Finally done - 710 (Q48, V40, AWA 5.5)

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Finally done - 710 (Q48, V40, AWA 5.5)

by thebigkats » Sat Apr 23, 2011 2:20 pm
<4/29/2011 - AWA score received and duly added>

Hi:

I took my test earlier this morning and scored 710. Must admit... am a bit disappointed (although not kicking myself yet :-)). I thought of sharing my experiences with this forum which has given me so much.

WHO AM I?
East Indian male with 16 years of experience, currently working as a chip architect with world's largest semiconductor company (gold star to those who guess right :-))

WHY NOW?

Recently I got promoted to an influential engineering position in my company. Pretty quickly I came to realization that without further knowledge of business, I can make only limited contribution to the industry in particular and society in general. I found myself totally dependent on marketing and planning folks to receive and digest info that I could not decipher. So I decided to do MBA, so I can understand business better, analyze market conditions as well as data provided by others and hopefully, be more productive in decision making.

WHEN?
I bought OG12 in Nov 2010 and ceremoniously deposited it in my drawer :-). You know.... inertia. Then one day, while playing with my new MacBook Pro, I came across Dana J's video describing her approach to RCs. It was very captivating to see her flow through the problem and made me try one myself. So I found an RC problem on BTG and tried it to a spectacular error rate of 100%. That gave me the push I needed to get over my inertia and got the ball rolling (Thanks Dana J).

Then after some quick research, I joined Kaplan accelerated program (5 weeks - 9 classes) to quickly get into the groove. My objective was primarily to get acquainted with the GMAT test and basics. So it all started in Jan 1st week.

GOAL?
Given that I live in bay area and have always wanted to study in Berkeley, I decided to study for HSB, Berkeley. Did quick research and found that couple of my colleagues have done their MBA from HSB and that too, recently. So I talked to them and set a target of 740 for myself.

HOW?
My first CAT score was a paltry 630. However the instructor told me that it is not that bad (Thanks Bill). It was tough in the beginning. I normally have 11 hour work days (meetings with Israel in the morning and Malaysia in evening, have to travel twice a week (one day trips) and have two kids who need help in home work and don't go to bed until I tell them stories (and have classes and other social activities on the weekends). So I put a plan in place... I will study 2 hour every night and try to get 2-4 hours on weekends.

I did every single homework assignment as well as extensively utilized the quiz bank on Kaplan site. Upon realizing that verbal was my enemy, I decided to tackle it first and bought Princeton verbal book. It was a fine book and helped me a lot... however I quickly realized that it was too easy and concise to be of any use! So I decided to jump into OG.

Over next 3 weeks I finished OG12 questions and made sure that I read details of every answer, right or wrong. Many times I found that my answer was correct but I reached that answer following a totally wrong approach.In other words, it was a fluke!!! Hence, my suggestion - always focus on the thought process and not the answer. After I was done with OG, I ordered OG Verbal and Quant books and in next couple of weeks, finished them also.

Then I took my next Kaplan CAT and scored 680... that is a good trend, I thought. However verbal still sucked :-( especially RC. So I started reading about various techniques (successful) people followed and found that none of those worked for me consistently. Then I thought... if I can design world class processors then designing an RC technique should not be a big deal. So I worked on one and found one that worked for me all the time. IF interested, let me know and I can share it with you.

So next Kaplan CAT... 710. Woo hoo! I broke the barrier! Now it is a matter of time when I get to my dream. So I scheduled Kaplan CAT at Pearson center (yes you can take a Kaplan CAT at actual center to get real test day experience). And after all said and done...760! I thought I was ready now.. so came home and reviewed my answers. Again, verbal... my arch nemesis. This time though, it was SC (I did really well in RCs and CR was always a strong point). So as always, I turned to experts at BTG and found raving reviews about MGMAT's book #8. I ordered it overnight and read it cover to cover.

Next was GMAT Prep #1 - and I scored 760 again! Although I didn't feel as good this time. Couple of questions were from OG, so I felt as if I cheated. In any case, my hopes were high now and I was just a week away from my test.

Last week I took 3 days off before test day to relax and spent a total of 4 hours on AWA preparation. It was not intentional... in the excitement of problem solving, I had forgotten about it. I watched Ron Purewal's video on AWA and felt prepared.

TEST DAY
Finally D day arrived... this morning. When I went to test center for my test day experience CAT, I scored 760. So I went with similar expectations (ok to be honest anything around 730 would have been nice :-) ).

