Satisfying 730 (V-40, Q-49)

*------------------------------------------------------- …Raw Score…Percentile ------------------------------------------------------- Quantitative…49…86 Verbal…

-------------------------------------------------------
..............................Raw Score........Percentile
-------------------------------------------------------
Quantitative...............49....................86

Verbal........................40....................89

Overall......................730...................96
------------------------------------------------------

... this is how the screen read in front of me.

At first I couldn't believe what my eyes saw.
I quickly jotted down the score on my erasable white board.
Then, I once again jotted down the scores... just wanted to be sure that I am not mistaken.

For one last time, I raised my hand to call the proctor, who guided me out.
He handed me a printout of the unofficial score report which I gladly accepted.


It was the first week of August '10 when I had decided to appear for the GMAT. I am an Indian male, 31 yrs in age and married with one son. I have a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters in the same field (Construction Engineering & Management). Note that I had taken GRE and TOEFL in the year 2001 when I was applying for MS programs in US universities. As a result, I was familiar with computer adaptive tests and American English in general. Though I have lost touch since my return to India in Feb 2006.

My primary goal this time around was to apply for Summer/ Fall 2011 intake of top B-schools. Keeping this goal in mind, I did some reconnaissance survey which showed that I would need to have GMAT score ready by 1st week of November. I inquired about GMAT prep classes with a couple of local GMAT coaching institutions and enrolled into one of them. (Though this did not prove to be very helpful for the Verbal & AWA part).

I attended my first class on 7th August and set myself a deadline of 25-Oct-10 to appear for the GMAT exam. I had scored a dismal 540 on the very first test I gave before beginning any serious preparation.

Here is how I scored in my practice tests:

MGMAT 1 ......10/09 : Q-13 (02%)...V-26 (44%) Overall - 390 11%
Knewton 1 .....06/10 : Q-42 (62%)...V-26 (39%) Overall - 560 57%
Princeton 1 ....07/10 : Q-47 (62%)...V-37 (39%) Overall - 680
GMAT Prep 1 .12/10:Q-46 ...V-33 Overall - 650
MGMAT 2 .......19/10 : Q-47 (81%)...V-41 (93%) Overall - 720 96%
MGMAT 3 .......23/10 : Q-46 (79%)...V-39 (89%) Overall - 700 93% (Reduced time - 73' per section)
MGMAT 4 .......25/10 : Q-44 (73%)...V-33 (69%) Overall - 640 80% (Reduced time - 72' per section)
MGMAT 5 .......27/10 : Q-44 (73%)...V-24 (72%) Overall - 640 80%
GMAT Prep 2 .30/10 : Q-44 ... V-38 Overall - 680
GMAT Prep 1 (Repeat) .01/11 : Overall - 700 (Result skewed upwards)

Given the above scores, I was hoping for some serendipity to somehow score 700 or 710 in my final exam. Some of the efforts devoted in strengthening the weak areas and use of general test taking strategies in the last 10 days helped me post a competitive score.

I am giving section-wise debrief in the following posts. Feel free to shoot specific questions.

As I look back at two months of my GMAT prep, I am reminded of this song which I used to listen a lot as a teenager...

...
So keep the faith
Don't let nobody turn you round
You got to know when it's good to go
To get your dreams up off the ground

So keep the faith
Baby yeah
Because it's just a matter of time
Before your confidence will win out
...
-Micahel Jackson
QUANT SECTION:
Having an engineering background helped me in this section. I was able to grasp the topics quickly since I had already studied them before. I am especially good with geometry. Preparation for this section was pretty much taken care by the regular Quant sessions that I was attending at the prep institute where I had enrolled myself.

Other than the material provided there, I solved problems on Pagalguy and beat-the-gmat forums. I also practiced problems on Grockit.

A Big Thank You to Gail and other Puys who helped me with solutions and explanations for the tough Quant Problems
VERBAL SECTION:

For me, Verbal was the tougher of the two sections (V & Q). The prep classes where I had enrolled were proving of little help in preparing me for this section. I was struggling with all three problem types - RC, SC and CR.

SC: I bought MGMAT's Sentence Correction Strategy guide. I studied each chapter thoroughly and solved the exercises at the end of each chapter. This really helped me in attaching SC problems and the result was clearly reflected in improve accuracy and reduced timing.

