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Joined: Aug 12, 2018
730 Q49 V40
REVIEWER IDENTITY VERIFIED by score report [?]
My experience with GMAT like many others has been rewarding in more ways than through just hitting my target score, and humbling too. So for all those retakers out there, hang in there and keep at it.
Initial Prep and first attempt
Like many other people, i started my prep with an outddated set of Manhattan PDFs - both for quant and verbal. While these helped lay decent foundations to build on, they never gave me an honest chance at hitting my minimum desired score of 730. After a couple of months of prep with a performance of 690-700 in my official mocks - i was sorely disappointed as the screen flashed an abysmal 640 (Q47, V31). Frustrated but determined to keep at it, I began assessing my next steps.
E-gmat Verbal Online - A meticulous and structured approach to Verbal Prep
Honestly speaking, I had trust issues with all the online courses out there - sometimes it's hard to separate the hardcore marketing campaigns from the genuine value for courses out there competing with one another. But after much deliberation and thorough evaluation of reviews, I decided to take the decision to purchase the E-gmat verbal online course,which eventually proved insturmental in hitting that V40. To begin with ESR revealed my sentence correction to be at a decent V37, while my RC and CR were at a terrible V29.
CR - Laying the foundations
The E-gmat CR course is in my humble opinion an absolute gem. Sure, it definitely takes time and effort to gain mastery, but it's worth it if you're focusing on a seriously big jump in CR. The course has a style that suited my method of study - It was heavily visual, interactive throughout and provided an almost annoying number of feedback touchpoints - as i discovered through the course, this works in the long run to really ingrain and retain the fundamentals. The pre and post quizzes provide an excellent mechanism to nail down which areas you're lacking in at the time. The way the course is structured helps gradually pick up the fundamentals module by module (e.g. Inference first to lay down the ground rules which are applicable to future modules as well, an incremental learning system). And last and far from being the least - the focus on the pre-thinking approach helps overcome the biases and subsequent traps that spring up on reading answer choices right after the stimulus. Call it what you want, but ingraining the process of spending a moment on the core of the argument is invaluable, it makes navigating the answer choices a breeze for a lot of questions that may have stumped you peviously.
SC - Plugging the gaps
While SC was something that I pretty much ironed out through assessment of my error log, E-gmat helped plug a few fundamental issues when faced with roadblocks. The summaries at the end of modules helped retain key pointers that added more structure to my repertoire and crucially increased my confidence to hit v40.
RC - A surprising find
I did not really focus on my RC techniques in my second attempt - beyond regularly practising official passages. More on the surprise later.
My second attempt
As the test date neared, my official mocks fluctuated from 700 to 720. While a neutral 690 flashed on the screen, the marked improvement proved that I'd done something right, though clearly it wasn't enough yet. My verbal improved from V31 to V37, which was what i was hitting in my mocks in verbal. The ESR revealed a improvement in accuracy, but serious time management issues were my undoing.
Prep for My third attempt
I settled in for what i told myself would be my final attempt - I did not even book my date this time! I reviewed the CR courses once more, revised my SC cheat sheet every 4-5 days and double clicked on RC so to speak.
I realized that the pre-thinking approach in the CR modules had slowly been impacting my RC performance positively, over time. The fundmanetals of reading and pre-thinking applied to both CR and RC - while this was great, I still had to tackle my time management issues. At this point, I simplified my strategy for the same - 15-15-15-20 (For each set of 9 Q), this rough strategy meant I had enough time to make up for any lag in my time management, and to account for harder questions slowing me towards the middle of the spectrum. Now here's where E-gmat saved the day for me - their scholaranium allows you to take verbal ability quizzes.
They're a simulation of the verbal section, a sectional test, and what stands out is the quality of their questions - they're as close as they come to the real GMAT verbal questions, even if they may feel a little different. What i found was that my Verbal Ability quiz results (percentile scores) were pretty much within 1-2 points of the my official mock scores (which i had exhuasted by time, but a retake of an old mock whose questions I'd entirely forgotten proved this.) I was consistently hitting the V42 level on the ability quiz while managing my time well, and this gave me immense confidence to walk in and just give it my best shot on the final day.
As you've read elsewhere, regular meditation and exercise helps stay focused with your eyes on the prize. So a good routine (and peaceful sleep) and no distractions from the same on the d-day proved invaluable to my test score. I felt I'd messed up my quant a little, but had no time to dwell on the same. Hitting the reset button in my head, I attacked the verbal section with an almost arrogant air, letting go of questions when required and guessing smartly when possible. When the score flashed a 730 (Q49 V40), I was elated, though slightly disappointed with my quant score. Nevertheless, it was an exercise in grit, letting go of arrogance to take help through an online course and trusting myself to deliver on the final day.
Value for Rekaters
The highlight for retakers is that E-gmat allows you to extend your course for a flat, affordable fee that makes renewing your course a no-brainer.
All said and done, the only thing that really matters on test day is the question in front of you and an awareness of the time remaining in each section - this greatly simplifies the mental complexity and stress that accompanies most exam takers on D-day.
Hope this long read has helped, good luck!