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The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare. – Bobby Knight

Failure is an Opportunity to Learn!


Facing failure might not be the easiest thing to do in life. But, well, sometime or the other, we end up in that place. As for me, it was just a few days back – My first GMAT, which took a big hit. I ended up messing up the biggest opportunity of life – 60 days of preparation, 2 months of salary and promotion, all sacrificed for nothing. But, looking back, when i was a month away, i knew i needed a bit more of time and preparation. I knew i could’ve organized my preparation way better if i had been a quick learner and got the clues while taking initial tests and most of all if i hadn’t listened to my mind’s tantrums. But nevertheless, it is not a wasted opportunity. I did learn a lot of things. And now i have a chance to make things happen the better way – the wiser way.

Mistake i did in the previous Preparation:

My Plan was pretty clear: First One month – Basics (Manhattan and OG’s) Next 1 month, practice and Mock tests. I kept mock tests for last 3 weeks, i had about 10 of them to do. But, there wasn’t really much time, by the time i saw that my verbal scores are hitting the bottom line i had just 2 weeks to go. May be i could’ve pulled things off if i wasn’t too focused on taking tests but to improve the verbal skills, i could’ve avoided the detour. There was also another major mistake, i focused on a particular topics for weeks and left that topic with that. In the sense, first time i did Manhattan Sentence Correction – i was hitting 80%+ in OGs and 90%+ in other tests. But, The next two weeks i focused on Quants. So what ever prowess i developed in SC, was drained even before i saw any Mock CATs. The same happened to CR, RC, PS and DS.

So, this time around, I am not going to be repeating my mistakes. Starting from week One, I am going to be doing all the sections every day, at least a few questions from each. So that i don’t lose touch. Given my short term memory retention, this would really help me out, in keeping things on the tabs for a long period of time.

Regarding quants, i also do one big mistake and keep repeating it. Read the question too quickly and miss out on details or because of my illegible handwriting, interpret numbers wrongly. Avoid, these two would guarantee at least a 2 point increase in my Quant score.

Focusing on short-term results. Well, thing is I was too focused on short-term results. Hence, when it was bad, i used to take it seriously and get bogged down by it. Instead of finding a way to not repeat the mistakes, i would go about lamenting about how bad it went. I would’ve probably wasted about 14 days doing this lamenting thing. Since i was not in the right mood, what ever i did those 14 days, i did worse than i would’ve done any other day. Hence, i felt more bad about myself.

While writing the exam, when i started AWA, i felt like giving up, like there is no use of me giving GMAT. When i was doing verbal, i gave up within first 10 questions. Well, this is not new to me, fact is i have been doing it in my practice tests more often. I would sit for a 60 minute session and give up at 15th minute itself. I would take a break for 5 minutes and get back. Unfortunately, this became psychological and while doing full MOCK CATS also, i was doing it, but i never noticed, because most of the time it would be because someone disturbed me.

Area of Weakness:

Identifying the area of weakness is an integral part of improving the score. My area of weakness is:

1. Short term Memory retention: I don’t know what to call it, but one of my biggest weakness is, if i concentrate on one thing and one thing alone, i tend to wash out what i read the previously.

2. Speed in Quants: I am not too good at Quants, but i am not too bad. But, with a little bit of speed on my side, i could sure as hell get a better score.

3. Verbal: Sentence Correction, last time i saw, i was dreadful at that. I really need to work on that! Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension can definitely use bit of improvement.

4. Focusing for a longer duration. True, it has been my weakness ever since i had to sit for 3 hour exams that’s saying 4th grade. Now, i can’t let that happen, it is not only too costly an affair but also it means wasting too much of resources (time and hardwork).

I have no idea about AWAs, i bet its not going to be a good new either. And So, IR. But for now, they are least of my worries.

Preparation Strategy:

Given my weakness and mistakes, i am planning to do a healthy bit of practice everyday. Quants, i should focus on 700+ Problems. Verbal, i should start from basics again. I got a couple of online material and this time, i am planning to use Powerscore CR Bible for CR and RC, i am just gonna have to find a best way. I am going to be doing Manhattan SC again. This time, going to take notes – Clear notes.Take two hour sessions at at time. 4 hours would be brutal :P.

As far as shooting for the stars landing in the moon is concerned, unlike last time, i am not going keep a target score(fyi, last time i had 760 as target score), instead i am going to focus on doing what i have planned for the day with focus and attention.

As much as i have talked about my failure, it turns out it is not a failure, if i did learn something. Besides,

You haven’t really failed, if you haven’t given up!

Hope you have something to take away from this post, i intend to share about my experiences with a wider audience because, i don’t want you to make the mistakes i did. Please feel free to drop in your comments, experiences, or just about anything!


3 thoughts on “Failure is an Opportunity to Learn!

  1. Ouch. I think I will take your pointers and start doing all-over study sooner. I’m very familiar with the learn a lot for a short time. I’ve taken a lot of computerized tests over the years. GMAT times would be on the low end.

    Good luck next time!

  2. Pingback: Strategies:Verbal « bschool admit

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