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My GMAT Debrief: 770; Q:50, V:44, I.R:7, AWA:5

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My GMAT Debrief: 770; Q:50, V:44, I.R:7, AWA:5  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Apr 2018, 05:15
Test Date: 14th Apr’ 2018

Objective for sharing: GMAT Club was one of the most instrumental elements during my preparation. The study materials (primarily for Quant) and the occasional debriefs I referred to helped me to stay motivated and prepare well. So, I hope I can give the same help back to someone.

Personal Background: I am a commerce student and already did an MBA (2014) and now have almost 4 years of experience. I consider myself good with aptitude tests, scored a 97.86 %ile in CAT. But that was long time ago and preparing for GMAT was to start from scratch.

Following is my 2 cents on GMAT journey:


I dreaded Sentence Correction and the same was echoed in the early tests I took. SC, however, I considered the most important to improve in the verbal section. One reason was that like Quant, to some extent, SC can improved by understanding some basic concepts that can act as formulas. Also, managing SC in effective time was sure to give me more time for CR & RC.

The Challenge was to find a good resource. Lost on which resources to follow, I started searching for resources and settled for the following:

Magoosh, Official Guide 17, Official Guide 18, Verbal Review 18, GMAT Prep & Question Bank 1, GMAT Club Verbal forum

Magoosh: For concept videos in SC & practice. The lessons are sufficient and I must have reviewed them multiple times just to refresh the concepts. The problem sections are also a great help. I would suggest anyone using this to take time bound practice. A score of 75% & 60% correct on the hard questions & very hard respectively is an indicator of good progress. An important part is to go through the videos supporting each practice problem. I exhausted the set pretty fast but wasn’t confident enough.

OG 17 & 18 & VR 18: Easy to ignore, the OGs are I feel a must for anyone preparing. It is important to go through the incorrect options as well, as it helps to understand the concepts and look out for possible traps. E.g.: Problems with the idiom “Consider A, B” often has at least one trap with wrong idiom. The explanation in OGs are at times limited, so it helps to refer the forums to for detailed explanation.

GMAT Prep & Question Bank: I used this in the last mile, 15 days before the test, slightly on the easier side, it helps one prepare for the answering in the test format.

GMAT Club Verbal Forum: Most important to remember while referring here is to choose quality over quantity. Refer to only credible sources and contributors such as carcass, bb, & bunuel. The best part is that the platform is a culmination of various resources. The objective should be read through the explanations and become aware of the traps as well. Ignore the ones which lack a good explanation.

Others: Towards the end, I also briefly stumbled upon “Thursdays with Ron” videos and Gmatprep collection by carcass. The first I couldn’t go through much due to lack of time, but would recommend everyone, the collection I avoided as I was yet to take my second gmat prep exam, but definitely a good resource.

Concept & Error Log: It helped me to write down summarized bullet points of the concepts as well as log my errors and difficult practice problems. I always compressed every practice problem, as to make it in one line and readable in one glance. This helps to create a map of content and possible trap areas and is great to glance before sitting for test (practice or real)

Strategy: I took almost two minutes in most practice exams, but slowly gained some pace.
• Understand the meaning of the sentence
• Look for splits, eliminate & repeat till only one or two is left.
• Spending time on the initial sentence is important, rest should deserve a lower time. It helps to see more than one sentence simultaneously looking for splits.

Reading Comprehension: I do read otherwise, but RC in GMAT is different. I was more confident on RC than SC and so ignored this bit for some time. However, this resulted in declining performance overtime and a panic. So, I would advise to avoid that and stick to 1 to 2 passages on regular basis.
The resources were a subset of the ones mentioned for Sentence Correction. In addition, resources such as “The Economist” & “Scientific American” are helpful.


• Read slowly, understand the core context , rephrase after one or two sentences, take a couple of seconds to consume in, connect the sentences and paragraphs, look out for structural words (however, furthermore, despite etc.), tone of the author & most importantly the objective of the passage.

