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MAYDAY [#permalink]

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Hello everyone,
I have been preparing for GMAT since January 2017. I gave my actual exam on 4th of April and scored a 630 (Q47, V29) IR 6 and AWA 5. I was really nervous on the test day and overshot the break before my verbal section. This probably screwed up my verbal score because I used to score a 35ish during my mocks.
I used the following resources for my first attempt:
1. Magoosh Online full course
2. Manhattan Review CR Guide
3. Manhattan Review Math Study companion
4. Powerscore CR Bible
5. Kaplan Online question bank
The issue with Magoosh mocks was that they included only the Math and Verbal section. Hence, I never accounted the fatigue of AWA and IR on my test scores. However, with the new GMAT rules, I should be able to do better. I gave 6 Kaplan mocks as well (all under test conditions). My scores ranged from 610 to 710. Hence, I was really unsure of my test performance on the D-day.
I understand that I committed 2 major mistakes during my first attempt:
1. Never touched the OG
2. Did not use gmatclub forum
3. No proper grasp on verbal
I was completely lost after the 630. Even though I absolutely detest coaching institutes, I joined a local branch of Princeton Review in India for a 3 month course. I did the following during my 3 months:
1. OG 2017
2. Official Quantitative Review 2017
3. Official Verbal Review 2017
4. Princeton Materials
5. MGMAT SC guide
6. MGMAT RC guide
My test scores scores in July 2017 (all given under test conditions):
1. Manhattan Prep (V34, Q28) : 520
2. Princeton (V34, Q41) : 620
3. Princeton (V38, Q39) : 630
4. GMAT Prep1 (V35, Q45) : 650
5. Princeton (V33, Q48) : 650
So I was stuck at a 650. Somewhere I knew that I had to revisit both my verbal and quant basics again to cross 700. In order to do so, I chose the following:
1. Egmat Verbal online course
2. GMAT club
I spent the whole of August going through Egmat course. While CR and RC strategies were familiar to me, I discovered the importance of meaning on GMAT SC questions. Moreover, I learned all about Modifiers through this course. Overall, my confidence in verbal grew. I used Egmat’s scholaranium software to solve only medium and hard difficulty level questions. My accuracy hovered around 70% on each of SC,CR and RC.
For quant, I started going through “GMATCLUB Quant Megathread”. I learned a lot from Veritas prep blog and discovered a lot of mistakes in my approach. My math notes grew from 4 to 20+ pages. As I had already booked my test date (26th October 2017), I didn’t have the time to go through all the 20+ math topics on the website. I am still left with few topics such as Combinatorics & Probability. NB: I know the basics of the remaining topics but I am not confident on all of them.
In order to experience actual gmat questions, I even bought GMATPrep exam pack 1 and 2. I already have bad experience with low quality exams such as Princeton Review. The questions are not actual representative to those on the GMAT and explanations are absurd.
With exactly one month to my second attempt, I began a regular drill of solving GMATClub Test every alternate day and keep practicing verbal from various trusted sources. I exhausted all the medium and hard difficulty level questions on egmat, started solving LSAT CR on GMATClub and used Vertias Prep free question bank for SC and CR.
These are my GMATPrep Test scores (all tests are given under timed conditions):
October 2 : 700 (Q49, V35)
October 9: 710 (Q48, V39)
October 15: 690 (Q49, V35)
October 21: 700 (Q50, V34)
So with an average score of 700, I went to the test center on October 26th with a calm and composed mind. In all my practice tests, I chose the Verbal, Quant, IR and AWA order and I did the same for my actual exam as well.
Surprisingly, I couldn’t understand my first CR argument (3rd Verbal question). I know how making mistakes in the first 10 questions can thwart my score. I had no other choice but to guess and move on. I almost completed the rest of Verbal section on time and guessed on second-last Boldface question. I thought I had done a decent job.
The quant section began with two questions (Stats & geometry) that stumped me. I read the question so many times that I still remember the exact stem. I tried every strategy from POE to picking numbers, but all in vain. I had to guess and move on. Even though I knew only a miracle could save me, I kept a calm mind. I finished the section on time.
Result was 660 (Q47 V34). I stared the screen in disappointment and cancelled the score. I scored lower than my lowest score on practice tests. Even tough GMAT told me that I improved only 30 points in 6 months, I think I deserve much more.
So, it has been 10 months since I first solved a GMAT question, almost thrice the ideal preparation time. I have committed a lot of errors in approach to the exam and strategies. I have burnt a lot of money as well. Moreover, with a 93,93 and 8.9 in 10th,12th and college respectively, I am not used to the humiliation that GMAT is making me go through right now.
My aim is to score a Q50 and V40 in order to get into a top MBA program and I will not settle for anything less.
Please suggest me ways to improve my score. I have attached my 660 ESR for understanding.

