My Brief Introduction: IGNOU, CA-IPCC | CA-CPT, GMAT 790 Q-51 V-49
I prepared after reading lot of reviews and today I feel it’s my time to share my experience. This post is not inspirational, but I tried to make it as informative as possible.
Total Preparation time was close to 3-4 months.
IGNOU stands for Indira Gandhi National Open University.
I know you have already started judging me. Let me give you one more fact, I scored 790 in GMAT and I also attempted CAT 2017.
I am not good in writing, but I am writing this because my mentor asked me to write it. This is EduShastra way of marketing. They will not market themselves but want their students to write about them. I am writing this freely so please do not mind of any grammatical issues, sentence structure, etc.
I moved into IGNOU not because of my low marks in school but because of my C.A studies. I am CBSE merit scholarship holder in my secondary and senior secondary times. I am also NTSE & Math Olympiad winner. I love bragging about myself and my friends consider me narcissist. But there is a thin line difference between being proud and Narcissistic personality disorder.
I was somewhat confused about my future. In this confusion, I decided for GMAT with my studies. Just like everyone, I also went to all prominent Institutes for help. I attended their demos. Fortunately. most of them taught me sentence correction. I liked EduShastra non-commercial approach in everything. They made me sit in the ongoing class and teacher even did not notice me till the time when I asked her some doubt. I was very impressed with their total approach.
I will try to be as honest as possible. Forgive me if you find any bias, I am not denying that I am human.
Be Flexible with the Test Date: GMAT is adaptive and we must be adaptive too. Try to reach your optimum and then only decide to go for the test. Everyone will take different time to reach their optimum. I think everyone has a critical peak point they need to exploit. The question is how to identify your optimum. The optimum is when your score will become stagnant even after all practice. When you are sure about your optimum, then choose a suitable date.
Enjoy your Journey: This exam may look easy on the first look, but it is the trickiest exam in the world. You will need serious study of 2-4 months at least. I did it in 4 months. Enjoy this journey. During preparation, you will find many situations in which you will have to pick yourself. Try to have sustained and planned approach towards it. I sometimes used to have RC phobia in which just looking at any passage, I used to freeze. But as I got more and more into it, its became an interesting game. Today I can say that I love RC and will be missing it in future.
Be highly motivated: There will be many times during your study where you really will not be motivated to go on. But if you want to achieve your goal, you need to find a source of inspiration to keep you going. My biggest motivation was my parents. I belong to a middle-class family, but I was given whatever I asked for. I started recognizing that they are sacrificing many things for my demands. I told myself this is payback time for me. My intention was to make them as happy as possible.
Win your classes: I always recommend everyone to join classes for any test preparation. Classes or competition helps a lot. Every class should be seen as a small test in which you map your performance with your opponents. Jealousy worked for me. I recognized some strong students in the class and always tried to scale me with them. If teacher asks any question, it was like a war. Everyone used to fight it out to be the first to answer. During preparations, my win margin grew with every class. My idea was to be so good that no one can ignore you.
Acing the GMAT algorithm: I studied the algorithm and tried to outsmart it. We have an advantage which we can use to the best of our ability. The advantage is algorithm knows nothing about us, but we know many things about it. One strategy which worked for me was not to spend more than 1 minute on the question which I was finding difficult. In this way, I did not spend more than a minute on any question which gave me lot of advantage in the latter half of the test. Calculated guess is better than spending more than a minute on any question. You have to understand that the CAT is going to keep throwing tougher questions at you and unless you are aiming for 800 you don’t need to get every question right to get your target score. As soon as you recognize questions above your level, you need to make the best guess possible and move on.
Do not believe on everything you see: Internet is good, but it can take you wherever you intend to. Google will take you whatever you type. Many things are promotional or trying to take you to a specified path. You must make your choices and follow credible things. Most free material and sites would be having many tough questions. Everyone will struggle with that questions. Many teachers will ask you to take a practice test every week but in EduShastra Testing phase, Tests were taken every alternate day with one review day in-between. It helped me in one way but was very tiring.
Lets now come to Actionable Points:
Basic Quantitative Strategies:
- Estimations or Approximations: Great way of exercising your brain.
- Be Logical not theoretical. Try to use common-sense as much as possible.
- Plug-ins/ Back-solving—Use options to predict the answer.
- Picking numbers- Use easy numbers—1, 10 or 100.
- Always check any condition with 0, 1, -1 and negative integers.
- Mental Math—Try to complete your answers mentally.
