The wait is over with 700 (Q49, V36, AWA 6.0)

So finally I was able to touch the 700 mark. Last two months were really torturous for me and I am sooo happy with the 700. However, I do think that if nerves had not taken better of me in Verbal, I could have managed a 720, but I am happy its over. Now I can think about other important things. In all I have given GMAT thrice to arrive to a 700:

1. September 2011 : 680 (Q46, V37, AWA 6.0) : I was fairly confident during my first attempt and a 700 looked possible. However, I screwed up in quants, could not manage my time well and had to guess last 5-6 questions. So after the exam I thought my quants is not that bad and I can easily manage a 49 so I should retake. I took a week’s break and booked the test for October.

2. October 2011: 620 (Q49, V27, AWA- dint even care to look at AWA) : It was a nightmare and specially when my mock tests were telling a different story. You guys know about it right!! So I went fairly confident for my test this time and was pretty sure of getting something around 720. The AWA went fine and then the quants was ok and I was very calm for verbal as well. I did verbal with patience and on time. Did not rush through any question and somewhere in the middle I even felt that the level of questions were increasing. I completed the test and was expecting to see a 700+, and was shocked to see a 620. A 27 in verbal was unexpected. I was shattered. I had not scored less than 35 in verbal even in the diagnostic test I gave before starting any prep. I was also unable to comprehend the reason for this dismal score. I was really disappointed with myself after this take. It was after my husband counselled me and made me realise that 27 in Verbal is not at all my true potential, I decided to retake.

3. November 2011 : 700 (Q49, V36, got AWA recently:6.0): After my second attempt I was little sceptical of my strategies for Verbal so I revisited the basics. Read the Manhattan SC and Powerscore CR bible again and analyzed all my mistakes during the practise sessions thoroughly. btw…I studied only for 10 days for this attempt as I went on a vacation immediately after the October attempt. Gave two mock tests one Manhattan (750: Q48, V44) and Gprep (710: Q48, V38) and was again confident that the preparation is fine. However, after the second attempt I was little scared of the unexpected. But went to the test centre with complete faith in my abilities.
Test experience: I gave this test in New Delhi, India. AWA went fine, I followed the chineseburned template and trust me it works (I did get a 6.0 in my first attempt using that template only). Started quants fine. The first question was very easy number properties question and was able to solve that in 30 seconds and I am pretty sure that I did the next 5 questions also correct since the difficulty level kept on increasing. But somewhere around 9th question I got a very basic geometry question. So basic that for a minute or so I tried to find the hidden trick in the question. But the question was indeed very basic and I realized that I have done something wrong in the last couple of questions. I gathered myself up and decided not to make any further mistakes. Time was on my side so I double checked every question and I am pretty sure I did not commit any mistake as the difficulty level of questions kept on increasing and I got some real difficult questions on Standard Deviation and some real lengthy word translations. I was however struggling with time in the last 5 questions but managed to crack them all. Verbal went fine and I think I did fine. However I do think that my score was hampered by an incomprehensible RC on some political issue. I also think that if I was little more calm during verbal I may have scored a 38 or 39 but what the hell…I am glad its over.

Study material used:

Manhattan SC – a must read
1000s for SC – however this document had some doubt able questions, it still is a good practice
Powerscore CR bible
LSAT test papers for CR
RC 99

Manhattan strategy guides – again a must read to build up basics
Gmatclub forums – I practiced quants form the forums only.

I am happy with the score and happier that its over. As a final note to fellow test takers, GMAT is not at all about your IQ, its more about your preparation, perseverance and hard work.
All the best!!

Third mock and lessons learnt..

Guys, I gave my third mock yesterday (Manhattan) and got a 730 (Q46, V44) and man was Quant tough. It was so difficult that I had to practically guess6-7 questions and got them all wrong :(. I hope and wish and pray that this doesn’t happen to me in the real exam which is just 3 days away (shivers). I am however surprised by my performance in verbal. Did not get even any 2 questions in a row wrong. Got the second question wrong, which pulled my percentile down to 75% (Manhattan does punish you badly if you get initial 10 questions wrong) but then did next 10 or so correct and maintained the percentile.

Since I always compare my score with the corresponding score while I was preparing for the first attempt, I will do that in this post as well. My score in the corresponding MGMAT was 680 (Q49, V34). 

The lessons I have learnt from all of the tests so far are these:

  1. DONOT get a question wrong in first 10 questions. Yes, its very important.
  2. Even if you do get a question wrong in first 10, make sure you get atleast next 10 correct.
  3. DONOT get 2 or more questions in a row incorrect. It pulls the percentile down drastically.
  4. Manage the time very effectively. The questions on which you apend more then 2 minutes should be very few and that should be compensated by time management on other easier questions. Its better to guess one question in middle, get it wrong but save valuable 4 minutes than having to guess 5-6 questions in the end and getting them all wrong.
  5. Keep it in mind that if you are guessing a question, the chances are it will be wrong so do the next question well. Remember point 3 above.
  6. RCs are very important  in verbal. Understand the passage well and try to get them correct. I normally read the passage twice  (since I am blessed with good reading speed, I can afford to do that) but do whatever you can within the constraints to read the passage thoroughly. Again, reiterating point 3, if you don’t understand the passage, the chances are you will get 3-4 questions in a row incorrect and the percentile will be damaged beyond repairs.
I hope to remember these things in my exam and this time I really want to crack it. I will be giving GPreps in next 2 days and then hit the test centre.
Pray for me people!