Thank you all.
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New post 29 Oct 2017, 11:15
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Well, practice makes perfect. Just keep practicing. It is important to progress steadily - by this I mean that it is important to master easy questions, and then move on to middle difficulty questions and so on. Keep redoing problems until you get them right; this may seem as unproductive but it is actually quite helpful. That's the only way to get better. To solve a lot of problems -such as in practice tests- but without actually being able to answer them correctly consistently is not very productive. You need to get good at answering questions correctly in a consistent way.

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Re: MAYDAY [#permalink]

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Just doing a lot of problems and finishing a course do not REALLY help beyond the 680-700 level in my opinion. After that your time is better spent on identifying patterns and nuances of official questions and REALLY digging in deep (I am assuming you have learned most of the "content" that the GMAT tests)

Here is a reviewing strategy that REALLY helped me (it is by a really good GMAT tutor)

if you're studying properly, you should be spending substantially MORE time on review than on doing problems. if you can do even close to 100 problems per day, that indicates that you're just doing problem after problem after problem after problem after problem, and not spending nearly enough (if any) time reviewing.

here's what you should be able to do:

for EVERY quant problem:
* don't concentrate on the solution to that actual problem, since you can be sure you aren't going to see that actual problem on the exam
* instead, try to find TAKEAWAYS from the problem, which you can then APPLY TO OTHER PROBLEMS. this is key - DO NOT LEAVE A PROBLEM until you have extracted at least one piece of information, whether a formula, a strategy, a trick/trap, etc., that you can apply to OTHER problems.
do not leave a problem until you can fill in the following sentence, meaningfully and nontrivially:
"if i see _____ ON ANOTHER PROBLEM, i should _____"
* notice the SIGNALS in the problem that dictate which strategy to use. if you miss the problem, then notice the strategy that's used in the book's solution (not always the best solution, in the case of the o.g., but better than nothing), and go back to see if there are any signals 'telling' you to use that strategy.

for EVERY verbal problem:
* you should be able to give SPECIFIC reasons why EVERY wrong answer is wrong, and why EVERY right answer is right. ("i just know that it's wrong/right" is NEVER acceptable -- you need to think carefully about the problem until you have discerned a specific reason.)
* you should GENERALIZE these lessons in ways that could conceivably apply to future problems (e.g., "on this problem type, any answer choice more general than the passage = wrong").

for EVERY SC problem, in addition to the above:
* you should be able to go through the CORRECT sentence -- including the non-underlined part -- and justify EVERY construction in that sentence.
e.g.
-- if there's a modifier, you should be able to explain exactly what it modifies, and exactly why that modification makes sense.
-- if there's a pronoun, you should be able to explain exactly what it stands for, and exactly why that makes sense.
-- if there's a verb, you should be able to find its subject. you should also be able to justify the tense in which the verb is used, and/or the tense sequence of multiple verbs.
-- you should be able to explain the exact meaning of the sentence.
-- if there are parallel structures, you should be able to explain (a) the grammatical parallelism AND (b) the parallelism in meaning.
etc.

if you're doing these things, there's no way you'll be able to get through even half that number of problems.

quantity ≠ quality.
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Re: MAYDAY [#permalink]

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Responding to the PM:

I can't better the version of Souvik's response above, but I can reemphasize a few things again:

* Stick to Only Official problems in Verbal. Don't waste time in analyzing problems from other sources. In my opinion, they are actually waste of time.

* In Verbal, your only strategy should be to eliminate and not Select. Never ever select the answer choice. Always Eliminate the answer choices backed by discerning reasoning. Practice Practice Practice this until it becomes your 2nd nature. Cross verify your reasons from OG explanations or experts post on the forums.

* There is nothing tricky in the exam. The moment you call something tricky, you shift the blame on the question rather than owning your careless mistakes. All the information required to solve the question is in front of you. YOUhave to be diligent to cover your bases and solve the question correctly. Your mistake can't be covered with the curtain of "the question was tricky". Additionally, many of us say, I got an easy question wrong. Well if the question was easy, and you got it wrong, then the question was NOT EASY FOR YOU. So stop qualifying the questions based on the difficulty level. EASY/MEDIUM/HARD questions are very relative to one's preparation level. If you prepare well and cover your bases and it will all seem easy to you. You may even score 800 if you are right there at the precipice.

