Ayush Rustagi: How did he get to GMAT 760 from just 650 earlier?
Yes, it sounds unbelievable, but it is true. Ayush achieved a 110 point increase on the GMAT – to GMAT 760 from GMAT 650, in just under 3 months! Lets see how he achieved it.
Ayush Rustagi, having completed his bachelor’s degree in business management showed a keen interest to take his penchant for investment management forward.
In order to get a head start in a career in this industry, getting a CFA certification is vital. He successfully completed two levels of the certification while gaining valuable work experience by interning with firms in the industry.
Such education combined with work experience may be enough to gain an entry into the investment management and consultancy business but if this is backed with a management school degree from a university abroad, he knew he would be on the right track. Studying for the GMAT, especially with a full-time job, is never easy.
One of the biggest and first hurdles to getting into any of the top schools is cracking the GMAT. Knowing that a good score in the GMAT exam, adequate work experience and a strong profile will be critical to achieving this goal, he began his extensive preparation by studying the material available online.
There is an abundance of general information available online about the right way to approach the studying and attempting the exams and he strongly believes that this general approach is what led him to a lower score the first time around.
Apart from attempting the test based on the mock papers available, he used the practice books to improve his score and his performance.
With the mock papers and the test papers, he found that though he did score big in the “Quantitative”, his marks were lower in the “Verbal”.
There was a lack of consistency in the scoring pattern and despite this he went ahead with his first attempt backed by the conviction that what he scored in his mocks is what would be reflected in the exams.
He scored 650 in his first attempt and this was extremely disappointing for him, as he knew that he could do much better.
What went wrong?
There are several ways to attempt the GMAT exam but if there is a sure shot (if there is one such way!) way of getting through with the best results, then it has to be the emphasis on practice and the right guidance. There were several things which led to Ayush’s disappointing result:
Time management: Time management is a critical aspect of cracking the GMAT and this was one of the reasons for the relatively poor performance in the first round.
Also, misguided advice abundantly available online influenced him to focus on the first few questions in a category. This led him to spend too much time on the initial questions leaving him guessing answers for most of the questions towards the end.
While this may be a good approach if you have speed and accuracy on your side, managing your time sufficiently well to attempt all the questions with focus, understanding and speed will ensure a better chance of success.
Issues with SC: Ayush felt that his skills in the Verbal part of the exam needed polishing and this was especially so in Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning where he felt he was spending too much time on the questions.
Where the ideal time to solve such questions should be around a minute or less, he was taking more than that time. Also, Ayush felt he severely lacked an understanding of the content and he was more focused on the grammar involved. This led to quite a bit of guesswork and therefore many wrong answers.
Critical Reasoning: According to him, one of the most important things about his preparation that he needed to change was his approach to solving the critical reasoning questions.
He was skeptical about using “pre-thinking” as an approach. He was confident that this was a far more time-consuming approach than what he was doing. He also accepts that he did not have enough practice in these questions as well.
Overall, he scored in the range of 700-720 in the mock exams which led him to believe that he would score in the similar range in the main exam. However, his failure to sharpen his language skills, take a more intensive or a focused approach to learning and prepping led to the below-par performance.
Overcoming the hurdles on the GMAT 760 path:
A low score (even a 650) does not mean guaranteed rejection. It may be possible to get into the school you prefer if you have a solid profile with a backing of a great application form.
However, for some like Ayush, a second attempt is warranted. Attempting the GMAT exam, a second time around will be easier when you know where your preparation was lacking the first time.
The strong points for Ayush most certainly were
- An ability to grasp and adapt quickly to instructions being provided.
- Despite being skeptical about using Pre-thinking as an approach to attacking the questions, he quickly caught on and figured that it was a matter of time before which he would be able to use this method to solve questions with ease.
- As far as Quant was concerned, all he needed to do was to work at his speed and accuracy both of which were possible with the guidance that GyanOne provided.
GyanOne’s focused approach to ensuring that Ayush had a perfect understanding of the concepts and an ability to manage time to solve questions with ease laid the foundation for a more intensive and fixated approach to the exam this time around.
With an aim to score better-above 700, Ayush signed up for their one-on-one GMAT preparation which gives you individualized attention in sorting the kinks in your preparation strategy guaranteeing that you sail through easily.
One of the key factors in his success the second time around (scoring 750) can be attributed to the precise training afforded by coaches who are themselves ISB graduates who have scored 760 and above in their GMAT’s!
How he eventually cracked the exam:
- Logical thinking improved with practice as he was able to assess the possible solutions to questions in the Critical Reasoning.
- He was able to do away with guesswork as the practice with the material provided took care of it.
- The GMATclub forum gave him the confidence to deal with several aspects of his preparation, especially with Sentence Correction.
- He used practice tests every day (20 questions within 35 minutes) to ensure that the speed and accuracy were getting better. According to him since this was a rhythm exam, he needed to be in the right zone and that is what he constantly worked at.
- As far as the Sentence Correction section was concerned, he began to focus on the reasoning behind the questions and the right reasons for the solution as well. This helped him to develop mastery over the content ultimately preparing him for every kind of a question.
- He read newspapers and articles extensively to brush up on his reading comprehension skills.
Having cleared the first two levels of CFA and with a strong inclination to work in private equity firms in the future, Ayush hopes to be able to get into any one of the best business school abroad.
His background and experience in financial companies such as KPMG and UBS Verity along with his current employment with Avendus Capital should work as the ideal work experience to gain entry to any one of these schools.