There is a famous story of a Two Woodcutters – they used to go together to the jungle to cut wood and one (let’s name him X) guy used to cut more in comparison to other (let’s name him Y) so the Y wondered and asked him that what’s the difference that you gets more and me less, X answered that every morning before coming to the jungle “I sharpen my axe which helps me in getting good results”
This is where mentoring helps, it sharpens your axe, and otherwise, Y also knew on “How to cut wood”, isn’t it
Many of us have not been great at taking standardized exams. Therefore when they see their score, they are pleasantly surprised. Reasons can be many, some students are slow to test taker and require a lot of time on exams and they usually complain of not finishing the exam on time and some students wrongly focus on topics or stuff which pull them down from their target score.
So for those of you who are not hitting your desired scores, here are few tips which could be handy.
590 (Q37, V34) -> 720 (Q43, V46)
I am a non-native but an international educated kid so my reading comprehension fairs a little bit better. My math sucks ball. I had to relearn basic arithmetic.
I took the test on (March 17, 2020) and walked out of the room as if I was possessed by a ghost! I have been hoping for above 700 but didn't think that I could achieve that good of a score. Considering that I only had one and a half months to prepare for the second attempt with the first attempt scoring 590.
Post-MBA goals: I will transform and expand my family business so it stops dealing with very conventional products.
It was MBA Wizards that allowed me to hit the Q43 within 6 weeks. In order to get to this score, they first suggested me to familiarize myself with the basic concept of Maths and be a 100% accurate for questions 1 - 200 for PS in the OG
I struggled most with basic arithmetic.
MBA Wizards foundation Maths was all I need to get myself back to speed. The little tips and tricks they gave during the classes helped me realize math shortcuts. The institute helped me see that on certain types of questions, there is no need to go DO FULL CALCULATION you can basically eliminate choices and choose the nearest best.
Most of the concepts they teach during the course, if you understand and consumed it all, I bet you'd hit a Q51. What made the difference for this course was its in-depth analysis of the type of MISTAKES (gap area identification) you could make and THE TRAPS that the test writers created. I was able to hit Q43 only because of Manthan Methodology.
On one small note, I want to suggest the elimination of the AD/BCE grid. To me, this is a waste of time, why? Because you should be focusing on the statements rather than eliminating questions by writing so many strokes down on paper. Strokes = time and time is of the essence in GMAT.
So what did I do for DS questions? Since MBA Wizards made me work on SO MANY QUESTIONS, my brain automatically tells me which choices to choose. The practice is POWER with right directed mentoring.
Notes: IT IS POSSIBLE TO IMPROVE FROM 590! And it is very possible to go from 590 to 720 within 6 weeks!!!!! Do not give up!
590 (Q37, V34) -> 720 (Q43, V46)
Materials I used along the way in chronological order:
- MBAWizards entire study material
- Powerscore Bible for CR/SC/RC
- GMAT Club
6 weeks of pain, sweat, blood, and tear
What truly made the difference for me is the way I approach the questions during practice. For each question I did wrong, I will do it 3 - 4 times until I get it right. I will then perform what I call an error analysis log where the faulty at institute played a very vital role in helping me identify what did I do wrong and how to prevent it and structure analysis (understand what the question is testing) of the questions. Once I completed the analysis, I redo the questions again in different ways but this time the methods must be under one minute. This allowed me to have a huge arsenal of ways to attack the problems. Versatility is key.
If you see a question on the test that you simply don't know how to do or never seen before, don't bother wasting time spinning your head on it. Chances are likely that you will waste a considerable amount of time thinking about it or freaking out about it, and then end up guessing or working it through just to get it wrong anyway. Better to just skip the question and save the time for something you CAN do. You can afford to skip questions and still get a 700+ on the exam. NEVER EVER waste time on questions you don't know how to tackle.
Quant Strategy (Q37 -> Q43)
- Know what they are asking for and what you should look for
- Know what concepts they are taking & what possible traps they're trying to throw in your face
- Know to use shortcuts & number testing
- Use different strategies to approach the questions
- Dump the question you have no CLUE
- Learn to TRIAGE and understand answer choice patterns!
- Ditch the AD/BCE grid
Verbal Strategy (V34 -> V46)
- Know the common traps and wrong questions!!