* There is no time pressure on the exam. This fact has been validated by GMAC. The makers of the exam don't design the test so as to create a time pressure on the folks taking the test. The time pressure gets manufactured and created by usand by our bad bad habits. Here are a few instance why Time pressure gets into the scene:
- You blindly stare at the monitor.
- Your concentration wavers.
- You look to get each and every question right. Even an 800 scorer does not get all questions right. Get the hint!!!
- You don't know when to quit.


Therefore, have a sound time management strategy.

* GMAT is NOT a knowledge-based exam. GMAT is a reasoning based exam. You should give extreme emphasis on your reasoning skills in Both QUANT and VERBAL. There is a reason why these sections are called Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning and not Math and English sections.


Think about these. Sometimes practicing more questions does not solve things but introspecting does.

I hope it helps.
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Re: MAYDAY [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2017, 13:14
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Very well explained by everyone above. I would like to add one point here. Since your goal score is what I scored (Q50/V40), read my debrief. I hope it can give you some motivation And most importantly some strategies to improve your verbal.

All the best :)
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Re: MAYDAY [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2017, 14:49
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Hi fmik7894

There are really plenty of great advice above. What I notice is that you rushed in all possible question in the market. You answer the question and move on. You missed the crucial point. In Verbal section, I always do as souvik101990 mentioned. This ia actually a process called "REFLECTION". You should stop at each question. You will be amazed how the WRONG answers will teach you. I will give you personal example in parallelism. All the incorrect answers enforces me how to learn about the topic and how to identify the maybe correct answer in other questions. You can do the same for CR & RC. In verbal, Maybe I love old school, I love to take notes on paper with pencil. At the end there are take-away recorded on something to refer to it. So I advice to do the follwoing: the 'refection' process on the following:

1- The 'reflection' process on the following: All Official materials, Manhattan, Veritas problems, Magoosh. IMO, I believe in those material more than others but OFFICIAL Questions are first.
2- You need to follow many of verbal instructors such as: GMATNinja, Mike Macgerry,...etc
3-souvik101990 posts every day question which answered by GMAT Ninja. Follow his analysis.

For the Quant section, you need to practice and reflect and learn more techniques more than to learn one direction. Some times Algebra is not the right answer. You need to know you weakness area. The error log is powerful to see your problem. I think your target in quant is easier than verbal. Here, I have one advice: GMATclub tests is the right place to invest your time. It is valuable source.

Good luck

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Re: MAYDAY [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2017, 23:25
souvik101990 wrote:
Just doing a lot of problems and finishing a course do not REALLY help beyond the 680-700 level in my opinion. After that your time is better spent on identifying patterns and nuances of official questions and REALLY digging in deep (I am assuming you have learned most of the "content" that the GMAT tests)

Here is a reviewing strategy that REALLY helped me (it is by a really good GMAT tutor)

if you're studying properly, you should be spending substantially MORE time on review than on doing problems. if you can do even close to 100 problems per day, that indicates that you're just doing problem after problem after problem after problem after problem, and not spending nearly enough (if any) time reviewing.

here's what you should be able to do:

for EVERY quant problem:
* don't concentrate on the solution to that actual problem, since you can be sure you aren't going to see that actual problem on the exam
* instead, try to find TAKEAWAYS from the problem, which you can then APPLY TO OTHER PROBLEMS. this is key - DO NOT LEAVE A PROBLEM until you have extracted at least one piece of information, whether a formula, a strategy, a trick/trap, etc., that you can apply to OTHER problems.
do not leave a problem until you can fill in the following sentence, meaningfully and nontrivially:
"if i see _____ ON ANOTHER PROBLEM, i should _____"
* notice the SIGNALS in the problem that dictate which strategy to use. if you miss the problem, then notice the strategy that's used in the book's solution (not always the best solution, in the case of the o.g., but better than nothing), and go back to see if there are any signals 'telling' you to use that strategy.

for EVERY verbal problem:
* you should be able to give SPECIFIC reasons why EVERY wrong answer is wrong, and why EVERY right answer is right. ("i just know that it's wrong/right" is NEVER acceptable -- you need to think carefully about the problem until you have discerned a specific reason.)
* you should GENERALIZE these lessons in ways that could conceivably apply to future problems (e.g., "on this problem type, any answer choice more general than the passage = wrong").

for EVERY SC problem, in addition to the above:
* you should be able to go through the CORRECT sentence -- including the non-underlined part -- and justify EVERY construction in that sentence.
e.g.
-- if there's a modifier, you should be able to explain exactly what it modifies, and exactly why that modification makes sense.
-- if there's a pronoun, you should be able to explain exactly what it stands for, and exactly why that makes sense.
-- if there's a verb, you should be able to find its subject. you should also be able to justify the tense in which the verb is used, and/or the tense sequence of multiple verbs.
-- you should be able to explain the exact meaning of the sentence.
-- if there are parallel structures, you should be able to explain (a) the grammatical parallelism AND (b) the parallelism in meaning.
etc.

if you're doing these things, there's no way you'll be able to get through even half that number of problems.

quantity ≠ quality.


