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Long Debrief , from 680 to 750 in 2 months

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Long Debrief , from 680 to 750 in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 02 May 2016, 06:20
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Hey guys,
I gave my GMAT second attempt on 1st May and got a 750 (Q51,V39, IR 8). Some of my friends have asked me to write in detail about my study plan. So here it goes

Attempt 1 - I gave my GMAT attempt in mid-December 2015, after studying for around 2-3 months. I used to study mainly from OG, Verbal review and free questions from Veritas and GMAT club. For CATs I practiced Manhattan CATs and GMAT Prep (4 tests), I used to get in the range of 660 to 720 in those tests. On the exam day, I was targeting 700+ but scored 680 (Q50, V31). I was disappointed to see my scores, so much so that I cancelled them. However, later my friends told me that 680 is not that bad and so I reinstated the scores

Attempt 2 – After attempt 1, I took a 2 month long break from studies due to other commitments. I restarted my preparations in March 1st week, practiced free questions from Veritas and Prep4Gmat (mobile app), along with Questions and PDFs from GMAT club. For practicing CATs , I bought Veritas (7 CATs) and Kaplan ( 5 CATs). I used to study on weekdays (almost 1 hour every day, after office) and Saturday (3-4 hours). On Sundays, I used to give Veritas CATs. After 3 weeks , I realized that my score in CATs is not improving and has plateaued at 660-680. It was then that I realized that the current strategy is not working and I need to take professional help. I searched online and found that Optimus prep on demand course was available for $100 with a 50 point increase guarantee. I bought it since the reviews were good, it was the cheapest on demand course available and I liked the 50 point increase guarantee. Post that I started to diligently watch their videos and practice class tests (since my maths was good, almost all the focus was on Verbal). I used to solve at least 30 questions (10 each from CR,RC & SC) on weekdays and around a 100 questions on weekends. By the 3rd week, I noticed that my accuracy was going up (I had a 80-85% accuracy in medium and hard questions in all 3 verbal sections). So, finally on the 4th week, I decided to take a Veritas CAT and was surprised to see a 730. I was so happy that I gave another CAT the next day, this time I gave Optimus Prep CAT and scored a 740 ( I was very happy after that). Then the weekday scheduled continued as usual and the next weekend I gave GMAT prep 3 and Kaplan, and again scored 760 and 740 respectively. (I gave CATs from 4 different companies, do get the best of each). It was on this 7th week that I decided that I should give GMAT soon now. I finally gave a few more mocks during the following weekdays and GMAT on 1st May and scored a 750.

Learning and personal opinions

1. OG is a great book for concept building, but we need to practice timing and pacing as well. (During my 1st attempt, I used to almost always run out of time in verbal, and towards my 2nd attempt I almost always used to finish 10-15 min. early)

2. For SC Manhattan SC is a great book. – I studied it 3 times over. It’s a very nice book and I feel it covers 80-90% of all the SC concepts we need to score high in GMAT

3. Practice makes a man perfect – The main difference between my 1st and 2nd attempt was regular practice. Not only was I more regular during my second attempt but also solved a lot of questions.

4. Practicing online and under timed condition is important – Again very important to develop pacing and ability to handle pressure

5. CATs are a good way to know where you stand but they are not good for learning and concept building - I would suggest that for building concepts and learning, buy any online course with good reviews and with a good question bank. Follow their study plan and practice a lot from the question bank.

6. GMAT Club questions can be very difficult – A week my actual GMAT, I downloaded a PDF for 100 tough SC questions from GMAT Club. Since I was scoring 740-760 in CATs at that time, I wanted to try them out. I only did first thirty questions and got only a couple of them correct. I actually got depressed post that and didn’t study anything that day or the next day. So, point is that many question on GMAT Club can be very difficult. Either don’t solve them or if you do, don’t get depressed seeing the results

7. Kaplan CAT (Verbal) is very tough: - I gave 1 Kaplan Mock, a was surprised seeing the level of difficulty. It was way above the GMAT level in verbal. So, I would suggest not to use them
P.S. – In Kaplan mock I got a 740 (Q51, V33). I don’t know how that’s possible. Guess, they extrapolate the scores to adjust for the high difficulty level

Pasting my mock CAT results below, in case it helps someone

Date Test V Q Score
05-Mar Veritas1 31 47 640
13-Mar Veritas2 36 46 670
24-Mar Veritas 3 32 47 650
17-Apr Veritas 4 39 51 730
23-Apr Optimus1 44 48 740
24-Apr G Prep 3 42 50 760
28-Apr Kaplan 1 33 51 740
29-Apr Veritas 5 39 51 730
30-Apr G Prep 4 44 49 760
01-May Actual 39 51 750


Main Study Sources

Online practice:- Optimus Prep (on demand course), Veritas (Free questions on mobile app)
Books :- Manhattan for SC, none for RC & CR
CATs :- Manhattan (4 Mocks), Veritas (5 Mocks), GMAT Prep (4 mocks), Optimus (1 Mock), Kaplan (1 Mock)

Let me know in case of any questions, would be happy to help

Do give Kudos if this helped you

Regards,
Rahul
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New post 05 May 2016, 10:28
Hey,

Any strategy for RC that you followed. If you can share that, it will be great.
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Trying my best..... will succeed definitely! :)

The Moment You Think About Giving Up, Think Of The Reason Why You Held On So Long.
+1 Kudos if you find this post helpful. :)

Do Check OG 2017 SC Solutions - http://gmatwithcj.com/solutions-gmat-official-guide-2017-sentence-correction-questions/

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Long Debrief , from 680 to 750 in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 05 May 2016, 10:46
Hi,
Firstly congratulations for a great score. Can you please share your timing strategies for the quant and verbal sections. Thanks.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: Long Debrief , from 680 to 750 in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 05 May 2016, 11:17
anuj88.. can you give some tips to improve concentration as a whole.. also while reading the questions..
What would you suggest as the best way to go about the quants.. see that you got the 51.. any inputs..
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Long Debrief , from 680 to 750 in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2016, 02:32
vnigam21 wrote:
Hey,

Any strategy for RC that you followed. If you can share that, it will be great.


