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# Living up to the (user)name - 770 (51Q, 45V), 6 IR - Debrief

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Intern
Joined: 04 Mar 2016
Posts: 8
Location: India
Concentration: Strategy, Technology
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V45
WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)
Living up to the (user)name - 770 (51Q, 45V), 6 IR - Debrief  [#permalink]

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30 Jun 2016, 07:33
1
1

At the time of writing this..

It is Thursday night right now. As soon as I finished the test on Monday, I felt that I did not want to repeat the mistakes of last year with GRE - procrastinating for too long after the exam, hoping to come up with a 'perfect' post, and eventually writing nothing altogether. Although I have not been an active user of GMATClub during my preparation, I did go through a few 'Share GMAT Experience' posts and found them to be very motivational and useful. That is why I decided to make a post here and invite some interaction (if anyone's interested) rather than keeping it as a personal blog post (on some other site).

The great feeling that comes with achieving a good score has already started to fade away. Probably because I have been here before with GRE, and have learnt a few lessons from then. More about that towards the end of this post. These days, I am going through websites of a few MBA programs that I want to target.

The humble beginning

It was in early March, when I started to go through the exam format on the MBA.com website and other such resources (YouTube videos, blogs). Following the principle of 'Know your enemy' (although if anything, GMAT is a friend! ) I always start with going through the test format description thoroughly, giving it ample time and attention. I tried to understand not only what it is like to write GMAT, but also why we have all these patterns of questions and sections in it, the purpose and intention behind them, what exactly they try to test, etc. It seems a lot easier for me to put my heart into something when I know exactly why I need to do what I am going to do. After the phase of understanding what I am signing up for, I moved on to the next phase where I tried my hands on questions without caring much about time or quality of them.

I had downloaded 2 apps, Prep4GMAT and GMAT Question Bank (Veritas) for this. I was using these mostly during my commute only, which is usually around 1-1.5 hours. I made lots of mistakes while attempting small sets of 5-6 questions in these apps, and always considered it to be a good thing. If you don't make any mistakes while practicing, you're doing it wrong! The more the mistakes, the more the benefits - because once I know what silly mistake caused it to go wrong once, I am much less likely to repeat the same during the real test. To keep track of the learnings, I used to note them down into a journal app on my phone (Although I never got around to referring to them again, even though I had printed them 4 days before the exam). I kept using these apps exclusively to keep my practice going for almost 2 months (from early March to till early May).

In retrospect, I could have done better by not putting too much time on apps and directly starting with Official Guide itself from Day 1 or at least within a week. However, the apps did play a good role in keeping me interested and going.

Testing the waters

One of my friends who has also already attempted GMAT once, suggested that I write the first official mock soon. I was initially a bit reluctant to take this advice but when I didn't find much else to do, considering I did not have any material to work with (not even OG), I decided to write one. That was when I created my GMATClub account, along with some subscriptions such as 1 week of The Economist GMAT tutor. Still a bit hesitant to jump right at it, I wrote the Economist test first. Scored a 650, finding the quants quite tough and the test overall to be somewhat unsettling. Although I was planning to write a few more free mocks here and there, I altered course to write GMATPrep 1st Mock on a weekend (27th March).

GMATPrep Mock 1 - 720 (Q48, V40), 2 IR

I was amazed to see the number of questions that I got wrong in quants! Although I had no difficulty with time limit on either section, I found some questions in quant to be tougher than I expected to see (based on solving a few randomly from a friend's OG while he was prepping). I knew I had to buckle up and get more serious, especially because a 48 is a low quants score for my demographic. Also, I was totally unprepared for the tornado called 'Integrated Reasoning'! Used completely wrong approach to tackle the questions in that section and could barely see one-third of it before the time was up.

The good part, here was to see myself beyond 700 mark with hardly any preparation. Not too bad as a baseline score.

After practicing more seriously with those apps in my phone, working on specific question types - primarily Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction, and Data Sufficiency, I decided to take another attempt at the official practice tests. Another reason to take this attempt was to see if I was making any improvements and avoid losing interest. I took the second one on 30th April.