Hi souvik,

Thanks for replying. I would like to clarify on the all the sections with respect to your analysis.

CR : My current strategy involves understanding the argument completely. I identify the premises, intermediate conclusion and main conclusion of the argument. I then read the question stem and try to think of possible answers. I would like to accept that I do not pre-think on all the CR questions because of time shortage. I eliminate every answer choice based on sound reasoning i.e out of scope choices, opposite answers , in scope but irrelevant etc. I then try to select the best possible choice. Therefore, there are times when I have to re-read the choices in order to pick the relatively best one. I would like to say that I am comfortable with LSAT CR as well. However, I accept that I am slow in solving CR because I spend a significant time understanding the argument.

SC: I stick to egmat rules for SC. My strategy for SC involves reading the whole sentence slowly and understand the meaning as well as grammatical errors. I try to pick out concrete errors such as SV errors, modifiers, parallelism , Verb tense , pronoun. Over time I have learned the importance of Modifiers (-ing , -ed) and meaning on GMAT SC. I would like to clarify that I DO NOT pick an answer choice just because it sounds good. I accept that my pace on SC is slow. It may be because I read and eliminate every answer choice on solid grounds. I used to just look at splits and eliminate answers choices that repeated an error. However, I have learned that GMAT may change the structure of the argument in such a way that one error may not be the same in other answer choice. Hence, SC takes up more than a minute to solve.

RC: I used to be a very good note taker in my school and undergraduate. However, I have realized that GMAT is an open book exam and I do not need to note down every detail mentioned in the paragraph. Now I start reading RC slowly and understand the structure of the whole RC. I try to reason why a particular detail is mentioned in the para and what does the author wants to convey. I only note down the broad structural changes in the RC and WHERE a particular detail is mentioned. After reading the whole RC, I summarize it and get a big picture. While answering inference/main point questions, I try to pre-think the answer before reading the choice. My accuracy in RC is good ONLY if I read and understand the paragraph completely. That's the reason I admit to be slow in RC.

Quant: I have learned a LOT from the GMAT Quant Megathread. Vertias Blog has helped my strengthen my basics. However, there are areas such as combinatorics and probability that i am not very good at. My strategy for PS is to read and understand the question and then use the best possible strategy eg POE, Number picking etc. For DS, I read and understand the question and try to infer something from the given constraints before jumping to Statements. However, there are times when I just forget the given constraints (eg X is a number AND not an integer) and land up with the wrong answer choice. With practice, I am aware of a few traps (eg questions that seems have answer choice C). However, my accuracy with 700+ questions on GMAT club test is below par (50% on average). Hence, I understand I need to get all below 700 level question correct in order to score Q50. I do not follow any other strategy eg 5 questions in 10 minutes or so. I have come to realize that I am good in certain topics and I tend to solve them faster. With respect to guessing, if I do not find a possible solution to the problem within 1 minute, I tend to guess and move on.

Please review my approach to all questions and provide feedback.
Again, I thank you so much for taking time out. It means a lot to me and if given a chance, I would carry forward this good deed.

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Re: MAYDAY [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2017, 01:23
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TheMechanic wrote:
Responding to the PM:

I can't better the version of Souvik's response above, but I can reemphasize a few things again:

* Stick to Only Official problems in Verbal. Don't waste time in analyzing problems from other sources. In my opinion, they are actually waste of time.

* In Verbal, your only strategy should be to eliminate and not Select. Never ever select the answer choice. Always Eliminate the answer choices backed by discerning reasoning. Practice Practice Practice this until it becomes your 2nd nature. Cross verify your reasons from OG explanations or experts post on the forums.

* There is nothing tricky in the exam. The moment you call something tricky, you shift the blame on the question rather than owning your careless mistakes. All the information required to solve the question is in front of you. YOUhave to be diligent to cover your bases and solve the question correctly. Your mistake can't be covered with the curtain of "the question was tricky". Additionally, many of us say, I got an easy question wrong. Well if the question was easy, and you got it wrong, then the question was NOT EASY FOR YOU. So stop qualifying the questions based on the difficulty level. EASY/MEDIUM/HARD questions are very relative to one's preparation level. If you prepare well and cover your bases and it will all seem easy to you. You may even score 800 if you are right there at the precipice.

