My GMAT Debrief- 730 (Q50 V39) in 1st attempt

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Date and Center- 3rd January 2016, Kormangala Bangalore
Score- 730 (Q 50, V 39) IR- 1 (was completely clueless here)
Attempt- 1st
Started Preparation during Mid November (exactly during Diwali vacations)
Schools targetting- I got an admit to ISB (Indian School of Business) through EEO (Early Entry Option). I will be joining batch of 2017-18.

I was never consistent while preparing and the major chunk of my studies happened in last 10 days. Neither did I take a single mock in one sitting.


I am not from Maths background so it was always a nightmare for me. Bought Manhattan Strategy Guide and completed all topics. Then got myself GMAT Club Tets, tried 10 questions from 700 level but couldn’t solve a single of them. Decided not to touch those questions. Solved around 100 600 level questions with 70-75% accuracy. Hence, out of 1500+ Questions in GC Tests, 1000 are still lying unsolved.

Did OG 2015 + Quant Review 2015 + OG 2016 + Quant Review 2016 cover to cover. Marked the questions I got wrong and revised a few days before exam. There are 25% new questions in 2016 versions of both the book and many questions which were present in 2015 editions are omitted from 2016 editions. So, it is a good idea to get all 6 books (OG 2015, VR 2015, QR 2015, OG 2016, VR 2016 and QR 2016).
I never solved Quants questions posted in this group as even the sight of them used to give me shivers.


Got E-Gmat Verbal Online subscription. Its SC is amazing (but you still need to be thorough with OG). I didn’t find anything spectacular in its CR. Didn’t touch its RC (neither the lessons nor the questions). After finishing started with its Scholaranium (700+ Questions). Did around 150 questions from SC (82% accuracy) and 80-100 questions from CR (72% accuracy). Got bored and didn’t attempt the rest of the questions (So, 60-70% of my Scholaranium is left unsolved as well). As already mentioned, didn’t attempt its RC.

CR– I also tried to do CR from CR Powerscore Bible. Couldn’t solve many questions and gave up in the mid. CR was always frustrating for me. In the end, I decided to stick only with OGs and VRs (both 2015 and 2016 editions). Also did a few (around 60 ) questions from Gmat Prep Question Document downloaded from GmatClub three days before exam.

SC– Re-revised all questions from OG 2015, 16 and VR 2015,16 2-3 days before exam. Was confident as accuracy in these questions was 90% (and had done well in E-Gmat SCs as well).

RC– I had only attempted 5-6 RCs (all from OGs) before the actual exam. Comprehension was never an issue as I have been a voracious reader (My Goodreads analytics show that I have read 43 books in 2015 and 12,500 pages in total). Even last night before the exam, I read one short story by Alice Munroe.

Mocks- Princeton 1- 630, Princeton 2- 650, Gmat Prep 1- 700 (got a few questions which I had already solved before in Verbal) , Veritas- 650, Gmat Prep 2- 620 (10 days before the exam). Didn’t bother to look for the solution of questions I did wrong as I was too frustrated and had almost given up (But had to take the exam anyway as I had booked the dates during the beginning of preparation itself). Never took any mocks after that and decided to build upon what I already knew.

Exam Day

I had screwed up my sleep pattern during the last days (took 10 days off, used to study at night and sleep during the day time). As expected, couldn’t sleep for a single second last night. Kept revising SCs from OG and solved a few easy Quant questions (I had always known that I won’t be able to solve tough quants, hence I focussed on getting the easy ones correct no matter what). Reached near the center two hours ago, sat in CCD which is just in front of the centre. Had coffee and a sandwich. Just before entering the centre, popped up a Modafinil 200 mg (Google what it is) with a can of Red Bull and smoked an iceburst (to keep myself alert).

AWA- Had never practiced this before but wasn’t of much issue. Took 10 minutes to frame my answer and wrote it down in 15 minutes. Revised for grammatical/spelling errors in last 5 minutes.

IR- Solved a few, randomly answered rest of them. I found it too tough. Also, I had never attempted this section in any of the mocks.

Quants- EXTREMELY EASY is the word. I would say it was easier than OGs . Confidently solved 9 out of first 10 correctly (guessed 1). Next questions were easy as well. And I used to get to know by the first look of the question that whether I will be able to solve or not. Hence, randomly guessed 3-4 questions without wasting any time on them. Even then, I missed the last question as time was up (yeah I am that slow in Maths). I got sh** scared thinking about the heavy penalty for leaving a question unanswered. Calmed myself down during the break and ate a chocolate.

