Hi All, (sorry for the long post)
GMAT - 420-570-590-700 ; Admitted at Harvard Business School for class of 2014.
I wanted to share my two cents about my experience with GMAT and MBA application process. Before I start the saga, I wanted to thank all the leadership of Gmat Club, Alumni of this legendary forum, and active users for sharing all the information and support. Though I was never an active poster in the forum, I believe I made use of all resources GMATCLUB has to offer to my fullest of abilities.
I sincerely like to express my gratitude to all.
I read a quote by Einstein and I believe it applies to me rightly – It read, “It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer”.
I believe there are much better post here on the forum that will tell you the intricacies about how you can boost your score with conceptual knowledge, so I will not bore you with resources I used, exams I wrote etc etc… It’s all the same but I will talk about things I did, which kept me going through the thick and thins in the process. I would not necessarily recommend that you try this at home but I am sure some can relate and hopefully will believe that there IS light at the end of the tunnel.
Long long ago, Year 2006:
I got fascinated by the thought of getting an MBA from a Top Business School. Learnt about an animal called GMAT and how big a pain in the a** it was. I put my first binder of GMAT material together. I soon forgot about it and started using that to be my scratch paper for other routine work. Status quo - Still graduating from school and had no job
Ha! Got a job in a Business Jet Manufacturing company and guess what! I was still collecting material for GMAT from all resources I can get my hands on. I din even know what GMAT structure looked like but I kept collecting material that would say Gmat on it.
GMAT was going no where so I decided on joining an online class that would get me into a discipline to study. I learnt that MGMAT was the best out there. I registered for the online class. I was asked to give a mock test to asses where I was, SO I followed the instructions and scored a CRUSHER! – 420 on the exam of MGMAT. I was told that MGMAT was +or – 30 point off the real exam and my hopes of getting a 700 where butchered. Thinking I wasted my money in even registering for the class, I continued… I finished the class and gave GMAT prep multiple time, only to fool myself and see 700+ scores on my practice exams …
Parallely, From this forum, I learnt about how much non-profit work was important for the MBA schools and I joined a Non-profit management association in my company in a committee officer role and actively pursued opportunities every where else - IMPORTANT STUFF.
Early Jan. I gave my first official attempt on GMAT. Left 3 questions on verbal unanswered and scored a Q48 V21 AWA 6.0(Thanks to Chinese burned) - 570 and I was like really! I did a post exam review with MGMAT . I took a break for 2 months and figured I would give a good shot later that year. I would have never come back to do GMAT again if I would not have repeated the class of MGMAT for $300. I wasn’t learning anything new but I needed to do something to keep up my continuity so I created a group of people, who I can study with offline.
I gathered 6 people from the class and took up the role to host a meeting almost daily or weekly to talk about GMAT. I realized that a leadership role got me to do things I would never do – Organizing my study pattern, chewing a question until we know what are the lessons learnt, Be ahead of the group to bring insights, solve more questions , do more research etc etc… GMAT was no more an exam but an evening past time. Even if I did not study, I talked GMAT and MBA schools to keep up my motivation. Lesson learnt – You teach, you share information only to become the master of that subject. I am not native English speaker but I could see myself getting better at SCs.
I did this for an year, I was doing good at SCs, ignored quant, CR and RC were left to GOD! I read book and CR and RCs but I don believe I had any structure when it came to practice CR and RCs.
Feb 2010, I gave my official GMAT again. I thought I did pretty well. I even had a RED BULL between the break.. Felt no lack of energy or time… I agreed to send my score to schools like Harvard and I was so ready to see my score. It blew my mind when I say a V29,Q43 AWA 5.5 – a 590. Tsunamis went through my brain and I lost hope in hardwork, prayers, and cursed GMAT for what it was. I came home..My friend (who scored 690) told me that may be I am not built for GMAT. My parents suggested to move on. I was close to believing that people who get 700+ on first attempt are super human and I was probably some kind of an outcast. I churned this fact for a month and told myself I would not give up. I have come so far, I know 85% of the stuff, If I give up now…I would waste all the effort, I would let myself down, I will prove everybody, who did not believe in me, right. I told myself that the last stretch is the most difficult and I will not give up when I am so close to the finish line.
One by one, people from my group disappeared and I was left with 1 guy – Abishek Boinpally, whom I met regularly to share my GMAT virtual enthusiasm with. Only good thing happened this year was I got promoted at work.
The leap for me was beyond imagination, I needed a jump from 590 to 700, A 110 points, which was an indicator I should quit GMAT. Beginning of 2011, I knew RC and CR were my weakness in GMAT. I evaluated my exam simulations, I reviewed all error logs, I created voice memos to revise formulae and cheat sheets, I created a template that I will follow in the exam for my scratch work, and the day before the exam, I followed the advice to relax, meditate, and play in the rain
. I went to the exam with Redbull and a sandwich (Realizing that RedBull just doesn’t help by itself). I thought I bombed my quant, I felt great about Verbal. I did not select any schools to send my scores too and I din read any screens and stopped clicking the NEXT button only when I reached the Score page. I looked at the score and kept thinking that it is all over and couldn’t imagine how life will be without
GMAT – I saw V38 Q47 – 700.
Seems a lot to go through for the same GMAT that some individuals crack in the first attempt with 760s
Hats off to all of you who did it!
My qualitative analysis of GMAT is that you need to learn the content and then learn to write the test, things such as timing, techniques to increase comprehension, shortcuts, how to use scratch paper etc…
I apologize, never thought this would become a real epic and I will put people to sleep. I wanted it to be a one page long piece. I would continue the admission into Harvard in the next post if there is any interest.
Thanks for staying with me if you are still reading!