GMATPrep Mock 1 - 740 (Q49, V42), 8 IR

I got almost the same set of IR questions that I had in the first mock test, and that is how I got an 8 there. Not much to cheer about but I wasn't putting much focus on it at that time anyway.
It was good to see sectional scores go up, but I was still making many mistakes in a careless manner (in terms of numbers of questions; I never went back to thoroughly review my mistakes in either attempt). The takeaway for me at that point was this plan - get the Official Guide, finish it, and write the GMAT. Simple!

When things got, Official

I ordered a copy of Official Guide online and started doing questions in sets of 10 going through the sections of the book in this order :
1. Sentence Correction (which was imo, my weakest point)
2. Critical Reasoning
3. Data Sufficiency
4. Problem Solving

Because I was practicing mostly on weekends only and could hardly could dedicate even half an hour on week days (work ), it took me around 1.5 months to finish the OG. At some points during it, I was utterly bored of it tbh! I just wanted to get it done asap and move on to writing the real test. This was the first time I finished a work-book completely (every single question!). Thanks to the explanations in the book, it doesn't have too many for those like me, despite the scaring thick size it comes in.

I would try to take up 3-4 sets (of 10) in one sitting, and note down any questions that I got wrong. At times, I also made small notes of lessons learnt, but could never go back to refer those. I was a happy man the day I finished RC! The next step was to go back and compile a list of all the questions I had marked as 'wrong' and a few that I found 'tough'. For all sections, the figure was around 10% of questions; SC, however, was a clear outlier with 25% questions that I had to put in 'wrong' bucket!

My plan now was to dedicate a week each for IR and AWA. What happened though was that I felt too content with finishing OG, and did almost nothing for a week. This was alarming and I sensed a possibility of things going awry if I didn't put myself on the track again. Although I was initially planning to take a test date at around 3-4 July, I decided to move it nearer and registered a morning slot (9am IST) on a Monday, almost 8 days from then (18th June).

I experienced a bit of nervousness next 2-3 days. Oh, things had suddenly become a lot more serious now! Even though I had an intuition that I would be able to get a 760-770 kind of score before (cue, my username that I chose even before buying OG!), I couldn't be sure if I could actually get it right when the test was so close. To get mentally prepared for the task ahead of me, I started avoiding the regular pop music and started bingeing on songs that could get me into war-mode!

In my opinion, your mental preparation and ability to control your emtions also play a role in how well you perform in a test like this. I was telling myself "I can do it!" 3-4 times in a day (while alone, of course! ), like it was a boxing match. I kept reminding myself - 'As long as I could just forget about everything else in the world and focus on the screen in front of me with all my attention, nothing was going to come in my way to a great score.'

I took 3 days off from office (Thursday, Friday, and Monday for the test) and used the first day to re-write first mock (had reset the tests). Scored a 760 and got my lesson that I cannot take the time limit for granted. This was great, coming at just the right time (4 days before the day). The other finding was that I was still making many silly mistakes; majority of what I got wrong on quants was because of that rather than my inability to solve the question. This meant that if I ran fast, keeping the time limit in mind right from the word GO, and paid enough attention to each question I see in front of me, unlike how I was doing it during mocks at the comfort of my home, I would be able do my best. Is there anything more one can ask for than being able to do one's best?

The other 3 days, I was reviewing this latest attempt at mock, or going through the OG again with the list I had compiled before, or checking out some IR questions.

On that day

I woke up on time, got ready and left for the center in a cab. The center had space for almost 8 applicants to appear for test simultaneously. After the procedures, I was taken to a system in a corner which I was only pleased to see because it seemed a more distraction-free spot than being right in the middle of a queue or even having two others on both sides of my system. (When performing solo, I prefer solitude! )

I couldn't do as well as I expected for the AW section. I was really slow in writing anything for the first 15 minutes, but somehow picked up speed after reaching 20 minutes mark. The score is not out yet, but I hope I don't score below 5

I was doing well with IR till the half-time (15 minutes), but then got myself entangled into a large Multi-Source Reasoning problem and wasted too much time on it. In the end, I had to use guesses for 3 questions without even reading them.

