Anuj, a Mechanical Engineer working in an Oil company, had 60+ hours work week on a regular basis. Despite that, he scored a 710 in his first attempt and 770 in his second attempt. For those of you are wondering why he took the test again after scoring 710, it was because he belongs to one of the most competitive pool – Indian Engineer. To get to such a high score as a working professional with a very hectic schedule is what makes this a special story. The best part – he doesn’t complain. He works out a solution to the problem and aces the test like a champion. Watch the video or read the transcript below to know more. If you are a working professional struggling to make time out or make a study plan, read our article on Study Plan for Working Professionals. Let’s go through this GMAT 770 Success Story!
Rajat: First of all Congratulations on the fantastic score! Was 770 your target score when you began preparing for GMAT? Tell us about your preparation.
Anuj: Actually no. My target score was 730-740 but a 770 definitely doesn’t hurt. To be very honest, I was good with my first score of 710 too until my admission consultant told me that 710 is an average score for Indian Engineers and I should try for a higher score to be competitive in my pool. I began preparing for GMAT after seeing my roommate prepare for it and was inspired by a taxi driver on my visit to the US.
After 4 years of work experience, I was confused if I should go back to school but seeing that taxi driver trying to get an undergrad degree at the age of 35 reminded me that there is no age to learn. I started with researching about the GMAT online and found all the information that I needed on GMAT Club. I bought the OG and Manhattan books to prepare.
Quant was always my strength, so I decided to focus on Verbal and especially SC as I was the weakest in it. After the prep, I took mocks tests and scored a 690 and a 710 which I was happy with. My biggest mistake, however, was not carrying my passport to the test center on the day of the actual test. I did not know that carrying a passport was an absolute must for taking the test in India. This led to a delay in my test for a month as due to work commitments I could not take the test for another month. But even during this hectic month, I made sure I was in touch with what I had studied by revising concepts and solving questions. On my actual test, I scored a 710 with Q50 and V36.
Anuj made it to Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. With such a high score you can also impress the MBA admissions committee. Here are a few tips on how to get into a top business school and specific tips on getting into Harvard and Stanford.
Rajat: How did you take time out in such a hectic schedule to prepare for GMAT?
Anuj: I had planned to spend at least 2 hours every day on prep and I made sure I stuck to it. I took my books and notes with me to the office so whenever I got even 15 minutes I would make sure I used them for GMAT. On the days when the work in the office was too much and I couldn’t study in office, I studied at home after work. It meant less sleep on that day but I was prepared to make that sacrifice. I also spoke to my colleagues who were very supportive. We shared the workload on days that were hectic.
Rajat: That’s great. So how did you study for your re-take? What was your strategy the second time around?
Anuj: I had ordered my ESR after the test and it confirmed what I had known while taking the test. RC was my weakness. I had scores of 39 and 40 in SC and CR but a score of 31 in RC. I also realized that there are very few 700+ level questions in the OG. The kind of questions required to go from 710 to 770. So I knew I needed other study materials as well. For RC I knew only practice would help me as the main problem was that I was unfamiliar with the topics. I decided to take a course for SC though as I was not 100% sure of the approach.
I took the e-GMAT Free Trial and liked it because of the short video lesson format and the extensive coverage of each topic. I took 15 days to complete the course. I made notes of the important points to have them handy while revising. On completing the course and attempting the OG Questions again, I realized that the books had only helped me with the concepts but e-GMAT course helped with application which boosted my accuracy. I was worried about the timing though because I was taking longer to solve the questions. In the test, I had to solve 5 questions in 5 minutes, but I still stuck to the process. In the end, I could solve 2 questions in 40 seconds by using concepts I learned in e-GMAT.
Rajat: That is good to know, and I am glad that you trusted the process and stuck with it. How did you feel after scoring a 770?
Anuj: I felt good thinking about being a 99 percentiler. It boosted my confidence that I could do anything. The preparation for CR also opened my mind and I started reasoning and thinking about assumptions every time I read some stats or short passages. I do it instinctively. It is great to be able to see the same passage from a different perspective!
Rajat: What would be your advice to other test takers?
Anuj: CARRY YOUR PASSPORT IF YOU ARE FROM THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT. I think that is my biggest learning. They do not accept any other form of ID proof but the passport. Apart from that, make sure you prepare consistently. I planned to study for 2 hours every day and made sure I did that irrespective of work pressure. Take support from your colleagues to do if the workload is too high but make sure your preparation is intense and consistent. Do not overthink about the aspects that are not in your control but go all in for the aspects that are in your control. For those of you who have taken CAT in India, this test is not like that. CAT is more calculation and vocabulary intensive while GMAT is more logic oriented. You don’t need to know a whole lot of things to ace GMAT as long as you know how to apply it.
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