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My Journey to a 740! + Newbie Guide for the GMAT

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Joined: 24 Jan 2017
Posts: 11
Location: India
GMAT 1: 740 Q50 V40
GPA: 3.1
WE: Engineering (Energy and Utilities)
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My Journey to a 740! + Newbie Guide for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 24 Aug 2018, 03:59
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Hello Everyone!

I am a petroleum engineer from India (working in a really small town in Central India, field location shenanigans! :angel: ) and here’s my story to a 740 on the GMAT. This community has been such a good resource that I would consider it payback if my story helps even a few of you. I have divided my debrief into two sections. Part one is a general outline of what I did over time. Part two is a document which I have named as the “Newbie Guide for the GMAT”, covering all that I have learnt over a year of taking this exam. This guide sprung up from the fact that while I do love talking to people, but repeating myself over multiple phone calls was getting quite inefficient, hahahah:P

I have consciously tried to make this guide extremely structured yet entertaining at the same time. The newbies are anyways under a lot of pressure (I know, I was too), so why not add a bit of humour to cheer up everyone!

Let’s begin.

Part One: What took you so long? :grin:

So I have taken GMAT four times and gone from a 660 to a 740 over almost a year’s timeframe.

GMAT Attempt 1- September 2017: 660 (Q47, V34, IR5, AWA5).

To say that I was mighty disappointed would be an understatement. Not that I was expecting a stellar score but something around a 700 at least since I was scoring in that range on my GMAT Prep mocks.

For this attempt, I had done my prep in a pretty random manner, finishing SC from MGMAT, CR from PowerScore CR Bible and thought that I’d wing RC without reading any theory. Boy, was I mistaken! I did the OG and OG VR too. In Quant, I had just flipped through MGMAT, taken a few GMAT Club Quant tests and finished off the OG and OG Quant Review.

GMAT Attempt 2- November 2017: 710 (Q49, V37, IR8, AWA6)

After my first attempt I knew that I had to improve big time on both quant and verbal and thus prepare in a structured manner. I subscribed for the EGMAT Verbal Live prep course and started prepping sometime in mid-September. I wrapped up the course by October end and then I had until November end for taking my mocks and brushing up on quant. Eventually due to lack of time, for quant, I ended up just reviewing my older error log and practicing a few dozen GMAT Club Test questions. But the R2 deadlines were near and I knew I had to apply, so I anyways went ahead and took my GMAT on the 30th of November 2017.

I was relieved that I had a 700+ score but at the same time I knew that given the demographic I come from, the reaction at my target schools would be like Mehh! :P

December 2017 – January 2018: I applied to two schools and got rejected by both eventually. It was either a rushed application or my score or maybe both. I do not know. That is when I realised how important it is to think through before writing your essays and to never rush an application to meet a deadline. Only apply when you are ready!

GMAT Attempt 3- July 2018: 730 (Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6)

I re-subscribed to EGMAT, and this time I took both the Verbal and Quant Online Prep package. Started off with CR and spent the entire month of April on it. I remember doing every concept, application and practice file so very diligently. The best thing I learnt in this month was how to Pre-Think and hit the specific question types with structured pre-thinking questions. E.g. If I saw an assumption question I would immediately be thinking on the lines of “when would conclusion x be falsified, given the premises a, b and c”. Another thing I realised was that if you spend more time on reading the question stem carefully and then pre-thinking, you would end up saving time on the options. Most of them would be eliminated like “yeah, this one could not even remotely be correct!” hahaha! At the same time, please read through the explanations of all the questions you solve, even the ones that you get correct. There is always something to learn or to just eliminate the possibility that you got it correct on a fluke (I mean, ahmm, incorrect reasoning) :P

I then moved to SC and spent three weeks on it. I knew that I’d given SC enough time in September so I just concentrated on brushing up the fundamentals and basically reviewing the EGMAT modules (concept and application files) where I was weak. For RC I spent about a week. I saw the Quant concept files and did the application files in parallel to my Verbal prep, in these four weeks. This wrapped up my entire conceptual review.

I booked my test for mid-July. Now I had six weeks to go, so I lazed around in the first one (yeah, that’s how lame I am) and then spent the next five weeks taking mocks on every Sunday. I used to review them on Monday and then try to iron out my weaknesses over the next five days. I have a working Saturday, (sobs :cry: ). Work had gone ballistic over the past few months and I did not have time to do much Quant again. Mostly I was dead tired by the time I reached home. Didn’t touch Quant Scholaranium, but I reviewed my extensive error log thoroughly.

Anyhow, this time around I was feeling pretty confident about my abilities and ended up with a 730, which is undoubtedly a good score but I had that gnawing feeling that I could have done better. My mocks were always hovering between a 740 to a 760. Plus, the Quant score was a big-big let-down! So I booked the GMAT again for a month later. Yeah, bite me. :suspect

GMAT Attempt 4- August 2018: 740 (Q50, V40, IR7, AWA6)

I knew that if I hold my Verbal score and just improve my Quant I would be hitting my targets comfortably. I got in touch with Carrie on this forum and she helped me strategize my quant approach. Thank you Carrie!

So this time around, I spent time on EGMAT Quant Scholaranium, first giving sectional ability tests and then doing questions from the topics where my accuracy was low. I started with medium level questions and then did the hard level ones. Never had the time to attempt the Very Hard level questions, plus they were kind-of really difficult bruhh, lols!