CR: It was during mid-way of my preparations that I realized that CR was a problem area. My accuracy was low and timing was bad. In fact, issues with CR threw me off-course for a couple of days. After reading forums and reviews on beat-the-gmat and Pagalguy, I decided to use Powerscore's CR Bible. Even though I was only half-way through the book - accuracy and timing - both showed improvement.

RC: This was a huge area of concern as theres no single strategy that seems to work for RC. RC problems usually require a more holistic approach. I went through a lot of articles posted by experts on Beat-The-GMAT for improving RC. They discussed strategy and I tried to apply tools and tips from these articles.

GMAT Insider: A Blueprint for Reading Comprehension Success
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension

I went through the speed reading seminar (see link below). This helped me greatly in tackling not only RC but also CR problems.

Speed Up Your Reading Comprehension
AWA SECTION:
I scored a 5.0 (56 %tile) in AWA.

Of the three sections, I was weakest in AWA (which is reflected by the percentiles). This was probably because I was least concerned about AWA as I had read several articles and forum posts, which discounted the importance of this section. The best way to attack AoA is to have a template ready before the exam. I made it a point to religiously write the essays during all my practice tests.

Some things that worked for me:

*Take Practice Tests Seriously: During each of my practice tests, I tried to recreate actualy test conditions by doing the following:
-Attempt the AWA section in best possible manner
-Stick to break timings (5-6 mins each) and use the breaks to do things that I would do on the test day such as use the rest room, eat a snack, drink water, take a short walk, etc.
-Switch off my cell phone.

*Review Practice Tests: I prepared an Excel sheet to track and analyze scores from my practice tests. It used to take my around 4-5 hours to review the entire test. I typically had 15-18 problems wrong in each (Quant and Verbal) section. While reviewing the test, I used to spend a great deal of time in analyzing where I went wrong viz a viz. what was I thinking while I was actually attempting the question during the test.

Congratulations euros!! for the good score. I have never replied to anyone on this forum,though i used to visit this often.
I found your story similar to me,so similar as if this is my story.Only difference is that i haven't given GMAT yet :).
I am also of same age as you are,i have a daughter,m from the engineering background(though different stream),i have literally same shortcomings you had in CR,RC,SC.
Your post seems so similar to the one i'll post in future after I take GMAT and hope to score the same score as you have scored.

Best of luck for your application!!

Bahut Bahut Dhanywad!!
Thanks buddy... and all the best for your preparations.
Don't take RC lightly - it can make or break your verbal score. It requires a holistic approach so develop a habit of reading articles online - Scientific American, WSJ, etc. Also make sure you develop the stamina to endure a 4-hr test.

You can read the latest version of debrief at Satisfying 730 😃 Thanks BTG

All the best 😃

Thanks for your best wishes.
RC and CR are giving me hard time. I don't have any specific approach for RC.sometimes i get 90% accuracy in some passages and sometimes only 65-70%. It actually depends on my understanding of the passage.
I have gone through the links you provided,will try to incorporate those in my strategy to handle RC.
Yaar your scoring pattern is also same what i am getting these days 😃 and also geometry is my strong part. Kuch na kuch karke main solution nikal hi leta hun for geometry problems 😃

Dude, first of all, congratulations specially on stellar 49 in verbal section.


Well, I have a couple questions for you on SC portion which is my biggest worry at the moment. I am going through Manhattan SC Guide currently. No doubt, the accuracy has improved in initial few chapters but the issue that I seem to have with this book is after focusing for about 2 hrs a chapter the questions thrown from OG seem to take me in more than a focused direction which leads to distraction and lower accuracy. Did you encounter this ? If yes, how did you tackle it ? Secondly, did you go through advanced portion of the guide in one go ?

Thanks in advance.




QUANT SECTION:
Having an engineering background helped me in this section. I was able to grasp the topics quickly since I had already studied them before. I am especially good with geometry. Preparation for this section was pretty much taken care by the regular Quant sessions that I was attending at the prep institute where I had enrolled myself.

Other than the material provided there, I solved problems on Pagalguy and beat-the-gmat forums. I also practiced problems on Grockit.

