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How I beat the GMAT - 720 ( Q 51 V 35 )

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kislay Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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How I beat the GMAT - 720 ( Q 51 V 35 ) Post Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:18 am
Hi everyone,

I am going to share my story of beating the GMAT. I scored 720 ( Q 51 V 35) on my second attempt . I got a 660 on my first attempt . I know its not a huge jump, but I am happy to cross the 700 mark. I dedicate my success to three people who believed in me , and kept pushing me even when I did not. Zivana , Shilpa and my mother, Usha, thank you very very much. Smile

My Background : I am a Computer Science & Engineering graduate from Manipal University, India. I have been working as a software developer since I passed out ( 2008). And I want to pursue an MBA in Marketing, from the best possible school I cant get into.

The story of my first attempt :- I started the preparation all by my own in late 2010, hoping that I will crack it all by myself. I was wrong about that. So I went to a very good GMAT coach, Sandeep Gupta(Ivy GMAT, Bangalore), and attended a 2 month course which helped me a lot to build the foundation right. I am very grateful to Sandeep for his guidance. But just because I needed a coach, does not imply everyone else needs it, it is more of a personal choice.Coming back to the subject, I chose a day in June 2011, and planned a leave from work as well. I did not give as many practice tests as I should have, and to top that, I could not sleep before the night of the exam. I took the 9am to 1pm slot, and barely got 2-3 hours of sleep. The 660 I did manage to get can be attributed to the positive frame mind I was in, otherwise, it would have been worse for sure. I did not do as well I wanted to . End of story.

The story of my second attempt : After the first attempt, my confidence took a serious hit. I kept doubting my ability to get a good score. I kept doubting my ability to eventually get accepted to a good school. In fact, I did everything but study religiously for the exam. But the three angels I mentioned before believed in me, and inspired me. If it were not for them, I would have probably given up. So after bungling up for some time, after dilly-dallying for quite some more, I decided to take the test again in Jan 2012. And this time, the execution was much better.

The things I did right :-

Time Slot : I chose the 5 pm - 9 pm time slot, acknowledging that I am NOT a morning person, and its better to give the exam when I am fully awake and aware.

Practice tests : I gave more practice tests than the last time. Manhattan GMAT , Gmat Prep , Kaplan (Free online test) , Knewton(Free online test) and 800 Score. I even gave a Princeton test, but it turned out to be too easy, so did I did not do any other Princeton test . I took 7 practice tests in the last 6 days before my exam. My recommendation - Take GMAT prep, MGMAT , Kaplan and Knewton for sure.

Tackling Quant : During the prepartion, I often used to get flustered while doing Math, wondering whether I would be able to solve each question within 2 minutes. Often, the language, or the numbers in the question would scare me( E.g, Is 24^n a factor of 123,456,7892) . But one fine day, I suddenly realized something very obvious. Each Quant problem CAN be done in 2 minutes, on an average. 75 minutes - 37 questions! When that sunk in, I started looking at the problems in a different way. The fear was gone. Instead, the moment I looked at a problem, I was looking for the gap in it, and I was able to find it as well. But, if you are lacking on the theoretical knowledge required, then you need to get that straight first. Know all your formulae and theorems.

Tackling Verbal : Everyone says so, and so will I. There is no point in looking for the right answer. Eliminate the wrong ones instead. There will be times when you will instantly know what's wrong, and picking out the right one will be an easy job. But, not always. Elimination is the key.

Error Analysis : You must keep track of what you got wrong, and why did that happen. While analyzing the my errors, I discovered that I was getting many questions wrong because I did not read either the question stem properly , or the options. Also, the error analysis maps out your strengths and weaknesses very clearly. For instance, I figured that Venn diagrams on Quant was worrying me, so I worked on that. Similarly, RC was giving me trouble, so I dedicated time to come up on that too. I discovered that I was getting boldface questions on CR wrong almost all the time, and I fixed that.Smart pratice is what one needs. If you do 50 problems, and get 20 wrong, you have a reason to be happy. Learn as much as you can from your mistakes. Sometimes, I even went to a problem I got right, just to make sure there wasn't anything wrong with my approach.

BEAT THE GMAT Daily Practice Questions : Thank you Zivana, once again, for she made me sign up for it. They helped a lot. And I am not saying so because I am posting this on the BTG forum. I really enjoyed doing the daily problems, and more often than not, the post on a problem led to me a post with more challenging problems.

Steve Jobs, Veritas, MGMAT and BTG : I do not own a smart phone. But thanks to the generosity of my friend Harish, I got my hands on an iPod touch. And I installed the Veritas app , the MGMAT flash cards and the BTG flash cards and I also copied some the other study material I had. I would take out the iPod and often do problems, or go over the flashcards while on the move, waiting for someone/something and in the loo( at times) . Doing this really helped me. And lucky me, that I got an iPod , for most of the gmat related apps are available for the iOS and not for Android.