After IR, I opted for a break (which is a maximum of 8 minutes). I didn't use all 8 minutes of it though; just went out, started walking back and forth, and getting all memories of AW and IR out of my system in order to be completely focused on the next section. I knew I had to be really quick at the beginning so that I keep some margin for the tougher questions towards the end. For a metric, I wrote down on the sheet given : 25 (13 questions), 25 (13), 25 (11). The questions seemed to be relatively easier than the ones I faced in mocks and many in OG. I had a good lead at the 25 minutes and 50 minutes mark. When at 35 minutes left, I was left with only more 12 questions. These questions though took more time and effort than the ones before. Another two factors are :
1. Feeling somewhat tired and lazy during the last few minutes of a section
2. Panicking due to the timer going into single digits for the minutes. It is something I had observed during all my mocks, that this panic caused me getting 3-4 wrong (in either section) almost every time.
On the test day, I wanted to buck this trend! The only way to do it was to focus well and read everything as carefully as possible. I did exactly that in both of the sections.
After Quants, I took another break and this time used almost 7 minutes out of a max. 8 available.

The story was similar in Verbal. The only key differences here, were :
There were around 5-6 questions where I felt I had to take a quick call of gut and instinct. Overthinking could lead to losing out on too much time and then not being able to finish the whole section within 75 minutes. This was not so during mock, because I would rarely have to feel the burden of time limit as strongly as during the real test. Because of this though, I couldn't be too sure of how well I was doing until it ended and I saw my score. A fair trade-off (surety against speed) I would say. For the last 4-5 questions, I was again trying to calm myself and to avoid getting overwhelmed due to the fact that I was going to see my score in a few minutes.

After it ended, I saw the score. I was pleased with what it was, not just because it was exactly what I desired but also because I had made a username here with it (we should all find such little ways to amuse ourselves ).

After the test

I keep telling myself now, that it is important to not get too overwhelmed, at least not for too long, once you get a good score in a test like GMAT. I scored 331 in GRE last year, and was doing only program and university research for the next 2-3 months. Although it gave me a good understanding of higher education scene around the world (I had once made a list of 70 programs related to information systems/analytics in universities in US, Europe, and Singapore), I would have liked it better if I could just narrow my focus to a few good ones and complete my applications early.

There are still many steps left before I can make sure that my days are spent in a classroom next year. Unlike after GRE, when I wanted to do extensive research before starting any applications, this time I plan to begin with one school's application first, and then start adding others if I see the need.

That is all I have to share, from my GMAT experience. It feels good to say that I am officially in the 770 club now.
Affiliations: MBA Prep Coach
Joined: 24 Mar 2015
Posts: 1607
Farrell D Hehn: MBA
Re: Living up to the (user)name - 770 (51Q, 45V), 6 IR - Debrief  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

02 Jul 2016, 13:43
That's awesome congratulations. I'm wondering, is there a specific reason you didn't use the GMAC integrated reasoning prep? I recommend that might students use that, it's worked out well so far but wondering if there's something wrong with it.

Farrell Dyan Hehn, MBA
Admissions Consultant & Verbal Tutor MBAPrepCoach.com
_________________

Farrell Dyan
http://MBAPrepCoach.com
"You don't often come across people so perceptive and empathetic." - EM, NYC

Intern
Joined: 04 Mar 2016
Posts: 8
Location: India
Concentration: Strategy, Technology
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V45
WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)
Re: Living up to the (user)name - 770 (51Q, 45V), 6 IR - Debrief  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

02 Jul 2016, 19:11

To be honest, I wasn't aware of all the resources that are available for this section. I didn't know much about the 'GMAC integrated reasoning prep' you mention, but I knew that whatever resources apart from GMATPrep software are available from GMAC, aren't free. I didn't want to spend more for a particular section after buying the OG.