- Know how to identify what types of questions you are dealing with
- Read a lot of books/articles
- Practice practice practice
- Always ask yourself: is this answer debatable
V34 is quite achievable if you understand the basic concepts of SC/CR and RC. By basic concepts, I mean knowing the possibilities of what could be tested on the test day. However, I want to stress that the BEST material for tackling GMAT verbal is official GMAT material on which I emphasized a lot during the learning days.
From V34 – V46, Teachers at institute suggested that I start focusing on questions that I GOT WRONG and perform analysis on why the hell I messed up. At first, when you approach verbal questions, all you would feel is "Oh my Gosh, they all look the same and it all looks right. This reaction means that you can STILL TRAIN your brain to detect the subtle differences that make an answer right or wrong. Always go through what you did wrong and find ways to prevent those mistakes.
V34 - V46 for me took a lot of practice. As someone who has taken A LOT OF STUDY MATERIALS, I would say hands down course structure was the best. Nothing beats these guys for teaching you the basic concepts. However, in order to take things to a different level, you need to be able to come up with an understanding of your own and apply them rigorously. The reason I am saying this is because MBAWizards question bank helped me out the most in developing my understanding.
They have different sections for the Advance level practice question.
I took their 100 SC question bank and did it religiously... I think each question took me a good 15 minutes. The best part about the institute was they helped me highlight ALL THE POSSIBLE entry points I can go in to tackle the questions. Doing such exercises allowed me to apply what I learned from them. SC is the easiest section you can improve on!
QUESTION TYPES. QUESTION TYPES. QUESTION TYPES. Learn religiously to apply how to approach different question types. You need to be able to understand the questions stem and go in your head OH THIS IS WEAKEN, OH THIS IS INFERENCE! This radar allowed me to pre-prep in my brain what type of wrong answers I will face. This allowed me to eliminate a lot of unnecessary answers.
However, selecting the right answer is a little bit different. When I manage to POE to 2 answer choices, instead of asking myself which one is correct, I asked 'which one can I debate into oblivion'. BOOM. The right answer popped up top.
Another thing I did for the last 2 weeks before the 2nd try was go through MBAWizards questions and for each question type, I try to categorize what the test takers were trying to test you. For example, I found that an assumption type question comes in forms of sampling errors (population must be representative), causation-effect errors (cause must lead to effect). Of course, I made those terms up so I can better remember what GMAT was trying to do.
First and foremost, find the reading strategy that is right for you. What I learned @ MBA Wizards was reading through everything, jotting down summaries of what I read, and pausing after every paragraph to tell myself what the hell the author is trying to get me to think.
Second, understand the question types that are tested. One of the good things about RC is that there's an overlap with CR's inference type questions. So what I did was pour myself into understanding how to best tackle inference questions. If answers are not written in the passage in any way or form IT IS WRONG!!! Also, a tip for main purpose/passage idea type questions, learn the verbs that the questions use (analyze, summarize, argue, contended), and map those words to passages. I became very familiar with how passages are structure to convey a certain message because of this analysis. I think I knock the main purpose/passage idea out into the ocean.
Another best part of MBAWizards was that they emphasize a lot on time management techniques too. There were many, few of them I have listed below
1. Redo the QUESTIONS YOU HAVE in less than one minute. Redoing means writing everything down on paper to reach the answer not just randomly pointing to the right one because you remember it.
2. Basic concepts first, then time yourself later!
3. Practice. Practice. Practice.
4. I suggest you throw away the AD/BCE grid and go with using lines ( - - - - - ) vertically to eliminate your questions
I built stamina through doing questions for 3 - 6 hours a day almost continuously for the first 3 months. After that, I studied for 2 hours a day because it was a bit too much. You've just gotta train yourself the same way someone trains to build abs.
Things I started doing that contributed to a higher score:
- Every time I take CAT I will analyze EVERY SINGLE QUESTION and ANSWER CHOICES
- be distract free in the exam room, use an earplug. Seriously, in every exam I went to someone would SIGH VERY LOUDLY!
- Faculty helped me perform structure and error analysis EVERY DAMN TIME,
- redoing the old questions
- be 100% correct on ALL easy questions and 75 - 80% on hard questions
- binge-watching TV shows so I become stress-free
- be okay with making stupid mistakes but learn to correct them rigorously
- review previous errors and how to avoid them every day
- move on to harder questions ONLY WHEN YOU GET EASY ONES CORRECT!! Adding to this the key improvement happened because of the Error log that my mentors prepared and Mocks of varied difficulty levels provided to me randomly.
Overall I would like to say that other than exam strategies, your own psychological well being is also important. Always give yourself a break and don't fear failure.