A Big Thank You to Gail and other Puys who helped me with solutions and explanations for the tough Quant Problems
VERBAL SECTION:

For me, Verbal was the tougher of the two sections (V & Q). The prep classes where I had enrolled were proving of little help in preparing me for this section. I was struggling with all three problem types - RC, SC and CR.

SC: I bought MGMAT's Sentence Correction Strategy guide. I studied each chapter thoroughly and solved the exercises at the end of each chapter. This really helped me in attaching SC problems and the result was clearly reflected in improve accuracy and reduced timing.

CR: It was during mid-way of my preparations that I realized that CR was a problem area. My accuracy was low and timing was bad. In fact, issues with CR threw me off-course for a couple of days. After reading forums and reviews on beat-the-gmat and Pagalguy, I decided to use Powerscore's CR Bible. Even though I was only half-way through the book - accuracy and timing - both showed improvement.

RC: This was a huge area of concern as theres no single strategy that seems to work for RC. RC problems usually require a more holistic approach. I went through a lot of articles posted by experts on Beat-The-GMAT for improving RC. They discussed strategy and I tried to apply tools and tips from these articles.

GMAT Insider: A Blueprint for Reading Comprehension Success
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension

I went through the speed reading seminar (see link below). This helped me greatly in tackling not only RC but also CR problems.

Speed Up Your Reading Comprehension
AWA SECTION:
I scored a 5.0 (56 %tile) in AWA.

Of the three sections, I was weakest in AWA (which is reflected by the percentiles). This was probably because I was least concerned about AWA as I had read several articles and forum posts, which discounted the importance of this section. The best way to attack AoA is to have a template ready before the exam. I made it a point to religiously write the essays during all my practice tests.

Some things that worked for me:

*Take Practice Tests Seriously: During each of my practice tests, I tried to recreate actualy test conditions by doing the following:
-Attempt the AWA section in best possible manner
-Stick to break timings (5-6 mins each) and use the breaks to do things that I would do on the test day such as use the rest room, eat a snack, drink water, take a short walk, etc.
-Switch off my cell phone.

*Review Practice Tests: I prepared an Excel sheet to track and analyze scores from my practice tests. It used to take my around 4-5 hours to review the entire test. I typically had 15-18 problems wrong in each (Quant and Verbal) section. While reviewing the test, I used to spend a great deal of time in analyzing where I went wrong viz a viz. what was I thinking while I was actually attempting the question during the test.
someshvar Says
Dude, first of all, congratulations specially on stellar 49 in verbal section.


Thank you very much somesh. BTW, I got 49 on Quant and not Verbal. The support I got from PG and fellow Puys has been very important factor in getting a good GMAT score.

someshvar Says
No doubt, the accuracy has improved in initial few chapters but the issue that I seem to have with this book is after focusing for about 2 hrs a chapter the questions thrown from OG seem to take me in more than a focused direction which leads to distraction and lower accuracy. Did you encounter this ? If yes, how did you tackle it ?


I don't think I interpret your question completely. However, I will still try to answer it to the best of my understanding.

I did not attempt OG questions mentioned at the end of each chapter of MGMAT's SC guide. I was trying to save the questions from OG for timed practice sessions (for which I was not left with any time eventually).

The way I used SC Strategy guide was:
1) Read each chapter and develop understanding of concepts.
2) If needed, I would jot down the important concepts in my notebook. For instance, the use of "if" and "whether" and "between" viz a viz "among".
3) Sincerely solve the exercise at the end of each chapter. I took these exercises pretty seriously. In fact, I had made a photocopy set consisting just of exercises at the end of each chapter. I used the photocopy set to scribble my answers on it and then compared them to solutions provided in the book.
someshvar Says
Secondly, did you go through advanced portion of the guide in one go ?


I just did the very first chapter (Ch.11) of the advanced section. The advanced section is really time-taking and difficult to remember. I had to abort reading the book because my test-date was fast approaching. If I had more time, I would have definitely continued reading.

Hope this helps!

Thanks Buddy.

Thanks for your advice.

You see my habit of seeing things in a particular way screws things !! Generally, scores are written with Q and V break up , so I assumed you scored 49 in verbal !!