* There is no time pressure on the exam. This fact has been validated by GMAC. The makers of the exam don't design the test so as to create a time pressure on the folks taking the test. The time pressure gets manufactured and created by usand by our bad bad habits. Here are a few instance why Time pressure gets into the scene:
- You blindly stare at the monitor.
- Your concentration wavers.
- You look to get each and every question right. Even an 800 scorer does not get all questions right. Get the hint!!!
- You don't know when to quit.


Therefore, have a sound time management strategy.

* GMAT is NOT a knowledge-based exam. GMAT is a reasoning based exam. You should give extreme emphasis on your reasoning skills in Both QUANT and VERBAL. There is a reason why these sections are called Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning and not Math and English sections.


Think about these. Sometimes practicing more questions does not solve things but introspecting does.

I hope it helps.



Thanks a lot for your analysis. Following is my current approach for each of the section.

CR : My current strategy involves understanding the argument completely. I identify the premises, intermediate conclusion and main conclusion of the argument. I then read the question stem and try to think of possible answers. I would like to accept that I do not pre-think on all the CR questions because of time shortage. I eliminate every answer choice based on sound reasoning i.e out of scope choices, opposite answers , in scope but irrelevant etc. I then try to select the best possible choice. Therefore, there are times when I have to re-read the choices in order to pick the relatively best one. I would like to say that I am comfortable with LSAT CR as well. However, I accept that I am slow in solving CR because I spend a significant time understanding the argument.

SC: I stick to egmat rules for SC. My strategy for SC involves reading the whole sentence slowly and understand the meaning as well as grammatical errors. I try to pick out concrete errors such as SV errors, modifiers, parallelism , Verb tense , pronoun. Over time I have learned the importance of Modifiers (-ing , -ed) and meaning on GMAT SC. I would like to clarify that I DO NOT pick an answer choice just because it sounds good. I accept that my pace on SC is slow. It may be because I read and eliminate every answer choice on solid grounds. I used to just look at splits and eliminate answers choices that repeated an error. However, I have learned that GMAT may change the structure of the argument in such a way that one error may not be the same in other answer choice. Hence, SC takes up more than a minute to solve.

RC: I used to be a very good note taker in my school and undergraduate. However, I have realized that GMAT is an open book exam and I do not need to note down every detail mentioned in the paragraph. Now I start reading RC slowly and understand the structure of the whole RC. I try to reason why a particular detail is mentioned in the para and what does the author wants to convey. I only note down the broad structural changes in the RC and WHERE a particular detail is mentioned. After reading the whole RC, I summarize it and get a big picture. While answering inference/main point questions, I try to pre-think the answer before reading the choice. My accuracy in RC is good ONLY if I read and understand the paragraph completely. That's the reason I admit to be slow in RC.

Quant: I have learned a LOT from the GMAT Quant Megathread. Vertias Blog has helped my strengthen my basics. However, there are areas such as combinatorics and probability that i am not very good at. My strategy for PS is to read and understand the question and then use the best possible strategy eg POE, Number picking etc. For DS, I read and understand the question and try to infer something from the given constraints before jumping to Statements. However, there are times when I just forget the given constraints (eg X is a number AND not an integer) and land up with the wrong answer choice. With practice, I am aware of a few traps (eg questions that seems have answer choice C). However, my accuracy with 700+ questions on GMAT club test is below par (50% on average). Hence, I understand I need to get all below 700 level question correct in order to score Q50. I do not follow any other strategy eg 5 questions in 10 minutes or so. I have come to realize that I am good in certain topics and I tend to solve them faster. With respect to guessing, if I do not find a possible solution to the problem within 1 minute, I tend to guess and move on.

Please review my approach to all questions and provide feedback. Also, I can read your debrief from 610 to 700+ ?

