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My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy

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My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2017, 23:27
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Today I would like to share my GMAT experience and I will be glad if it helps someone else.

How It Started


I actually decided to take GMAT about 2 years ago after I graduated from university. Like everyone else I know my first question to people was "which one should I take GRE or GMAT?" Soon I learned there was no straight answer to this kind of question. So I did my own research and decided to go for the GMAT and that was actually the easy part. I started studying, using the Manhattan GMAT books. This was actually my first standardized test and I never faced any CAT before so everything seemed so new to me.

First Obstacle

I started with the math books and it seemed very well written and they actually helped me to get acquainted with the question types and how to solve those. But when I started studying English it was different story. When I was in school I always thought English was my strength but when I started solving verbal questions my experience was somewhat different. I really did not have much trouble with the critical reasoning part except from the bold faced questions. In reading comprehension I could answer most questions correctly but it took me a lot of time to answer those. But in sentence correction I was absolutely clueless about what to do. I tried the Manhattan book for sentence correction but I think it was not good for someone like me who is not from a native English speaking background. At one point I actually stopped studying for GMAT.

Starting Over

After a year I decided to give GMAT a second try. I studied again and took the free mock test available at Manhattan's website. The result shocked me. I think I scored 450 out of 800. I never actually used gmat club till this point. After getting 450 I started searching internet to find out what should be my next step and found gmat club and I actually read some fascinating stories there. These people also did not do well at first but they could overcome their obstacles and scored up to 770 (wish I could score that high haha). So I took their advice and started studying again. I took another practice test after a while but I found out that one of my biggest problems was that I could not take the full test in one sitting. I actually had to pause the test after completing math section and then take verbal section later. This time I used the official GMAT PREP. I scored 630 but I knew it was not representative of my ability since I did not complete the test in one sitting. This time I stopped using book and started using the pc and gmat club to solve the questions so that I could increase my stamina to take the test. It actually helped a lot and I found out there were so many explanations for one question that if I could not understand one explanation I could use another one.

Preparing for the Verbal Section

I was also looking for a way to improve my verbal score. I actually found a success story (sorry I can't remember who wrote it, wish I could) and the writer of that story said he had the same trouble and he used e-gmat. I actually heard of e-gmat before but did not know much about it. So, I signed up for their free lessons and completed those. Their way of explaining concepts seemed very useful to me. I also attended some of their webinars to know more about them. At last I decided that it is probably going to be a good investment for me and they said I also had the option to stop using their service after a specific number of days if I did not like their course and they would pay me back. So I purchased the course and started with the sentence correction of verbal part. The sentence correct is course was really useful for me. My main problem in sentence correction was that even if I could somehow guess the correct answer I could not tell why rest of the options was incorrect. The sentence correction course helped me to overcome that problem. I also used Magoosh’s answer explanation for sentence correction explanations to understand the answer of some particular questions for which I was not satisfied with the answer that e-gmat provided. Some of the answers provided by experts of gmat club were also huge help. As I said earlier critical reasoning was never really tough for me except for the bold faced questions. Nonetheless e-gmat helped me to become even stronger in that area. To me reading comprehension seemed all about practice. More I practiced answering questions within 9 minutes, better I became.

The Dreaded Quantitative Section


The quantitative section was a challenge for me. I never considered myself good at quant. I must mention a video that has changed my attitude towards quant. I saw a lecture that Salman khan, founder of Khan Academy gave at TED. The title of that lecture is “Let's teach for mastery -- not test scores”. It helped me understand where my problem lies in and what I need to do. If anyone thinks he is bad at quant and it’s not possible for him to improve, I suggest to watch this video. It was a great inspiration to me. When I first took gmat mock test my quant score was in 30s. I improved a lot since then and I believe I can still improve if I keep working on it.

Why Strategy is So Important

Now I would like to say something about the importance of strategy in gmat. I actually sat for gmat twice. First was in 21st of January 2017. I finished all my lessons and took 6 mock tests using GMAT PREP. My scores were 710, 650, 720, 700, 690, and 720. After getting 650 in my second mock I became really worried and actually delayed my test date for a month. I went over the study materials again. The next 4 test scores were around 700 so I was fairly confident. But something happened on the test day. I woke up with a terrible headache and some other problems. It affected the test. I scored 650 in the first test. My scores were Q -44, V-35, AWA 4.5, and IR-5. It was a big blow for me since I was not expecting that score. I am thankful to my friends who supported me at that time and told me that I should give it a second try. I tried to find out where I went wrong because it seemed to me that besides a bad headache there was another reason for my below expectation score. I analyzed where I went wrong and found out that my test taking strategy was really bad. I used to spend all tine answer first 30-32 questions or so and guessed rest of the questions when I saw that I was out of time. Somehow I got away with it in my mock exams but the problem showed up when I needed luck at my side most. It took me a while to take the decision that I will take GMAT for the second time. After I decided I registered for the exam keeping a month in my hand to rethink my strategies. I should mention Brett Ethridge of Dominate the GMAT. His videos helped me a lot to fine tune my strategies. I took the mock tests again. This time my lowest score in 6 mocks was 680 and highest score was 740. On actual test I scored 710 with Q 47, v-40, AWA 5.5 and IR 6.

