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760(Q-51,V-41) in 2 months- IMPOSSIBLE means I Am Possible

Find out how Beat The GMAT members tackled GMAT test prep with positive results. Get tips on GMAT test prep materials, online courses, study tips, and more.
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Now that the GMAT journey is over, I understand the hardwork and discipline that goes into achieving this scoring. One has to really take the right decisions at the right time to do well on the GMAT to make the seemingly impossible possible! It was especially tough for me because I was initial planning to take the GMAT in first week of December. Somehow I was under the impression that like all other business schools, ISB also has its R2 deadline in Jan. But suddenly, in August, I surprised when I got an email that ISB's R2 deadline is November 30th so had to take the GMAT well on time to meet the deadline.


Background :
I'm from India currently working in US for the last 1 year. Total work experience is around 3 years in an IT consulting role.Targeting to switch to Finance post MBA and planning to apply to ISB, Booth, Wharton and Stern.

Total prep time- 2 months.

Strategy- Based on my score on the diagnostic test, I realized that I need to focus more on Verbal. Quant has never been too much of a challenge for me but Verbal on GMAT requires understanding the various type of questions, strategies etc so it indeed demands dedication. I put in approximately 30 hours/week for 2 months. 30 hours/week is more than what most will recommend but since I was on a tight schedule, I had to finish learning concepts and strategies well on time so that I could have enough time to practice


AWA : Use Chineseburned AWA guide- Simply awesome. Just practiced 2-3 essays and I was good to go!
Integrated Reasoning : Used only the OG13 IR questions. Most of the schools have already said that IR is not very important so didn't want to spend a lot of time on this. I think I did fairly well

Quant: I took the MBA entrance exams in India the last year and the Quant in those is certainly more difficult than the GMAT Quant. Didn't have to worry much about it. Just practiced questions from different sources(Kaplan,Aristotle etc)

Verbal

Sentence Correction

This was my Achilles' Heel on Verbal and though learning rules is not difficult but applying them is definitely a tough task. Also 500, 600 level questions are not difficult to tackle but 700+ level questions require clarity of concepts,not to mention good overall command on English.

I knew that if I could improve on SC, I can improve my chances of getting a great score quite a lot. Why? Simply because a) Maximum number of questions on Verbal are from SC b)It's easier to improve SC in a limited time frame as compared to CR and RC so this was my kill area.

Books I used
Manhattan SC- Good book but can be confusing. Doesn't have practice problems also so you will have end up exhausting OG13 questions by the time you finish it.
SC Grail 3rd edition- Purchased it from amazon during the preorder phase. It's 2nd edition was okayish but the latest one is awesome.Much better than Manhattan SC. Focuses on application of concepts and covers advanced SC concepts in an easy way. Also provides 125 practice questions.

Critical Reasoning

Manhattan CR :Didn't like it much. If you like doing CR with symbols and diagrams, you will like this book but I think more intuitively and making a diagram to understand the argument wasn't my cup of tea.
Aristotle CR Grail : Not as great as the SC Grail 3rd ed,but I think the book's approach was better than Manhattan CR's. Structured and without any nonsensical diagrams.


Reading Comprehension

Honestly speaking, I never practised much for RC. I somehow felt confident on RC and just went through the strategies on various forums so that I could tackle RC better and practiced only the OG RCs.

Practice tests

Kaplan : Poor scoring algorithm. Was devastated after taking one test. Read it on the forums that these tests aren't good so moved to Manhattan.
Manhattan CATs - Good scoring algorithm and excellent tests overall but quant can be much tougher than the actual test.
GMATPREP- Extract the juice out of these tests. Very very good.

Test scores:

Kaplan #1 - 580
MGMAT #1 - 670
MGMAT # 2- 710
MGMAT #3 - 740
GMATPREP1 #1 - 720
GMATPREP1 #2 - 760
GMATPREP2 #1 - 750
GMATPREP2 #2 - 770

You'll see that the GMATPREP scores on reattempts are inflated. This is because I knew a couple of questions.

Test Day

At times both during the Quant and the Verbal section, I felt as though I am not doing well and drove the anxiety level high. However, I constantly kept on telling myself to focus on the question on the screen because my assessment on my performance didn't matter. At the end, clicked on Report score and was overjoyed.

Five "Takeaways"(a too frequently used word in GMAT world i think)

1. Do not take the GMAT if you are not prepared. Trust your instinct. If you are not prepared for, don't waste your $250. I booked my test date only when I thought that I'm ready to take the exam.
2. If you have a limited time, focus more on SC than on CR and RC. SC is easier to improve.
Analysis of questions is the key to improve yourself.
3. I don't know what is the surest way to fail but one of the definite contenders would be "Wasting more than the allotted time on a question" . It is not only stupid but it is futile. It especially happens in Quant when you've already taken say 3 minutes in a question and you are still thinking that you'll get the answer soon. It'll just throw your entire time management into disarray
4. Make sure that you used the optional breaks in the tests.
5. Don't bother too much about IR. I have seen a lot of people on the forums here fretting about IR.

