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From 610 (Q46, V27) to 750 (Q50, V41)

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From 610 (Q46, V27) to 750 (Q50, V41)

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Hi guys, I just got home from the test center; I scored 750 (Q50, V41)!!. This is my second attempt -I scored 610 in my first attempt. I am not an active member on the community but I am a frequent visitor. I would like to thank ALL the members of the BTG community for all the posts, recommendations and reviews. I want to share some of my thoughts when they are still very fresh in my mind. I apologize for the really long post.

First attempt: (June 2010)
My job requires a lot of travel and most of my preparation was done in the airports and in the hotels. When I gave the GMAT the first time around, I knew that I 'deserved' (if I can use that word) better. My mind was not in the right place because of some issues and I went to the test center very disturbed. Clearly, this had a big impact on the score. The score of 610 is lower than the score I got when I took a practice test for the first time WITHOUT ANY STUDY! So, needless to say, I was pretty disappointed and lost a lot of confidence. I was especially very disappointed at my verbal score because that was lower than what I got without any preparation.

One good thing I did after coming home that day was to write down my test day experience for myself. I wrote down how I felt in each section in as much detail as I could remember. This really helped me the second time around. I strongly recommend this to anyone who plans on retaking GMAT.

I went ahead and applied to the part-time MBA program at Robert Smith School of business. I was offered an admission there but I didn’t take it as I didn’t think that their program was a good return on investment, even after my company was ready to cover a (small) part of the tuition.


Second attempt: (today - Aug 18th 2012)


Verbal preparation:

Due to heavy travel and work load, I didn’t get back to the books until late last year. I think I re-started my preparation sometime in December of last year. I realized that I need to take a very fundamental approach for my verbal preparation. MGMAT Sentence correction, which was the only resource I used the first time, is a good book but it does not cover the foundations needed for non-native English speaker like me. I read about e-gmat on the forums and wanted to give it a try since it was said to be targeted for non-native English speakers. I tried their free videos and was immediately impressed. I signed-up for the full verbal prep course including live sessions.

Though e-gmat has sentence correction and critical reasoning (very minor focus on RC though), I was especially impressed by the sentence correction part. I learnt how to breakdown a complex sentence into smaller, more manageable clauses and this helped me in better comprehending the meaning of the sentences. A very important note to non-native English speakers: NEVER underestimate the importance of meaning in the GMAT SC. Most of the SC questions I saw today in the actual GMAT and in the GMATPrep, OG 12 and other official sources can be easily solved once you focus on the meaning of the sentence. If you don't focus on the meaning, you are certain to make a mistake on many medium and high difficulty SC questions. In addition, I noticed that once I started to focus on sentence structure and meaning, I was able to do better on critical reasoning and RC as well! This was a big bonus as both CR and RC NEED YOU TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS THE MAIN POINT - something that you will not get unless you understand the meaning of the sentence, argument or the passage.

For critical reasoning, I used MGMAT critical reasoning book. This is, in my opinion, the BEST book on critical reasoning.

I didn’t use any resource for RC as I was pretty good at RC already and I have been getting almost all of the RC questions correct in all of the practice tests. The main thing in RC is to summarize to yourself the essence of each paragraph - I have never written down a thing during RC but I ALWAYS summarized each paragraph in one sentence in my mind. The smaller passages are the worst; they do not really have the same organization and structure of a big passage. To me, the smaller passages were much more difficult to comprehend than the longer ones. If you are like me, you need to realize that even though the smaller passage seems like one big paragraph without any breaks, make sure you mentally break it into easy to understand chunks - again, summarize intermittently in order to continue to build the BIG PICTURE in your mind. OG 12 and OG verbal 2 are the best resources for RC - note that the answer explanations for RC in the OG are much better than those for other sections. So, be sure to read each and every explanation, even for wrong answer choices.

Quant preparation:

Like any other Indian, I am good at Math in general. In addition, I have Masters in Engineering and have aced some of the most advanced math courses at the Masters degree level. But I had trouble with GMAT math. If you are like me, you need to realize that GMAT math is NOT AS MUCH ABOUT MATH AS IT IS ABOUT HOW YOU THINK!!!! The sooner you realize this, the better. The GMAT math is pretty fundamental but you need to work through the initial 'obscurity' that GMAT adds to the problem. This one realization really pushed up my math score.

I used MGMAT math books for my preparation. If you have these books, you really don't need anything else for math prep - period. GMATCLUB tests (they came free when I signed up for e-gmat live prep) are VERY good for practice. I took only 3 (out of 30-something) in the past couple of weeks, but those 3 tests really boosted my confidence and speed. I suggest that you first study the MGMAT books and then start trying out the GMATCLUB tests.