I spent around 3 days for IR preparation. The most important part of it was: knowing all the question types really well! Based on my performance in the mock tests, I knew that I had wasted too much time without even reading the question carefully (for e.g. trying to analyze the tables without sorting them).

I tried a few sample questions given on the MBA.com, and then a few from Veritas.

After understanding all the question types, all I could have done more was to use a better strategy for managing time. I now believe using IR Prep tool could have helped me with that.

Without that tool for practice, I could have tried to get a better score by applying a 10 question strategy: Aim to attempt only 10 questions, and use guesses for any 2 that look daunting without even bothering to read much what they're about.
I found that Multi-Source Reasoning questions usually take more time, but then I had a thread of questions based on one set of information (2 tabs) - skipping one of those questions wouldn't have helped. Towards the end, I got a massive MSR question which I should have given up on, at least within a minute. I also found Graphics Interpretation and Table Analysis to be relatively easier, in general. Two-part analysis can be a little tricky, especially if time is running out.
Intern
Joined: 22 Nov 2014
Posts: 29
Re: Living up to the (user)name - 770 (51Q, 45V), 6 IR - Debrief  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

27 Mar 2017, 04:00
the770clubber wrote:

At the time of writing this..

It is Thursday night right now. As soon as I finished the test on Monday, I felt that I did not want to repeat the mistakes of last year with GRE - procrastinating for too long after the exam, hoping to come up with a 'perfect' post, and eventually writing nothing altogether. Although I have not been an active user of GMATClub during my preparation, I did go through a few 'Share GMAT Experience' posts and found them to be very motivational and useful. That is why I decided to make a post here and invite some interaction (if anyone's interested) rather than keeping it as a personal blog post (on some other site).

The great feeling that comes with achieving a good score has already started to fade away. Probably because I have been here before with GRE, and have learnt a few lessons from then. More about that towards the end of this post. These days, I am going through websites of a few MBA programs that I want to target.

The humble beginning

It was in early March, when I started to go through the exam format on the MBA.com website and other such resources (YouTube videos, blogs). Following the principle of 'Know your enemy' (although if anything, GMAT is a friend! ) I always start with going through the test format description thoroughly, giving it ample time and attention. I tried to understand not only what it is like to write GMAT, but also why we have all these patterns of questions and sections in it, the purpose and intention behind them, what exactly they try to test, etc. It seems a lot easier for me to put my heart into something when I know exactly why I need to do what I am going to do. After the phase of understanding what I am signing up for, I moved on to the next phase where I tried my hands on questions without caring much about time or quality of them.

I had downloaded 2 apps, Prep4GMAT and GMAT Question Bank (Veritas) for this. I was using these mostly during my commute only, which is usually around 1-1.5 hours. I made lots of mistakes while attempting small sets of 5-6 questions in these apps, and always considered it to be a good thing. If you don't make any mistakes while practicing, you're doing it wrong! The more the mistakes, the more the benefits - because once I know what silly mistake caused it to go wrong once, I am much less likely to repeat the same during the real test. To keep track of the learnings, I used to note them down into a journal app on my phone (Although I never got around to referring to them again, even though I had printed them 4 days before the exam). I kept using these apps exclusively to keep my practice going for almost 2 months (from early March to till early May).

In retrospect, I could have done better by not putting too much time on apps and directly starting with Official Guide itself from Day 1 or at least within a week. However, the apps did play a good role in keeping me interested and going.

Testing the waters

One of my friends who has also already attempted GMAT once, suggested that I write the first official mock soon. I was initially a bit reluctant to take this advice but when I didn't find much else to do, considering I did not have any material to work with (not even OG), I decided to write one. That was when I created my GMATClub account, along with some subscriptions such as 1 week of The Economist GMAT tutor. Still a bit hesitant to jump right at it, I wrote the Economist test first. Scored a 650, finding the quants quite tough and the test overall to be somewhat unsettling. Although I was planning to write a few more free mocks here and there, I altered course to write GMATPrep 1st Mock on a weekend (27th March).

