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# Want to score high on GMAT? Then, be less serious about it!

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Re: Want to score high on GMAT? Then, be less serious about it! [#permalink]
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Thanks Keats

AbhiGarg2007 The idea here is to strike a balance, to put GMAT into a perspective. GMAT is definitely very important but so are many other things that we already have. Somehow, we have a mindset in which we ignore what we have and focus entirely on what we do not have. And then we go crazy fearing that we may not have what we want. And such fear, rather than helping us, prevents us from reaching our goal. That is why the more a person wants a job, the more likely he is to screw the interview.

Now, how do we stop fearing GMAT? By putting it into the correct perspective. We have blown it out of proportion. We are considering GMAT the ONLY important thing in life. It is not. We will continue to live, even thrive, even if we don't succeed at GMAT in the first attempt or even in any number of attempts.

When we stop fearing the failure, we channelize our energies in a positive direction, and eventually, the success is about the right use of our energies. Isn't it?
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Re: Want to score high on GMAT? Then, be less serious about it! [#permalink]
ChiranjeevSingh wrote:

While on a call with one of my students who improved from 540 to 710, I asked him what he had learnt from this remarkable journey. (Disclaimer: The student came to me for learning just CR section. So, I do not and cannot take credit for his huge score improvement) Among other things, one thing he said really struck me. He said that the two-week sabbatical he had taken from his work was the most useless time of his preparation. This person (I’d not be taking names of any individuals in this article to respect their privacy) had taken a two-week sabbatical before his first attempt at the GMAT, in which he scored 540. He then studied for another two months, while working full-time, before he took his last attempt in which he scored 710.

I was surprised! I always thought a concentrated effort would be much more fruitful than a spread-out effort. When I asked him the reason why he thought so, he said something along the lines “All during the two weeks, I was so stressed out to get to my target score. All those days, I had nothing else to do but GMAT. I was so focused on getting the score that I didn’t care much about the learning”. And when I asked him to share what made this jump possible for him, his exact words were (later on a https://gmatclub.com/chat message) “Simply put, the moment I strayed away from the ‘score’ and started focusing on ‘improvement’, the results came. And I just believed (wholeheartedly) one thing you told me: it will come, but it will take more time. It took time, but it came.”

When I heard him say so, I could immediately relate it with the story of one of my then current students. She was on a 3-month sabbatical from her job at one of the largest FMCG companies in the world. When we started our sessions (I take private GMAT classes), she was an easy-to-laugh girl. We used to have good laughs during our sessions. However, as the course progressed, she started becoming more and more serious. By the time she had completed her course with me and started taking mocks, it came to a stage when she used to be serious all the time. I could sense that her stress could be coming in the way of her improvement. However, I kept quite, thinking it was natural to be a bit stressed. However, when I heard the experience of the guy, I could immediately see that she needed to come out of this huge mental stress to make improvement. The more she was attached to the score, the more the score seemed to be running away. Probably, the day she stops worrying about the score and enjoys the learning, improvement will come, I thought. So, I called her, and we had a good 45 minute discussion on the psychology of preparation. And then, after a few days, she called me up to say that she just had finished her GMAT with a score of 710. She was ecstatic about it. I could feel that in her voice. She said she didn’t tell me that she had booked the GMAT for the day because she didn’t want to be stressed out. She wanted to be relaxed. And she was. And it showed in her results. I’m not sure whether our 45-minute discussion helped, but I could, for sure, feel that the lack of stress did work.

Today, I was on a call with one other student. He left his job some time back to focus entirely on his GMAT preparation. Today, he shared that he has been unable to sleep at night for the last few days. In the middle of the night, he keeps searching forums for admission results and keeps worrying about his odds of getting an admission into a good B-School. He said he had gained weight also since he had stopped going to gym to save time for GMAT preparation. I was alarmed! I knew he was heading toward the same zone in which our first guy was in his two-week sabbatical. I then had a good discussion with him on not to make the GMAT the beginning and end of his life and to continue to do other things that he enjoyed and that made him feel good about himself.

