularly study for 4-5 hours a day.

I have no secrets to offer, but just this - keep identifying the problem and keep solving. Whether it's SC strategy or anxiety, every problem has a solution. If you want it bad enough, nothing can stop you. Whatever stage of preparation you are, keep hope. You will definitely succeed if you keep removing the bottlenecks.

I read it somewhere, and this line never fades from my mind - success is a momentary happiness, failure is a learning, but the perseverance is the best feeling! The feeling that you will not give up. The feeling that no matter, what you will move on. The feeling that nothing can stop you from pursuing what you want. A proof that you want it so bad, that there can only be delay, but, no deadlock. Keep fighting!

Yeah, it's easy for some people. But it's impossible to none. #StayInTheGame

I started preparing for GMAT in Feb and took my first attempt in April. I was scoring 710-730 in mocks, but I could just score 680(Q51, V42). In next attempt, after working a lot on my verbal (help of Crackverbal - Personal Tutor), I scored 700(Q49, V37). In this attempt, I couldn't even finish the quant section and took a penalty. Dejected after the attempt, I started my round one application. I applied to Duke and Oxford.

I wrote an article after my second attempt. It motivates me every time I read. Check out if you need some motivation dose.

I was okay with Duke's reject, but SAID reject sort of shocked me.

In October, I convinced myself to prepare again for GMAT. I again took help of Crackverbal, as I had great experience working with them.

My biggest problem was to stay calm, so I will delve into details here. I hope it's useful for people struggling to stay focused in the exam.

In my last attempt (700 one), I couldn't even read first 5 question properly because of anxiety. I was in so much pressure because of feelings such as "first 10 question are important", "GMAT is so important", and "I have to do the question in 1:30 min".

First problem - How to stay calm?


I used to have constant pain in stomach and raised heartbeat in the exam. It didn't use to let me even read the question properly in beginning and end.

I dealt with this quite seriously for 1 month.

Here are my few tips to stay calm:

Noting:


"You get effortless focus when you stop trying for it."

Noting is a great meditation technique. It basically says that you should let the thoughts flow. It's something like a person standing on the side of the road and just observing the traffic.

How it's done: Focus on breathing. Whenever you get distracted - just classify whether it's thinking or though ( the first level noting).
After some practising, start second level noting (classifying it into positive, negative, or neutral).

Noting helps you realise that everything is in mind and that anxiety is just a thought. During the GMAT, whenever I was feeling anxiety, I was just noting and moving on. It's extremely powerful technique.

Focus on breathing and body sensation:



That's the key to every meditation technique. I used an excellent app - Headspace for this. I took its premium subscription.

I took anxiety and focus module. I used to meditate 30 minutes in morning. I used to get three reminders a day apart from the morning. I work in a startup, where we have sleeping room. So I either used desk or sleeping room to take 3 more sessions of 3 minutes in a day.

Get detached from work


It's one of the core philosophy of Gita, a spiritual book. When you have given your best, you should get detached from the result. Just be an observer. The lust for the result will do more harm than good. The day before the exam, I spent a lot of time deemphasizing the importance of GMAT - It's not the biggest thing in life. Moreover, even if I do screw here I will do something good in life. (for me it would have been startup)

These all techniques worked for me, and I was quite calm in my final attempt. I hope this works for you.

Second problem - Timing especially in verbal section


This was a huge pain for me. Here is what worked for:

Sentence Correction: Manhattan strategy worked for me.
- Have the first glance, and identify the first splits (the better you get at this step with practice, the better is your timing)
- If possible, chop of few options based on step 1
- Read for meaning (always reading in understandable chunks - while reading identify parallel and subjugate ideas)
- Attack question with split strategy

Critical Reasoning: Practicing with LSAT helped me in improving time. Do there 16-25 question, which is extremely tough, so a 700 level question practice. Initially, I used to take 2:30 minutes per question. But after optimising and fixing process for every question types, in general, I used to take around 1:45-2 minutes. Optimising approach could be done by watching videos of Ron. As I was struggling a lot, I took help of a personal tutor. He helped me trim my approach.
- First read the prompt
- Assumptions - Just form an equation (Premise -> Conclusion) and identify answer. Generally, 1:30 min.
- Bold Face: Attack each statement separately in option (1:30-1:45 min)
- Evaluate Question: I always used to err on this question type, so I gave 2:00-2:15 minutes. First, identify assumptions, then attack, and then apply variance test
- Strengthen and Weaken: They could be tricky. Generally 1:45-2 Min

Reading Comprehension: I followed my tutor's approach, which was quite close to Manhattan approach.Reading for opinion and skimming details helped me trim time. Moreover, once I perfected global question process, I was able to save a lot of time, as they take the least amount of time.