In Verbal I just targeted doing 5 CR + 5 SC questions daily and maybe 2 RC’s on alternate days (from the GMAT Prep Question Bank), just to stay in touch. Despite working at break neck speed, I could not even touch the Geometry module. I took two mocks this time, scoring 760 and 740. I knew I had entered that Zen mode and nothing was going to bother me now, hahaha!

On exam day, the Quant section was a breeze (solving 200 Q’s in two weeks will do that to you), Verbal pushed my buttons (lack of practice maybe?), in IR I remember thinking, dude when will this get over? And AWA was fun!

A few general observations –

• There is a certain (abysmally small, I’d like to say) luck factor too in this exam. My 730 attempt had multiple medium to difficult questions from the area of my weaknesses in Quant whereas the 740 attempt had only a couple of them. Go figure!

• In both of my last attempts, I was short of time on the Verbal section (more like 5 Q’s left with 6 mins on the timer) and when that timer becomes a yellow shade, that’s a different feeling I tell you! I guess my new habit of reading the question stem thoroughly had pushed up my time per question, but hey, at least I was getting them correct :D I didn’t have that kind of score in my first two attempts wherein I had finished the Verbal section with five mins to spare. There is no prize for spare time right, ahahhaha!

• Improve your abilities and learn from every question you solve. Don’t just focus on the number. That was my drawback in the first two attempts. I literally went through the entire module for CR and RC again thoroughly before my third attempt and then practiced Scholaranium (bookmarked and incorrect questions from my 710 attempt) alongside. This process really improved my abilities in the two sections. SC more or less I never really had a problem from the start.

• View the GMAT as an exam that will improve you in multiple ways. It will push your time management skills, your ability for critical reasoning and maybe ask you to demonstrate grit and patience over multiple attempts. Take all of it in your stride and look forward to learn and improve. If you enjoy your journey, I know I did, it will be a breeze, otherwise you will be moping around impatiently to finish up ASAP and that never helps. Trust me on that one. Says the voice of experience!

So there it is. My entire journey. The Q50 and V42 didn’t occur together and that will be my only regret. I have no doubts on my abilities and have thoroughly enjoyed the process.

I would like to leave you guys with a quote from one of my all-time favourite movies, The Shawshank Redemption and I quote “Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Part Two: Newbie Guide for the GMAT

This post has become too long, darn it! So I’ll upload the guide in another post and provide the link here.

https://gmatclub.com/forum/newbie-guide ... l#p2118011

Cheers
Rahul

Originally posted by rahul_india on 23 Aug 2018, 19:27.
Last edited by rahul_india on 24 Aug 2018, 03:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Journey to a 740! + Newbie Guide for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2018, 19:54
rahul_india

Let me be the first one to congratulate you for your fantastic score. Q50, V40 is a great score. Writing GMAT more than once shows your persistence.

Can you please throw some light on the below given questions

1.Did you take any full length mock tests before your exam ?

2.I have my exam in few weeks, can you let me know how do you prepare yourself subject wise and mentally during the last month before exam.

3. Any advice you feel is important for the first time GMAT taker will be very much helpful.

All the very best for your applications.

Regards
Akadiyan
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Re: My Journey to a 740! + Newbie Guide for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2018, 20:34
Congratulations!! "Hope is a good thing" is one of my favorite quotes, Shawshank does resonate with a lot of Bschool applicants. We are all like Andy Dufresne, digging patiently & secretly behind a beautiful Rita Hayworth picture, yet smiling & waiting for our time to break free.

Well done, Rahul!!


Cheers
GyM
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Joined: 24 Jan 2017
Posts: 11
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GMAT 1: 740 Q50 V40
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WE: Engineering (Energy and Utilities)
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Re: My Journey to a 740! + Newbie Guide for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2018, 00:19
gym

Thank you!

You've described the analogy beautifully.

akadiyan

1. Yeup, I took 4 GMAT Prep mocks before my third attempt and 2 before my final one.

2. In the last month before the exam I would say the best way to revise is by practicing questions, since you've already learnt all the theory. Now its time to apply those concepts. Figure out if there are certain areas that you are weak in, like if you are consistently getting questions wrong from a process point of view, and not a timing framework. Review the concepts for those specific areas again. Practice some more, and if they still don't improve, at least you will be very much aware of your weaknesses. In a nutshell, that would be my advise.

Mentally, I wouldn't think about what score would I get or something on similar lines. Believe in the effort that you've put in over the past months and keep calm. You could also do one of those breathe in and out exercises for like 5-10 mins a day. That really helped me to focus and organize my thoughts.

3. Be aware of the timing in the sectional breaks. Get a good nights sleep. Keep your relevant ID and check that its not expired. Try to reach the exam center a bit early, you may just want to familiarize yourself with the surroundings. Above all, trust your self and keep a cool head.

Thank you for your wishes!

Cheers
Rahul
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Re: My Journey to a 740! + Newbie Guide for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Aug 2018, 22:45
Congratulations...!!
This is going to inspire multiple people.
Kudos to your passion and preservence.

Please do keep posted about the post GMAT journey as well.

Thanks.
The Graceful.
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The Graceful
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Every EXPERT was a beginner once...
Don't look at the clock. Do what it does, keep going
..
To achieve great things, two things are needed:a plan and not quite enough time - Leonard Bernstein.

Re: My Journey to a 740! + Newbie Guide for the GMAT &nbs [#permalink] 28 Aug 2018, 22:45
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