CAUTION : LONG POST
I took my GMAT for the 4th time on 18th August and I scored 700(Q48 V38). I feel I should have recieved this score on my second attempt but too late to cry over the spilt milk.
I am quite happy to be done with this test and prove that I am a better test taker than 90 percent of test takers out there. I have not received my AWA and IR score but I am expecting it to be 5.5 and 6 respectively. My background:
BS Mechanical Engg (India-State School) - 3.3/4.0
Started my own engineering design business while managing family engineering business for a year and had to close my business in a year
MS in Aerospace Engg (University of Texas ) 3. 18/4.0 Dean’s fellow, Research assistant and Teaching Assistant - Took graduate level advanced math and economics classes with As in all of 4 of them
I am working with a large engineering firm as a design engineer for 3 and half years in US. I am managing 3 engineers in India and 3 in US.
Member of a local charter school governing council
Target schools - Stanford GSB, UC- Berkeley - Haas, Booth, and MIT Sloan. 1st attempt - October 2009
Studied for a week, took the GMAT and got burned. I realized that I needed to prepare more. 2nd attempt - November 2011
600 (Q47 V26)
Studied for 2 months, finished OG my practice test scores were above my target scores. Not sure what went wrong. I am not a bad test taker. I don’t get nervous. I told myself it was just a bad day. I decided to wait for the next admission cycle and take the GMAT.
3rd attempt - June 2012
610 (Q41 V34)
This time I studied every single problem I could find.
Verbal Manhattan GMAT SC
guide Power score CR Bible
Mostly internet forums Kaplan
Verbal Review 2
GMAT Prep Question Pack 1 My practice test scores are
GMAT Prep T1 650 (Q47, V34)
MGMAT CAT 690(Q47 V37)
MGMAT CAT 700 (Q43 V42)
MGMAT CAT 710 (Q43 V44)
MGMAT CAT 660 (Q43 V36)
MGMAT CAT 660 (Q43 V36)
At this point I freaked out about my quant scores. I am an engineer I can do much better than this. So I studied quant for 2 weeks.
GMAT Prep T2 740 (Q48 V44)
GMAT Prep Reset T1 750 (Q49 V42)
GMAT Prep Reset T2 740 (Q48 V44)
I scored 610 on real test after all the work I had put in. I took a nice 15 day vacation after this and forgot about the GMAT for atleast 20 days. I started preparing again for my 4th attempt and I had around 22 days in hand.
After my 3rd attempt I didn’t have much study material left and I was scoring really well on my practice tests before my 3rd attempt so I wasn’t sure where to start. I decided to just find the remaining weaknesses. I went over all of my old practice tests and made a matrix. I had screen shots of all my GMAT Prep questions I got wrong. That came in real handy. I also signed up for e-gmat
course. That was really helpful. You can study anywhere you want. I just went over their concept reviews of the topics I was weak at(verb in SC and Assumption Weakens in CR)
I found out that for quant I can improve a little on word problems and geometry. So I just went over all the geom and word problem I could find in the OG 13
and Quant Review 2 and just redid all those problem.
For verbal I figured out although I was very good at SC and RC, my overall score could be restricted because of CR (Weaken and find the assumption) questions. As I mentioned earlier I used e-gmat
’s online content, those concept videos helped me a lot.
I took one practice test 2 weeks before the real test just to keep my test taking skills up to the mark. I scored 720 which is about the same range I have been scoring in. Day Before the Test
My test was planned at 8.00AM and it was in a town 2 hour drive from where I live. Luckily my girlfriend’s parents live very close by so we both decided to pay them a visit. The day before the testI did not study at all. I drove to my girlfriend’s parents’ place I helped my girlfriend and her mom with some work in their farm and horse stable. Visited the test center and then watched the Lord of The Ring – The Fellowship of The Ring for the first time in my life. Test Day
Next morning woke up around 6AM and ate decent breakfast (Toast and English Breakfast Tea) drove to the test center.
I was very calm right before the test. I know the feeling going through my mind was “oh I just want to get done and come to a conclusion of this tedious process. Oh after the test I am going to my friend’s wedding..Nice!!! I am pretty sure my friend is going to bike to his wedding and he has out favourite burrito place have cater the food.. hah..I just want to get done with this test". I am not kidding, those were the exact thoughts I had going through my head.
I started with AWA and IR section, I think I did pretty well there. Took the break, had some cold-coffee I brought and half the granola bar. Started my quant section. I knew that I might struggle with timing on quant so I was constantly keeping tab on my time. I remember I use the notepad grid to answer two of the geom questions and one number line question. It took me 50sec max to answer those questions. So my advice, use the grid on the notepad they give you as much as you can. It not only helps you to get to answer faster but you can be very sure of answer if you have done the scaling right. For example one of the questions was about two lines. GMAT had given me slope of one line and x intercept. Other line was perpendicular to the first line. I just went through multiple scenarios and found out the answer(slope of the second line). I rechecked the answer after the test with equation and I was right. It took me probably 40 seconds to find that answer with the help of the grid.
I took the break after quant and ate rest of the food I brought with me, had some water, used the restroom and back to tackle the verbal section. I started off pretty well. I noticed that lot of SC questions were focused on meaning. I couldn’t find grammatical errors easily; they were more focused on the word choice and active and passive voice. By the time I was at q # 15, I was exhausted. Here the real struggle began. I believe this is the reason I did not score as well as I hoped to. I was struggling to keep my focus. I was reading SC questions with CR mind set. Taking notes and looking for conclusion and premise in SC questions. I caught myself taking notes about assumptions in SC question. That is when I became more aware and try to focus more.
I finished my verbal section with this kind of mixed feelings and went through the standard questionnaire and clicked on report the score. I saw 700. My first thought was “dang it, it could have been just 20 point higher if I would have gotten two more questions right in verbal or quant”. I was falling for the famous trap of “not enough GMAT score” and I told myself don’t waste your time analysing this too much just accept it and this is a good score indeed. So most probably I am not going to retake it unless I find a very compelling reason to do so. Major Take Away
- Use the grid and graphic method in quant section if you are pressed for time
- Verbal section: practice on your concentration and stamina. Whenever you practice, do it with multiple questions type in one session. That will train your mind to alternate through different thinking required during the test.