However, as our session ended, I felt that if I could come across a number of such cases among my students, how many more will be out there who will be getting utterly stressed out to get their target score, not knowing that it is their over-attachment to the score that is coming in their way of improvement and thus in the way of their score. I thought that so many articles emphasize the value of hard work and taking things seriously that we miss the value of ‘balance’ in life. Over-seriousness is equally harmful as under-seriousness, I believe. Probably more.

We need to understand how our mind works. Clearly, it doesn’t work at its optimum when it is stressed out. The more stressed out you are, the less is the mind’s effectiveness. And GMAT is a test of your aptitude, your mind, not a test of some concepts. So, if your mind has been brought down to a low effectiveness level by your stress, then you cannot expect a high score. To get a high score, your mind needs to be relaxed, working at its optimum level.

But that will happen only if you let go a bit. If you think that your world is going to end if you do not get a good score, you’ll not be able to stop yourself from worrying. You’ll need to put GMAT in a perspective so that you can just focus on your efforts and leave the results on their own. The good thing is that if you do so, results will also come. That is what my experience says!

So, for some of us, I have this advice, as the title of this article says, "Be less serious about it!".

(Please note that I am not at all against taking sabbaticals from jobs to prepare for GMAT. The purpose of the article was not to advise against taking sabbaticals. The main purpose was to highlight the need of a balance i.e. to highlight that our over-attachment to the score in the form of stress can come in our way of improvement and thus in our way of a good score. The idea is to have that balance in life, whether one is on a sabbatical or not.)

Hi,
Need Advise.
I took my GMAT on 3 Dec 2016. I was completely Shattered 530 Q38 V28. I have cancelled this score after I got my ESR.

I Had a rough last 2 months , wife in surgery now recovering. My mocks 710 (Q47 V38) and 660 ( Q41 V40 ). I am attaching my Enhanced Score Report so that I can get suggestions as to, how to go about my preps starting Jan 2017. Please be critical if you have to be I wouldn't mind a bit. I will appreciate all the help I can get now because I want to cross 750 and will give everything for it.

I am having an issue in staying focused after quants. Plus the IR was very Table and graphs heavy so got drained a lot there and managed a 3. Also, I got 3 probability questions , a couple of coordinates and set questions, question wordings were also very crooked like in one probability (one huge sentence probability combinatorics question question - choice of 1 of 3 XYZ, 4 of 7 XYZ, with the restriction 1 not from 3 XYZ and 2 not from XYZ and so on back and forth, very confusing. The RC's were all Historical plus scientific very dense 3 para's each and one of 1 para and 5 questions. 2 very dense back to RC in first 20 and got a method of reasoning and an assumption question after the two RCs; All of these made me think I am going great so guessed 3 to 5 questions to make up for time lost in RC, so wondering how does one gauge during the test where one is.

I made sure that the CATs were as realistic as possible including breaks. I generally don't remember questions because I don't attempt to memorise them but try working it out so I don't remember if the questions were repeated. In July when I had posted I had my Test on Aug 31 but due to work commitments was travelling and reached on the day of exam so just gave it for the heck of it. Then from mid-Sep I prepped. Mostly quants and on weekends SC Grail, RC Grail and CR power score but this I started in October end.

In mid-October I gave my mock 1 exam pack 2- score of 710, then my wife met with an accident and had to undergo surgery and hence from Nov1 till 20 I didn't study anything. Then came back brushed up and gave my 2 nd Mock exam 2 and Got 660.

I am working professional so can spare 3 hrs a day and 6 hrs on weekend. Any suggestions how to go about.I have used Target Test Prep for Quants and SC Grail, RC Grail by Aristotle and CR POWERSCORE 2015. Do you recommend MGMAT Quant Guides + OG 17 + GMAT CLUB for Quants and MGMAT SC ?
Attachments

File comment: My GMAT Enhanced Score Report
Ritesh Patnaik_304699061_ESR.pdf [432.5 KiB]
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Re: Want to score high on GMAT? Then, be less serious about it! [#permalink]
Expert Reply
riteshpatnaik wrote:
Hi,
Need Advise.
I took my GMAT on 3 Dec 2016. I was completely Shattered 530 Q38 V28. I have cancelled this score after I got my ESR.