Materials I used at a Glance

Here is the list of materials I used. I am going to add my personal opinion with them and I should say that other people may have different opinion regarding those.

1. e-gmat: Since I purchased the e-gmat online I think I should comment on this first. The following are the things I found most useful about this course.

e-gmat verbal:

1. Very well organized and the way the contents are created is really good
2. I am a big fan of the sentence correction section. Truly outstanding
3. Critical Reasoning teaching method is pretty cool. Helped me a lot in bold face questions
4. The active reading strategies of reading comprehension part are quite useful
5. e-gmat has a good fourm with many questions by previous students. Those who can use it well should improve a lot
6. Most importantly there are experts who are really amazing at their jobs and always there to help.

e-gmat quant:

1. Well written concepts
2. Amazing experts who will make you work :)
3. Challenging questions after each concept

Scholaranium: If anyone want extra practice this is a very useful tool. How effective it is will depend on how you use it.

2. gmat club: If anyone is preparing for gmat registering at gmat club is a must in my opinion. In math section Bunuel's posts and explanations are life savers. This guy is truly awesome!!!!

3. Magoosh gmat blog:[/b] Whenever I could not understand any question after studying my primary materials I used magoosh's blog. Very good explanations you can access.
4. Khan Academy: One of the best free content providers out there. If you want to learn, go there!!!
5. GMAT prep exam pack 1 and 2
6. GMAT prep question pack
7. Manhattan Math book
8. Official guide, Official Verbal Review, Official Quantitative Review

In the end I want to add one more thing. I have been asked by many people about what materials I used to study. Often it's not what you use but how you use them. Now I am working on my application. If my story helps anyone else then I will be very happy. Best of luck for future test takers.

Last edited by tawkirzaman@gmail.com on 10 Apr 2017, 09:14, edited 1 time in total.

Kudos [?]: 10 [7], given: 361

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Re: My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2017, 07:45
Hey thanks for an amazing debrief and congratulations on your score. Could you please share your experience with e-gmat scholaranium and GMATPREP question pack 1. I am planning to purchase both of the above practice tools and would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.
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My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2017, 09:52
bschoolboy2017
Hello,
Thank you very much. Scholaranium is a very useful tool if you want to practice a lot. From my experience scholaranium is helpful to identify where you problem lies and you can practice those types of questions to improve yourself. GMATPREP question pack 1 is composed of retired gmat questions as far as I know. It is always good to practice with real questions from the makers of the test. I found it quite useful as well. These questions tend to be little tougher or trickier than the questions that we usually find in official book. Hope my answer will be useful to you.

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Re: My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2017, 08:25
Wow! congratulation and thanks for sharing your experiences :)
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Re: My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 12 Apr 2017, 01:34
tawkirzaman@gmail.com wrote:
bschoolboy2017
Hello,
Thank you very much. Scholaranium is a very useful tool if you want to practice a lot. From my experience scholaranium is helpful to identify where you problem lies and you can practice those types of questions to improve yourself. GMATPREP question pack 1 is composed of retired gmat questions as far as I know. It is always good to practice with real questions from the makers of the test. I found it quite useful as well. These questions tend to be little tougher or trickier than the questions that we usually find in official book. Hope my answer will be useful to you.



Hey thank you soo much for your reply. I will be purchasing the scholaranium and QP1 soon. Thanks and all the best for your application.
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Re: My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 12 Apr 2017, 06:34
tawkirzaman@gmail.com wrote:
Today I would like to share my GMAT experience and I will be glad if it helps someone else.

How It Started


I actually decided to take GMAT about 2 years ago after I graduated from university. Like everyone else I know my first question to people was "which one should I take GRE or GMAT?" Soon I learned there was no straight answer to this kind of question. So I did my own research and decided to go for the GMAT and that was actually the easy part. I started studying, using the Manhattan GMAT books. This was actually my first standardized test and I never faced any CAT before so everything seemed so new to me.

