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490 to 750 in 3 months|| Tips,Tricks & Strategy for you|

This topic has 3 expert replies and 8 member replies

490 to 750 in 3 months|| Tips,Tricks & Strategy for you|

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GMAT success story - From 490 to 750
My GMAT journey started in January 2017. I was thinking of taking GMAT for a while but there were sundry factors that kept pulling me back. I will talk about these things in detail in this post but first, let me give you a brief about my background.

Background
I am a commerce graduate from the University of Delhi, India and had fairly enjoyed my life until my undergrads. I used to be a carefree person and my future never bothered me till my undergrads. I used to play cricket for my college and that was certainly the biggest achievement of my life so far.
I surely wasn’t the best student in my class and wasn’t even the most intelligent person in my family (if for you, like my family, academics scores are proportional to intelligence. My brother is a CA and has also completed his CFA and I hadn’t achieved any such thing till that moment. I was always looked down upon because of my humble academics and I never liked it because, for me, ability to cram books is not intelligence. I always had a different thought process. I was always good at problem-solving, be it math problems or real-life problems.
The real race started when I graduated. I took a sales job and started working from August 2015. It was an insurance company and you might know selling insurance is one of the toughest jobs. People don’t want to even speak to you for a while. I started having tough times from the beginning only. I won’t get into details as you are not here to console me for my pain. Very Happy The gist is my life after graduation was tough, monotonous, unproductive and I didn’t seem to be moving anywhere. It was the unhappiest phase of my life. I thought of moving out of it and the first thing that strikes me was an MBA.

Decision
Just like most Indians who plan for an MBA, I was stuck between CAT and GMAT. I wanted to go for GMAT by money was the problem. I don’t belong to a family who can afford that high fee. Taking a loan was an option but again I didn’t want to take a burden at that time. I kept procrastinating it but my job kept pushing me towards an MBA from time to time.
It was New Year eve and I was just sitting at home doing nothing. My friends called me up for a party but I was not in a mood for the party. I was actually worried about this. I had talked to a few counselors earlier and they told me about scholarships. They told me how easy it is for an Indian to get scholarships in these global schools. I was told about how Global schools are bound to give scholarships to students from a country with low currency value to maintain their reputation of being global. He also told me that almost all Indian students get 40 - 70% scholarship and many other get a full fee waiver.
I made it a New Year resolution that I would take GMAT and will join a good MBA school. After this, I never gave a thought to CAT and started my preparation for GMAT.

Preparation
I began my preparation in Jan 2017. I was aware of the exam pattern, syllabus, and many other basic things. Someone suggested me taking a mock test on MBA.com to evaluate my current stand and then prepare accordingly. I wasn’t much sure about myself so I took a week to prepare for the first mock test. I just went through the formulas of each topic, solved a few problems from each topic and then I decided to take the mock.

Test 1. 25 Jan 2017 GMAT Official Practice Exam: 490
I just hate those people who say that GMAT is an easy exam. I scored horribly in my first official practice test. It appeared to me as a Pandora box. I found the exam full of surprises and difficulties. I was hardly confident in any of the questions. This resulted in 490. I was saddened and hopeless. My target seems to be 100 miles away from me and I was certainly losing hope.
I thought of joining an institute for my GMAT preparation and then I came to know about EduShastra. I joined it in February and my classes started from then only. I was able to cover about 80% of the syllabus in 2 months. I then started taking their mock tests.
One thing I like about EduShastra was its Course Structure. They have designed a course structure in which a student is bound to rise if he doesn't violate the structure. The core structure is:
Step 1: Mapping Phase
Step 2: Foundation Phase
Step 3: Testing Phase
Step 4: Control Phase
Once you enroll in EduShastra, You have to go through the mapping phase where their counselors test profile and your IQ level based on various parameters.
Based on your performance in Mapping Phase, they allot you a batch which consists of students of similar IQ level so that you no one ever feels a problem with the pace of the batch.
After the foundation phase, you are moved to testing phase where you will be given unlimited Full-length Computer Adaptive Tests and Sectional GMAT pattern Tests. Your performance in the Testing phase is closely monitored by the mentors. They give you inputs and conducts doubt sessions as much as you demand.
If they feel you need further concept classes, then they may ask you to attend few classes on a topic you are weak at.
Control Phase fills the gaps that are highlighted by Testing Phase and makes a student GMAT ready.

Test 2,3. 2-3 April 2017 Coaching’s 2 Full-Length Test: 610, 630
Now, I got some confidence in me about my dream of scoring 700+. It was really a good jump. I had not even completed the whole course and still, I was getting a decent score. Though I was still missing 700 by a big margin, I got the courage to aim it.
I then attended the rest of the classes with more hope and dedication. I started putting more hours in my preparation and also took few leaves. My classes at EduShastra ended somewhere in the mid of April and I then thought of taking a few extra mock tests.

