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Journey from 610 to 720; three attempts over 8 years

This topic has 1 member reply
unbelted Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
07 Jun 2009
1 messages
Test Date:
2nd July, 2009
Target GMAT Score:

Journey from 610 to 720; three attempts over 8 years

Post Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:22 am
Quick disclaimer: I have been a moocher on this forum for way too long. I looked up responses on the 'other' forum for my most recent attempt at the GMAT and the following debrief was posted there as well. I am posting it here as well since I owe it to BEAT the GMAT for keeping the interest alive all these years.
Besides, I wanted to write - I BEAT the GMAT Very Happy


I had a business school degree on my mind during graduation in 2007 and I took my first stab at the GMAT 2009, scoring a 610.
Needless to say, I decided to move on.
Got married in 2011 and gave the GMAT another shot in late 2011, scoring 620 this time around. I again, decided to move one.
The years following 2011 came with amazing opportunities on the work front but I never let go of my books all this while, keeping them neatly stacked at various places in the house so that they might not hinder the aesthetics of the place Smile

Taking the GMAT was a recurring thought every quarter and then with the kid arriving in 2014, things took a backseat. I was still killing it at work and flying around to build the brand across destinations and events such as WEF. I must say that I was disillusioned by the crop of MBAs I would interact with and was a non-believer for a good 2 years or so, in the potential of an MBA. This is the time when I stopped looking at an MBA as a qualification and began to look at it as an experience.

Note: I have considered myself well-versed with nuances of the English language, having worked in marketing and communications for over 8 years. The love for the language goes back to primary school, though.

Baseline scores from previous GMAT attempts:
2009: 610 Q43 V31
2011: 620 Q44 V31

Cut to 2017
Study progression and resources

I decided to give the GMAT one more shot before the kid grew up. I started studying without any baggage from the past and I owe it to my wife for ensuring that she pushed me hard enough for me to actually begin studying again, after a break of 6 years.

First step: The Economist GMAT Tutor - 31 August 2017
I installed the app on my phone and used the first week of free access to just go through what they had to offer. I ended up traveling 2 hours each way to another office location during this week and Bangalore traffic ensured that I went through the lessons thoroughly. I did not opt for the paid version of the app after one week but it did help me get back to reading the concepts. This was the much-needed step 1.

Second step: GMAT Prep 1 - 7 September 2017
I upgraded the GMAT Prep software to the latest version and lo and behold, the practice test from 2011 showed me a score of 620.
I reset the responses and attempted the test on 26 August 2017. The score? 620!
Clearly, the metaphorical needle had not moved a bit in those 6 years and this meant quite some hard work that had to be put in for validating the $250 that were going to be spent for the exam. Anyway, I decided to NOT move on from GMAT this time around.

I listed down every section that I had committed mistakes in and made sure that I kept a note of these in a separate writing pad. Call it the GMAT Pad of Nemeses.

Third step: Magoosh GMAT - 7 Sept 2017
I must say that I was hooked on to this one. The detailed explanations made me realise about the one fault (among many) in my GMAT preparation over the years - I needed a human voice to tell me what was wrong with an approach to solve a question and whether my approach was correct in solving the question. I utilised the one week free access to the best of my available time - during traffic snarls. Things were going south from an 'availability of time' point of view and I had already started wondering if this was a bad idea.
I was putting in 2 hours of 'sit-at-table' time to my studies beginning 7 Sept 2017.
We celebrated our kid's 3rd birthday in 10 days and it usually is the most awaited event for my wife and I since we create everything on our own. I design with the old friends that Photoshop and Illustrator are and it would be an understatement to say that we host his birthday just to quench our creative thirst. Humans are selfish beings, aren't we? Smile

Fourth step: GMAT appointment - 13 Sept 2017
I took the appointment for the first week of October to chase the remaining deadlines for an early start to schools. The only school on my list at this time was Rotterdam.
With the birthday done in this week, it was time for some heavy lifting.

Fifth step: Magoosh GMAT (Paid) - 19 Sept 2017
I finally paid up. I might have mooched off torrents half-a-decade back but I wanted on-demand access and flexibility to courseware and practice questions.
I was spending 2-3 hours every day after work, on getting my fundamentals in place. You must understand that having a three-year-old kid who understands that 'papa has to study' and that 'papa's books must not be scribbled on to' is a blessing.