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Re: MAYDAY [#permalink]

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fmik7894 wrote:
Hello everyone,
I have been preparing for GMAT since January 2017. I gave my actual exam on 4th of April and scored a 630 (Q47, V29) IR 6 and AWA 5. I was really nervous on the test day and overshot the break before my verbal section. This probably screwed up my verbal score because I used to score a 35ish during my mocks.
I used the following resources for my first attempt:
1. Magoosh Online full course
2. Manhattan Review CR Guide
3. Manhattan Review Math Study companion
4. Powerscore CR Bible
5. Kaplan Online question bank
The issue with Magoosh mocks was that they included only the Math and Verbal section. Hence, I never accounted the fatigue of AWA and IR on my test scores. However, with the new GMAT rules, I should be able to do better. I gave 6 Kaplan mocks as well (all under test conditions). My scores ranged from 610 to 710. Hence, I was really unsure of my test performance on the D-day.
I understand that I committed 2 major mistakes during my first attempt:
1. Never touched the OG
2. Did not use gmatclub forum
3. No proper grasp on verbal
I was completely lost after the 630. Even though I absolutely detest coaching institutes, I joined a local branch of Princeton Review in India for a 3 month course. I did the following during my 3 months:
1. OG 2017
2. Official Quantitative Review 2017
3. Official Verbal Review 2017
4. Princeton Materials
5. MGMAT SC guide
6. MGMAT RC guide
My test scores scores in July 2017 (all given under test conditions):
1. Manhattan Prep (V34, Q28) : 520
2. Princeton (V34, Q41) : 620
3. Princeton (V38, Q39) : 630
4. GMAT Prep1 (V35, Q45) : 650
5. Princeton (V33, Q48) : 650
So I was stuck at a 650. Somewhere I knew that I had to revisit both my verbal and quant basics again to cross 700. In order to do so, I chose the following:
1. Egmat Verbal online course
2. GMAT club
I spent the whole of August going through Egmat course. While CR and RC strategies were familiar to me, I discovered the importance of meaning on GMAT SC questions. Moreover, I learned all about Modifiers through this course. Overall, my confidence in verbal grew. I used Egmat’s scholaranium software to solve only medium and hard difficulty level questions. My accuracy hovered around 70% on each of SC,CR and RC.
For quant, I started going through “GMATCLUB Quant Megathread”. I learned a lot from Veritas prep blog and discovered a lot of mistakes in my approach. My math notes grew from 4 to 20+ pages. As I had already booked my test date (26th October 2017), I didn’t have the time to go through all the 20+ math topics on the website. I am still left with few topics such as Combinatorics & Probability. NB: I know the basics of the remaining topics but I am not confident on all of them.
In order to experience actual gmat questions, I even bought GMATPrep exam pack 1 and 2. I already have bad experience with low quality exams such as Princeton Review. The questions are not actual representative to those on the GMAT and explanations are absurd.
With exactly one month to my second attempt, I began a regular drill of solving GMATClub Test every alternate day and keep practicing verbal from various trusted sources. I exhausted all the medium and hard difficulty level questions on egmat, started solving LSAT CR on GMATClub and used Vertias Prep free question bank for SC and CR.
These are my GMATPrep Test scores (all tests are given under timed conditions):
October 2 : 700 (Q49, V35)
October 9: 710 (Q48, V39)
October 15: 690 (Q49, V35)
October 21: 700 (Q50, V34)
So with an average score of 700, I went to the test center on October 26th with a calm and composed mind. In all my practice tests, I chose the Verbal, Quant, IR and AWA order and I did the same for my actual exam as well.
Surprisingly, I couldn’t understand my first CR argument (3rd Verbal question). I know how making mistakes in the first 10 questions can thwart my score. I had no other choice but to guess and move on. I almost completed the rest of Verbal section on time and guessed on second-last Boldface question. I thought I had done a decent job.
The quant section began with two questions (Stats & geometry) that stumped me. I read the question so many times that I still remember the exact stem. I tried every strategy from POE to picking numbers, but all in vain. I had to guess and move on. Even though I knew only a miracle could save me, I kept a calm mind. I finished the section on time.
Result was 660 (Q47 V34). I stared the screen in disappointment and cancelled the score. I scored lower than my lowest score on practice tests. Even tough GMAT told me that I improved only 30 points in 6 months, I think I deserve much more.
So, it has been 10 months since I first solved a GMAT question, almost thrice the ideal preparation time. I have committed a lot of errors in approach to the exam and strategies. I have burnt a lot of money as well. Moreover, with a 93,93 and 8.9 in 10th,12th and college respectively, I am not used to the humiliation that GMAT is making me go through right now.
My aim is to score a Q50 and V40 in order to get into a top MBA program and I will not settle for anything less.
Please suggest me ways to improve my score. I have attached my 660 ESR for understanding.

Thank you all.


From your ESR, we can see that in verbal, there is an obvious time management issue. When you give it more time, your accuracy improves; when you reduce the time you give to it, your accuracy declines. You just need to practice all question types under the ticking clock pressure. Learn to use your time efficiently and that's all you need to do to improve your Verbal accuracy.