This is an interesting strategy. You see, you got to combine all the concepts together rather than just focus on a particular topic. As you suggested, it is a good idea to go though all the chapters and then try OG questions. Much appreciated.:cheers:

BTW, which schools are you applying to ?


Thank you very much somesh. BTW, I got 49 on Quant and not Verbal. The support I got from PG and fellow Puys has been very important factor in getting a good GMAT score.



I don't think I interpret your question completely. However, I will still try to answer it to the best of my understanding.

I did not attempt OG questions mentioned at the end of each chapter of MGMAT's SC guide. I was trying to save the questions from OG for timed practice sessions (for which I was not left with any time eventually).

The way I used SC Strategy guide was:
1) Read each chapter and develop understanding of concepts.
2) If needed, I would jot down the important concepts in my notebook. For instance, the use of "if" and "whether" and "between" viz a viz "among".
3) Sincerely solve the exercise at the end of each chapter. I took these exercises pretty seriously. In fact, I had made a photocopy set consisting just of exercises at the end of each chapter. I used the photocopy set to scribble my answers on it and then compared them to solutions provided in the book.



I just did the very first chapter (Ch.11) of the advanced section. The advanced section is really time-taking and difficult to remember. I had to abort reading the book because my test-date was fast approaching. If I had more time, I would have definitely continued reading.

Hope this helps!
-------------------------------------------------------
..............................Raw Score........Percentile
-------------------------------------------------------
Quantitative...............49....................86

Verbal........................40....................89

Overall......................730...................96
------------------------------------------------------

... t


Here is how I scored in my practice tests:

MGMAT 1 ......10/09 : Q-13 (02%)...V-26 (44%) Overall - 390 11%
Knewton 1 .....06/10 : Q-42 (62%)...V-26 (39%) Overall - 560 57%
Princeton 1 ....07/10 : Q-47 (62%)...V-37 (39%) Overall - 680
GMAT Prep 1 .12/10:Q-46 ...V-33 Overall - 650
MGMAT 2 .......19/10 : Q-47 (81%)...V-41 (93%) Overall - 720 96%
MGMAT 3 .......23/10 : Q-46 (79%)...V-39 (89%) Overall - 700 93% (Reduced time - 73' per section)
MGMAT 4 .......25/10 : Q-44 (73%)...V-33 (69%) Overall - 640 80% (Reduced time - 72' per section)
MGMAT 5 .......27/10 : Q-44 (73%)...V-24 (72%) Overall - 640 80%
GMAT Prep 2 .30/10 : Q-44 ... V-38 Overall - 680
GMAT Prep 1 (Repeat) .01/11 : Overall - 700 (Result skewed upwards)


-Micahel Jackson



How and where do we take these practice tests mentioned above? Are these free or do we need to pay for it?

Thanks!

Euros, which all book did you use to study? I am in the very step for GMAT, collecting books which I would need to get a decent score in GMAT.

So far I have just heard of the OG guide and will order by today or tomorrow.

Thanks a ton!

How and where do we take these practice tests mentioned above? Are these free or do we need to pay for it?

Thanks!


You can download the two GMAT PREP practice tests for free from www.mba.com. I took the remaining practice tests online. Kaplan, Princeton, Veritas, Knewton, MGMAT - all of them have 1 practice test available freely on their respective websites. You will have to create a account and then you can access these tests.

Manhattan GMAT has 6 practice tests in all, of which 1 is free. The remaining 5 MGMAT Tests have to bought. If you buy any of the GMAT Strategy Guides first hand, then you don't have to pay for the 5 additional MGMAT tests.

Euros, which all book did you use to study? I am in the very step for GMAT, collecting books which I would need to get a decent score in GMAT.

So far I have just heard of the OG guide and will order by today or tomorrow.

Thanks a ton!


The answer to your question depends on what are your areas of weaknesses and strengths as far as GMAT is concerned.
Official Guide 12th Edition is a good book. Regarded as bible by most people.
For SC: MGMAT's SC Strategy Guide
For CR: Powerscore CR Bible

Since you are just beginning, the very first thing you should do as soon as you get OG is that write the Diagnostic Test.
I will also suggest that you take a full length Computer Adaptive Test (pick one from any of the above websites) within first 3-4 days of your preparation.