Test 4,5. 16 - 18 April 2017 My Coaching’s 2 Full-length Test: 690, 700
I was happy with the score but it wasn’t easy for me to digest the fact that I was able to reach 700 in just 3 months. I became skeptical and thoughts like maybe EduShastra’s mock test and practice sheets are not up to the level of GMAT crossed my mind. (It is not easy for a person who has always been told that you are not intelligent to digest the fact that he is able to score well in a Global exam).
I started solving questions on various online platforms. I also downloaded some course material from for free from the internet and started practicing it. I found that I was equally good at these materials and was able to solve difficulty level - 700+ questions quite easily. This wasn’t enough to clear my doubt about EduShastra’s Test series. So, I thought of taking my second free test on MBA.com.

Test 6. 25 April 2017 GMAT official Practice Exam: 680
Though I was better prepared for this exam than EduShastra’s mock tests still I got a score in proximities (maybe because of some silly mistakes). But now my doubt about their material was out of my mind. I didn’t want to buy MBA.com Practice tests as I was already getting similar tests from my institute. I booked a slot for 20 April 2017 and started brushing my abilities.
I kept taking Full length and sectional tests and dedicated last 10 - 15 days for practice. I took 10 days leave from office and dedicated about 10 hours daily to my practice. I took about 8 - 9 mock test in total and I was thoroughly prepared for the D-day.

D-day. 20 April 2017 Official GMAT Test: 750(Q 50, V 41)
I knew my weakness and in no possible way, I would have let it ruin my GMAT exam. I kept my calm and didn’t let one bad question destroy my mental stability. I jumped from my seat with sheer happiness when the final scorecard appeared. I scored 750!!! I was overwhelmed and got so excited that I started running out of the center. I got more than what I wished for and this just blew me away. I cannot describe what I felt at that Time, it was such an awesome feeling.
Key Strategies

1. Know the GMAT: The first step towards GMAT should be to know the exam pattern and the syllabus thoroughly. This way you will be able to give proportional time as per the weightage of topics.
Download the official GMAT Prep software from the makers of the test. Here you can find the structure, syllabus and all information regarding GMAT. Below is the link:
https://www.mba.com/exam-prep/gmat-official-starter-kit-practice-exams-1-and-2-free


2. Know oneself: Once you get to know the GMAT, the next step should be to know yourself. Take a diagnostic test and assess where you stand. Try to figure out your weak and strong areas. Try to gauge the amount of time you will need to prepare each topic thoroughly. People who have graduated from college recently might need less time, and those who graduated a long time ago might need more. In this step, estimate the approximate number of hours you will need in order to master each topic. Once you have reached a total hourly estimate, increase it by 20% (this is important). This will ensure that you are able to handle spillovers from work without letting them upset your study schedule.
You can take 2 free mock tests on MBA.com - official website of GMAC (GMAT conducting body). Here is the link to the website.
https://www.mba.com/exam-prep

3. Draft a regular study schedule: Once you are done with self-assessment, you should draft a study schedule as per your convenience. Stick to the schedule and try not to violate your timetable for any cause. Regular study is the only key to success in GMAT. Discipline is an essential characteristic required to beat the GMAT, especially when one has little time at hand to study. So, always try to avoid any sort of distraction during your study hours.

4. How to Deal with Quants: If you have scored low in Quants: you may join some coaching or try some free material to clear your basic concepts. Don’t go for high difficulty level problems as they would only discourage you. Start from the basics and try to understand the concepts. Once you are done with the concepts, then you should move to advanced problems.
If your score is average in Quants: You should keep a balance between concept and practice time. Don’t dwell on anything as excessive dose of any of the two things could be a time waster. Briefly learn about the topic and start solving the problems. If you find any trouble solving the problems, then go back to concepts.
If your score is good in Quants: You should directly jump to practice and revise concepts by solving problems and looking at their solutions. Spending time on concept building can be a time waster for you as you are already good at concepts and that’s why you scored well in the diagnostic test.
For everyone: You are time-bound when you take GMAT exam. So, every minute is important to you and if there is any way you can save a minute, you should know it. I am listing some way that could save probably 5-8 minutes of yours in the exam.
• Learn tables till 20.
• Learn squares of numbers from 1 to 40 and cubes of numbers from 1- 25.
• Remember fraction to decimal conversion from 1 to 1/20.
• Square root of numbers till 10.
• Remember the value of 2 and 3 raised to power 2 to 5.
• Remember Pythagorean triples.
• Learn important trigonometric values.
• Remember Prime numbers till 100.