There is a similar trend in Quant as well. You are taking far less time in PS questions and making far more errors in them. Usually, people see better accuracy in PS since there are fewer pitfalls in it. Perhaps you are overlooking basics when you are cutting corners time-wise.
Review your practice tests and find out why you make mistakes in PS questions.

To save time, take a proactive approach in all questions. Here are some posts discussing this.
https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2013/1 ... -the-gmat/
https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2016/0 ... labor-day/
https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2013/0 ... -my-snare/
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New post 01 Nov 2017, 10:54
I would like to respectfully disagree with VeritasPrepKarishma. fmik7894 – you dont have a timing problem in Verbal. At least not as your primary problem. Your primary problem in Verbal is ability.

Similarly, in Quant, I believe that you have your strengths and weaknesses (or areas where you make careless mistakes). Once you sort them out, you should be good to go.

Analysis of your Verbal Section



Lets look at your average difficulty chart and analyze the first group of questions (Q1-10). You would notice two things

1. You spent ample time on these questions (1’58”)
2. You start making mistakes the moment GMAT starts throwing difficult questions at you. Why do I say that, because your average difficulty correct is very low.

Now let’s look at group 2 (Q10-Q20).

1. You spent enough time per question (2’33”)
2. You answered some very easy questions incorrectly (look at average difficulty incorrect)
3. Your average difficulty correct definitely went up, going slightly above medium difficulty level.

Now let’s look at group 3 (Q21-Q30). This group is interesting because your average difficulty "correct " went up in previous group so that test was going to throw more difficult questions at you. Here is what happened here

1. You spent reasonable amount of time per question (1’45”)
2. You could only answer very easy questions correctly
3. You started making mistakes as soon as the difficulty level of questions increased.

Do you notice a pattern here – You start making mistakes as soon as the test starts throwing difficult questions at you. Why .. because you don’t have the ABILITY to answer DIFFICULT Questions Correctly. Build that ability and your score will improve right away. Timing is not your problem as you are not able to answer difficult questions correctly even when you spend enough time.

Moving Forward



How do you build that ability – You follow the process. To know more, make sure “My Study Plan” course in your e-GMAT dashboard. Make sure that you go through the following sections:

1. Define a path to your target score
2. Preparing for a particular section
3. Fine tune your sub sectional abilities

In addition, also look at the videos on

1. Learn how to attempt an adaptive test
2. Learn how to devise your time management strategy.

Lastly, take a look at ESR analysis videos to learn more about how to analyze your Quant ESR.
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VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
From your ESR, we can see that in verbal, there is an obvious time management issue. When you give it more time, your accuracy improves; when you reduce the time you give to it, your accuracy declines. You just need to practice all question types under the ticking clock pressure. Learn to use your time efficiently and that's all you need to do to improve your Verbal accuracy.

There is a similar trend in Quant as well. You are taking far less time in PS questions and making far more errors in them. Usually, people see better accuracy in PS since there are fewer pitfalls in it. Perhaps you are overlooking basics when you are cutting corners time-wise.
Review your practice tests and find out why you make mistakes in PS questions.

To save time, take a proactive approach in all questions. Here are some posts discussing this.
https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2013/1 ... -the-gmat/
https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2016/0 ... labor-day/
https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2013/0 ... -my-snare/



I would like to stick to my analysis and here is why. (fmik7894 - use your own judgement to figure out the best course of action.)

Some points from your ESR:
- You responded correctly to 75% of the first set of questions, 71% of the second set of questions, 71% of the third set of
questions and 50% of the final set of questions.
- The average difficulty of questions presented to you in the first set of questions was Medium, the average for the
second set of questions was Medium , the average for the third set of questions was Medium and was Medium for the
final set of questions.
- The average time it took you to respond to the first set of questions presented was 1:58, the average time for the
second set of questions was 2:33, the average time for the third set of questions was 1:45 and 0:59 for the final set of questions.

Your mean response time for each question type is as it generally is - Max for RC, then for CR and the least for SC.
For each question type, your accuracy is about the same.

In the first quarter, you spent far too much time on the incorrect questions - I am guessing you were worried about making mistakes in the first 10 and hence did not want to skip so you ploughed on. That said, your accuracy is highest since the initial questions must have been below your ability level.

In the second quarter, you took a lot of time which was invested mostly in the correct questions. You probably started making more judicious decisions with time. Your accuracy stayed high.

In the third quarter, you put pressure to speed up and invested a fair bit of time in the incorrect questions too (since your accuracy is 71% but your time split is 50-50).

