If you quit on the process, you are quitting on the result – Idowu Koyenikan
After scoring a 700 in his first GMAT attempt, Jim Yi doubled down on his GMAT preparation to hit his target GMAT score of 730+. However, after not making any progress after attending a classroom-based 9-week program he chose e-GMAT for his GMAT preparation. And the rest, as they say, is history. In this video debrief Jim shares his experience of preparing for the GMAT and his journey to a 770 GMAT score.
You can watch the video interview or read the transcript below.
Rajat: Congratulations on scoring a GMAT 770, I’m sure it must feel amazing. Tell us how you started with your GMAT preparation?
Thank you, Rajat. I can still feel the same excitement as when the GMAT 770 score popped up on the screen.
I started with my GMAT preparation at the end of June and gave my first attempt in September after preparing for 3 months. I ended up scoring a 700 on the GMAT in my first attempt, which is not a bad score by any means. However, since my target GMAT score was in 730+ range, I felt a bit disappointed.
This is when I had a call with Shaarang from e-GMAT and his thoughtful advice was really helpful throughout my GMAT preparation.
Rajat: Before purchasing the e-GMAT course in August, what resources did you use for your GMAT preparation and how did you arrive at the decision to purchase the e-GMAT course?
When I first started my GMAT preparation my goal was to prepare as efficiently as possible. Thus, while evaluating the different preparation resources I chose to attend an in-person 9-week GMAT classroom preparation program.
After completing the 9-week program and taking my 2nd or 3rd mock test it was surprising that there was no improvement in my verbal score at all. I scored a V33 in my first mock test before I started the program and my score was the same in my latest attempt. This is when I realized that there was something wrong with my preparation strategy/resources and started searching for other options.
After some research, I chose e-GMAT for my GMAT verbal preparation and didn’t look back.
Rajat: What was the difference in your learning from the e-GMAT course vs. the other preparation resources that you used?
One of the biggest differences was the e-GMAT approach to different question types. For e.g. the meaning-based approach to sentence correction was a game-changer for my GMAT verbal preparation.
Meaning-based approach: A game-changer for GMAT Sentence Correction
While you need to understand grammar rules, when you get to 700-level GMAT questions, grammar is seldom the deciding factor. In my experience, it often happens that there maybe 2 or 3 answer choices that are all grammatically correct. It is here when the meaning-based approach helps you efficiently solve and answer such questions.
Pre-Thinking: A silver bullet for GMAT Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning
Also, the pre-thinking-based approach served as a proverbial silver bullet to tackle CR and RC questions. Before e-GMAT, I did not know anything about the pre-thinking based approach. However, for me, without this approach, there was no way to solve questions under 2 minutes or less.
e-GMAT became my go-to platform for GMAT Preparation
Before e-GMAT, I was using the OG as my go-to resource for practicing questions. However, after enrolling for the e-GMAT course since the course is structured in such a refined manner and everything is so neatly laid out that I did not need to use any other resource for my preparation.
Personalized Study Planner: A powerful tool for planning your GMAT preparation
I also found the personalized study planner tool to be really powerful and helpful in planning my GMAT preparation. The tool gives you a granular study plan right down to how much time you need to reach your target score from your current baseline score. It even gives an estimated test date for when I can schedule my GMAT test attempt.
Analytics Built into the e-GMAT platform: Providing real-time feedback about preparation
Since all your progress is tracked using the built-in analytics platform you get feedback about your preparation in real-time such as your baseline score etc. Thus, everything about your GMAT preparation is quantified and made available to you by the e-GMAT platform.
e-GMAT platform and course structure helps save time in preparation for working professionals
Using the e-GMAT platform where everything is structured so well is a really straightforward way to prepare for the GMAT. Neither do you have to refer to multiple sources nor you have to spend time figuring out what to do next.
This is especially important for me since I am a working professional and could dedicate only 2 hours on weekdays and a total of about 20 hours per week on my GMAT preparation.
Rajat: How was experience working with the GMAT strategy support team at e-GMAT?
It was a strikingly different experience working with the e-GMAT strategy team as compared to the other program that I had enrolled in. At first, I thought that since e-GMAT provides an online course, once I finish the going through the course that would be it. However, the detailed responses given by the strategy team to all my queries during the course helped me realize the value and power of an online course.
Detailed responses provided to all queries
For e.g. the helpful step by step plan on how to maintain performance in a certain section after completing it by using the philosophy of cementing methods. All this made me realize that if I follow the steps and the course properly, I would have nothing to worry about regarding my preparation.
