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It is a myth that GMAT is aced by select individuals (Journey to 760)

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It is a myth that GMAT is aced by select individuals (Journey to 760) [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jan 2018, 09:30
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Perseverance, grit and self-belief backed by the right study material are the key ingredients for acing GMAT

I am a commerce graduate from India currently working in the financial services industry. As I come from a non- engineering and a non-native English speaking background, neither my quant nor my verbal was exceptional.

Attempt 1 (Dec 2016):

Score: 650
Time spent: 3 months
Study Material Used: Local tuition study material, Manhattan SC book and OG

Initial phase of preparation consisted of referring to tuition study material and Manhattan SC book, for brushing up basic mathematical formulas and grammar rules, which we have all studied in school. Simultaneously, I started practicing questions from OG. I used to take out roughly 1 hour on weekdays and 3-4 hours on weekends to practice questions. It took me approximately 1 – 1.5 months to finish OG.

My views on OG: It’s a must for everyone to start their preparation with OG, as it provides a good base for the kind of questions that one would encounter in the main exam. At the same time, I would agree with most people that majority of the questions in OG are easier compared to the ones on the main exam. However, in my opinion it is the best source to get acquainted with the nature, type and language of questions tested on GMAT.

In my case, I was somewhat satisfied with quant. However, I felt weak in verbal, especially SC. Please note that till this point of time I had not focused on time management. The only focus had been accuracy within reasonable time limits.

Next phase of preparation included practicing above 700 level questions (both quant & verbal) from the tuition material. I still had more than a month to go for my exam and thought practicing these questions would automatically improve both timing and accuracy.By this time, I was using the following strategy to solve verbal questions:

SC: Glance at the first and last words of the answer choices to see if I could find any split among the answer choices, and then approaching the sentence.
CR: Firstly, identify nature of the para i.e. is it a strengthen, weaken or assumption question, so that I know from which perspective I have to read the para. After reading the para directly approach the answer choices.
RC: Make small para summaries while reading the passage as it helped in understanding the passage better and reduced dependence on rereading the passage while answering questions.

Last 10 – 15 days were spent practicing mock papers. I gave around 9 mocks including 6 GMAT prep mocks. I could figure out that speed was a big concern for me, as I was guessing roughly 3 questions in quant and 5-7 questions in verbal towards the end, however, this did not seem to hamper my score as I was scoring in the range 680 to 740.
Thus, I decided to stick with the strategy of focusing more on the initial questions at the expense of guessing the last few questions in the main exam as well. During the exam, the same issue occurred and I ended up guessing the last few questions. I was hopeful of scoring above 700, based on the range I was scoring in mocks, but when I saw my score all my hopes were dashed. I got a score of 650 (Q 46 V 34)

Attempt 2 (April 2017)

Score: 760
Time spent: 2.5 months
Content: Quant Review, OG, egmat and GMAT Club Mocks

Post my first attempt, I had a clear idea of what went wrong, but did not know how to correct it. My previous attempt was a classic case of time mismanagement and I had to figure out how to improve my speed. It was not a case of insufficient practice, but rather of wrong technique and approach to questions.
I took a month’s break from studies, just to regroup and reenergize myself for the next attempt. However, all this while I had started reading editorial sections in newspapers on a daily basis. I thought it will help me improve my comprehension speed (and trust me it did help a lot!). The next thing I did was to buy the verbal package of egmat. With that I also got access to 37 quant tests and 7 verbal tests on the GMAT club.

At this point of time my key focus areas were quant, SC and CR. RC was more or less taken care of by the editorial sections I was reading daily.
In quant I started with practicing questions from quant review and then directly jumped on to the 37 mocks I had from GMAT club.

In verbal, I just followed egmat’s verbal online prep material. Their verbal material is holistic, easy to understand and extremely effective.
Starting with SC first, I feel their material covers each and every rule that could possibly be tested on the exam. Apart from being holistic, the explanations they provide for each question, including all OG SC questions, really helped me to understand nature and types of questions tested on GMAT and to get the approach in place to tackle such questions.

In CR, they advocate a slightly different strategy of Prethinking about the answer choices before you read the options. Initially, I was skeptical of using this approach as I felt it might not be an efficient way of solving CR questions. This strategy does not work overnight, but with practice, anyone can ace it. I could clearly ‘pre-think’ possible answers for different question types, and this in turn proved to be both an effective and an efficient way of doing CR questions.

Another plus point egmat has is the question bank they have in the form of Scholaranium. It has ample number of questions to practise and the quality of questions is extremely good.
For quant, those 37 mock papers on GMAT club really helped me to enhance my speed and knowledge of certain concepts. After seeing the solutions to some of the most difficult questions, I realized every question can be solved in less than 2 minutes, you just need to get the approach in place.

In these 2.5 months of preparation I devoted equal amount of time to verbal and quant, and spent the last 15 days practicing mocks on GMAT club and Scholaranium.
On the exam day, quant section went like a breeze. I finished the section within 70 minutes. I felt questions were extremely similar to the ones I practiced on GMAT club and was able to solve majority of them under 2 mins. Verbal section was a bit tricky as I couldn’t really make out how the exam was progressing. Nevertheless, I answered all the questions in time and didn’t guess any question this time around. I was expecting a score of above 700, but nowhere close to what I actually scored. I was ecstatic to see the score of 760 (Q50 V41). It really feels great when all the hard work you put in pays off.

Key things to remember:

• For quant, do OG, quant review (if extra practice is required) and 37 GMAT club mock papers. This material is more than sufficient to get you a good quant score.
• For verbal, egmat is highly recommended.
• If one’s reading speed is an issue, start reading the editorial section in newspapers. It really helps to improve both reading speed and comprehension.
• In the exam, every question is equally important. Don’t waste your time on a single question.
• GMAT is a long exam, so stay hydrated and nourished. Carry water and eatables.
• During the exam, don’t try to think how the exam is progressing. Just keep your focus on the questions.

Lastly, always believe in yourself - believing that you will succeed will always be half the battle.

Good Luck!!

Last edited by ayushr29 on 15 Jan 2018, 09:39, edited 2 times in total.

Kudos [?]: 4 [4], given: 0

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It is a myth that GMAT is aced by select individuals (Journey to 760)   [#permalink] 12 Jan 2018, 09:30
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It is a myth that GMAT is aced by select individuals (Journey to 760)

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