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My unusual and proud GMAT experience with self-study!

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Joined: 11 Jun 2019
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GMAT 1: 710 Q48 V40
My unusual and proud GMAT experience with self-study!  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jan 2020, 10:35
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First thing first - Thank you GMAT club. The debriefs and other discussions inspired me immensely.
My Result - 710 (Q48, V40)

I know scoring 710 especially with a Q48 is not a big deal for many but for my situation I consider it an achievement! And, I am sharing my experience especially for other aspirants like me- if you really want it, you can certainly do it!

Background:
Indian. Mom to a Toddler. Engineering Graduate from a not-so-good college.

My first encounter with GMAT was back in 2008 when my brother scored a 740(Q48, V42)! Like a typical ardent IITian, he was not satisfied and aimed for higher (didn't happen). I, somehow, stayed under the impression that 700-750 is rather easy to score until I decided to take it myself in 2012.
Two attempts (6 months apart)- 640 and 590 - made me realize that GMAT was indeed tough and probably not meant for an average achiever like myself. I went back to my typical IT-sector job.

Preparation:
5 years of staying at home in the USA made the latent dream of doing an MBA come to surface and pushed me to go for it. So, 7 years after my first attempt, I decided to give myself another chance.
I gathered from many online sources that 3 months will be a decent amount of time to avoid any prep-time related excuses. Also, I did not want to compromise much with my toddler’s time/attention. I only had time on weekdays (9 AM-4 PM) excluding the holidays and sick days of course. Out of which I think I could only utilize half the time eventually.
I booked my GMAT 2 days after joining GMAT-club, for a date 3 months later. It was more of a motivated (not a must-do) step so I didn't want to spend much money. I made a list of the free materials and full-length tests available on internet. I already had OG 2012 and Power Score CR Bible. I bought OG 2018 ($15 on craigslist with question bank code intact).
The set-up part was done, now was the toughest part - studies! I couldn't remember the last time I sat on a chair with a study table, book, pen and paper!

IT WAS TOUGH.

The material was not the biggest problem; commitment was a torture. I literally could not sit for 10 mins without looking for an excuse to get up and go away from it all. And, like anyone who has prepared for GMAT would know, it is not just about how well you know the concept or how clearly can you comprehend a paragraph. It’s more about your ability to sit through and be able to use your potential. Performance overtakes the Preparation.
I would do well for 2 days and then not even go to the dreaded area of the house - the study table with GMAT post-its and test date marked on a calendar - for next 3 days!
The inertia was showing up at every step, but I kept going. I made sure I would sit on the chair every day the same time when my test was scheduled even if I didn’t do anything there. The score, however, wasn’t improving much.

1st GMAT Official after 2 days’ going over the topics on 06/13 – 600 (V25, Q47).
7 Free CATs from different online resources ranging from 630 -670 (V27-34, Q45-50).
2nd GMAT Official on 09/04, two weeks before the test - 700 (V38, Q48).

Finally, I touched the 700 mark, but it wasn’t satisfying because 2-3 questions were repeated. By now I had lost hope of a 700+ score and since my target schools (based on my personal constraints) were achievable even with a 650, I was not shattered. Also, schools consider many other factors during a decision, so. But deep down I still wanted to score 700+ for my own confidence. I kept practicing the OG questions in a timed setting (I took all my tests the same time as the real one). No more CATs though as I was out of free stuff.

Test Day:
I reached the test center well in time but was extremely nervous. It was so evident even while checking-in that the proctor gave me extra 5 mins before starting the test just to settle. It did not help though.
I started with Quant just as I had practiced. I was praying to see PS first. The nervousness got out of hand when the first q appeared. It was DS. I literally took 5 mins to mark the answer, which I wasn’t even sure of. I was unable to comprehend the text because of the fear that even this attempt will end up like the other two. However, the practice of sitting through and keep going did help. I kept eyes on the screen and tried to stay focused to the q's. I did lose a lot of time through this mental adjustment and ended up guessing last 3-4 questions.

In 3 months, I had almost memorized various scoring scenarios. I guessed this performance would be around Q45(I had targeted 50).
I took the break. Devastated; I went to washroom and cried for 2 mins. As a non-native speaker, I knew verbal was my weak point- highest I ever scored was 38 with repeated q’s. I still had to complete the test. I washed my face with cold water took a deep breath, looked in the mirror and said to myself – you have studied and know stuff. You can still fare decently. Focus. You only need 650!

