Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough – Og Mandino.
Nishant’s story is a perfect example of how determination and perseverance through tough times can reward you with the sweetness of success. Even though he couldn’t achieve his target in his first four attempts, Nishant persevered to achieve an excellent score of 740. Read on or watch the video to know more about his journey.
07:33 – ESR analysis and how it helped him improve to 740
10:34 – Changing approach to Meaning and Pre-thinking based approach
12:04 – Key to ace RC – Take 3+ minutes to read the passage
14:08 – Converting your weaknesses to your strength strategically
15:49 – How Scholaranium helped
17:02 – Reducing time on an SC question to 45 secs with high accuracy
20:10 – Post GMAT – Target B-schools
Rajat: Congratulations Nishant on scoring a GMAT 740 (Q49, V41). How was your GMAT journey and how do you feel about this achievement?
Nishant: Thank you Rajat. I feel really happy about achieving a good score. I started my GMAT journey in 2015. I had enrolled for a classroom coaching program but due to my level of preparation, I never felt that I could score more than 650 then. Even my mock tests were also indicating this as I could score only around 650 660 in those.
Eventually, I decided to attempt the main GMAT exam to evaluate myself. In the first attempt, I could score only a 570 which was due to many reasons including a terrible test center.
My second attempt was in January of 2016 and I scored a 630 in it. Although it was a below-par score, I was satisfied as the score justified my preparation level.
After this attempt, I decided to do self-study rather than attending any classroom training. I started preparing with the material available from Manhattan Prep and gmatclub and when I gave the GMAT prep test, I could score a 690 which was eventually the score I obtained in the main GMAT exam as well with a Q49, V34. August 2016
Applied to Rotman, Tuck, ISB, LBS, Smeal, and MSU
As I took my third attempt in August 2016, I had to apply for the colleges in a very short period of time. I applied to Tuck and ISB in round 1 and the rest of the colleges in round 2. Although I received an interview call from ISB, I couldn’t convert it.
The admission office of Dartmouth Tuck offered to give me feedback on my profile which I happily agreed to and told me that they would like to see me next year for the process. My last interview was with Smeal in February 2017.
Mansi scored a 770 and received admits from 5 top business schools i.e., Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, INSEAD, and Kellogg. Read how she achieved this amazing feat.
Transition to e-GMAT’s course
After this, I took a break for 2 months and decided to attempt GMAT once again. In June 2017, I took up e-GMAT’s course. Around the same time, I broke my leg and was bedridden for almost a month. During this time period, I started working on the course of e-GMAT and finished it in quick succession. I started taking the GMAT prep test and scored around 710 to 720 consistently which gave me the confidence to carry forward to my fourth attempt. But the anxiety from my previous three failures got hold of me and I could only score a 690 in this attempt.
I was pretty unhappy with the score as it did not reflect the efforts I put into my preparation. I took a break again for another two weeks and came back deciding that I would give another attempt to the test. Around the same time, I received my ESRs and sent them to Payel for feedback.
Rajat: What did you learn from your ESRs?
Nishant: Payal gave me a very good idea on which sections of the exam I should concentrate more on. She helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses and I started concentrating only on my weaknesses. As I had a site-based job, I used to do my preparations during work also. I always felt that SC was one of my strengths. But according to the ESRs, I had 57 percentile in SC, 97 percentile in CR and around 64 percentile in RC.
I decided to give more time to these two sections and thus improve my score. The main problem was that I spent a lot of time on RC which left me with very little time for SC. My Scholaranium ability scores at that point of time for SC was 78%, CR 70%, and RC 49%.
I started working only on SC and RC as they were my weaknesses and only did very few questions of CR. Also, in my last attempt, I dropped from Q49 to Q48 which was an area of concern and had to be worked upon.
Allotting more time to my weak areas proved to be fruitful in this attempt as I could score a good score of 740.
Rajat: How did the change in approach in e-GMAT’s course help you as compared to the approach of Manhattan Prep?
Nishant: The main reason why I scored a 97 percentile in CR was that I followed the approach suggested by e-GMAT:
- Read the argument
- Understand the conclusion
- Negate the conclusion
- Prethinking strategy
Preparation for RC
For SC, I was trying the meaning-based approach, but I was taking a lot of time. For RC, although I was following the reading strategies suggested by e-GMAT, I was going too quickly through the passages. In one debrief, I read that the person took 3+ minutes for a shorter passage and 4+ minutes for a longer passage.
I applied this strategy in conjunction with e-GMAT’s reading strategy and it paid dividends as the time I spent to solve an RC question went down to 30 seconds.
In my previous attempt, I used to account for only the time taken to answer the question and not the time taken to read the passage. In this attempt, I accounted the time for both these activities and gave myself a time limit. I set a limit of 30 minutes for 15 questions that I compiled from e-GMAT’s course and other question banks and tried to solve it in the stipulated time.
This exercise worked like magic for me as it became easier for me to solve the RC questions in the main exam. A week before the exam, my RC scores in Scholaranium rose from 49 percentile to 74 percentile. The approach of timing myself sectional wise during preparation helped me to manage the time I took to answer the questions during the main exam.
Rajat: You have done a lot of practice questions during your preparation. How did Scholaranium help you in this regard?
Nishant: As I was not doing that well initially, I didn’t pay much attention to Scholaranium’s ability quizzes. But in the second attempt, I realized that I should focus on what my Scholaranium ability scores are telling me and it helped me figure out the weaknesses in me. The best thing about Scholaranium was it provided me with a certain amount of time of about 90 seconds to solve each question which helped me manage time as well.
In the SC section, I was making mistakes on the easier part of modifiers which was an area of concern. I started practising on this part and I was trying to strengthen the meaning-based approach. This reduced the time taken to solve a question to around 30 to 45 seconds. This reflected in the main exam as well.
Target business schools
Rajat: Let’s talk about the colleges that you are interested in. In the list that you have given, you are interested in Sloan, Tepper, Kellogg, Ross, and Wharton and the specialization is Operations Supply chain and Analytical tools.
Update – Nishant received an admit from Columbia Business School class of 2021 with scholarship.
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