I clearly remember how frustrated I was after my first attempt when I scored a 700. When I mentioned this to Shaarang he helped me develop a plan by reflecting on his own test-taking experience. A week before the exam Karan provided me with a list of dos and don’ts during the test. All this made me realize the immense value an online GMAT preparation course such as e-GMAT could provide.
Rajat: Thank you for the amazing feedback. We put in a lot of effort into training each member of the strategy team. Each strategy team member undergoes a full-time 4-week long 6-stage training program. Only then do we consider them to be ready to respond to customer queries.
What gave you the clarity and motivation to keep working towards a 760+ GMAT score, keeping in mind all the things that you encountered on your GMAT journey?
The process-based methodology helped me reaffirm my belief in scoring 760+ on the GMAT at every step. During the course of my first GMAT attempt, a week before my test date I stopped using the e-GMAT course completely. I was convinced (very wrongly) that quantity is better than quality. And thus, I put my faith in solving as many questions as possible before the test. Believing that this was the secret to getting a 760+ GMAT score.
Choosing Quantity over Quality led to poor performance in the first attempt
To that end, I ended up buying the additional GMAT question pack and started solving 50 questions per day. I only realized later that this was a foolhardy strategy. Giving up my focus on applying a process-based approach to solving questions such as the meaning-based approach and pre-thinking was one of the major reasons for the dismal score.
Process-based approach key to getting a 760+ GMAT score
For my next attempt, I completely changed my approach. I reduced the number of questions that I would solve per day to around 20 and rather spent much more time analyzing each question. I reassured myself at each step that if I follow the process and stick to the plan that would help me get a 760+ GMAT score.
For e.g. if you look at the ESR of my first attempt, my CR accuracy was 33%. This was completely unexpected as in all my practice quizzes and mock I was scoring 80% or better. For me, without the help of the pre-thinking-based approach, I would be lost in the critical reasoning section. If I jumped right into the answer choices after reading a CR question I was 100% sure that I would be trapped between 2 or 3 seemingly correct answer choices.
The pre-thinking-based approach helps me to focus and rule out all the things that are not essential to figuring out the answer. This helps me in distilling the logic of the question and avoid trap answer choices.
If you want to try the course that helped Jim score a 770, sign up for our Free Trial now! If you are planning to take the GMAT, we can help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare. Write to us at email@example.com. We are the most reviewed GMAT prep company on gmatclub with more than 1850 reviews (as on December 2019)
Now that you are done with your GMAT, what’s next? Which schools are you looking to apply to for your MBA?
Since my post-MBA goal is to pursue a career in investment banking, the following are the business schools that I am looking to apply to:
- NYU Stern School of Business
- Wharton School of Business
- Columbia Business School
- Chicago Booth School of Business
Targeting a post-MBA career in Investment Banking and a preference for New York City Location
Initially, I had not considered higher-ranked schools such as Wharton, Columbia, and Chicago Booth, however, with a GMAT score of 770 I think I have a good shot at the top business schools now. These business schools are known for their quantitative curriculum which would be really helpful in pursuing my post-MBA career aspirations in investment banking.
Another factor in selecting business schools for me is geography, I prefer the New York City location, however, I would be willing to look at other options if they have better rankings and career outcomes.
Chicago Booth has the highest number of Nobel laureates as faculty
Rajat: All the schools you are looking at are great options. Chicago Booth, in particular, was ranked #1 in various MBA rankings recently and they have the greatest number of Nobel laureates as faculty.
Jim: One question I had is about the possibility of receiving a scholarship at these schools.
Rajat: Since you would be applying as a Canadian national and with your 770 GMAT score there is a good chance of receiving at least some amount of scholarship money at these schools.
Larger class size and more scholarship money at Chicago Booth
This is one of the reasons that I would strongly recommend Chicago Booth. Since they have a larger class and more scholarship money to offer. While your GMAT score contributes around 20% weightage toward business school admission decisions, it contributes as much as 40% weightage towards scholarship decisions.
I would suggest you go through what is a good GMAT score for Chicago Booth article to learn more.
Thank you Rajat, that is some really good news for me personally.
Here are a few more articles that you may find useful:
- Best Business Schools for Finance careers (Investment Banking)
- Chicago Booth School of Business – Employment Reports and Salaries
- Wharton School of Business – Employment Reports and Salaries
- Columbia Business School – Employment Reports and Salaries
- NYU Stern School of Business – Employment Reports and Salaries