- All questions will be tricky. Anything easy is a mirage. Nothing will be difficult. All will be challenging.
Basic Verbal Strategies:
- Always Predict the answer. Move to answer choices only after having the answer.
- Always mark the answers in the rough sheet, it will help in Elimination Strategy and “Except” questions.
- Always get the Main or Holistic Idea in the first reading.
- When dealing with Difficult passages, try to see simpler picture hidden between difficult areas.
- Try to make verbal arguments into maths language with equations, Symbols, Venn Diagrams, etc. Makes the question very easy.
Example: Ex: Kale has more nutritional value than spinach. But since collard greens have more nutritional value than lettuce, it follows that kale has more nutritional value than lettuce. Representation: K>SP, CR>L.
Basic RC Strategies:
- Read the first & last lines to get a general idea.
- Proper reading should be like sailing. Reading should not be very minute.
- Meaning should be very clear. Don’t try to understand difficult words, phrases, clauses or sentences.
- Read the passage to get (1) Main idea, (2) Structure & (3) To know where to find the detail if asked.
- Don’t try to understand every detail, you should know where to find the detail if there is a question. Don't overinvest.
- Paraphrase the structure in 2-3 words.
- Read everything only once, you should not need 2nd reading. Will save lot of time.
- Grasp everything with one reading, making mental notes.
Basic CR Strategies:
- Make Mental notes.
- Grasp everything with one reading, making mental notes.
- In CR, Check Assumption with "Negation Technique" and Evaluate with "Variance technique".
- Assumption which is not mentioned in the argument can be "For" or "Against" a claim, an evidence or conclusion.
Basic SC Strategies:
- Order of Preference: (1) Meaning, Content & Concision (2) Singular-Plural (3) Parallelism (4) Modifiers (5) Comparison.
- Avoid Passive Sentences.
- SC Reading strategy: Read the sentence carefully for the meaning, structure, Split and content. Try to predict the answer. Make mental notes. Eliminate wrong choices.
- Check each word of the chosen answer and plug-it-in the sentence to check cohesiveness and meaning. Read it in the sentence, it will fit without any ambiguity.
- Change the sentence to a simpler form to understand the relations. Read meaningfully and avoid the distractors, words jugglery and the middle-man. Simply the sentence to see connection of Subject-Verb-Object or Subject-Predicate. To Identify needless "Distractors" and to ignore them. For Ex.: X to Y, Substitute X with Y, etc.
- For large run-on sentences all underlined, check all modifiers, are they referring to correct words/phrases/clauses/modifiers.
- Modifier & Parallelism: After comma, if the sentence part is dependent and modifying anything then it’s a modifier. It its independent, then its parallelism case, parts connected with hidden conjunction.
- Parallelism: For Parallelism, do "Stem Test”.
- Modifiers: Check & try to see the sentence without middle words/phrases/clauses. Example: Ram, who is a son of farmer, flew to moon yesterday, was very happy entering the space shuttle (Who is a son of farmer: Non-Essential Modifier) to be in comma.
Idioms: Using Your Ear: Spot - Extract – Replace
Your ear is your most valuable weapon as you try to figure out the proper form of an idiom. This is the one time when you can justify your choice by saying “it sounds better!” However, you must understand how to use your ear wisely.
SPOT the suspect idiomatic expression. Compare answer choices to find the core words and all variations. Include non-underlined words as necessary.
EXTRACT the various forms of the idiom and put them into simpler sentences that you can easily compare. You can delete words, such as modifiers or you can make up brand-new sentences.
REPLACE the corrected idiom in the sentence and confirm that it works.
Books & Other Materials used: I did my coaching from EduShastra. Apart from their Tests and materials, OGs (Learnt lot of Time Management Technique from it). All GMATPrep packs were provided by ES. Manhattan Free Guides were very helpful in verbal. I also went for Veritas CATs.
Manhattan Free Guides were useful. These books laid a good foundation. The only disappointment was Geometry and RC Book. Manhattan CR is brilliant.
PowerScore CR Bible: Its freely available on net. This is truly a bible for anyone preparing for GMAT. This is recommended for everyone.
I also got Free versions of Kaplan Premier and GMAT 800 book. Great source and one of the best books available for GMAT.I also had collections of GMAC OGs and Quant & Verbal Guides right from 2010 till 2018. Treat these books as bible for GMAT.
One mistake was to pick 1000 CRs, RCs and SCs, it was not very helpful.
