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Journey to 730 in 75 days while working 45+ hours per week

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Joined: 07 Dec 2017
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GMAT 1: 730 Q49 V41
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Journey to 730 in 75 days while working 45+ hours per week  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2019, 07:38
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So I just took GMAT this past week and came out with a score of 730 (v41, Q49). It still feels quite surreal. On one hand it feels like I shouldn’t be surprised because this is what I was aiming for but on the other hand I’m thinking to myself – how the hell did I pull this off? Especially without taking any time off from work.

I wanted to share my experience and probably try and help others who, like me, are working full-time and are wondering if they can really pull off a 700+ score without taking a significant amount of time off.

I started my GMAT journey in April and after going through multiple blogs and prep provider websites I decided that I could probably take the exam in August. But as is often the case with most of our best laid plans, my timeline didn’t really work out that way. Probably the only good thing that came from my initial stage of GMAT preparation was that I registered for e-GMAT’s online classes, which in the end really helped.

The second stage of my GMAT journey began in August. This was when I originally planned on taking the GMAT but I was nowhere close to being ready. I had prepared in a haphazard way over the last three months, trying to study whenever I got time and jumping between topics whenever I felt stuck. But at the beginning of August I decided that I needed to get serious, I was already going to miss the first round deadlines of most schools, and I did not want to miss the second round as well. With that intention in mind I hit the reset button and started from zero. Thankfully I was able to turn it around and get a good score when I finally appeared for the exam.

I am not going to talk about the step-by-step process of how to prepare and do well in the GMAT (there are plenty of resources on that topic already), but rather focus on some of the overarching factors that helped me –

Failing to plan is planning to fail
When I first started my prep, I did not have a plan in place. I just thought to myself – study whenever you can for as long as you can. But it really doesn’t work that way. By not specifying my study hours, I just ended up in a situation where I did not study at all. I kept justifying this by telling myself that I will make up for it over the weekend. That never happened.

The second time around, I used the e-GMAT planner. This tool was an absolute life saver. I was able to specify how many hours I had available on a daily basis and it charted out a plan for me to my target score. I know you don’t really need a planner to make a plan for you, but having this tool really took the pain out of the planning process for me.

It is really important to have a plan, even more so when you are juggling both studies and work. And it needs to have intermediate goals built into it. What I mean by this is that while it is important to have the final GMAT date in place, it is equally important to have dates by when you plan on finishing sub-topics. Only then will you realize if you are going off pace and you can course correct before it’s too late.

I think planning is one of those things that is advised so often that at times it loses its significance, but I honestly believe this was the single biggest factor that helped me do well.

Trust the process
A lot of us have a tendency to question our instructors, initially I did this myself with e-GMAT. Whenever the video told me to pre-think, apply the process or whatever else, I would think to myself – no, I will not have so much time in the actual exam, let me just jump right into eliminating answer choices. Needless to say, this approach did not work. I was not improving my score and I was absolutely struggling on the harder questions. I realized that my approach is not working and that I should just trust the process being taught. As soon as I did that, I saw a jump in my score, especially in verbal.

The point I am trying to make is that do your research, read reviews, attend trial sessions and buy whatever books you want. But once you’ve made that decision, trust the process being taught! Don’t jump around between approaches or prep providers or immediately give up when an approach doesn’t suit you. It takes time to build expertise and jumping between approaches just ends up costing more time than its worth.

Trust yourself
Two weeks before the exam, I was in panic mode. I was trying to put in 8 hours of study each day on the weekends, I was trying to solve as many mocks as I could lay my hands on and doing anything else I could think of. This was not helpful at all. I saw my score actually go down on the mocks, which didn’t help with the panic either. And to top it all off, I was told that I would have come into work the Friday before my exam (my exam was on Monday). A little background here, I work in equity research and second half of October is usually when Q3 earnings come out, my team was recently downsized and I didn’t have anyone to cover for me, people at work didn’t know I was taking the GMAT so there was no way I could get out of it.

Basically, I was absolutely losing my marbles. That’s when my wife told me to calm myself down. She told me to that I had done the hard work and I should trust myself and my abilities. I ended up staying away from GMAT for a whole weekend. Which is much harder than it sounds when you only have a couple of weeks left to go. But that time away really helped me pull myself together and feel refreshed. And GMAT is an exam where your mind needs to be at its sharpest. There’s no point going into the exam tired and overworked.

Around the same time, I also had a call with someone from the e-GMAT support team. I basically voiced my concerns to her and she told me to concentrate on solidifying and cementing the concepts that I had already covered and not worry too much about some of the topics that I hadn’t. Hearing someone say that it is alright to not cover some portion of the concept helped me calm down and re-focus myself.

In the end, once you’ve done the hard yards of work and sacrificed one weekend after another, take some time for yourself and relax. Trust me, being relaxed is going to be more helpful in the actual exam than knowing how to calculate how many 3 members committees can be formed from a 10 member board!

Ending thoughts
I know I have not covered a lot of things like how I went about the studying, how I handled an individual sections or how many mocks I took and things like that, but I think a lot of people have already done a much better job at outlining those things than I ever could (Would definitely share if anyone is interested though).

What I would like to say is that believe in yourself and trust that you can do it. Sometimes it’s difficult to do that, I know I couldn’t have done it without my family and friends. Find that group of people that believe in you and try to make them proud. In the end that’s all that matters.

Hope this helps and all the best!
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Journey to 730 in 75 days while working 45+ hours per week  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 20 Nov 2019, 16:25
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Congrats for scoring 730 q49, v41. I heard typical success story a lot, is it originally written? Which business schools are you applying to? Are you applying mba/msc?

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Originally posted by chondro48 on 19 Nov 2019, 17:24.
Last edited by chondro48 on 20 Nov 2019, 16:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Journey to 730 in 75 days while working 45+ hours per week  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2019, 14:17
chondro48 - Not sure what you saw that made you write that comment... but here is the guy.. You may watch his unedited interview. In addition, you can see his course attempts, Scholaranium data, and pretty much his entire timeline of preparation.



While you are at it, you may verify a few other success stories as well at the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... caQTR6mAia

-Rajat
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Re: Journey to 730 in 75 days while working 45+ hours per week  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Nov 2019, 11:33
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chondro48 wrote:
Congrats for scoring 730 q49, v41. I heard typical success story a lot, is it originally written? Which business schools are you applying to? Are you applying mba/msc?

Posted from my mobile device


Thanks.

Yes, the experience and the words are very much my own. Can't really help it if you found it too typical.

I am applying for MBA. I have submitted my application for Cornell in R2, still deciding the other schools that I'm going to apply to.

Cheers!
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Re: Journey to 730 in 75 days while working 45+ hours per week  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 11:48
Ok good luck for your R2 application to Cornell MBA. Its median gmat is not as high as 730.

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Re: Journey to 730 in 75 days while working 45+ hours per week   [#permalink] 22 Nov 2019, 11:48
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