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720 (Q50, V38, AWA6, IR3) - How I saved my GMAT?

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kaustav98255 Just gettin' started!
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720 (Q50, V38, AWA6, IR3) - How I saved my GMAT? Post Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:29 pm
I gave my GMAT almost a month back on 08-Aug-2012 and was meaning to write this for some time. Well, honestly, I did not believe my GMAT score when it popped up but I think there are certain distinct strategies that helped me to break into the 700+ club.
I prepared approximately for 3-months. Prepare a realistic plan and for the lamb of god stick to it, include the days you would study, the days you would be on holidays - in Europe everyone takes summer holidays, I took mine for 8 days, 4 days in Cologne and 4 days in Berlin Smile!!!

Practice Material
1. GMATPrep + Question Pack - absolutely absolutely essential. Again buy it, $25 is well spent, only about 5 Questions I saw repeat from the Verbal Guide, but you get 400 retired GMAT questions, which is awesome for practice.
2. OG12
3. Quantitative Guide 2nd Edition and Verbal Guide 2nd Edition
4. Manhattan - 5th edition - 9 volumes - did not do all
5. Kaplan GMAT Premier 2011 - only if you need broad concepts. If you are in shit in a particular area, this book will not help you. On the contrary, beaththegmat.com will Smile
6. Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible - this book saved my life…phew!

GMAT is not rocket science, it just requires a lot of discipline…at the end I was living, dreaming and breathing GMAT! I followed beatthegmat’s 60-Day Plan for 2months and I kept 1month for the practice tests.

I come from an engineering background, so quant was not much of an issue - I did the whole of OG12 and QG. Thereafter, just to keep in touch I would do the Manhattan Free Challenge problem of the week every Monday.

Verbal Nightmare
But I had serious issues with Verbal. I did the Verbal portion of the 60-Day Plan and my accuracy in verbal was in shit. The 60-Day Plan recommends reading the Kaplan 10-pagers on each of the concepts and dive into the OG & VG questions. I think for people who are challenged in Verbal, this is a suicide - because I ended up wasting all the OG & VG questions without a deep understanding of the concepts! During my practice tests, my verbal score never moved out of that V28-V34 range and 2weeks before my GMAT, I took MGMAT CAT 1 and in CR I had 2/15 correct…yes I got 13 CR wrong! This was really my wake-up call.

Practice test History
    GMATPrep (1st Attempt): 600 - V30 - Q43
    GMATPrep (2nd Attempt): 660 - V29 - Q50
    MGMAT CAT 1: 620 - V29 - Q47 (CR: 2 out of 15 correct!)
    MGMAT CAT 2: 670 - V33 - Q50
    MGMAT CAT 3: 640 - V29 - Q51
    MGMAT CAT 4: 650 - V32 - Q48


How I saved my GMAT (in 2weeks)?
I decided to fix my CR accuracy because trying to fix RC and SC would be too complicated at that point to fix. I got myself the Powerscore CR Bible and finished the entire book in 1 week. After I finished, I did all the OG12 CR problems without any time-limit to understand the concepts and by this time I had forgotten most of the questions from OG & VG. Then I did the whole CR from VG but now under timed conditions. I made a flow chart & summary table which many will hopefully find helpful to navigate through CR. During all this time, I was practicing questions from the Beat The GMAT forums on CR all day long at work. For 2 weeks, I was working on GMAT at work! I was reading the flash cards from Beat The GMAT.

My advice: Use “Powerscore CR Bible” to learn the concepts before you attempt any CR questions, you will learn much better. This become will give you a lot of insight. It helps in educated guessing as well.

One week before the exam, I only practiced verbal questions from the GMATPrep Question Pack and CR from the BTG Forum. I did not bother about Quant anymore, it was least of my problems. This is where knowing your weaknesses helps.
2days before D-Day, I took my last shot at GMAT Practice…GMATPrep Test 2 (1st Attempt) : 690 (V34, Q50) - I had peaked. I was happy to have peaked 2 days before my exam but had more or less reconciled with a <700 score!
I had found another problem 2 days before my GMAT…one of the reasons why I never broke the V34 barrier was, I was married to the questions - I was spending too much time on some questions in the middle and as a result I was either having to rush through my last 5 questions, or sometimes I am not able to finish the test. I knew this before, but I thought I would be able to speed up but I was not able to! 2days before GMAT I saw in the GMATPrep software that not finishing 5 questions takes your percentile down 91 to 77, that’s 3 percentile per question penalty. I realized every time I had 700+ on the cards only if I had sacrificed a few questions in the middle and got more of those at the end correct. And there goes my second advice:

Finish the test, no matter what. Just Finish it…you will be rewarded.

Day before the exam, I just worked on my endurance, so did like 80 verbal questions from GMATPrep Question Pack, only of medium and hard difficulty level. I also worked on the BTG Flashcards for Verbal - they have these little bombs of information that go a long way.

Exam Day
At the exam, I decided not to take any stress(inspired by this BBC documentary on Usain Bolt, http://youtu.be/UB_ZQfxXbTc), enjoy the GMAT, guess when stuck, and finish the damn test. I finished Quant with 2seconds to spare and Verbal with 60seconds. There was only 1 RC which was really dense, but the questions were all global questions, so not trying to understand everything in that RC helped. SC questions were mostly related to logical usage, idioms, meaning+parallel, but always something to do with meaning. I kept calm, had a Mars in the break between Quant & Verbal to have the right energy level. I had no chance to cross 700, but just by keeping calm, finishing the test and being confident without being married to those questions, I was able to beat it.