Hope this helps
Euros, which all book did you use to study? I am in the very step for GMAT, collecting books which I would need to get a decent score in GMAT.

So far I have just heard of the OG guide and will order by today or tomorrow.

Thanks a ton!

Hello...dont know whether this is the rite thread.....As per the previous post plz mention what all the books you read and what all universities u are going to apply for.....
You can download the two GMAT PREP practice tests for free from www.mba.com. I took the remaining practice tests online. Kaplan, Princeton, Veritas, Knewton, MGMAT - all of them have 1 practice test available freely on their respective websites. You will have to create a account and then you can access these tests.

Manhattan GMAT has 6 practice tests in all, of which 1 is free. The remaining 5 MGMAT Tests have to bought. If you buy any of the GMAT Strategy Guides first hand, then you don't have to pay for the 5 additional MGMAT tests.



The answer to your question depends on what are your areas of weaknesses and strengths as far as GMAT is concerned.
Official Guide 12th Edition is a good book. Regarded as bible by most people.
For SC: MGMAT's SC Strategy Guide
For CR: Powerscore CR Bible

Since you are just beginning, the very first thing you should do as soon as you get OG is that write the Diagnostic Test.
I will also suggest that you take a full length Computer Adaptive Test (pick one from any of the above websites) within first 3-4 days of your preparation.

Hope this helps


Have downloaded the GMAT Prep from MBA.com. I had no clue about the structure of the GMAT, so went thru the sections and example questions. Quants are definite my weak areas of whatever questions I went thru.

Will take a complete mock test tomorrow and then would be clear as to where I am placed. Is the Diagnostic Test the same as mock test which is there in GmatPrep Software?

OG will have to buy for sure. Rest would think after giving the mock test. Does all these books comes with CD and tests(which otherwise has to be bought)?

Thanks euros!
rockster43 Says
Hello...dont know whether this is the rite thread.....As per the previous post plz mention what all the books you read and what all universities u are going to apply for.....


I am not sure whether this question is asked to me as I am myself just inquiring about the books to refer to.

As for univs, research is on. Early to say.
Is the Diagnostic Test the same as mock test which is there in GmatPrep Software?

Does all these books comes with CD and tests(which otherwise has to be bought)?

Thanks euros!


The Diagnostic Test in the OG is not the same as the Practice Test in GMATPrep Software. The practice test on GMAT Prep are real CATs and very close to what you will face on the actual GMAT.

While some books do come with a CD, others have a code or PIN that can be used for registration online on company's website, which then gives you access to practice tests and question banks.

rockster43 Says
Hello...dont know whether this is the rite thread.....As per the previous post plz mention what all the books you read and what all universities u are going to apply for.....


I am currently applying to ISB and INSEAD.

Hope this answers your query. If you have any more questions regarding GMAT, then feel free to post them.

Congratulations on your score Euros!! Very well done.

I'd like to ask in case you decide to go to INSEAD I've heard the fee is in excess of 60 lakhs! If this is the case how do students with families who do not have 60 lakhs to spare manage to pay such a high fee, reason I ask is because i have recently bought an appartment in south mumbai so it will be difficult for me to pay such a high fee

Are there scholarships available?

tks

Congratulations on your score Euros!! Very well done.

I'd like to ask in case you decide to go to INSEAD I've heard the fee is in excess of 60 lakhs! If this is the case how do students with families who do not have 60 lakhs to spare manage to pay such a high fee,...

...Are there scholarships available?


Thanks Harrii.
I understand where you are coming from. INSEAD, like any other European b-school is expensive specially for Indians due to the exchange rate between INR and Euro or Pound. European b-schools such as INSEAD, LBS, etc. charge a premium for the kind of opportunities they offer. They are pretty selective about who they admit and this is one of the reasons why MCs and IBs recruit in large numbers from these campuses.

There are scholarships available but they are in limited number. Check
INSEAD MBA Programme - Admissions

Most students admitted to such institutes use a combination of personal savings and loans.

Bear in mind that for INSEAD or LBS, the expenses outside of tuition (traveling and living in Europe) are also pretty high.

you may also like to go through this thread
http://www.pagalguy.com/discussions/insead-sep-2011-admissions-25058145