Hi,

I assume you are from India, did you prepare for CAT as well. IF yes, GMAT RC preparation is very similar to CAT RC preparation.

You just need to practice more and more.

The way I approach RC is that I read the entire passage at one go (in 2-3 mins). I understand the meaning of what the author is saying and how the RC as a whole is structured. Post that I answer the general questions quickly in about 0.5-1 min (Since you have read the passage you will already know the high level picture). For specific / detailed questions, I refer back to the passage and read the required portion again and answer the question in 1-1.5 min.

Remember to take lesser time per question on SC and CR , so that you can save time for RC.
Also, timing as a whole is very important in verbal. You need to be logically thinking while solving RC (and not worrying about time or under pressure to solve fast due to lack of time)
For verbal in general, I used to finish the section with 10 min remaining, so that I don't have to worry about time pressure. (This comes slowly with practice).
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New post 06 May 2016, 02:50
rash1488 wrote:
Hi,
Firstly congratulations for a great score. Can you please share your timing strategies for the quant and verbal sections. Thanks.

Posted from my mobile device


Thanks :-)

As you practice more and more, your speed will increase in both Quant n verbal. After sufficient practice, you will be able to solve Quant and verbal before time. (I generally used to finish each section with average 10 mins remaining). The point is, your efficiency goes down if you are constantly looking at the timer.

Quant:-

In quant you either know how to solve or you don't. If you do great, solve as fast as you can (without doing silly mistakes), and move forward. If you don't just try the best you can and mark an answer and move forward. Don't be afraid of a few wrong answers. In mocks, I generally didn't know 5-6 questions out of 37. I used to solve them as best as I could in 2 min (by making educated guesses) and move forward. Depending upon level of difficulty, 3-4 wrong will give you a 50 in Quant, which is a great score.

Verbal :-

Verbal is tricky, we do get stuck between options. When stuck,

a) in CR and RC, I used to select the 'better' of the 2 options. Which I felt had more chances of being correct.
b) In SC, i used to read both the option again and select which 'felt' better in reading.

Remember, if you don't know an answer , spend additional 30 sec thinking on it. But, if you still don't get the answer after that just mark an answer and move on. Spending, additional time on those questions would be a waste of time. Again, getting a few question wrong in verbal is ok. I used to get 6-7 wrong out of 41, and get around 39-42 in verbal. Which is a good enough score.

Tip :- Time management is a very important part of getting a good score on GMAT. The more time you have in hand, the more confident you are and the more your accuracy goes up.
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Re: Long Debrief , from 680 to 750 in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2016, 03:01
Feluram wrote:
anuj88.. can you give some tips to improve concentration as a whole.. also while reading the questions..
What would you suggest as the best way to go about the quants.. see that you got the 51.. any inputs..



For best way for quant, Refer to the answer above I wrote for rash1488

You can't concentrate if,

a) You are running out of time on the exam, and you constantly see the time and fear whether you can complete paper on time :- Above answer will help you in this
b) You have noise around you :- In that case buy ear buds. I used to use them so that I can study in peace. (You get ear buds in actual GMAT exam as well)
c) You have other things around you like mobile phone which distracts you :- Put your mobile on silent and keep it under the pillow. When giving CATs , tell your parents in advance and then lock the door from inside so that no one disturbs you. You should just have your laptop and a pen/paper in front of you. Nothing else. And most importantly, you need to be serious about your preparation.

Remember our body is not used to sitting for 3-4 long hours for the exam. If takes time to get used to it, so it is important to give full length CAT.
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Long Debrief , from 680 to 750 in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Dec 2018, 03:49
Rahulj3113

Hey, I know it's late, but congrats!

During your first GMAT preparation, did you attempt all 4 of your GMAT prep tests?

I got 6 GMAT prep tests, exhausted them once. I wrote GMAT today and got a 660 when my target score was 720+. I need to retake it, so I am worried that I will see repeated questions when I reset my GMAT prep tests, thus inflating my scores.

Could you help me out here? Thanks!
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Re: Long Debrief , from 680 to 750 in 2 months  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Dec 2018, 12:47
Hi Vig17,

It's been about 2 months since the original poster logged in to GMAT Club, so you might not receive a response from him.

As to your questions about retaking CATs, the scoring algorithm on the Official GMAT is far more complicated than most people realize. Since that algorithm is proprietary, no GMAT company has an exact match for it, thus CAT scores can vary a bit based on the 'biases' involved in their respective designs. The most realistic CATs available are the 6 from GMAC, but retaking a CAT that you've already taken is NOT a realistic way to assess your skills. Seeing even a few 'repeat' questions can 'throw off' the Scoring Algorithm and impact your pacing, energy levels, fatigue, etc. (meaning that they would likely all be better than they normally would be). Thankfully, the CATs from Kaplan, MGMAT and Veritas are all 'close enough' to the real thing that they will provide you with a relatively realistic score assessment (assuming that you use the CAT correctly).

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
4) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Re: Long Debrief , from 680 to 750 in 2 months &nbs [#permalink] 29 Dec 2018, 12:47
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