Good luck to all of you here and thanks a lot in helping with achieving my goal.I hope to be active on the business school threads now as i move to the next stage. If you have any questions, let me know.
Last edited by unclesam2013 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by ivyctor2010 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:57 am
Great stuff friend, you have aced the GMAT, congratulations on your feat.
unclesam2013 wrote:Now that the GMAT journey is over, I understand the hardwork and discipline that goes into achieving this scoring. One has to really take the right decisions at the right time to do well on the GMAT to make the seemingly impossible possible! It was especially tough for me because I was initial planning to take the GMAT in first week of December. Somehow I was under the impression that like all other business schools, ISB also has its R2 deadline in Jan. But suddenly, in August, I surprised when I got an email that ISB's R2 deadline is November 30th so had to take the GMAT well on time to meet the deadline.


Background :
I'm from India currently working in US for the last 1 year. Total work experience is around 3 years in an IT consulting role.Targeting to switch to Finance post MBA and planning to apply to ISB, Booth, Wharton and Stern.

Total prep time- 2 months.

Strategy- Based on my score on the diagnostic test, I realized that I need to focus more on Verbal. Quant has never been too much of a challenge for me but Verbal on GMAT requires understanding the various type of questions, strategies etc so it indeed demands dedication. I put in approximately 30 hours/week for 2 months. 30 hours/week is more than what most will recommend but since I was on a tight schedule, I had to finish learning concepts and strategies well on time so that I could have enough time to practice


AWA : Use Chineseburned AWA guide- Simply awesome. Just practiced 2-3 essays and I was good to go!
Integrated Reasoning : Used only the OG13 IR questions. Most of the schools have already said that IR is not very important so didn't want to spend a lot of time on this. I think I did fairly well

Quant: I took the MBA entrance exams in India the last year and the Quant in those is certainly more difficult than the GMAT Quant. Didn't have to worry much about it. Just practiced questions from different sources(Kaplan,Aristotle etc)

Verbal

Sentence Correction

This was my Achilles' Heel on Verbal and though learning rules is not difficult but applying them is definitely a tough task. Also 500, 600 level questions are not difficult to tackle but 700+ level questions require clarity of concepts,not to mention good overall command on English.

I knew that if I could improve on SC, I can improve my chances of getting a great score quite a lot. Why? Simply because a) Maximum number of questions on Verbal are from SC b)It's easier to improve SC in a limited time frame as compared to CR and RC so this was my kill area.

Books I used
Manhattan SC- Good book but can be confusing. Doesn't have practice problems also so you will have end up exhausting OG13 questions by the time you finish it.
SC Grail 3rd edition- It's 2nd edition was okayish but the latest one is even better than Manhattan SC. Focuses on application of concepts and covers advanced SC concepts in an easy way. Also provides 125 practice questions.

Critical Reasoning

Manhattan CR :Didn't like it much. If you like doing CR with symbols and diagrams, you will like this book but I think more intuitively and making a diagram to understand the argument wasn't my cup of tea.
Aristotle CR Grail : Not as great as the SC Grail 3rd ed,but I think the book's approach was better than Manhattan CR's. Structured and without any nonsensical diagrams.


Reading Comprehension

Honestly speaking, I never practised much for RC. I somehow felt confident on RC and just went through the strategies on various forums so that I could tackle RC better and practiced only the OG RCs.

Practice tests

Kaplan : Poor scoring algorithm. Was devastated after taking one test. Read it on the forums that these tests aren't good so moved to Manhattan.
Manhattan CATs - Good scoring algorithm and excellent tests overall but quant can be much tougher than the actual test.
GMATPREP- Extract the juice out of these tests. Very very good.

Test scores:

Kaplan #1 - 580
MGMAT #1 - 670
MGMAT # 2- 710
MGMAT #3 - 740
GMATPREP1 #1 - 720
GMATPREP1 #2 - 760
GMATPREP2 #1 - 750
GMATPREP2 #2 - 770

You'll see that the GMATPREP scores on reattempts are inflated. This is because I knew a couple of questions.

Test Day

At times both during the Quant and the Verbal section, I felt as though I am not doing well and drove the anxiety level high. However, I constantly kept on telling myself to focus on the question on the screen because my assessment on my performance didn't matter. At the end, clicked on Report score and was overjoyed.

Five "Takeaways"(a too frequently used word in GMAT world i think)

1. Do not take the GMAT if you are not prepared. Trust your instinct. If you are not prepared for, don't waste your $250. I booked my test date only when I thought that I'm ready to take the exam.
2. If you have a limited time, focus more on SC than on CR and RC. SC is easier to improve.
Analysis of questions is the key to improve yourself.
3. I don't know what is the surest way to fail but one of the definite contenders would be "Wasting more than the allotted time on a question" . It is not only stupid but it is futile. It especially happens in Quant when you've already taken say 3 minutes in a question and you are still thinking that you'll get the answer soon. It'll just throw your entire time management into disarray
4. Make sure that you used the optional breaks in the tests.
5. Don't bother too much about IR. I have seen a lot of people on the forums here fretting about IR.

