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Journey from 660 to 650 to 710 (ESR attached with the debrief)

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GMAT 1: 660 Q48 V33
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Journey from 660 to 650 to 710 (ESR attached with the debrief)  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 28 Jun 2018, 01:28
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I had my 3rd attempt on the GMAT today and have finally been able to clear the 700 mark. I always wished to write my own success story whenever I was going through other debriefs on the forum, and finally, today is that day.

I'll break my debrief in 3 parts, covering the preparation and exam experience for each of my attempts.

Gmat - 1st attempt - 660 (Q48, V33, IR5)

Background: I have always been an average student and was never serious regarding my studies and was more into extracurricular activities and sports. Even though I am a non-native English speaker, I felt that I would be able to manage the verbal section with little difficulties. I did not like Maths much since my school days, so was a little nervous regarding the quant section.

I started preparing for the GMAT in June 2015. I got hold of the latest GMAT official guide and gave the diagnostic test to get a feel of the examination. In order to give direction to my preparation, I planned on joining a classroom course for GMAT and ended up joining Jamboree as it was close to the place I stay. I had my classes on weekends and I used to complete the assignments provided by Jamboree during the weekdays, spending not more than 8 hours weekly.

Feedback on Jamboree: The quant teacher was really good and shared a lot of useful tricks. On the other hand, their Verbal curriculum was terrible.
Quant - 8/10
Verbal - 1/10

Meanwhile, I also joined GMAT club (I was not aware at that time about the role it was going to play in my journey).

Main Preparation

SC:
After reading a few posts on the Verbal forum of Gmat Club, I got hold of the Manhattan SC guide and went through it at least 2-3 times and got comfortable with the SC section.

CR:
CR came pretty naturally to me and I was able to solve 700 level questions with ease, so I did not study for CR from any of the books. Just practised questions from the study material provided by Jamboree and used to refer GMAT club for any doubts that I had on the CR questions.

RC:
This was the pain point for me from the very beginning as I was not able to maintain my concentration while going through the passage and always used to get lost in between. I kept practising passages from the Official guide and the Jamboree training material.

Quant - I was done with the course provided by Jamboree, but still used to take a lot of time while solving questions. I then started spending a lot of time on the GMAT club forum solving questions, going through the tips and tricks, and this really helped me get better on the Quant section. I would especially like to thank Bunuel for the efforts he has put in to make lives easy for so many people. I always used to search for his solution to any question I faced issues with.

Once I was done with the preparation, I started with the mock tests:

GMAT Power Prep - 660 (This was given as soon as I completed my Jamboree classes)
GMAT PREP - 1 - 660
GMAT PREP - 2 - 690
Manhattan Prep 1 - 650
Manhattan Prep 2 - 670
Manhattan Prep 3 - 690
Manhattan Prep 4 - 690
Gmat Prep 3 - 730
Gmat Prep 4 - 720

My score varied mostly because of the variation in the scores that I got on Verbal (mostly because of the RC section).

I was pretty confident of scoring a 700 as I had crossed the 700 mark in the Gmat EP - 1 tests.

Test Day:
I woke up early, had a very light breakfast and left for my centre as I had the exam around 09:00 AM.

AWA-IR-Quant-Verbal
I started with my quant section and everything was fine until the 7-8 question. I spent around 4-5 minutes on 2 consecutive question and I just wanted someone to stop the timer for just 10 seconds, but time was running fast and I was really blank at one moment. I took 10 seconds and got myself together and went ahead with the Quant section. I had to guess the last 6 questions in last 1 minute. I expected the Quant score to be somewhere around Q44.

I just wanted to run away from the centre and did not feel like attempting the verbal section, but still went ahead with it half-heartedly. Frankly speaking, I do not remember much about it as I did not use any of the strategies that I had used during my preparations. I just read the question and kept solving it and finished the verbal section 3 minutes before time.

I was shocked to see the score as I had scored 660 (Q48, V33) as I was expecting a 600. I rejected the score and kept cursing myself for not paying attention to the Verbal section.

Takeaway: Do not let the previous section of the examination affect the next section.

GMAT Second attempt - 650 (Q47, V33, IR8)

I started preparing for the GMAT again after a 7-8 month break. I was again facing the same issue and was not able to streamline my preparation. Also. I had exhausted all the study material that I had with me. This time I decided to get myself enrolled for the e-GMAT course (Not the classroom course). Although they have very good techniques in the Verbal section, I feel that e-Gmat has been overhyped and is not value for money. All the good articles and techniques that they share are available on the Gmat club forum and can be accessed for free.

Study Material:
- e-Gmat course and Scholoranium
- Gmat Club forum
- Manhattan SC

Mock Tests:
GMAT PREP - 1 - 740
GMAT PREP - 2 - 720

I knew that the scores I got were inflated as I got 3-4 questions in both sections that I already knew, but I was still pretty confident of scoring a 700.

Test Day:
This time I took the time slot of 02:00 PM as I am not a morning person. This did not help much as I still ended up waking up early in the morning and at least had a couple of anxiety attacks before the exam.

I had already decided to change the order of the sections in the exam this time and went with Quant - Verbal - IR- AWA. (Note that I had given my mock tests in the similar pattern).

Quant went pretty smooth according to me. During the verbal section, I was not at all able to maintain my focus and was getting lost in the CR questions and RC's. I was really disappointed and I knew that I had screwed up again.

I ended up getting a 650 (Q47, V33, IR8). I was a little shocked by the Quant score as I thought I did a better job than last time.

Gmat 3rd attempt - 710 (Q48, V38, IR7)

I again started the preparation after 4 months. Even before starting the preparation, I had made up my mind that I would be choosing the following order for my exam, Verbal - Quant - IR - AWA. The main reason was that I was exhausted by the time I reached Q 15 of the verbal section and was not able to concentrate.