Sixth step: GMAT Prep 2 - 26 Sept 2017
630. Uneventful.

I required a change in tact and soon. The prep was going nowhere irrespective of the fact that was putting in the time and I was getting a grasp of the fundamentals.
As mentioned earlier, I have been fairly good at my usage of the English language and I had to approach it again with a clean board, so to say.

Seventh step: Manhattan Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning - 26 Sept 2017 onward
I have had these books for over 8 years by this time. I still have one which doesn't even have the access code to practice tests revealed!
This was probably the best decision in my GMAT preparation in 2017.
I focused on my English, learning as if I were learning the language the first time in my life. Zoning out any pre-conceived notions that I had about the language.
Believe me, if you step down from the high pedestal that you are at, you will learn quite a few things that you might have blindsided earlier.

Note: The three of us were down with a nasty viral fever and a persistent case of the cough that Bangalore has become quite notorious for, these years. These things do hamper the preparation.

Eighth step: Magoosh Practice Test - 2 Oct 2017
Since this one came under a week prior to the real deal, I should have been shaken and stirred as Mr. Bond's Green Apple Maritini. I was not.
I took a day's break and focused on verbal. There's wan't much to do anyway.


Reached the Pearson Center in Bangalore, well in time.
Settled in and began the test. I did get that error in the verbal question and later on was offered a chance to take the test again (this communication came in 2 weeks after the test).
I was surprisingly focused while attempting verbal and enjoyed it, to say the least. Unlike earlier times, I took my time to finish the section. If my memory serves me right, I was left with 15 minutes to spare in verbal when I took the GMAT in 2011. #overconfidence
Quant was the usual story with easy questions popping up with a sign of the bungling of the test achieved. Unlike earlier times, I did not lose hope and the difficulty of questions started going up again.
I was zoned out during AWA and IR. [personal brand plug coming up] My LinkedIn articles have been featured globally on Pulse and I knew I wasn't giving it my best shot but this had to be done and so, it was done. I was getting tired too (irrespective of consuming an apple and a banana during the break) but tried to pace myself well.
Note: I am making this sound uneventful because I don't want any bit of anxiety to creep in for the reader (that's you, ICYMI). Every person has his or her (MGMAT note: they is not allowed) own way of dealing with the test and it is best left to the person to work this particular detail out.

Score: 720 Q48 V40

Context - score progression over years
GMAT 2009: 610 Q43 V31
GMAT 2011: 620 Q44 V31
GMAT Prep 2017: 620
GMAT Prep 2017: 630
Magoosh 2017: 570 Q36 V32
GMAT 2017: 720 Q48 V40

I pretty much froze on seeing the score as it was probably the highest I had ever scored in a competitive exam 8-)
'Accepted' the score, got the formalities done, took the result sheet and headed out to have a chai and 'the-thing-that-makes-you-look-like-a-chimney' and gathered my thoughts on what had just happened.
Called up the wife and it was laughter and happiness all around. My chances of getting into a better ranked school might have just opened up there.

Things that I learned

1. Get down from the high pedestal of perceived appropriation of knowledge
2. Be regular in your studies
3. Practice as much as you can. I would solve at least 3 verbal question while sitting on the 'throne.'
4. Don't lie to yourself
5. Work on your strong points, you can leverage them better and quicker
6. Be ready for anything on exam day
7. You are your best cheerleader (not in a physiological manner of things)
8. If your family is giving you their time for you to study, respect that, and don't waste time on Twitter
9. Keep that mobile away when studying
10. Practice on a tablet; it is less distracting than a laptop or a phone
11. Create your zone wherever you live. It's your corner where all the noise must die out. Use earplugs, if you want to.
12. Don't be hung over. That's the last thing you want when every hour of preparation is of importance Smile
13. Ensure that you find solutions to questions on your forum of choice
14. Come to realise that there is a quant god by the name of Bunuel
15. A La Chouffe tastes the best when chilled and consumed after a 720 Wink

I will be happy to answer any questions that you have.
Oh and I got my first pre-selection reject from HEC Paris Rolling Eyes


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MrCleantek Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
29 Dec 2009
57 messages
Test Date:
Feb, 2014
Target GMAT Score:
GMAT Score:
Post Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:26 pm
Congratulations! Good luck in your applications. I myself also in the same time frames as yours but way different in how its playing out. Anyway, I will be giving my test in Bangalore this month end Smile

Do what your heart says......

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