I Had a rough last 2 months , wife in surgery now recovering. My mocks 710 (Q47 V38) and 660 ( Q41 V40 ). I am attaching my Enhanced Score Report so that I can get suggestions as to, how to go about my preps starting Jan 2017. Please be critical if you have to be I wouldn't mind a bit. I will appreciate all the help I can get now because I want to cross 750 and will give everything for it.

I am having an issue in staying focused after quants. Plus the IR was very Table and graphs heavy so got drained a lot there and managed a 3. Also, I got 3 probability questions , a couple of coordinates and set questions, question wordings were also very crooked like in one probability (one huge sentence probability combinatorics question question - choice of 1 of 3 XYZ, 4 of 7 XYZ, with the restriction 1 not from 3 XYZ and 2 not from XYZ and so on back and forth, very confusing. The RC's were all Historical plus scientific very dense 3 para's each and one of 1 para and 5 questions. 2 very dense back to RC in first 20 and got a method of reasoning and an assumption question after the two RCs; All of these made me think I am going great so guessed 3 to 5 questions to make up for time lost in RC, so wondering how does one gauge during the test where one is.

I made sure that the CATs were as realistic as possible including breaks. I generally don't remember questions because I don't attempt to memorise them but try working it out so I don't remember if the questions were repeated. In July when I had posted I had my Test on Aug 31 but due to work commitments was travelling and reached on the day of exam so just gave it for the heck of it. Then from mid-Sep I prepped. Mostly quants and on weekends SC Grail, RC Grail and CR power score but this I started in October end.

In mid-October I gave my mock 1 exam pack 2- score of 710, then my wife met with an accident and had to undergo surgery and hence from Nov1 till 20 I didn't study anything. Then came back brushed up and gave my 2 nd Mock exam 2 and Got 660.

I am working professional so can spare 3 hrs a day and 6 hrs on weekend. Any suggestions how to go about.I have used Target Test Prep for Quants and SC Grail, RC Grail by Aristotle and CR POWERSCORE 2015. Do you recommend MGMAT Quant Guides + OG 17 + GMAT CLUB for Quants and MGMAT SC ?

Hey Ritesh,

Tough times! I can feel that you have gone through a lot recently. Wife's accident and now this unexpectedly low score.

However, I can also see that you are still going strong, willing to put in the required effort to succeed. That's the spirit, man! It will take you to the heights!

Now, coming to your GMAT journey: I see that you scored 710 and 660 on official mocks taken under proper conditions and, I assume, taken for the first time. Now, if I juxtapose these scores with your actual score 530, I cannot rule out the possibility of a bad day. It could be a bad day! However, even a bad day shouldn't take you 150 points down, I believe. It would need to be a catastrophic day for that slide to occur. So, most probably, it was more than just hard luck on that day. It could be stress or lack of sleep. Or it could be that you could score higher on mocks because you had seen some of the questions before. Even though you may have not remembered the specifics, your mind may have remembered the logic and thus, you could have scored higher on the mocks.

Now, why am I doing all this analysis? Because I think we need to understand where we faltered. You were so close to your target, and something completely derailed it. You need to figure it out. Why? So that you can know what to do next.

If it was the lack of conceptual clarity, you'd need to approach in a different way. If it was just stress and a bad day, your approach from now onwards should be very different. I understand figuring it exactly may not be possible but I'd suggest that you spend some time doing this analysis.

Now, regarding the sources you have used: I have no idea about the effectiveness of any of these sources except CR Bible, which is a very good book. Also, MGMAT books + GMAT Club tests are good for quant. For verbal, you can look at e-GMAT.

Feel free to ask me any questions you have.

Regards,
CJ
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Re: Want to score high on GMAT? Then, be less serious about it! [#permalink]
ChiranjeevSingh wrote:
riteshpatnaik wrote:
Hi,
Need Advise.
I took my GMAT on 3 Dec 2016. I was completely Shattered 530 Q38 V28. I have cancelled this score after I got my ESR.