First Obstacle

I started with the math books and it seemed very well written and they actually helped me to get acquainted with the question types and how to solve those. But when I started studying English it was different story. When I was in school I always thought English was my strength but when I started solving verbal questions my experience was somewhat different. I really did not have much trouble with the critical reasoning part except from the bold faced questions. In reading comprehension I could answer most questions correctly but it took me a lot of time to answer those. But in sentence correction I was absolutely clueless about what to do. I tried the Manhattan book for sentence correction but I think it was not good for someone like me who is not from a native English speaking background. At one point I actually stopped studying for GMAT.

Starting Over

After a year I decided to give GMAT a second try. I studied again and took the free mock test available at Manhattan's website. The result shocked me. I think I scored 450 out of 800. I never actually used gmat club till this point. After getting 450 I started searching internet to find out what should be my next step and found gmat club and I actually read some fascinating stories there. These people also did not do well at first but they could overcome their obstacles and scored up to 770 (wish I could score that high haha). So I took their advice and started studying again. I took another practice test after a while but I found out that one of my biggest problems was that I could not take the full test in one sitting. I actually had to pause the test after completing math section and then take verbal section later. This time I used the official GMAT PREP. I scored 630 but I knew it was not representative of my ability since I did not complete the test in one sitting. This time I stopped using book and started using the pc and gmat club to solve the questions so that I could increase my stamina to take the test. It actually helped a lot and I found out there were so many explanations for one question that if I could not understand one explanation I could use another one.

Preparing for the Verbal Section

I was also looking for a way to improve my verbal score. I actually found a success story (sorry I can't remember who wrote it, wish I could) and the writer of that story said he had the same trouble and he used e-gmat. I actually heard of e-gmat before but did not know much about it. So, I signed up for their free lessons and completed those. Their way of explaining concepts seemed very useful to me. I also attended some of their webinars to know more about them. At last I decided that it is probably going to be a good investment for me and they said I also had the option to stop using their service after a specific number of days if I did not like their course and they would pay me back. So I purchased the course and started with the sentence correction of verbal part. The sentence correct is course was really useful for me. My main problem in sentence correction was that even if I could somehow guess the correct answer I could not tell why rest of the options was incorrect. The sentence correction course helped me to overcome that problem. I also used Magoosh’s answer explanation for sentence correction explanations to understand the answer of some particular questions for which I was not satisfied with the answer that e-gmat provided. Some of the answers provided by experts of gmat club were also huge help. As I said earlier critical reasoning was never really tough for me except for the bold faced questions. Nonetheless e-gmat helped me to become even stronger in that area. To me reading comprehension seemed all about practice. More I practiced answering questions within 9 minutes, better I became.

The Dreaded Quantitative Section


The quantitative section was a challenge for me. I never considered myself good at quant. I must mention a video that has changed my attitude towards quant. I saw a lecture that Salman khan, founder of Khan Academy gave at TED. The title of that lecture is “Let's teach for mastery -- not test scores”. It helped me understand where my problem lies in and what I need to do. If anyone thinks he is bad at quant and it’s not possible for him to improve, I suggest to watch this video. It was a great inspiration to me. When I first took gmat mock test my quant score was in 30s. I improved a lot since then and I believe I can still improve if I keep working on it.

Why Strategy is So Important

Now I would like to say something about the importance of strategy in gmat. I actually sat for gmat twice. First was in 21st of January 2017. I finished all my lessons and took 6 mock tests using GMAT PREP. My scores were 710, 650, 720, 700, 690, and 720. After getting 650 in my second mock I became really worried and actually delayed my test date for a month. I went over the study materials again. The next 4 test scores were around 700 so I was fairly confident. But something happened on the test day. I woke up with a terrible headache and some other problems. It affected the test. I scored 650 in the first test. My scores were Q -44, V-35, AWA 4.5, and IR-5. It was a big blow for me since I was not expecting that score. I am thankful to my friends who supported me at that time and told me that I should give it a second try. I tried to find out where I went wrong because it seemed to me that besides a bad headache there was another reason for my below expectation score. I analyzed where I went wrong and found out that my test taking strategy was really bad. I used to spend all tine answer first 30-32 questions or so and guessed rest of the questions when I saw that I was out of time. Somehow I got away with it in my mock exams but the problem showed up when I needed luck at my side most. It took me a while to take the decision that I will take GMAT for the second time. After I decided I registered for the exam keeping a month in my hand to rethink my strategies. I should mention Brett Ethridge of Dominate the GMAT. His videos helped me a lot to fine tune my strategies. I took the mock tests again. This time my lowest score in 6 mocks was 680 and highest score was 740. On actual test I scored 710 with Q 47, v-40, AWA 5.5 and IR 6.

Materials I used at a Glance

Here is the list of materials I used. I am going to add my personal opinion with them and I should say that other people may have different opinion regarding those.