DS: Just followed Manhattan process. Started included algebraic approach thanks to Brunnel. As I was good in algebra, this really helped. Finally, I settled on this:
- Value Question - Algebra approach
- Yes/no Question - Number testing approach

Strategies for various sections:



Sentence Correction:


First, splits are real. I could see the normal split - idiom usage (both), which/that etc. split today. While it's okay to focus on meaning, you shouldn't neglect split approach. My accuracy was improved in the second attempt, but I was taking 1:45 min on an average on SC. To reduce the average time, I adopted split strategy rather than read every option. This helped me do SC questions in 1:20 -1:30 min.

Second, I know it has been said a lot, but here it goes again - stick to official questions. They are enough. I religiously did 100+ official question, read the entire explanations (of 4-5 pages) on Manhattan forum. I made notes for this. I have attached the strategy notes that I made of these error types. Overall, there are not many different types of errors that you need to focus on.
- Modifier - Type (adjective and adverb) and placement. Understand all the nuances here. I focussed a lot on this. You should understand intricacies such as:
Edward studies at ISB, graduating with distinction. --> Since the act of graduation didn’t happen at the time of studying - this is not viable.

Recently documented examples of neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells, include the brain growing in mice when placed in a stimulating environment or neurons increasing in canaries that learn new songs.
After neglecting modifiers → brain and neurons are examples of neurogenesis (non-sensical)

Preposition modifier can be both adverbial and adjectival
- Tenses: Read the basic and ignore (for non-native). As per Ron, tenses are tough to grasp for non-native, although I never struggled, as GMAT, in general, just test - perfect and continuous tense cases. It was never my first attach.
- Subject-Verb agreement - It's generally my first point of attack. You just have to learn all the rules.
- Pronoun - Again not a complex topic. I used to neglect ambiguity and just focus on matching singular/plural and subject/object case
- Parallelism: You should all weirs types of parallelism such as active-passive so that you don't cross off the right answer. After this, just follow Ron's advice - Parallelism is a Beauty contest. Just pick the most elegant one.

Resources used:
Manhattan SC Guide
Offical Guide
Personal Tutoring from CrackVerbal - It was gamechanger for me.
Magoosh - Some high-quality tough questions for practice.
Personal tutoring from Crackverbal helped me a lot. Aravind and Saikaran, my tutors, helped me tweak my strategy and approach for SC questions.

Critical Reasoning:


For concept building, I used LR Bible and Magoosh.

I believe you start cracking CR once you start seeing the line of reasoning, which have fixed patterns - analogy, causation, correlation etc. In facts, wrong answers have also pattern. Once you start maintaining error and correcting your approach CR improves.

I maintained error log and CR Strategy Doc (collection of some of my strategy).

I practised around 20 LSAT sets. This helped me groom my CR skills in final stages of preparations.

I did all of 700+ level questions of GMAT Club from reputed institutes in CR.

Strategy to get comfortable with tough CR and master paraphrasing answer

- Guess possible answer for official questions with looking answer
- Solve famous paradoxes - Here is a list of paradox
Apart from interesting, this exercise makes you comfortable with tough CR. For exmaple, Simpson Paradox was used in one GMAT Prep question about award for national and international movies - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson%27s_paradox
Similarly, low birth weight paradox and Faint young sun paradox is quite intersting. First, just read the paradox. Then predict multiple answer. Then check whether you wer thinking in right direction or whether you were logical. I used to do this at work with my team mates - a good entertaining exercise.

Overall, I believe practice helps a lot in CR.