I Had a rough last 2 months , wife in surgery now recovering. My mocks 710 (Q47 V38) and 660 ( Q41 V40 ). I am attaching my Enhanced Score Report so that I can get suggestions as to, how to go about my preps starting Jan 2017. Please be critical if you have to be I wouldn't mind a bit. I will appreciate all the help I can get now because I want to cross 750 and will give everything for it.

I am having an issue in staying focused after quants. Plus the IR was very Table and graphs heavy so got drained a lot there and managed a 3. Also, I got 3 probability questions , a couple of coordinates and set questions, question wordings were also very crooked like in one probability (one huge sentence probability combinatorics question question - choice of 1 of 3 XYZ, 4 of 7 XYZ, with the restriction 1 not from 3 XYZ and 2 not from XYZ and so on back and forth, very confusing. The RC's were all Historical plus scientific very dense 3 para's each and one of 1 para and 5 questions. 2 very dense back to RC in first 20 and got a method of reasoning and an assumption question after the two RCs; All of these made me think I am going great so guessed 3 to 5 questions to make up for time lost in RC, so wondering how does one gauge during the test where one is.

I made sure that the CATs were as realistic as possible including breaks. I generally don't remember questions because I don't attempt to memorise them but try working it out so I don't remember if the questions were repeated. In July when I had posted I had my Test on Aug 31 but due to work commitments was travelling and reached on the day of exam so just gave it for the heck of it. Then from mid-Sep I prepped. Mostly quants and on weekends SC Grail, RC Grail and CR power score but this I started in October end.

In mid-October I gave my mock 1 exam pack 2- score of 710, then my wife met with an accident and had to undergo surgery and hence from Nov1 till 20 I didn't study anything. Then came back brushed up and gave my 2 nd Mock exam 2 and Got 660.

I am working professional so can spare 3 hrs a day and 6 hrs on weekend. Any suggestions how to go about.I have used Target Test Prep for Quants and SC Grail, RC Grail by Aristotle and CR POWERSCORE 2015. Do you recommend MGMAT Quant Guides + OG 17 + GMAT CLUB for Quants and MGMAT SC ?

Hey Ritesh,

Tough times! I can feel that you have gone through a lot recently. Wife's accident and now this unexpectedly low score.

However, I can also see that you are still going strong, willing to put in the required effort to succeed. That's the spirit, man! It will take you to the heights!

Now, coming to your GMAT journey: I see that you scored 710 and 660 on official mocks taken under proper conditions and, I assume, taken for the first time. Now, if I juxtapose these scores with your actual score 530, I cannot rule out the possibility of a bad day. It could be a bad day! However, even a bad day shouldn't take you 150 points down, I believe. It would need to be a catastrophic day for that slide to occur. So, most probably, it was more than just hard luck on that day. It could be stress or lack of sleep. Or it could be that you could score higher on mocks because you had seen some of the questions before. Even though you may have not remembered the specifics, your mind may have remembered the logic and thus, you could have scored higher on the mocks.

Now, why am I doing all this analysis? Because I think we need to understand where we faltered. You were so close to your target, and something completely derailed it. You need to figure it out. Why? So that you can know what to do next.

If it was the lack of conceptual clarity, you'd need to approach in a different way. If it was just stress and a bad day, your approach from now onwards should be very different. I understand figuring it exactly may not be possible but I'd suggest that you spend some time doing this analysis.

Now, regarding the sources you have used: I have no idea about the effectiveness of any of these sources except CR Bible, which is a very good book. Also, MGMAT books + GMAT Club tests are good for quant. For verbal, you can look at e-GMAT.

Feel free to ask me any questions you have.

Regards,
CJ

Hi,

Thanks will surely step back and analyse
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Re: Want to score high on GMAT? Then, be less serious about it! [#permalink]
I cannot tell how much I can relate to this article. I have been studying for a little over a year. Taken GMAT 3 times and stuck at 650. The stress level reduces my effectiveness. The questions I breeze through in practice tests seem challenging enough to get me in panic mode and make a mistake that I wouldn't make under normal conditions. I'm trying to learn to get out of this level of stress. Hoping for the best.