GMATPrep Mock 1 - 720 (Q48, V40), 2 IR

I was amazed to see the number of questions that I got wrong in quants! Although I had no difficulty with time limit on either section, I found some questions in quant to be tougher than I expected to see (based on solving a few randomly from a friend's OG while he was prepping). I knew I had to buckle up and get more serious, especially because a 48 is a low quants score for my demographic. Also, I was totally unprepared for the tornado called 'Integrated Reasoning'! Used completely wrong approach to tackle the questions in that section and could barely see one-third of it before the time was up.

The good part, here was to see myself beyond 700 mark with hardly any preparation. Not too bad as a baseline score.

After practicing more seriously with those apps in my phone, working on specific question types - primarily Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction, and Data Sufficiency, I decided to take another attempt at the official practice tests. Another reason to take this attempt was to see if I was making any improvements and avoid losing interest. I took the second one on 30th April.

GMATPrep Mock 1 - 740 (Q49, V42), 8 IR

I got almost the same set of IR questions that I had in the first mock test, and that is how I got an 8 there. Not much to cheer about but I wasn't putting much focus on it at that time anyway.
It was good to see sectional scores go up, but I was still making many mistakes in a careless manner (in terms of numbers of questions; I never went back to thoroughly review my mistakes in either attempt). The takeaway for me at that point was this plan - get the Official Guide, finish it, and write the GMAT. Simple!

When things got, Official

I ordered a copy of Official Guide online and started doing questions in sets of 10 going through the sections of the book in this order :
1. Sentence Correction (which was imo, my weakest point)
2. Critical Reasoning
3. Data Sufficiency
4. Problem Solving

Because I was practicing mostly on weekends only and could hardly could dedicate even half an hour on week days (work ), it took me around 1.5 months to finish the OG. At some points during it, I was utterly bored of it tbh! I just wanted to get it done asap and move on to writing the real test. This was the first time I finished a work-book completely (every single question!). Thanks to the explanations in the book, it doesn't have too many for those like me, despite the scaring thick size it comes in.

I would try to take up 3-4 sets (of 10) in one sitting, and note down any questions that I got wrong. At times, I also made small notes of lessons learnt, but could never go back to refer those. I was a happy man the day I finished RC! The next step was to go back and compile a list of all the questions I had marked as 'wrong' and a few that I found 'tough'. For all sections, the figure was around 10% of questions; SC, however, was a clear outlier with 25% questions that I had to put in 'wrong' bucket!

My plan now was to dedicate a week each for IR and AWA. What happened though was that I felt too content with finishing OG, and did almost nothing for a week. This was alarming and I sensed a possibility of things going awry if I didn't put myself on the track again. Although I was initially planning to take a test date at around 3-4 July, I decided to move it nearer and registered a morning slot (9am IST) on a Monday, almost 8 days from then (18th June).

I experienced a bit of nervousness next 2-3 days. Oh, things had suddenly become a lot more serious now! Even though I had an intuition that I would be able to get a 760-770 kind of score before (cue, my username that I chose even before buying OG!), I couldn't be sure if I could actually get it right when the test was so close. To get mentally prepared for the task ahead of me, I started avoiding the regular pop music and started bingeing on songs that could get me into war-mode!

In my opinion, your mental preparation and ability to control your emtions also play a role in how well you perform in a test like this. I was telling myself "I can do it!" 3-4 times in a day (while alone, of course! ), like it was a boxing match. I kept reminding myself - 'As long as I could just forget about everything else in the world and focus on the screen in front of me with all my attention, nothing was going to come in my way to a great score.'