1. e-gmat: Since I purchased the e-gmat online I think I should comment on this first. The following are the things I found most useful about this course.

e-gmat verbal:

1. Very well organized and the way the contents are created is really good
2. I am a big fan of the sentence correction section. Truly outstanding
3. Critical Reasoning teaching method is pretty cool. Helped me a lot in bold face questions
4. The active reading strategies of reading comprehension part are quite useful
5. e-gmat has a good fourm with many questions by previous students. Those who can use it well should improve a lot
6. Most importantly there are experts who are really amazing at their jobs and always there to help.

e-gmat quant:

1. Well written concepts
2. Amazing experts who will make you work :)
3. Challenging questions after each concept

Scholaranium: If anyone want extra practice this is a very useful tool. How effective it is will depend on how you use it.

2. gmat club: If anyone is preparing for gmat registering at gmat club is a must in my opinion. In math section Bunuel's posts and explanations are life savers. This guy is truly awesome!!!!

3. Magoosh gmat blog:[/b] Whenever I could not understand any question after studying my primary materials I used magoosh's blog. Very good explanations you can access.
4. Khan Academy: One of the best free content providers out there. If you want to learn, go there!!!
5. GMAT prep exam pack 1 and 2
6. GMAT prep question pack
7. Manhattan Math book
8. Official guide, Official Verbal Review, Official Quantitative Review

In the end I want to add one more thing. I have been asked by many people about what materials I used to study. Often it's not what you use but how you use them. Now I am working on my application. If my story helps anyone else then I will be very happy. Best of luck for future test takers.


Nice job! Could you comment on how you were studying the quant section? Was it more doing problems or reviewing theory? Etc.

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Re: My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 13 Apr 2017, 11:43
Hi

Congrats!!! for the good score :)

How do rank e-gmat and magoosh, which course is better in your point of view?
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My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2017, 04:50
omizzle
Hello,

Thank you very much. I first reviewed theory and then practiced problems related to that theory. Reviewing theory does not actually take that long. Practicing till a particular theory is mastered is what I tried to do. Hope that answers your question.

Last edited by tawkirzaman@gmail.com on 14 Apr 2017, 05:22, edited 1 time in total.

Kudos [?]: 10 [0], given: 361

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Intern
avatar
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Joined: 16 Jun 2016
Posts: 7

Kudos [?]: 10 [0], given: 361

GMAT 1: 710 Q47 V40
Reviews Badge
Re: My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2017, 04:54
SajjadAhmad

Hello,

Thank you very much. I can't really compare between e-gmat and magoosh since I did not use the paid version of magoosh.

Kudos [?]: 10 [0], given: 361

Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 16 Jun 2016
Posts: 7

Kudos [?]: 10 [0], given: 361

GMAT 1: 710 Q47 V40
Reviews Badge
Re: My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 14 Apr 2017, 05:17
Spartan85 wrote:
Congrats. Great score and great debrief.

Did you prepare anything in particular for the IR and AWA?


Thank you very much. To prepare for the IR I used e-gmat and GMAT Prep Question Pack 1. e-gmat helped me to get acquainted with the question types and taught me how to approach them. For AWA I studied the sample answer provided in the official website of the GMAT and created my own structure to write the answer. You can find the sample answer if you go to GMAT's official website. I tried to share the link but it seems for some reason I can't :(

Kudos [?]: 10 [0], given: 361

Intern
Intern
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B
Joined: 16 Jun 2016
Posts: 7

Kudos [?]: 10 [0], given: 361

GMAT 1: 710 Q47 V40
Reviews Badge
Re: My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2017, 12:10
SajjadAhmad wrote:
tawkirzaman@gmail.com wrote:
SajjadAhmad

Hello,

Thank you very much. I can't really compare between e-gmat and magoosh since I did not use the paid version of magoosh.


Thanks

In Which School/Schools you are going to apply?


I am trying to figure that out. I will definitely need scholarship so may even go for a specialized masters program. Funding will be the key factor to be honest.

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Re: My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2017, 11:44
tawkirzaman@gmail.com wrote:
SajjadAhmad wrote:
tawkirzaman@gmail.com wrote:
SajjadAhmad

Hello,

Thank you very much. I can't really compare between e-gmat and magoosh since I did not use the paid version of magoosh.


Thanks

In Which School/Schools you are going to apply?


I am trying to figure that out. I will definitely need scholarship so may even go for a specialized masters program. Funding will be the key factor to be honest.


Hope you get scholarship of your choice, Best of luck for your future :)
_________________

Official PS Practice Questions
Press +1 Kudos if this post is helpful

Kudos [?]: 1138 [0], given: 547

Re: My Journey to 710 and Importance of Test Taking Strategy   [#permalink] 15 Apr 2017, 11:44
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