Study leave : If you are working, then I say you must get a few days off before the exam. It helps a lot. You get into the zone where all your are doing is the GMAT, no distractions whatsoever. And in my personal opinion, the last few days of practice should help you a lot.

State of Mind : I slept properly before the exam. My eyes hurt from staring at the screen for long hours, so I put some cotton soaked with water on my eyes(Thanks to Zivana for the tip). And, I was in a relaxed and a positive state of mind. Always helps, no matter what you are doing!

The things I did NOT do right :-

Build Stamina : I made a big mistake while giving the practice tests. I skipped the essay part in most of the tests. In my opinion the last few tests you take before the GMAT must be full length, no matter what. It helps you build stamina that is going to come in handy while you tackle the Verbal section.

Competence in the Verbal Section : Your comfort level in Verbal must be at least as much as in Quant, if not greater. The Verbal is that last 1.25 hours of the exam. 1 hour of esssay writing, 1.25 hours of Quant, and then you get to Verbal. You need to have the stamina and the competence to battle Verbal. I did not do well there, I got 35. I just hope it does not get me rejected.

Essay Writing : I have not received my essay scores for this attempt yet. It was 5.5 for the 1st attempt. But, practicing essay writing will help you type down those first few sentences of your essay. If you start right, you will finish off in style, with time on your clock. I was often stumped when it came to starting off the essay, even though I knew what to write. So please do pratice essay writing, even though you think of yourself as a Wordsmith.

That's all folks. Do more. Doing is learning. And Believe. Believing is the 1st step of any journey.I hope whatever I shared is some use to someone. And wish me luck for the next stage.



Last edited by kislay on Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:29 pm; edited 2 times in total

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zivi Just gettin' started!
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Test Date:
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Target GMAT Score:
750
GMAT Score:
720
Post Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:18 am
Wow that's awesome, congratulations! And 51 on Quant, now that's exclusive..
On a side note, I don't think you'd need to retake the GMAT because of the verbal. Assuming you can pack a punch in your application, I doubt you can be dinged by adcoms.
What colleges are you considering?
Good luck in your apps Very Happy

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kaps786 Rising GMAT Star Default Avatar
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Post Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:52 am
Hi Kislay - Congrats! on your achievement and thanks for sharing your story.

1. Can you share what material you used, or would recommend using for quant?, since you have perfect score there.
2. What practice tests would you recommend, since you took many in your 2nd attempt? Which ones you think are closest to GMAT?, and what were your scores on some of these to gauge how accurate they were in predicting your actual score.
3. Any other tips you think helped you cross the barrier second time around..?

Thanks

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kaps786 Rising GMAT Star Default Avatar
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Post Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:53 am
Hi Kislay - Congrats! on your achievement and thanks for sharing your story.

1. Can you share what material you used, or would recommend using for quant?, since you have perfect score there.
2. What practice tests would you recommend, since you took many in your 2nd attempt? Which ones you think are closest to GMAT?, and what were your scores on some of these to gauge how accurate they were in predicting your actual score.
3. Any other tips you think helped you cross the barrier second time around..?

Thanks

kislay Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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Post Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:11 am
@Zivi : Thanks Zivi . NTU and NUS for sure. Need to think about others

@Kaps786 : Thanks a lot

1. Can you share what material you used, or would recommend using for quant?, since you have perfect score there.

OG for basics . Then the MGMAT guides if you are weak in any particular topic . I was shaky in Inequalities and VICs . I used the practice material given by coach . Apart from that, take as many practice tests you can .

2. What practice tests would you recommend, since you took many in your 2nd attempt? Which ones you think are closest to GMAT?, and what were your scores on some of these to gauge how accurate they were in predicting your actual score.

GMAT Prep , MGMAT ( Set of 6 tests ) , Kaplan and Knewton offer a free online test each . You can also buy set of 4 Kaplan tests once you are done with these . Do check this link out -> http://gmatclub.com/forum/all-gmat-cat-practice-tests-links-prices-reviews-77460.html

3. Any other tips you think helped you cross the barrier second time around..? I have mentioned all the do's and dont's in my post . That's it I guess .

AbhiJ GMAT Destroyer! Default Avatar
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Post Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:47 am
Did you install softwares on IPod Touch using WiFi connection?

kislay Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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Post Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:28 pm
@AbhiJ

Yep, I used WiFi to download all those apps .

akchatjha Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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Post Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:15 am
@ Abhi...i have a gmat score of 590(v-38,q-76) and i am looking forward to joining a coaching...would you suggest ivy gmat?

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