It might look a lot time consuming, but it’s actually not. After a few days of practice it should come involuntarily. It is ok to not know the subject matter of the topic & not knowing a few words here and there wouldn’t even matter. You may skim through some fillers, like elaborated definitions, unrelated examples etc. Mental notes should help to answer the questions without having to go back to the passage and even if you have to, it will be much quicker. Key is not to hurry in reading the passage.

It usually took me 3 to 4 minutes to read a passage (longer for much complex ones) and around 1 minute to solve an answer. During the practice, I aimed to not cross more than one error a passage.Performing on RC is largely dependent on practice and getting excited about what you are reading.

Critical Reasoning: Largely consistent in CR performance, I was better off than the two sections when I started. However did falter for a while when I ignored it along with RC. Key is to practice and understand why an answer is incorrect.
The resources were again a subset of the ones used for SC. In addition I bought a Manhattan CR bible and skimmed through it.


• Understand what is being asked (this can get tricky)
• Mental note of premise, conclusion and any underlined assumption
• As learnt in the Manhattan guide, I divided the answers in two buckets, possible answer and others.
• In case of doubt, re read the question.
• Don’t build or use outside information/ assumption.
• The right answer will shout out at you once you figure out the meaning of the statement and what is being asked


I consider myself good at Quant and aimed to get 51(yeah 50 was a letdown). To boost my confidence and get excited, I kick started GMAT with working on Quant. Geometry was an Achilles heel for me, rest I hoped to get through without much trouble. Part because I started to enjoy solving Quant and part because I wanted a more accuracy in Quant I ended up spending 2 to 3 months here. Following are the key resource I used

GMAT Club Quantitative Forum: I started solving the 700 level questions (one topic a day-first PS & then DS): 30 to 40 per section. On hindsight, that’s overdoing and I would avoid spending as much time.
This was my primary study material for Quant and definitely most helpful. Prioritize Bunnel & other credential sources. It is important to not just be able to solve but solve in time. Look at the creditworthy explanations wherever applicable and try to understand the concept or approach. The best facility was the option to bookmark and performance history.

Magoosh: I restricted myself to concept videos of Geometry, Co-ordinate Geometry, probability, & Permutation & combination. Most importantly, solve the sums there in timed practice. The explanation videos are good but I limited to only those I couldn’t solve or geometry.

OG & GMAT PREP: I found them considerably easier and practiced only at the end.

GMAT Club Tests: A reliable indicator one’s progress, the tests are actually close to GMAT, slightly more difficult. I used most of them towards the last 15 days, solving one almost each day.

• Read the question well to consider all variables and what is being asked; e.g.: value of x or |X|
• One should be able to identify the topic and concept evaluated in the first glimpse & approach in couple of seconds
• See the options available before solving a PS, it can give clue on the approach to take.
• It is important to not overdo, one thing I had to correct was the habit of crosschecking the answer, though helpful, it should be very limited or solving under 75 minutes becomes tough
• Estimate is of great assistance. Avoid stressing on exact calculations
• If a sum takes more than 3 minutes, you are not doing it the right way
• Revise your practice problems, especially the ones which went wrong on the first time.

Concept & Error Log: It is extremely important to keep concept as well as error log. Concepts are not definitions of what is what, but a collection of best approach for a certain type of sum.


I prepared a structure to use and went through the Official guide’s passage. This in addition to a couple of practice two weeks before the test.


I started IR only when 20 or so days were left. A week, in fact a couple of days before the test I was panic struck when suddenly I encountered a few difficult questions. But out of experience, the one in GMAT were easiest I ever solved. My panic from a couple of days before made me re check some of my answers and hence I did run a little short of time and guessed a couple of answers. But one need not stress much on IR or AWA. Practicing IR regularly for 10 to 15 days before the test would do the job.

Practice Tests: I resented taking tests initially but towards the later stage I was taking almost one per week for two months. Following is a summary of the same.