I was not able to motivate myself this time and decided to take it a little lightly. By this time, I already had my own notes, for Quant and SC, I started by going through them and also went through the Manhattan SC book.

I purchased the GMAT Verbal and Quant guides this time as I did not have many questions left in the resources that I already had at hand. I now knew that the I had to solve questions on my laptop instead of directly from the hard copies of the book as I always was losing focus during the verbal section. So I activated the online question bank for both Verbal and Quant guides and started doing 40 Verbal and 30 Quant questions daily in Exam mode. Using the mentioned technique, I was gradually able to increase my focus

Other than that I only focused on Gmat Club forum. I used different filters that have been set up on the forum to select the type of questions I wanted to do and kept on practising a lot of questions. Note that it is very important to have a look at how other people have solved the questions even if you get the question right.

For the verbal section, I did go through few of the Verbal Live with Gmat Ninja videos and found them really good.

To be frank I was not planning to give even a single mock test this time, but still ended up giving the Veritas Free Prep Test 5 days before the exam and scored a 690 (Q51, V34). I was again disappointed with the verbal score that I got, but did not get perturbed by it.

One day before the test, I just went through my notes and did not study much. I tried getting my mindset right as I had now already given the exam twice and knew what to expect and what I had to improve on. Before sleeping I watched the ending scene of the movie "Pursuit of Happiness", and was pretty sure that I would be coming out of the exam hall just as Will Smith did out of his office.

Test Day:
I had a good night's sleep and woke up really fresh. I started feeling the nerves in while but did manage to keep it under control. I reached the centre 45 minutes in advance. The person at the centre asked me if I am willing to start the exam early, and I did agree to start the exam early.

Verbal - I was able to maintain my focus for the complete period. I got 3 easy RC's and 1 tough RC. At the halftime mark, I observed that I am at least 3-4 questions behind schedule, but I managed to cover that up in the second half. I was happy with the way the verbal section went as I knew that I had control over it this time and was confident of many answers that I marked (this was not the case in the previous 2 attempts).

Quant - Overall, the quant section went very good and I was able to complete it with 3 minutes remaining.

I just wanted to skip the IR and AWA sections to view my scores, but had to sit through them as well. IR was pretty easy, guessed a question where I thought I had to do a few calculations as I was no more in the mood of doing so. The argument that I got was very weak and I was able to easily complete my AWA section as well.

As soon as I clicked the Next button, 710 was displayed on the screen. I just couldn't stop smiling after looking at the scores and I came out of the centre with a sense of relief and achievement. I know this might not be a very good score for everyone, but it definitely is for me.

I feel that it very important for you to maintain the right mindset during the exam as the score that you get on the exam might vary on a scale of +/- 30 and I feel that the range of 60 makes a very big difference.

I don't think I would have cherished the score this much if I would have got it in the first attempt itself.

Update: After having a look at the ESR, I observed that I have scored below par on my CR. My overconfidence and lack of practice on the CR questions has hurt my score.
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Originally posted by anirudhsuhag.25 on 27 Jun 2018, 06:55.
Last edited by anirudhsuhag.25 on 28 Jun 2018, 01:28, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Journey from 660 to 650 to 710 (ESR attached with the debrief)  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2018, 08:31
Many Congratulations anirudhsuhag.25 , all i can relate to your post is 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going'.

Your hard work has indeed paid off, pat on your back and cherish the moment.

And lastly, all the best for your applications
:-) :thumbup:
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The few, the fearless !

Thanks :-)

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Re: Journey from 660 to 650 to 710 (ESR attached with the debrief)  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2018, 22:39
Congratulations!! Thanks for useful insights especially with your Verbal prep across 3 attempts.

Few questions:
- Did changing the order to V-Q instead of Q-V make a huge difference? Specifically, do you think this helped you pace through Verbal effectively?
- Also, how did you prepare for RCs before the latest attempt?
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Re: Journey from 660 to 650 to 710 (ESR attached with the debrief)  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jun 2018, 02:31
nkin wrote:
Congratulations!! Thanks for useful insights especially with your Verbal prep across 3 attempts.

Few questions:
- Did changing the order to V-Q instead of Q-V make a huge difference? Specifically, do you think this helped you pace through Verbal effectively?
- Also, how did you prepare for RCs before the latest attempt?


Thanks, Nkin.

Please find below my answer to your questions:
- Did changing the order to V-Q instead of Q-V make a huge difference? Specifically, do you think this helped you pace through Verbal effectively?
Yes, I think it made a whole lot of difference. I was pretty fresh during the complete section and did not lose focus. One more thing that I would recommend to anyone taking up the V-Q order is reading an article of any topic before the exam just to get in the groove of reading and understanding from the word go.

- Also, how did you prepare for RCs before the latest attempt?
As mentioned in my debrief, I practised all the Verbal questions on a laptop. I activated the online question bank for the Verbal guide and started doing the questions in Exam mode. Using the mentioned technique, I was gradually able to increase my focus. Also, I practised a lot of different types of RC's on the GMAT club forum. The technique that suited me was to understand the complete passage first and then move to the questions.
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Joined: 28 Mar 2016
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GMAT 1: 660 Q48 V33
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Re: Journey from 660 to 650 to 710 (ESR attached with the debrief)  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jul 2018, 05:32
balagevr wrote:
Hi ,
do you remember the question breakup in Verbal?how many questions in CR?


Hi,

I got 2 passages with 4 questions each and 2 passages with 3 questions each. So I got 14 questions in RC.

From the remaining 22 questions, I would say that it would probably have been a 12-10 split for SC (12) and CR (10).
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Re: Journey from 660 to 650 to 710 (ESR attached with the debrief) &nbs [#permalink] 03 Jul 2018, 05:32
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