5. How to Deal with Verbal: If your Verbal score is low: Low verbal score indicated low reading abilities as well as low grammar knowledge. Low scorers in the verbal section should go after both the things. Start reading any book or newspaper and start learning grammar rules as both are equally important for GMAT.
If your Verbal score is Average: An average verbal score could be because of your low reading abilities or the lack of grammatical knowledge. Look at the reports of the exam and try to figure your weakness. You can also try solving online material and look for the accuracy in each topic. Deal with your weak point in an appropriate way.
If your Verbal Score in good: If you scored well in verbal, you need to focus more on practice. Try solving at least 3 RC in a day and about 15 questions each of CR and SC. Look carefully at the solutions of each question and if possible write down the concept used in the question that you did wrong.
6. Make slot booking: Once you are done with the complete syllabus, you may book the slot for your GMAT exam. Choose a date that allows you enough time to attempt 4-5 full-length mock tests and fill the gaps in your preparation, if any. This step may take 10 -15 days depending on your preparation; so book the slot accordingly.


Learnings
1. GMAT is not as easy as some people think; GMAT is not as tough as other people think. Anyone can achieve a good score if you put your preparation on the right track.
2. GMAT is not only for people with good academics. A person average or even below average in academics could also score a good score.
3. GMAT questions demand a lot of reasoning. Pick any section verbal, Quants, IR; you will find that all these sections test your thought process.
4. Spend time on topics that you like and spend more time on topics that you don’t like. Only dealing with your weak areas is going to turn them into your strong areas.
5. Plan a strategy beforehand. This helps you prevent spending time on unnecessary things.
6. Always take at least 5-6 mock tests before the exam. Analyze the score and work on your weak portions.
7. Great results come only with great efforts. If you are putting great efforts in your preparation, then only you can expect great results.
8. Love what you are doing. I didn’t learn this from just my GMAT preparation. My life taught me this. You can only succeed in a task if you love that task.
9. Don’t ever be skeptical about yourself. Everyone can climb the mountain if he has the courage.

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Thanks, Nick! I’d be happy to. So, I actually wrote an incredibly thorough article about how to score a 700+ on the GMAT .

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out.

_________________

Scott Woodbury-Stewart
Founder and CEO
scott@targettestprep.com



See why Target Test Prep is rated 5 out of 5 stars on BEAT the GMAT. Read our reviews

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Thank you for the detailed write-up, Nick - I found it really inspiring.

The advice on taking plenty of mock exams particularly resonated with me - I have a background in psychology from my first degree, and think the mocks serve 4 purposes:
1) Identifying strengths and weaknesses, so you can prioritise study accordingly (as you say)
2) Retrieval practise: those that research learning find time and time again that practising remembering and using facts / skills ("retrieval practise") is an extremely powerful way to learn something
3) "Seeding" your brain to learn: every time you take a mock, you run against things you find hard - types of question, topic areas, etc - and it serves to motivate and focus the mind when you later study those types of question.
4) Building confidence in your abilities

Well done again - looking to emulate if I can!!

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Congrats on such a good score.
And thanks for your tips and suggestions.

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Can you share your study schedule? or can you help me in drafting my study schedule?

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scienceguy wrote:
Thank you for the detailed write-up, Nick - I found it really inspiring.

The advice on taking plenty of mock exams particularly resonated with me - I have a background in psychology from my first degree, and think the mocks serve 4 purposes:
1) Identifying strengths and weaknesses, so you can prioritise study accordingly (as you say)
2) Retrieval practise: those that research learning find time and time again that practising remembering and using facts / skills ("retrieval practise") is an extremely powerful way to learn something
3) "Seeding" your brain to learn: every time you take a mock, you run against things you find hard - types of question, topic areas, etc - and it serves to motivate and focus the mind when you later study those types of question.
4) Building confidence in your abilities

Well done again - looking to emulate if I can!!
Thanx a lot @scienceguy. Yes mock exams do help a lot.

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masoom j negi wrote:
Congrats on such a good score.
And thanks for your tips and suggestions.
Thanks a lot masoom

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Wow, great job! Thank you for sharing your story!

_________________

Scott Woodbury-Stewart
Founder and CEO
scott@targettestprep.com



See why Target Test Prep is rated 5 out of 5 stars on BEAT the GMAT. Read our reviews

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Scott@TargetTestPrep wrote:
Wow, great job! Thank you for sharing your story!
Thank you so much.
I see that you are a GMAT instructor. It would be great if you could also add some tips & tricks here to help GMAT students.

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Scott@TargetTestPrep wrote:
Thanks, Nick! I’d be happy to. So, I actually wrote an incredibly thorough article about how to score a 700+ on the GMAT .

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out.
I just read your blog and its really helping. I wish i knew about these things before. It would have saved me from making mistakes.

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Better late than never Smile. Feel free to reach out with further questions.

Good luck!

_________________

Scott Woodbury-Stewart
Founder and CEO
scott@targettestprep.com



See why Target Test Prep is rated 5 out of 5 stars on BEAT the GMAT. Read our reviews

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Truly inspiring. Congrats for such a good score.
Well your story is really great.
I am stuck at 650 and dont know way out.
Can you please help me with it?

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