Reading Comprehension


Following strategy worked for me:
- Taking notes: This helped me improve my accuracy from 60-70% to 90%.
- Practicing LSAT passages: These passages took away fear of GMAT long passages
- Maintaining error and fixed strategy for every question types
- Ron videos on RC are extremely useful

I followed framework of my Tutor Saikaran - ROCI (Read the opinion and skip information)

Quant:


Apart from some Manhattan Guide, I didn't use any other material for theory in quant. I maintained error log and notes that helped me a lot.
I used following resources for solving 700 level questions:
100 Hardest Questions GMAT Club
Advanced Quant - Manhattan
GMAT Club Test
Manhattan mocks are awesome in quant


Resources Used:


Official Guides
CrackVerbal Personal Tutoring Session (20 hours)
Mock: GMAT, Manhattan, Veritas, GMAT Club, Kaplan, Expert Global, Economist, and Princeton. (Written in order of my preference)
Manhattan guides
Veritas CR Guide
LSAT Papers
Kaplan 800
Kaplan Premier
Kaplan Quiz Bank (Did only 100 question)
Economist Question Bank (There is a trick to freely access all their questions. It's stored in Google Cache. Sorry Economist Team!)
Magoosh Question Bank

Tips for success


- As identifying pattern in a key in GMAT, you should maintain:
Strategy Doc: Detailing question types, strategy, and patterns
Error Log: This will help you improve accuracy
- You can use the mocks even twice or thrice. I even used Manhattan mocks thrice. In my third attempt, I was using mock not as a score estimator but just as a tool to solidify my approach.
- Keep optimising your technique, even 10-second reduction per question matters
- Make the best use of GMAT Club questions. You can do timed sets to improve your timing #Suggestion

Good luck!
Attachments

File comment: CR Strategy DOC
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Originally posted by ajit_223 on 16 Nov 2017, 22:14.
Last edited by ajit_223 on 19 Nov 2017, 21:38, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: If You Want it bad Enough, You Will Get It - 750 (Q50,V42) [#permalink]

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New post 16 Nov 2017, 22:48
ajit_223


This is an amazing debrief and I relate to virtually every experience of yours.


Quote:
I have no secrets to offer, but just this - keep identifying the problem and keep solving.


I think majority of us preparing for GMAT immediately jump to seeing solution once we get
a question incorrect. Did you follow this approach or tried to reattempt incorrect ones using bookmarked/
stickies without timing?
Could you elaborate on time distributions for your activities of revising concepts vs practive and analysis in
your daily study schedule.


Quote:
I used an excellent app - Headspace for this. I took its premium subscription.


There are few others like AWARE and INSIGHT which are close to app you suggested.

Quote:
DS: Just followed Manhattan process. Started included algebraic approach thanks to Brunnel. As I was good in algebra, this really helped. Finally, I settled on this:
- Value Question - Algebra approach
- Yes/no Question - Number testing approach

Is this same as what Veritas advocates?

Quote:
You can use the mocks even twice or thrice.

What if unfortunately someone has better memory to recall both OA and OE?

Also can you give few additional tips for analyzing mocks and which strategy / pre-work you did before sitting for one?

All the very best for you apps!!
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Re: If You Want it bad Enough, You Will Get It - 750 (Q50,V42) [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2017, 03:53
1
Thanks.

Quote:
I think majority of us preparing for GMAT immediately jump to seeing solution once we get
a question incorrect. Did you follow this approach or tried to reattempt incorrect ones using bookmarked/
stickies without timing?
Could you elaborate on time distributions for your activities of revising concepts vs practive and analysis in
your daily study schedule.


I use to reattempt before checking answer but not more than 5-10 minutes. I have spent more than even 30 minutes on some questions. I don't remember breakup, but I guess I spent around 20% of the time on revaluation.


Quote:
Is this same as what Veritas advocates?
Not sure.
Quote:
What if unfortunately, someone has better memory to recall both OA and OE?
- Then your score should be even higher. And irrespective, don't jump to answer, follow the process and don't let the answer guide you. If it's wrong as per your process, mark it wrong.

Quote:
Also can you give few additional tips for analyzing mocks and which strategy / pre-work you did before sitting for one?


No pre-work. Post mock spent a tone of time updating error log, make changes in question strategy if required(or create a checklist in case of silly errors), and do 5-10 questions of the type you did wrong.Categorising error and identifying learning are extremely important.