IR SECTION:

I didn’t get a chance to prepare well for IR. I spent the few hours I got each day during the week on SC, CR and Quant and I didn’t have any time to prepare much for IR. I viewed the IR introductory videos on BTG and bought access to MGMAT IR question bank for $2 - great deal, thanks to BTG! I was totally devastated by my performance on MGMAT IR questions. I felt that they were very very difficult and I soon realized that I need to develop a new set of skills in short notice, which is not realistic. I decided that given my time limitations, I am going to focus only on Multisource reasoning and two-part analysis - for the rest, I am going to do my best on the exam day and hope for the best! That is what I did. I hope that my score won’t be too low!!! I will update the post after I get my score report.



Test day experience:

I stopped all preparation yesterday since I didn’t want to be burned out like I was during my first attempt. I think this really helped put things into perspective for me - I spent the day playing with my 2 year old son.

My test was at noon today and I was at the test center by 11:30 am. The staff at the test center has changed - I didn’t remember seeing any of them before.

Argument essay was OK. Then came the IR section - the question were not as bad as the MGMAT questions but they did drain my mental energy.

When I came out for the break, the proctor, who was clearly new in her job didn’t know whether I can go to my locker and have a snack!! When I told her that I want to go to my locker, she opened GMAT rules book and started reading it!!!! DAMN IT WOMAN - YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO KNOW THIS!! I lost valuable time. I was late for Math session, I lost a full minute!!!

I was pretty mad at her and at Pearson VUE for letting such untrained people be proctors but I didn’t let this get to me. As I started solving the questions, I fell right back into the groove and midway through the section, I realized that I was doing OK on time. I had to get a new notepad - which again wasted some time. I had to guess on probably a couple of questions but overall felt that the section went OK.

During the break I quickly returned from the restroom, fearing that I will lose valuable minutes in verbal section where I cannot afford to lose any time. I was parched and hungry - my tummy started rumbling as soon as I started the verbal section. I felt that I was doing OK but I was behind on time by around 6 mins when I reached question # 20 - not good. I tried to speed up but it is really difficult to speed-up. I had to guess on the last 4 questions. I felt that I probably totally messed up the entire section.

After the background info, I selected 'report scores' and 'next' and just closed my eyes and stated to think about what I need to do if I score below my 610. When I raised my head, I was glad to see 750 on the screen!!
[/b]



Last edited by thermcin on Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:38 am; edited 2 times in total

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thermcin wrote:
Test day experience:

I stopped all preparation yesterday since I didn’t want to be burned out like I was during my first attempt. I think this really helped put things into perspective for me - I spent the day playing with my 2 year old son.
....
After the background info, I selected 'report scores' and 'next' and just closed my eyes and stated to think about what I need to do if I score below my 610. When I raised my head, I was glad to see 750 on the screen!!
[/b]
bless your family and congratulations on today's score!

the very last part I praise the most - those who know never show. Even with continued commitment towards your test day you could overcome arrogance.

_________________
Success doesn't come overnight!

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Thanks Pemdas

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Hey, CONGRATULATIONS !!
I am also having similar profile like you. I have also done ME and found that GMAT math is quite different than engineering math.

Could you please let me know what were your mock GMAT score including GMAT prep? Which mock tests Did you use, MGMAT, Kaplan, veritas, etc?

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Hi Joshigk, Thanks!

Here are my mock GMAT test scores:

July 2012 - GMAT PREP -1 --> 760 (Q49 ,V47)
08/05/2012 --> MGMAT 1 --> 730 (Q45,V44)
08/10/2012 --> MGMAT 2 --> 720 (Q47, V41)
08/12/2012 --> GMAT Prep 2 --> 710 (Q48,V39)

At this point, I knew that I can easily hit 700+, I just had to keep my head in the game and push the math score up and stop making some silly mistakes in verbal. I didn't give any more practice tests as I felt no real need for them. I rather focused on perfecting how I need to quickly 'decode' the question stem, especially in DS.

I was having trouble with DS. My biggest eye opener came when I read the MGMAT ALGEBRA (5th edition) book one week before the real test. Here is the gist of how you can tackle any DS that might, on the face of it, appear very obscure:

- Take the main question stem and work with it, isolating the variable(s) that you are looking for. You need to REALLY keep digging as deep as possible until you can really simplify the question down to a simple and managable statement. Here is a very simple example that I just made up:

Is X^2 > Y^2?

At first look, the question stem seems simple but it doesnt really tell us what we need to look for. In other words, you need to be able to answer this question: WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU TRYING TO SHOW AS SUFFICIENT OR INSUFFICIENT?