Good luck to all of you here and thanks a lot in helping with achieving my goal.I hope to be active on the business school threads now as i move to the next stage. If you have any questions, let me know.
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by Brent@GMATPrepNow » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:05 am
unclesam2013 wrote:
1. Do not take the GMAT if you are not prepared. Trust your instinct. If you are not prepared for, don't waste your $250. I booked my test date only when I thought that I'm ready to take the exam.
2. If you have a limited time, focus more on SC than on CR and RC. SC is easier to improve.
Analysis of questions is the key to improve yourself.
3. I don't know what is the surest way to fail but one of the definite contenders would be "Wasting more than the allotted time on a question" . It is not only stupid but it is futile. It especially happens in Quant when you've already taken say 3 minutes in a question and you are still thinking that you'll get the answer soon. It'll just throw your entire time management into disarray
4. Make sure that you used the optional breaks in the tests.
5. Don't bother too much about IR. I have seen a lot of people on the forums here fretting about IR.
Excellent advice, unclesam2013!

I wholeheartedly agree.

Cheers,
Brent
Brent Hanneson - Creator of GMATPrepNow.com
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by ugur19 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:04 pm
Congratulations on your great score!

Sentence Correction is my biggest weakness as well. Started preparing only few weeks ago,it seems normal to me making some mistakes even simple ones at the moment, getting used to rules etc. But biggest problem I had so far was applying techniques to more complex questions. I already purchased SC Grail 2nd edition a while ago, and wondering if I should get the 3rd edition as well? How big would you say is the difference between two?

Problem is it will take a while for it to be delivered and I'm not the most patient in the world=)

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by unclesam2013 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:57 am
ugur19 wrote:Congratulations on your great score!

Sentence Correction is my biggest weakness as well. Started preparing only few weeks ago,it seems normal to me making some mistakes even simple ones at the moment, getting used to rules etc. But biggest problem I had so far was applying techniques to more complex questions. I already purchased SC Grail 2nd edition a while ago, and wondering if I should get the 3rd edition as well? How big would you say is the difference between two?

Problem is it will take a while for it to be delivered and I'm not the most patient in the world=)
Quite a lot of difference I think. The practice questions are different and has better coverage of difficult topics,something that wasn't there in the 2nd edition. Totally worth the money I think. Where are you based out of by the way ?

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by shreerajp99 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:57 am
Congrats on getting a 760!
Can you please answer my below queries:
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?
Also,did u see difficult CR questions involving percentages and stats?

Thanks,
Shreeraj

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by ugur19 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:36 am
unclesam2013 wrote:
ugur19 wrote:Congratulations on your great score!

Sentence Correction is my biggest weakness as well. Started preparing only few weeks ago,it seems normal to me making some mistakes even simple ones at the moment, getting used to rules etc. But biggest problem I had so far was applying techniques to more complex questions. I already purchased SC Grail 2nd edition a while ago, and wondering if I should get the 3rd edition as well? How big would you say is the difference between two?

Problem is it will take a while for it to be delivered and I'm not the most patient in the world=)
Quite a lot of difference I think. The practice questions are different and has better coverage of difficult topics,something that wasn't there in the 2nd edition. Totally worth the money I think. Where are you based out of by the way ?
Heya,already ordered it last night after your recommendation anyway, I'll be living in Turkey for a while so it usually takes a loong time,but somehow I found a way for a quick delivery, it should be here next week or so=)

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by VikingGMAT » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:09 am
ugur19 wrote:
Heya,already ordered it last night after your recommendation anyway, I'll be living in Turkey for a while so it usually takes a loong time,but somehow I found a way for a quick delivery, it should be here next week or so=)
Hey, I want to order it too and I'm in Russia. Can you please tell me from where did you order the SC Grail so that it gets delivered quickly ?

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by ugur19 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:17 am
I ordered from Amazon ,usually takes 3-4 weeks for the package to get here but there was a "Order before Nov 12 and get it by 17" or something offer so I took it. I hope this offer works for you as well

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by VikingGMAT » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:20 pm
Thanks. Ordered it too.

@unclesam2013
Which all areas should I be focusing on in on SC? I'll be taking the GMAT by December end so want to focus on important areas first

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by iamniladri » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:04 am
Congrats! Inspirational precedent. I am a beginner, just need one help. The SC Grail 3rd Edition is the one published by Aristotle right? Could you please confirm. Thanks.

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by ugur19 » Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:16 am
Yes,thats the one published by Aristotle

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by rishi raj » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:02 am
VikingGMAT wrote:Thanks. Ordered it too.

@unclesam2013
Which all areas should I be focusing on in on SC? I'll be taking the GMAT by December end so want to focus on important areas first
The attached document will help you figure out the important areas on SC.
Attachments
Pareto-Principle-In-Action-In-OG-13th-edition.pdf
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by AbiNichole » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:08 am
Amazing score! Great job. What dedication.

Quick question- how did you manage to get in 30 hours a week? 4 hours each on weekdays and 5 each on week-ends?

I work 9 AM- 7 PM so I can barely manage to get in 2 hours each week day. Perhaps I should try waking up earlier...

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by mjeantel » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:21 am
I was wondering the same as AbiNichole... I feel like there are not enough hours in the day.