Coming from a mechanical engineering background, Leon started his GMAT preparation and scored only 570 (Q36, V31) in the diagnostic test with the e-GMAT team. However, after following a structured framework, he was able to increase his score by 160 points within 90 days.
So what changed in those three months?
In this article, we highlight the key differences in Leon’s GMAT preparation that lead him to score a 730 on the GMAT (Q49, V40).
Here is the outline of the article:
- GMAT Preparation Journey
- Structured Approach to Ace the GMAT
- Targeted Business Schools and Retaking the GMAT
- GMAT Preparation: Key Takeaways
You can even watch the debrief video below, where he talks about his GMAT journey and his plans to work in the real estate market.
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- 1:12 – GMAT Preparation starts
- 2:19 – Change in the GMAT preparation approach
- 4:38 – How e-GMAT helped
- 6:40 – Taking Feedback
- 7:39 – Applying theory on every example
- 9:28 – Learning Concepts and then practicing RC and CR
- 10:43 – Time Management
- 11:47 – GMAT Quant Preparation
- 16:07 – Business schools to target
- 17:47 – Getting into real-estate market post-MBA
- 21:45 – Retaking the GMAT to aim higher
- 25:44 – Admissions consulting agencies
GMAT 730 Preparation Journey
Rajat: How did you approach your GMAT preparation after scoring 570?
Leon: Since I was a kid, I always had a good hold while dealing with languages. So I honestly thought that my GMAT verbal would be strong. My first mock with e-GMAT showed that I was not low on verbal. However, what I noticed is that I did know the concepts but had to learn how to approach the questions. And that what exactly e-GMAT taught me.
Before taking the e-GMAT mock test, I had given another mock where I scored 660. But the scores were misleading. While taking the GMAT mock, I use to pause and take breaks in the middle. However, when I took my diagnostic test with the e-GMAT team, I got 570 (Q36, V31), which was a real shock.
This made me realized that I need to find an actual structured approach. So, I started the study plan from e-GMAT.
The best part about the e-GMAT course was that it allowed me to focus on a sub-section and offered flexibility to mix up things. Thus, I was not focusing on first completing the entire Quant or verbal section. I used to complete one sub-section of verbal and then move on to the Quant sub-section.
Learn more about the GMAT Syllabus 2020 here.
Roadblock while preparing for the GMAT
Leon: In verbal, I was weak in sentence correction, and in Quant, it was number properties. When you come from a mechanical engineer background, you are used to putting stuff in equations and solve the equation rather than looking into number properties. So, it was quite tricky for me.
How e-GMAT helped?
GMAT Verbal Preparation
E-GMAT was different from the other courses I took. The previous course that I took focused more on practicing and not learning. I was still at a stage where I needed to learn the concepts, and the e-GMAT course was a game-changer there.
For instance, the sentence correction course has a fantastic modifiers module that helps in understanding what a modifier is, how to place a modifier, and how it plays a role in the rest of the sentence.
GMAT Quant Preparation
Rajat: How did your Approach in Quant change after taking the e-GMAT course?
Leon: Earlier, my Approach in Quant was trying to put everything that I could in an equation because that is how I felt comfortable. However, once I started the e-GMAT course, I realized that I do not have to make equations at all if I follow the tree structure model.
Also, I realized that in Quant, it is all about getting to know the types of questions that come by learning and practicing the concepts.
Structured Approach to Ace the GMAT
Rajat: You were very diligent during the e-GMAT course. How did you make use of the feedback that you got?
Leon scored 91% in concept quizzes and 85% in practice quizzes
Leon: I had three whole notebooks of notes that I took while taking the e-GMAT course. I wrote absolutely everything that I was not sure, and I had it with me all day. So even when I was working, I would take it with me and read it. I would also review all my notes every night before I start a new concept. That’s how I approached it for both verbal and quant.
Rajat: Did you ever feel that the process you followed would take a much longer time to answer the questions?
Leon: Not Really. I focused on learning at the beginning and trusted e-GMAT when they told me the time would come to practice. Thus, I only started practicing with time when I finished the concept course. In the beginning, the timing was a problem, but as I learned the concepts, it became better.
For instance, reading comprehension took a lot of time in the beginning. I took longer to read and interpret. However, one thing that helped me a lot was in both CR and RC was listing the types of wrong alternatives even though it took time to do that. Once I got that flow, my timing also reduced.
Targeted Business Schools and Retaking the GMAT
Rajat: What kind of schools are you aiming for?
Leon: I liked the case study method at Harvard business school, and I do have few friends there. So, I figured I would try for HBS. I am also looking into schools with substantial real estate concentration or electives or schools that are positioned in strategic positions for the real estate market—for example, LA Chicago, New York. Thus, I am aiming for Columbia Business School. I am also aiming for Booth in Chicago and in LA, for example, UCLA Anderson, which has a very famous real estate club, which is also on my list of business schools to target.
Planning to Retake the GMAT?
Leon: I am thrilled with my 730 and will be working on my applications now. But I do still have some room for improvement, I believe. So, I am going to try and retake the GMAT to push my score a bit higher. I am planning to use the e-GMAT Scholaranium to help me with that.
Rajat: I frankly think, given your background, 730 should be good enough. However, I would suggest to apply to colleges first and then send them your improved scores later. This way, you don’t miss out on the early decision application deadlines.
Leon: Yes, that makes a lot of sense. I am considering the early decision round and have already talked to my recommenders. I’m working on the essays and reviewing them now.
GMAT Preparation: Key TakeAways
Leon aced the GMAT by:
- Taking down notes and revising them
- Continuous feedback
- Having a structured approach
- Practicing through e-GMAT Scholaranium
- Time Management
- Learning concepts first and then Practicing