Few General Notes
a. Read broadly to feel comfortable with RC and also this helps later at applying stage. For Management & Current Affairs read HBR and Economist - will help during interview stage as well. For difficult material I read New Scientist and Harvard Law Review.
b. Keep an error log - this is invaluable. Here is the error log for Verbal & Quantitative Guide generously inspired by BTG OG12 error-log.
c. If you have time, it’s worthwhile to go through all the AWA arguments and frame what can strengthen, weaken the argument, what can be conclusion, what are the assumptions. This just gets your brain wired in a certain way, helps in CR.
d. Try to use as less space to do the calculations or to make Verbal notes. The less space you need, psychologically more organized you are and hence less tensed. I have seen over my prep time e.g. my RC notes became shorter and shorter, for CR i needed only notes for cause-effect questions and in PS & DS I normally needed only 3-sides of A4 paper. Try and use only about 3 A4 sheets or 6 paper-sides when taking practice exam - try to be neat in your exam notes - economy in taking notes saves a lot of time.
d. Love the GMAT and feel betrayed by it and hence declare war on it. This test is more mental than you think.

That’s all I can think of. Next step is to apply in R1 at my target colleges. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions Wink

Cheers-Prost-Salut to all Very Happy
Kaustav.
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thermcin Just gettin' started!
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Post Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:08 pm
Hi kaustav, Congratuations on great score!

One question: How long after your test did you get your official score report? I am referring to the official letter that you get in mail giving you the AWA and IR score.

shreerajp99 Really wants to Beat The GMAT! Default Avatar
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Post Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:19 pm
Hey congrats,thats a great score!!
What kind of questions did u encounter during the exam,especially in quant.Which topics u feel one should stress more on in quant?
Do u think the level of difficulty was the same as that of gmatprep exam?

Thanks,
Shreeraj

kaustav98255 Just gettin' started!
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Post Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:07 am
@thermcin - I gave my test on 08-Aug-2012 and received the official email from Pearson Vue on 25-Aug-2012. So they roughly took around 17 days. Since I opted for soft-copy I did not get any official letter by post. Anyways the schools are asking to upload the official GMAT Score Report.

@shreerajp99 - In quant, the questions were not really straight forward. I mean you can forget most of the PS questions in OG12. The level of difficulty is more in line with the practice tests in GMATPrep. Expect more of those number theory, prime number, median vs mean of a set questions. Also in DS i saw a lot of those divisibility, remainder, i think 1 or 2 probability questions and the nagging "a set S, mean is this, median that and then comes the options". In PS i did not see any geometry related questions. Many of the DS questions I had to solve picking numbers. Overall, don't expect you will see straight forward single step questions if you are scoring well...all questions have a conceptional twist to them e.g. n!+k, 1<=k<n, prime or composite, like these...

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RodrigoHirsch Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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Post Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:30 am
Congratulations!!!

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joshmachine440 Just gettin' started!
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Post Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:27 pm
Congratulations on your score and All the Best for the application process. Where did you find the CR material in BTG for practice. ...Can you please send me the link???

kalpita123 Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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Post Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:06 pm
Congrats! Very nice debrief! Especially the highlighted sentences & "Few General Notes" in your debrief are commendable.

Loads of Luck to you!

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Post Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:41 am
I am not good at IR. Is there any problem with low IR score at present?

You got 3 on IR. Dose this IR score affect much?

kaustav98255 Just gettin' started!
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GMAT Score:
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Post Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:37 pm
joshmachine440 wrote:
Congratulations on your score and All the Best for the application process. Where did you find the CR material in BTG for practice. ...Can you please send me the link???
Hi joshmachine440
I was referring to the CR questions in the BTG forums. There are quite a few members who post fairly regularly and you have questions from a variety of sources and even the LSAT! Also you can gauge how much time you are taking, the BTG guys have put a very nice timer. But the best is many GMAT experts offer extremely insightful answer explanations. So you can take like 5-10 CR questions everyday and try to get it right, choose the ones with the green "expert replies" button and check the explanations. This is really good practice.

Best regards,
Kaustav.

kaustav98255 Just gettin' started!
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Test Date:
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Target GMAT Score:
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GMAT Score:
720
Post Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:52 pm
duongthang wrote:
I am not good at IR. Is there any problem with low IR score at present?

You got 3 on IR. Dose this IR score affect much?
Hi doing thang,
That's a very good question. Honestly I don't know. So far many of the colleges have said they won't use IR since they have no benchmark. So I'm assuming and hoping that the IR score will not play out and my AWA6 will be enough. That said I don't think b-schools will put away IR scores for too long...I think if you are starting 2013 or begin 2014 then it should be ok because you will then hv to complete your app by mar-2013 to be within the R1 or R2 deadlines and even b-schools will not have enough data by then for calibration. Check this link

http://poetsandquants.com/2012/08/23/a-critical-reasoning-breakdown-of-integrated-reasoning-news/

GMAT/MBA Expert

Post Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:52 am
Nice recap and congrats!

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