I returned to desk. Much calmer, I started the section. A comfortable RC popped up. I attempted all q’s very carefully and timely. By the end I had the feeling – I did NOT tank this section.
I Finished other two sections and closed my eyes for couple of seconds after I hit submit.
When I opened my eyes the score screen was up. Fingers crossed, I started looking at the score from my right to left. I saw a 10. My heart sank assuming it would be a 610. The sense of failure already hit me, but I decided to face it and read the next digit – 7!!

A 710 !!! I couldn’t believe my eyes – looked at the split – V40!! I was proud.

The time was running so I accepted the score, happily. I will start my MBA this fall.

:) :please :)
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New post 14 Jan 2020, 16:17
Marvelous. V motivating , especially for struggling fellows like me.
Would you like to elaborate on your verbal preparations.

Best of luck for your future endeavours,
Basim

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New post 14 Jan 2020, 16:23
Interesting to note that with you 2 verbal OG books,even older ones, you performed v well. Kindly tell about the structure of the SC and CR questions you faced?
How many total guesses and at which question stage, you made guesses?

By now, you must have shared your success with you 740 scoring brother. Good family time.

Best of luck again,
Regards,
Basim

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New post 15 Jan 2020, 06:57
Thanks!
All the best :thumbup:

Basim2016 wrote:
Marvelous. V motivating , especially for struggling fellows like me.
Would you like to elaborate on your verbal preparations.

Best of luck for your future endeavours,
Basim

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New post 15 Jan 2020, 07:43
Yup, there are some new questions in the latest OG's but it hardly makes any difference to your overall preparation, I believe.
I personally feel that when you have solved 500 OG q's , another 20 from the similar pool/type can only add to your own satisfaction(if at all) not to the final score.

As for my Verbal preparation, the PowerScore CR Bible really helped me with CR concepts which in turn helped the RC part. I used this book because I already had it; there may be other material/books better written and explained but I have been extremely satisfied with this one and did not need to look elsewhere for further explanations.

SC was my weakest part. After finishing SC concepts(which were very basic) from OG, I followed the reverse study path - Error log. I noted down detailed explanation of every SC q that I answered incorrectly.
I also regularly attempted GMAT-Club's 700 level(answered wrong most of the time but this way I could find and understand more concepts) and sometimes 600-700 level, mainly to keep check on real time progress.

During GMAT, I felt the difficulty level high between 15-20 q's, I definitely made a couple blind guesses here. I had time but I did not want to rush through last few q's like my Quant section, so did not ponder. I faced another slightly difficult patch after 8-10 more q's, no guesses here because I had plenty of time but obviously with V40, I must have answered incorrectly quite a few of them throughout, so.

Best wishes for your prep and test!


Basim2016 wrote:
Interesting to note that with you 2 verbal OG books,even older ones, you performed v well. Kindly tell about the structure of the SC and CR questions you faced?
How many total guesses and at which question stage, you made guesses?

By now, you must have shared your success with you 740 scoring brother. Good family time.

Best of luck again,
Regards,
Basim

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New post 15 Jan 2020, 09:00
Dear,
Thanks for your comprehensive reply.
Btw, can you forward the link of that 700 level SC, WHich proved v helpful to you.

Best of luck for your Business school applications.
Regards.

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New post 15 Jan 2020, 14:22
Hello,

Congrats on achieving the dream 700+ score.

Can you let me know the 7 free tests that you took during preparation.

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New post 31 Jan 2020, 08:15
Thank you!

Here is the list-


All the best for your test.



akadiyan wrote:
Hello,

Congrats on achieving the dream 700+ score.

Can you let me know the 7 free tests that you took during preparation.

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New post 31 Jan 2020, 13:37
TakingThePlunge wrote:
Thank you!

Here is the list-


All the best for your test.



Thanks for the information. For Quants you did not use any material other than OG ?
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New post 26 Feb 2020, 07:53
Congrats on a great score! Good luck with things moving forward.
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Re: My unusual and proud GMAT experience with self-study!  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Feb 2020, 08:58
Great story. Thanks for sharing. I've hear anything above 90th percentile is all it really takes to go to a top 5 school. Great job.
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Re: My unusual and proud GMAT experience with self-study!   [#permalink] 26 Feb 2020, 08:58

My unusual and proud GMAT experience with self-study!

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