Hope this helps.
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Re: If You Want it bad Enough, You Will Get It - 750 (Q50,V42) [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2017, 04:48
Congrats on your score and best wishes for your application. A few queries from my end :

1) How did you structure your prep ?
2) How many weeks did you invest in building concepts and application ?
3) Which resource (other than Official) would you recommend for extra timed practise ?
4) Any specific strategy as far as RCs are concerned ? Are you a veracious reader ?
5) Roughly how many hours per week do you recommend ? (BTW your count of 4-5 hours per day is impressive !!)

Sorry for the "detailed questionnaire" but your reply will help !!
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Re: If You Want it bad Enough, You Will Get It - 750 (Q50,V42) [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2017, 23:08
Congrats on your score and best wishes for your application. A few queries from my end :

1) How did you structure your prep?
Practice a lot. Take mock on weekend. Close to exam stick to the official question - try to identify the trick of writers, clever use of tense and sentence structure even in tough CR etc.

2) How many weeks did you invest in building concepts and application ?
Very less. I spent one week with Manhattan SC guide. I used to make notes, jotting down learning and concepts. I don't know whether it's the best way. As I mentioned in post, my biggest learning was from doing questions and reading explanation of instructors on Manhattan Forum, GMAT Club, and BTG.

3) Which resource (other than Official) would you recommend for extra timed practise ?
- Magoosh Question Bank
- Kaplan 800
- GMAT Club 700+ tagged questions from good prep companies (Don't attempt before you are done with these prep companies mocks)
- LSAT
- Economist
- Manhattan Advanced Quant
- Veritas Prep CR guide
- Veritas Prep Question Bank

4) Any specific strategy as far as RCs are concerned ? Are you a veracious reader ?
Although I do read non-fiction novel quite regularly, I am not a voracious reader. RC - following fixed structure and confidence in your process helps. You should be comfortable attempting your first question by reading just 20-30% of text at max.

5) Roughly how many hours per week do you recommend? (BTW your count of 4-5 hours per day is impressive !!)
Weekday - 4-5 hours
Weekend - 8-9 hours including one mock

Sorry for the "detailed questionnaire" but your reply will help !!
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Re: If You Want it bad Enough, You Will Get It - 750 (Q50,V42) [#permalink]

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New post 18 Nov 2017, 09:24
Congratulations ajit_223 for the great score.

Reading your debrief was a superb experience in itself. Very well written and well structured. Glad to know that "Headspace" worked for you, I am BIG fan of this app for a long time now and cant start my day without launching it in the morning.

The only point I am concerned about here is you have referred to too many reference materials, and I am not sure if sometimes that can be a challenge and how did you manage it?

All the best for your apps!
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"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

Best AWA Template: https://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html#p470475

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Re: If You Want it bad Enough, You Will Get It - 750 (Q50,V42) [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2017, 21:16

The only point I am concerned about here is you have referred to too many reference materials, and I am not sure if sometimes that can be a challenge and how did you manage it?


Yeah, that's not a strategy that I proud of. In SC, I just kept to official questions. In CR, I practised from many sources, and to be fair some of them are good - LSAT, Kaplan 800, Veritas CR etc. I feel CR requires practice as it could be tricky. Further, practice in CR helped me reduce time as I could decipher the pattern quickly.

I was very inefficient with mocks. I should have kept 2 weeks gap at least. In fact, there was a period of 14 days when I was giving mocks daily. #NotAdvisable
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If You Want it bad Enough, You Will Get It - 750 (Q50,V42) [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2017, 21:39
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Hi Ajitesh,

This is a very detailed debrief. Thank you for your kind words about our Personal tutoring sessions. As faculty there is no greater happiness to see our students achieve their dream scores:) We are proud that a CrackVerbal student has managed to score a 750.

Learn proven strategies to get an MBA through GMAT in 2018! Join our free 4 part MBA Through GMAT Video Training Series
https://gmat.crackverbal.com/mba-through-gmat-video-2018


All the best for your applications:)
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If You Want it bad Enough, You Will Get It - 750 (Q50,V42)   [#permalink] 27 Nov 2017, 21:39
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