MANHATTAN 1: 2nd Aug 2017(620, Q45, V31, IR2.4)
VERITAS 1: 18th Oct 2017(690, Q51, V34)
MANHATTAN 2: 11th Dec 2017(670, Q47, V34)
GMAT PREP 1: 25th Dec 2017 (740, Q49, V42)
MANHATTAN 3: 3rd Jan 2018(700, Q47, V38)
MANHATTAN 4: 28th Jan 2018(720, Q48, V40, IR2.6)
VERITAS 2: 11th Feb 2018(740, Q51, V41, IR5)
VERITAS 3: 18th Feb 2018(730, Q51, V39, IR6)
VERITAS 4: 25th Feb 2018(720, Q51, V38, IR5)
MANHATTAN 5: 4th Mar 2018(690, Q48, V36, IR 3.87)
VERITAS 5: 11th Mar 2018(760, Q51, V43, IR7)
VERITAS 6: 21st Mar 2018(730, Q51, V39, IR6)
VERITAS 7: 31st Mar 2018(770, Q51, V45, IR5)
GMAT PREP 2: 1st Apr 2018 (770, Q51, V42, IR7)
GMAT PREP 3: 8th Apr 2018 (750, Q50, V41, IR9)

Manhattan: Don’t stress on Quant score. The problems are way tough than actuals and I often ran out of time. Verbal is good match to actual. Also, IR is way tough.
Veritas: Quant is pretty much GMAT level, but the scores seem inflated. Verbal & IR was close to actual GMAT
GMAT Prep: Most reliable test. I preferred not wasting by giving in the beginning, however, expect to see some familiar questions in the first test if you give after some preparation.
Additionally I took the GMAT Club Quant (28) & Verbal (9) individual tests. Scored mostly 50 & 51 in quant and in verbal, from 31 to 35 in the first 4, then 40+.

Overall, test are to build stamina and not just the scores. And its fine if the scores fluctuate a bit in the between.


I stumbled upon the idea of taking GMAT back around Jul 2017 and it was much out of curiosity that I wanted to take it. I reckoned that I have time on my side and given the additional priorities and fear of scoring too low, I am better off taking the test later in December or early January (though took it in Apr mid-postponed from 31st Mar 2018)). By September 2017, I gathered some resources & started preparation. Engaged around 3 hours on week day & around 5 to 6 during weekdays. I did take breaks- someday due to work, other engagement or sheer unwillingness to study. But must have spent 5 days a week initially, then towards the last three months at least 6 days a week. Also had to take a week or 10 day long break in Dec.

I believe a 3 to 4 month preparation (alongside work) is most efficient for GMAT. It’s a good idea to take the test post 4 months. I did feel burnt out in the last 2 months. Furthermore the challenge was to stay motivated and retain the concepts learnt a few months back.

Final Note: It helps to have a mentor or someone who had gone through the journey. I found that in a friend who took the test when I just started. The assistance here is not in understanding concepts but to help evaluate if you are on right track and realizing that however difficult the journey seems, there are others who had or who are going through it as well.
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Joined: 15 Jan 2018
Posts: 104
Location: India
Concentration: General Management, Finance
GMAT 1: 720 Q50 V37
WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)
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Re: My GMAT Debrief: 770; Q:50, V:44, I.R:7, AWA:5  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2018, 03:30
Well, I came across this old debrief and found it strange that the post did not attract any response.
Congratulations on achieving such a great score. I hope you had a smooth run in the Application process as well.
Thanks for sharing your story.

In order to reach the next tier, I need kudos.

Please provide me with kudos in case you like my post. Thank you :)

Joined: 22 Jul 2017
Posts: 56
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GPA: 3.85
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Re: My GMAT Debrief: 770; Q:50, V:44, I.R:7, AWA:5  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2018, 00:09
Congrats! I went into my first gmat test without any intense CAT practice. Only did one CAT (scores 610) prior to the test. I believe that was the reason for my miserable 630. I didn’t build my stamina enough and struggled greatly with pacing. Also I only spent about 1.5 month on the study, while working full time. Before I take my second test, I would definitely make reference to your training strategies to enhance my actual test performance.

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Re: My GMAT Debrief: 770; Q:50, V:44, I.R:7, AWA:5 &nbs [#permalink] 24 Dec 2018, 00:09
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