I took 3 days off from office (Thursday, Friday, and Monday for the test) and used the first day to re-write first mock (had reset the tests). Scored a 760 and got my lesson that I cannot take the time limit for granted. This was great, coming at just the right time (4 days before the day). The other finding was that I was still making many silly mistakes; majority of what I got wrong on quants was because of that rather than my inability to solve the question. This meant that if I ran fast, keeping the time limit in mind right from the word GO, and paid enough attention to each question I see in front of me, unlike how I was doing it during mocks at the comfort of my home, I would be able do my best. Is there anything more one can ask for than being able to do one's best?

The other 3 days, I was reviewing this latest attempt at mock, or going through the OG again with the list I had compiled before, or checking out some IR questions.

On that day

I woke up on time, got ready and left for the center in a cab. The center had space for almost 8 applicants to appear for test simultaneously. After the procedures, I was taken to a system in a corner which I was only pleased to see because it seemed a more distraction-free spot than being right in the middle of a queue or even having two others on both sides of my system. (When performing solo, I prefer solitude! )

I couldn't do as well as I expected for the AW section. I was really slow in writing anything for the first 15 minutes, but somehow picked up speed after reaching 20 minutes mark. The score is not out yet, but I hope I don't score below 5

I was doing well with IR till the half-time (15 minutes), but then got myself entangled into a large Multi-Source Reasoning problem and wasted too much time on it. In the end, I had to use guesses for 3 questions without even reading them.

After IR, I opted for a break (which is a maximum of 8 minutes). I didn't use all 8 minutes of it though; just went out, started walking back and forth, and getting all memories of AW and IR out of my system in order to be completely focused on the next section. I knew I had to be really quick at the beginning so that I keep some margin for the tougher questions towards the end. For a metric, I wrote down on the sheet given : 25 (13 questions), 25 (13), 25 (11). The questions seemed to be relatively easier than the ones I faced in mocks and many in OG. I had a good lead at the 25 minutes and 50 minutes mark. When at 35 minutes left, I was left with only more 12 questions. These questions though took more time and effort than the ones before. Another two factors are :
1. Feeling somewhat tired and lazy during the last few minutes of a section
2. Panicking due to the timer going into single digits for the minutes. It is something I had observed during all my mocks, that this panic caused me getting 3-4 wrong (in either section) almost every time.
On the test day, I wanted to buck this trend! The only way to do it was to focus well and read everything as carefully as possible. I did exactly that in both of the sections.
After Quants, I took another break and this time used almost 7 minutes out of a max. 8 available.

The story was similar in Verbal. The only key differences here, were :
There were around 5-6 questions where I felt I had to take a quick call of gut and instinct. Overthinking could lead to losing out on too much time and then not being able to finish the whole section within 75 minutes. This was not so during mock, because I would rarely have to feel the burden of time limit as strongly as during the real test. Because of this though, I couldn't be too sure of how well I was doing until it ended and I saw my score. A fair trade-off (surety against speed) I would say. For the last 4-5 questions, I was again trying to calm myself and to avoid getting overwhelmed due to the fact that I was going to see my score in a few minutes.

After it ended, I saw the score. I was pleased with what it was, not just because it was exactly what I desired but also because I had made a username here with it (we should all find such little ways to amuse ourselves ).

After the test

I keep telling myself now, that it is important to not get too overwhelmed, at least not for too long, once you get a good score in a test like GMAT. I scored 331 in GRE last year, and was doing only program and university research for the next 2-3 months. Although it gave me a good understanding of higher education scene around the world (I had once made a list of 70 programs related to information systems/analytics in universities in US, Europe, and Singapore), I would have liked it better if I could just narrow my focus to a few good ones and complete my applications early.

There are still many steps left before I can make sure that my days are spent in a classroom next year. Unlike after GRE, when I wanted to do extensive research before starting any applications, this time I plan to begin with one school's application first, and then start adding others if I see the need.

That is all I have to share, from my GMAT experience. It feels good to say that I am officially in the 770 club now.
Re: Living up to the (user)name - 770 (51Q, 45V), 6 IR - Debrief &nbs [#permalink] 27 Mar 2017, 04:00
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# Living up to the (user)name - 770 (51Q, 45V), 6 IR - Debrief

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