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How I made it to 740 from 690 in GMAT.

Posted: February 24th, 2013, 4:24 pm
by sunil
Let me list out my scores in all the three attempts of GMAT to begin with.
1st attempt - 690 (V 34, Q 50) AWA -5.
2nd Attempt - 740 (V 41, Q 50) AWA -5, IR -3/8.
3rd Attempt - 730 (V 40, Q 49) AWA -5, IR -7/8.

I prepared for 3 months on and off working 1-2 hours a day on an average with a 7 day leave before the big day. Math as often was easy compared to verbal. With 690 score, I did not feel that I did not give the exam enough time. What I understood is that, I did the same mistakes in verbal which I was doing in my practice tests. However, having studied and practiced meticulously all the good books such as Manhattan,Gmat powerscore verbal bible, kaplan etc, I didnt know what to do to improve my score. So this is what I did in a nut shell begining with 1st attempt strategy.

1st attempt

studied all the books mentiioned meticulously.
took notes of all the strategies mentioned.
example: RC: how read for the gist of passage
how to elimate options
SC: I summarized 9 main rules of grammar from different books.
CR: Identifying the question type
Finding out the components of the statement given.
Elimination strategies etc.
Applied the strategies to verbal questions.
Improved the score in practice tests from 640 to 690.

1st Attempt Analysis

The main drawback was that, I was failing to apply one or the other strategy in understanding the problem statement or eliminating the options. And overall I was repeating the same mistakes and I had some level of discomfort with all the three question types. Simply put, I did not master the question types to any decent level.

Corrective action taken

w.r.t RC

I realized that without reading the paragraph completely and without understanding it (NOT REMEMBERING) it is very difficult to answer the questions, especially those RCs which pop up after you answer a string of questions right. So I decided to save time by improving my speed so that I can spend 4-5 minutes if needed to understand the RC first before looking at questions.
And this really worked. I was able to answer even the tough questions in a very short time. And let me tell you. I had to refer back to the passage just to double check and eliminate wrong options and I knew exactly where to look for to do that.

w.r.t CR
I categorized question into two basic types. Those which have conclusions and those which dont. And the first thing I look for in a CR question,sub-consciously, is the type of question it is as I read each sentence in problem statement.Paraphrasing each sentence works like a miracle. It lets you understand the sentence and classify it(evidence or fact ,conclusion) which will demystify the question.
And them elimination strategy. There are many of them, on practice, some become part of your thought process and some you have to consciously apply.

w.r.t SC

It is just not possible to remember and consciously apply all the 9 grammar rules, that way you would take 4 minutes for eacch question. What I did was, I took the most common and fundamental 3 rules and tried to apply them consciously, the rest would become part of thought process as you practice. And as I read a sentence (without looking at options)I stop the moment I find a discomfort (subconscious application of rules, comes by practice to anybody)I look at options and immediately eliminate those options which are blatantly wrong. And before elimination I tell myself for violation of which rule. Then I go on reading the sentence and follow the same process.
Sometimes, though, even after reading the whole sentence I cannot eliminate any option. So I try to compare the answer options and then eliminate.

For all the three attempts I maintained two books. In one book I used to note down my evaluation of the day that passed w.r.t the goals set the previous day and note down the goals for the next day. This really helped me a lot in being focused. In the second book I used to note down my leanings on all question types in both math and verbal.

And one word finally. This is what has worked for me, people have their own ways. But what I can tell with certainty is that evaluation of each and every question that you fail to answer, identifying the exact reason for it and taking corrective action is the key whatever be the individual strategy on different question types.

As far as IR was concerned, I neglected it a bit in 2nd attempt so got 3. In the thrid I focused only on IR, practiced and got 7 and my GMAT dipped by 10 points to 730.

I hope this helps. I would be glad to clarify anything more, if required.

Re: How I made it to 740 from 690 in GMAT.

Posted: July 17th, 2013, 11:12 pm
by brickinthewall
Thank you for the great post..Quite full of insights!