Verbal– SC was tricky but easy if you have been a consistent reader and are thorough with basics. Had questions on Comparisons, Rhetorical Construction, Idioms, Use of Present Perfect Tense and so on.

CR as expected was too tough (for me atleast). Infact wasn’t even able to understand the question stem of two CRs. I guessed them randomly and made smart guesses for others. While I was confident of getting most SCs correct, I was hardly sure of 2-3 CRs in total.

RC- 2 short + 2 long. The last one was 4- 5 paragraphs long and was extremely difficult to comprehend (was based on finance and economics). Couldn’t get the gist but tried to eliminate wrong answers somehow.

Couldn’t believe when it showed 730 on the screen (Q 50, V 39 and a dismal IR 1 ).

Key Takeaways :-

1. Official Questions are god (specially in Verbal). Do not digress much.
2. In Quants know which question you can’t solve, make a smart guess and move on without wasting time.
3. Mock scores may suggest what you are going to get in the actual exam, but this is not a rule (who knows it better than me ) Don’t stop studying till the last day.
4. Instead of solving tough questions, focus more on making sure you don’t get the easy ones wrong.
5. Make SC your strength. Why? 1st reason- You can easily master it. 2nd reason- It’s the least time taking type of question in Verbal.
6. Never stop reading.

Disclaimer- Above strategies worked for me but there are many people in this group who have scored much more than me, so its better to have their opinion as well.

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28 thoughts on “My GMAT Debrief- 730 (Q50 V39) in 1st attempt

  1. Hey Anshul ,
    Can you please tell how much time did you invest in GMAT prep ? As in the number of months ? Also, how did you manage prep along with job ? Wat used to be your preparation plan for a week ? I am currently working and finding it difficult to manage Time on week days . weekends are fine but dont think they are enough


    1. Hello Sonal

      I was preparing off and on since September but I started preparing seriously from November (During Diwali Vacations) and took the exam on January 3rd 2016.

      I am ok with sleeping just for 4-5 hours so I guess that helped me to invest more time in studying.


      1. Thanks a lot Anshul 🙂 and I am extremely sorry for the late reply , I missed the notification 🙂 will seek your valuable advice in future as well 🙂


  2. Hi Anshul,

    Many congratulations for such a good score and getting a place in ISB.

    I have a question related to Manhattan strategy guide books. I have my exam in one month and I was wondering if this amount of time is enough for completing the manhattan guide books especially the quantitative ones. As of now, I am preparing just with the official guide 2016. Request your advise.

    Thank you,


    1. Hello Aqueel.

      Thank you. Please note that Manahattan Strategy guides are only to teach you the basics. If your basics are in place, you can easily let it go. Or you can just use one day (weekend) to go through all the Quant Guides (11-12 hours will be sufficient in my opinion)


      1. Thank you Anshul. Currently I am only using official guide quantitative review and verbal review for preparation. I bought a kindle version of Manhattan Sentence correction book and got 5 CAT exams free. Also I have bought exams from Veritas. My plan is to complete the official guide and take all the exams from Manhattan and Veritas and obviously the 2 free exams from the GMATprep software. Is this plan and method of preparation good enough for a score of 650+? Any advise.


  3. Thank you Anshul. Appreciate your time. If I have any questions at later point of time, I might bother you again 🙂 . Thank you.


  4. Hey anshul,

    Congrats on your admit.
    Can you suggest what prep materials would be enough for quant.
    Basics are strong.


  5. Thanks a lot Anshul for the great post. Wanted to know a few things. If the aim is to crack 750+ scores:

    1. Generically, what should be the amount of time that one should invest? (I am working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day)
    2. In what order should we prepare:

    (i) Mock Test from Official GMAT to assess our level?
    (ii) Official GMAT Prep Books to be completed?
    (iii) Verbal and Quant to be studied in detail. And from where?
    (iv) Further mockups and practice sets and (iii) again

    Your revert would be highly appreciated. Thanks a lot again 🙂


    1. Hello Jithin

      Apologies for late reply.

      1. 2-3 hours on weekdays and 14-15 hours on weekend over 3 months will be sufficient.

      2. I have already mentioned this in the debrief. Read it again.

      Thank you


  6. Hi Anshul,

    Thanks for the post. I have researched extensively on Modafinil and am bend towards using Modafinil to increase my focus. I just want to understand if in your opinion it did you any good? and did you use it regularly while preparing for GMAT or just on the day of the Exam?


  7. Hi I am planning to start my gmat preparation now and in planning to take it in next year December….Is Official Guide 2018 the one which should I start with?


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