You need to be able to answer this question first before looking at the statements 1 and 2.
So, start working with the question:

X^2 > Y^2 ?
=> X^2 - Y^2> 0 ?
=> (x-y)*(x+y)>0?

STOP for a second and think - what does the above mean? The question is actually asking us whether the product of two numbers is positive. The product can be positive if both the numbers are positive or both are negative. So, the MAIN question you need to prove SUFFICIENCY OR INSUFFICIENCY for is whether (x-y) and x+y are of the same sign or do they have opposite signs. This is something MORE CONCRETE than the obscure original statement.

Once you do this kind of analysis on each DS problem you try, you will easily get the hang of it and you will start seeing how easy DS really is.

Let me know if this helps a bit..

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Quote:
After the background info, I selected 'report scores' and 'next' and just closed my eyes and stated to think about what I need to do if I score below my 610. When I raised my head, I was glad to see 750 on the screen!!
I can imagine this feeling.. Well Done!

I am too preparing for my second attempt and hope to feel the same!!

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Thanks Valentino, I wish you all the very best for your exam.

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Congrats and best of luck for admission in a top college.

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congratulations buddy.
your write up has given me some much needed inspiration.

And thank you for the DS method.

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Thanks guys! Good luck with your preparation.

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Congratulations!!! A real eye-opener!

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Hi,

Incredible score and great debrief.

I have specific question related to egmat course. Can you please let me know if one should opt for SC or entire course including live sessions. I had scored 38 in verbal in last attempt and would like to use their course for improving the score to 42+.

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Hi Singhmanj,

Firstly, if you are getting 38 in verbal, I would say that you are 'almost there'. But here is the main question: How consistantly are you able to get high 30's in your practice test? If your score is swinging around, then I would say that there could be two things happening (This is based on my analsys of my own experience and not really about you in particular):

1. You have all the core skills needed to do well on verbal (ie., 40+) but you just give-up half way through the test and make a few mistakes that hurt your overall score.

OR
2. You have most of the core skills needed to do well in CR, RC and may be you need to either build or work on some core skills related to SC, for example.

So, I say, you give the two points above a thought and see where you fall. If you realize that you are missing core skills and if you have at least month and a half left before your next GMAT attempt, I say e-gmat would be great for you.

And whether you need to go for e-gmat SC only or full live prep: again, i will ask you to do some 'soul searcing' and identify where you are lacking before you make a decision. I went for the full package because I wanted to be sure I cover all the bases before I give my GMAT the 2nd time. I didnt want to leave anything to chance this time.

Hope this helps!

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Great insight again. Much appreciated. I have scored consistently in high 30s and in two of latest GMAT preps, I scored 40 and 42 but I consider them inflated one because I had seen some of the Qs in forums or in some documents somewhere.

Consistency is a problem in RC. Sometimes, I am marking all the Qs correctly and sometimes, half of them. SC gives me around 2-3 incorrect Qs every time.

The most important reason seems to be the one mentioned in the last i.e. covering all the bases. I have around 35 days left, which I think should be ok. What do you say?

Thanks again.


thermcin wrote:
Hi Singhmanj,

Firstly, if you are getting 38 in verbal, I would say that you are 'almost there'. But here is the main question: How consistantly are you able to get high 30's in your practice test? If your score is swinging around, then I would say that there could be two things happening (This is based on my analsys of my own experience and not really about you in particular):

1. You have all the core skills needed to do well on verbal (ie., 40+) but you just give-up half way through the test and make a few mistakes that hurt your overall score.

OR
2. You have most of the core skills needed to do well in CR, RC and may be you need to either build or work on some core skills related to SC, for example.

So, I say, you give the two points above a thought and see where you fall. If you realize that you are missing core skills and if you have at least month and a half left before your next GMAT attempt, I say e-gmat would be great for you.

And whether you need to go for e-gmat SC only or full live prep: again, i will ask you to do some 'soul searcing' and identify where you are lacking before you make a decision. I went for the full package because I wanted to be sure I cover all the bases before I give my GMAT the 2nd time. I didnt want to leave anything to chance this time.

Hope this helps!

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Hi singhmanj,

I say go for it! don't think too much about whether you need to buy only the SC course or full prep - just go for the full prep. So what if you dont get to go through everything, at least you made a bold decision and stuck with it. I bought the $50 GMAT HACKS books just two weeks before the test - a stupid move - but I wanted that book to boost my confidence and it did!! In retrospect, I don't care that I spent $50 on a book that I didn't finish reading, I know I can re-sell that book and get at least some back. So, dont waste too much time deliberating.

my $0.02

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