680 to 750 - An adventurous Journey!

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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680 to 750 - An adventurous Journey!

by Ashish1985 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:07 pm
It's always a pleasure to read success stories on GMAT forum, but when you are on the other side, you realize that it's your responsibility to share one to help the other aspirants.
I scored 750(Q51, V40), with an increase from V31 to V40, and Q50 to Q51. Trust me if I can improve from 680 to 750, so can you. The key is having right direction, start believing in yourself and most importantly enjoying the preparation. Did you know that GMAT follows Newton's third law? The more you enjoy the preparation, the better your score will be, and if you dread the preparation, the trend will be other way round.


I'm a 32-year-old Mechanical Engineer, have been working at an O&G MNC as an Engineering Manager and have been married for 3 years. This info is to help you believe that no matter how busy your life is or how old you are, you can create a success story!
Like most engineering background aspirants, I loved quant part and dreaded verbal during my first 2 attempts. And the result was evident with Q50 and V31(680) in both the attempts.

First Attempt - 680(Q50, V30)
Time spent: 3 months.

In September 2016, I decided to pursue my MBA dream, and bought the OG. On reviewing the OG, I realized that I had a lot of work to do on verbal section as compared to the quant section. With my busy work schedule, I needed direction and a plan to keep me on track with the preparation, so I joined a highly ranked classroom coaching program. The philosophy of the program was to solve certain set of questions in the verbal section and discuss them in the classroom. The program was specifically focused on theory of elimination and tips and tricks to solve questions on GMAT.
After going through the program and solving several hundred questions, I felt confident that I was ready for the GMAT. I booked a slot 3 weeks in advance, and went to take the test. I was nervous, just like majority of the aspirants are before the exam.
But, once I was on verbal section I felt that the questions (except a few) were not as hard as I expected them to be, and was confident to score 700+, but GMAT proved me wrong by showing a score of 680 with V30! I cancelled the score.

Second Attempt - 680(Q50, V31)
Time spent: 3 weeks.

I was devastated after my first attempt, but at the same time I was confident of my preparation. I thought that perhaps I dint review the study material well enough, and the only thing I needed to do was to review the material once again and to take the test ASAP. So, I booked the next available slot.
Once again GMAT proved me wrong, indicating that something was just not right about my plan and direction.
Well, at this point of time I accepted the score as my fate, applied to a couple of B schools in R2, and got dinged. I moved on with my life but felt a hollowness inside of me, and once again started researching a new plan and direction for GMAT. From GMAT club, I came across e-GMAT, the game changer!

Last Attempt - 750(Q51, V40)
Time Spent: 3 Months

After finding e-GMAT through GMAT club and reading positive reviews about it, I decided to attend a free SC live session. I was impressed by the pace and effectiveness of the session and immediately enrolled in the "Verbal-Live Prep" course.
For the very first time I was having fun preparing for verbal section. I felt that it was not only an education for GMAT but also for professional life.
The very first thing I learned was how to comprehend. That sounds strange, right? It is something that we all are supposed to learn in school. Yeah, we are "supposed" to, but do we really learn it? At least I don't remember learning it. The master comprehension module was the fundamental aspect for all the 3 sections in Verbal.
Second most important aspect that went against my acquired wisdom was to spend more time on reading and comprehending question, rather than on reviewing the answer choices. And when you are told, majority of time= 80%(on Question), you will go bananas! Isn't it crazy, you don't mark a question, but the answer choices to score, and yet you are told to spend less than third of your time reviewing them. Well at least to my logical brain it seemed illogical that time. But, I had no other option, since I failed trying the method I learned earlier. I trusted e-GMAT, even though my brain didn't accept the prescription in the beginning, and it did pay off well in the end.
Once I was through my preparation, I let my brain relax, and tried to distract it from getting anxious. I decided to book the slot when I was mentally ready to take the test. On 10th November, I was going through GMAT official website, and I decided to check the available slot in the coming week. I was surprised to see a slot available the very next day morning at 9. The next day was a Saturday, I told my wife that I'm going to office to take care of some unfinished job. I dint want to feel any pressure of expectations.
I opted to go with V-Q-IR-AWA. The verbal section was relatively hard, and with 20 minutes remaining I knew I wouldn't be able to finish. I dint try to rush though and continued with the approach I learnt during preparation. I ended up guessing the last 5 questions. Since, I was scoring consistently 51 on GMAT Club quant tests, it wasn't difficult for me.
Honestly, after finishing verbal, I didn't expect my score to be beyond 660-680, so when 750 popped up on the screen, I was surprised beyond imagination. On the way back home, I checked the score card multiple times, as I was not able to absorb the fact that I did it! I still check the score every other day, just to make sure that I'm not mistaken :-) .

Key Takeaways: -

1. GMAT is not a test of tricks and tips, you need a proper strategy and a solid foundation.
2. There are no shortcuts to score well.
3. What you study for GMAT is applicable not only for the test but also for every step in your professional career.
4. Understanding the meaning (Comprehension) is the most basic, but most crucial step for GMAT.
5. Sentence correction is not about elimination, but about understanding the meaning, methodically identifying the error, and finding the option that efficiently eliminates the errors.
6. Pre-thinking in a critical reasoning question can significantly reduce the time spent for solving a question.
7. When you adopt a strategy, don't expect it to yield the result immediately. You do not become a professional driver the first time you drive a car, but if you religiously follow the instructions, in no time driving becomes a cakewalk (learned this apt example from e-gmat :-) ).
8. Enjoy your learning. The more you enjoy, the better you get in processing the info, and the better your result will be.
9. Don't give in to your anxiety. GMAT is not a test of Grammar or maths, it's a test of your nerves in a stressful environment.
10. Solving thousands of questions will not be as helpful as solving couple of hundred questions with the detailed review of the solutions.
11. Choose your preparation method wisely; don't get fooled by false promises/advertisements. There are no shortcuts!

I wish everyone in this forum the very best in their GMAT journey. And most importantly, I'm thankful to e-GMAT for creating such a beautiful course, that helped me achieve the unthinkable.