In the last quarter, the time you invested in the question reduced and your accuracy dropped.

Also, the difficulty level of the questions given to you were around "medium" but you made errors in slightly higher as well as slightly lower difficulty. In the first quarter, the average difficulty of the questions given to you was a bit lower since the software probably starts out with lower difficulty level questions first.

To me, it seems that given more time, you perform better in even the higher level questions.

Similarly, in Quant too, you did well on higher level questions in the third and fourth quarters given more time (2:00 mins +).

Best Wishes!!
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Re: MAYDAY [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2017, 06:37
I see that experts have chimed in here, and I agree with them and they have significant overlap in their analyses.

Here's my 2 cents:

Nobody really has a timing issue on the GMAT. You can define timing differently (as Karishma did and she is spot on), but it really depends on HOW you define TIMING:

1. Timing is solving easy questions quicky?
2. Timing is solving hard questions quickly?

Not really. Timing is basically KNOWING when you are not making progress and your ability to be honest with yourself and move on. Think about it, if you do not get a CR question after understanding the prompt and the answer choices in 3 mins, chances are you will probably NOT be able to do it even with 5 mins (unless you guess it and get it right).

The other thing about ESR is, the difficulty levels are super subjective so do not worry about that a lot. If you really want to retake, focus on areas that you are weak in. Once you identify those and work on those and follow SUPER STRUCTURED processes for verbal (especially CR and RC), you will realize that you are automatically doing better with timing.
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Re: MAYDAY [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2017, 05:01
souvik101990 wrote:
Just doing a lot of problems and finishing a course do not REALLY help beyond the 680-700 level in my opinion. After that your time is better spent on identifying patterns and nuances of official questions and REALLY digging in deep (I am assuming you have learned most of the "content" that the GMAT tests)

Here is a reviewing strategy that REALLY helped me (it is by a really good GMAT tutor)

if you're studying properly, you should be spending substantially MORE time on review than on doing problems. if you can do even close to 100 problems per day, that indicates that you're just doing problem after problem after problem after problem after problem, and not spending nearly enough (if any) time reviewing.

here's what you should be able to do:

for EVERY quant problem:
* don't concentrate on the solution to that actual problem, since you can be sure you aren't going to see that actual problem on the exam
* instead, try to find TAKEAWAYS from the problem, which you can then APPLY TO OTHER PROBLEMS. this is key - DO NOT LEAVE A PROBLEM until you have extracted at least one piece of information, whether a formula, a strategy, a trick/trap, etc., that you can apply to OTHER problems.
do not leave a problem until you can fill in the following sentence, meaningfully and nontrivially:
"if i see _____ ON ANOTHER PROBLEM, i should _____"
* notice the SIGNALS in the problem that dictate which strategy to use. if you miss the problem, then notice the strategy that's used in the book's solution (not always the best solution, in the case of the o.g., but better than nothing), and go back to see if there are any signals 'telling' you to use that strategy.

for EVERY verbal problem:
* you should be able to give SPECIFIC reasons why EVERY wrong answer is wrong, and why EVERY right answer is right. ("i just know that it's wrong/right" is NEVER acceptable -- you need to think carefully about the problem until you have discerned a specific reason.)
* you should GENERALIZE these lessons in ways that could conceivably apply to future problems (e.g., "on this problem type, any answer choice more general than the passage = wrong").

for EVERY SC problem, in addition to the above:
* you should be able to go through the CORRECT sentence -- including the non-underlined part -- and justify EVERY construction in that sentence.
e.g.
-- if there's a modifier, you should be able to explain exactly what it modifies, and exactly why that modification makes sense.
-- if there's a pronoun, you should be able to explain exactly what it stands for, and exactly why that makes sense.
-- if there's a verb, you should be able to find its subject. you should also be able to justify the tense in which the verb is used, and/or the tense sequence of multiple verbs.
-- you should be able to explain the exact meaning of the sentence.
-- if there are parallel structures, you should be able to explain (a) the grammatical parallelism AND (b) the parallelism in meaning.
etc.

if you're doing these things, there's no way you'll be able to get through even half that number of problems.

quantity ≠ quality.


Hey Souvik,

Above mentioned tips are really helpful and eye opener. You stressed upon extracting as much information as possible from a question that we solve. I understand that but how to remember all such stuff or keep track of when we have a lot of concepts. Is error log a best way to do this. Can you tell us few examples of information that we can pull out of a question from Work and rates.

Thanks,

QZ
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Re: MAYDAY   [#permalink] 04 Nov 2017, 05:01
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