REAL TEST
AWA went really well (thanks to Ron.. his advise was right on target). I felt good framing the arguments and am hoping to get 6 in argument and >4 in issue (EDIT 4/29/11 - received my AWA scores today - 5.5. No complains. I dedicate every iota of this score to Ron Purewal and his video :-))

Quantitative... oh my favorite. And I think I bombed!!! Somehow my brain could not understand the problem... maybe I was too stressed. During practice I was always able to understand problems, simple of tough, and frame them for correct answer. But this morning, it was not to be. I still had 4 questions to go in last min and and had to mindlessly click on choices.

Now to my defense (presented to myself :-) ), most of the Qs were DS and that too of high difficulty. Generally my PS scores have been 100% in all CATs, and today I got barely any PS.

So I took a break and told my self to forget Quant and do better in Verbal.

Verbal was ok.... I was able to understand most of the RCs, CRs and SCs and answer them with high confidence. Again, clock was my nemesis and I had to click through last 6-7 Qs mindlessly (almost). Of course my verbal score speaks volumes about my performance - 40 :-(

END RESULT
Finally, I saw 710. And my heart sank. Note that I have 16 years of experience and (as I have understood from various forums), I need to have an outstanding GMAT score to stand a chance against the median age kids. I guess it isn't too bad... it is still 10 points higher than median of last year's class admitted in HSB.

SUGGESTIONS

Please do GMAT PREP as many times as you can... I always thought that if I focus on fundamentals, timing will follow. Incorrect... you do need to learn how to pace, how to let go, how to get the identify the Q that is worth spending those extra precious seconds on, how to know when you are stressing yourself out and need to close your eyes and take a deep breadth.
Well! Now I know all these :-). Hindsight is always 20/20

So here we are... next, to check with HSB how much of a role will an extra 20-30 on GMAT score will play given my experience, GPA etc. and then I will decide whether to try again or not. For now I am relieved!
Last edited by thebigkats on Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by vineeshp » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:39 pm
Congrats! and all the best!
Vineesh,
Just telling you what I know and think. I am not the expert. :)

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corrected name spelling

by thebigkats » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:44 pm
thanks Vineesh.
Last edited by thebigkats on Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by gmatmachoman » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:53 pm
Congrats BigKats!!

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by BennyJH » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:32 am
From most of what I have read, HBS cares more about GPA then GMAT. So you might be ok. Good luck with the apps though.

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by skbjunior » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:19 am
Congratulations! very nice debrief.

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by thebigkats » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:37 am
Hi @gmatmachoman - thanks. appreciate it.

@BennyJH - thanks. I topped my university in CS major, so hopefully it counts as good GPA score. I sure hope so ;-)

@skbjunior - thanks
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by IamRamki » Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:24 pm
thebigkats,
Well done. Great to know you are interested in pursuing education despite your professional success. I just sent you a PM.

Ramki

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by wayofjungle » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:32 pm
Nice job, and a great goal for Berkley! Ive seen GMAT PREP mentioned several times on the forum, what are you referring to exactly? Thanks!

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by thebigkats » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:18 pm
Thanks @wayofjungle.
GMAT PREP is the tests you can download from MBA.com when you register there. These are supposed to be representative of your actual potential and most swear by it accuracy to final scores. Apparently I am on the exception side :-)

cheers,
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by vamsyk9 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:00 am
Hi,

Thanks for sharing your experience. Well done.Nice planning, despite having busy schedules all the time.Could you please share RC Technique. :)

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by thebigkats » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:28 pm
Hi @vamsyk9 - thanks much. I will PM you the technique
regards,
mukesh
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by krackgmat » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:31 pm
Way to go thebigkats! You are a true inspiration. Will appreciate if you can share your methodology to crack RC. I have been having issues with RC. It is hit or miss scenario in my case.

Again, congratulations, and keep posting your experiences with the process.

Regards
Chirag

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by Bens4vcobra » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:51 am
Now to my defense (presented to myself ), most of the Qs were DS and that too of high difficulty. Generally my PS scores have been 100% in all CATs, and today I got barely any PS.

I was under the impression that there are a set number of PS and DS problems (22 and 15 respectively) no matter how well you are doing on the test. Can somebody confirm?
"It takes no ability to give effort. Toughness is not God-given; it's a choice. The discipline to execute is a habit." - Nick Saban

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by crimson2283 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:50 am
Guys, can you please share the link for Danaj's RC tips?

Thanks in advance :)