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Re: Want to score high on GMAT? Then, be less serious about it! [#permalink]
sfaridi wrote:
I cannot tell how much I can relate to this article. I have been studying for a little over a year. Taken GMAT 3 times and stuck at 650. The stress level reduces my effectiveness. The questions I breeze through in practice tests seem challenging enough to get me in panic mode and make a mistake that I wouldn't make under normal conditions. I'm trying to learn to get out of this level of stress. Hoping for the best.

Sent from my iPhone using GMAT Club Forum mobile app

Yes ,
Indeed stress levels on an actual GMAT is far more than what I took up in my mocks. Probably I have to make my MOCKS completely realistic. Like nobody talks before the exam, people's tones are down when anybody has nay queries regarding the test, all hush hush pretty serious faces all around. The breaks 8 mins break just vanishes during the actual exam but during mocks, I still have 3 min on the timer.

One of my friends broke into 740 scores all through self-study and in the first attempt. He said GMAT once you are past knowing concepts and applying them, the real strategy is how to MAINTAIN THE FLOW. GMAT is all about strategy, in the end, he says.
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Re: Want to score high on GMAT? Then, be less serious about it! [#permalink]
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Hi all,

i wanted to post a reply to Chiranjeev's thread ( as the 710 student he speaks about )

Couldnt agree more to what he said. I decided to put in a post because i know the struggle and want to give a re-assurance to many in the phase!

I was pretty paranoid trying to get a score .By habit, i tend to put my world-at-end in such scenarios.SO much so that i was relieeeeeved to cross the 7+barrier.But that was definitely not my potential score because i was very sure my knowledge of GMAT content was above this score. CJ was pretty sure too.

My issue was anxiety for verbal. i fell short on time on the real test- probably because i was paranoid beforehand.
So i decided to re-take immediately.My aim was to just drop the pressure i put on myself- not tell anyone, accept the consequences -life wont end! and no Study at all.
many would think that would be suicidal.But i didnt want the anxiety that comes with revising or thinking now my accuracy is 70%,80% etc. Got a 750!

I personally know of many getting upto -100points score because of anxiety in their first attempts.

SO all in all, as long as you are convinced your basics are right( will refer CJ for that for sure) - and have decent mock scores- its probably just a Mental frame thats killing it for you!
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Re: Want to score high on GMAT? Then, be less serious about it! [#permalink]
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Ninja90 wrote:
Hi all,

i wanted to post a reply to Chiranjeev's thread ( as the 710 student he speaks about )

Couldnt agree more to what he said. I decided to put in a post because i know the struggle and want to give a re-assurance to many in the phase!

I was pretty paranoid trying to get a score .By habit, i tend to put my world-at-end in such scenarios.SO much so that i was relieeeeeved to cross the 7+barrier.But that was definitely not my potential score because i was very sure my knowledge of GMAT content was above this score. CJ was pretty sure too.

My issue was anxiety for verbal. i fell short on time on the real test- probably because i was paranoid beforehand.
So i decided to re-take immediately.My aim was to just drop the pressure i put on myself- not tell anyone, accept the consequences -life wont end! and no Study at all.
many would think that would be suicidal.But i didnt want the anxiety that comes with revising or thinking now my accuracy is 70%,80% etc. Got a 750!

I personally know of many getting upto -100points score because of anxiety in their first attempts.

SO all in all, as long as you are convinced your basics are right( will refer CJ for that for sure) - and have decent mock scores- its probably just a Mental frame thats killing it for you!

Hey Shrinja, thank you for responding here! And congratulations once again for a stunning 750!

For the benefit of others: Ninja90 (Shrinja) is the girl I talk about in the article above (who used to remain serious all the time at the fag end of her preparation! )

As I said in the article, she scored 710 in her first attempt. However, she took GMAT yesterday again (15 days after her first attempt), and she scored 750! She was sharp and prepared, but her anxiety was pulling her down! Not so yesterday!

- CJ
Re: Want to score high on GMAT? Then, be less serious about it! [#permalink]