Practice &Tests Preparation:
- Started with GMATPrep Test-1. Scored 580. Most of the people consider it a waste but keeping a tab on the performance is important. You must know at every point of the course where you stand. We must be aware of our problem areas before moving further into any preparation.
- ES started with their foundation course which continued with for 1 month. I was in their 7-series batch in the starting. In Foundation phase, I moved from 580 to 660.
- ES Testing phase was gruelling, but I made it more gruelling with Veritas 7 CATs
- Performance Chart-Full-Length CATs:
- Date: 6-7-17, Test-1, GMATPrep Test-1, Score: 580.
- Date: 15-7-17, Test-2, ES Foundation Phase WizIQ Adaptive Test-1, Score: 590.
- Date: 28-7-17, Test-3, ES Foundation Phase WizIQ Adaptive Test-2, Score: 590.
- Date: 4-8-17, Test-4, ES Foundation Phase WizIQ Adaptive Test-3, Score: 610.
- Date: 5-8-17, Test-5, Veritas Test-1, Score: 600.
- Date: 12-8-17, Test-6, ES Foundation Phase WizIQ Adaptive Test-4, Score: 630.
- Date: 19-8-17, Test-7, ES Foundation Phase WizIQ Adaptive Test-5, Score: 640.
- Date: 22-8-17, Test-8, GMATPrep Test-2, Score: 650.
- Date: 25-8-17, Test-9, ES Foundation Phase WizIQ Adaptive Test-6, Score: 650.
- Date: 28-8-17, Test-10, ES Foundation Phase WizIQ Adaptive Test-7, Score: 650.
- Date: 29-8-17, Test-11, Veritas Test-2, Score: 660.
- Date: 1-9-17, Test-12, ES Testing Phase Assess Adaptive Test-1, Score: 670.
- Date: 3-9-17, Test-13, ES Testing Phase Assess Adaptive Test-2, Score: 670.
- Date: 5-9-17, Test-13, ES Testing Phase Assess Adaptive Test-3, Score: 680.
- Date: 10-9-17, Test-15, ES Testing Phase Assess Adaptive Test-3, Score: 690.
- Date: 11-9-17, Test-16, Veritas Test-3, Score: 680.
- Date: 13-9-17, Test-17, ES Testing Phase Assess Adaptive Test-4, Score: 700.
- Date: 14-9-17, Test-18, GMATPrep Exam Pack-1, Test-3, Score: 720.
- Date: 17-9-17, Test-17, ES Testing Phase Assess Adaptive Test-5, Score: 730.
- Date: 19-9-17, Test-17, ES Testing Phase Assess Adaptive Test-6, Score: 730.
- Date: 21-9-17, Test-18, Veritas Test-4, Score: 750.
- Date: 23-9-17, Test-19, GMATPrep Exam Pack-1, Test-4, Score: 760.
- Date: 19-9-17, Test-20, ES Testing Phase Concerto Adaptive Test-1, Score: 700.
- Date: 22-9-17, Test-21, ES Testing Phase Concerto Adaptive Test-2, Score: 720.
- Date: 25-9-17, Test-22, ES Testing Phase Concerto Adaptive Test-3, Score: 730.
- Date: 26-9-17, Test-23, Veritas Test-5, Score: 790.
- Date: 28-9-17, Test-24, ES Testing Phase Concerto Adaptive Test-4, Score: 740.
- Date: 4-10-17, Test-25, Veritas Test-6, Score: 780.
- Date: 6-10-17, Test-26, ES Testing Phase Concerto Adaptive Test-5, Score: 750.
- Date: 8-10-17, Test-27, GMATPrep Exam Pack-2, Test-5, Score: 790.
- Date: 12-10-17, Test-28, Veritas Test-7, Score: 790.
- Date: 15-10-17, Test-29, ES Testing Phase Concerto Adaptive Test-6, Score: 740.
- Date: 18-10-17, Test-30, GMATPrep Exam Pack-2, Test-6, Score: 790.
- D-Day: 790 (Q-51, V-49).
My appointment was in the morning. I slept early and wanted to have at least 8 hours sleep. For dinner, I took a light dinner. D-Day morning was somewhat cool but comfortable. I just chilled and was motivated to do well. I was skeptical after Verbal section but after completing the test, I felt I did well. The score screen was a pleasant surprise. I took juice before going for the final section which made me uncomfortable towards the end.
I have collections of GMAT eBooks which I collected for my preparation. If anyone needs it, please connect.