09 January 2012:
My first GMAT attempt. I was all confident to tame the otherwise unseen, scary monster having diligently prepared for last couple of months. I aimed for lower 700s as I knew that my time and capabilities were limited.
When I looked at my scores -- 580 (Q47, V21) -- in the test center I was shell shocked, as though I saw the Loch Ness monster. Somebody who would otherwise have seen this legend would go on to make news, but I was trying to stay from any attention.
I shelved my GMAT prep for a while, but planned to get GMAT out of my way before Round 1 (Oct) in 2012.
I dusted those books and resumed my prep in late June. This time I made few amends to my plan –
1. Kept track of remaining time on GMAT; followed the GMATPrepnow strategy (youtube -- watch?v=doyvboIy3JU)
2. Got hold of 1000 SC and furiously practiced all the questions
3. Tried to further strengthen my CR skills, signed up for eGMAT
4. RC – Tried to get the short and medium passage’s questions right. Not skimming but in-depth reading (Well, that’s how I liked it back then!)
5. Put Quant aside for a while, to concentrate solely on Verbal
My MGMAT prep test scores on 9th July 2012: V35, Q39; overall: 620
I wasn’t too concerned about Quant as I knew I was away from it for some time, deliberately. Although my SC and RC hit-rate was still less than 50%, CR’s was >85%.
Coming few days, I completed all the 1000SC questions and was answered the OG12
questions with about 70% accuracy.
RC was still pretty bad and that’s when I thought I need some help there. I signed up for eGMAT
verbal online series.
Gave a practice test couple of weeks later and my MGMAT practice scores read – Q44, V35; overall: 650. I wasn’t all pleased with the Verbal score.
I booked my actual GMAT in August, though I was getting nowhere. Took 3 weeks off from office and completed the following
• Verbal OG
• GMAT Prep question pack
Still not confident about my abilities I rescheduled my exam to October, planned to get ready for Round 2. My GMATPrep scores, week before my actual exam, read – 660 and 680. While reviewing these tests I realized I made couple of pretty silly mistakes and should I avoid those on real test, I would be there – in 700s (So I thought)
8th October, 2012
I tried to manage my time for each block of 5 questions (approx. 10 minutes for each 5-6 questions). Hit Submit, Boom! I see my score 630
Pretty disappointed, I lost faith in my ability to tame the monster. Fortunately, I didn’t tell many of my friends that I was attempting the exam again, saving me from any embarrassment.
I shared my GMAT resources and a bit of gyaan
with my colleague at office. He went on to score 730 on actual test!
Although happy for him, I felt frustrated that I couldn’t apply what I preached --Couple of points from his notes --
1. Take enough practice tests. Review, and identify potential pitfalls
2. Identify your strengths and weaknesses (Look at those MGMAT practice test reports, they tell it all)
3. Have a target score for Quant and Verbal, not just the total score as 700+
4. Learn to switch to Plan B, when original plan doesn’t work; guess option ‘c’ if you’re totally clueless
a. Back solving
b. Plugging Numbers
5. Do well on initial few questions, it builds confidence and momentum for coming problems. You may need to drive in 1st gear before you switch to the 3rd
6. Different people have different ways to read RC. Identify what works for you
7. Non-underlined portion of SC is as important, if not more, to understand the meaning of the sentence
8. CR is all about identifying conclusions, premises and counter-premises. Especially for strengthen/weaken/evaluate – know what you’re trying to S/W/E. A set of premises can lead to multiple conclusions. Be sure to identify THE conclusion
9. Unless, you’re aiming for 770+, you’ll have certain weak areas and have a plan for those
10. Common sense is so underrated, use it! (This worked pretty well on Work/Rate problems)
I decided I’ll give the beast a final shot. Booked a slot on July 22nd 2013. I just had about 35 days’ time to prepare so I limited my study material to bare minimums
and Verbal 2nd Ed.
SC and CR notes
3. 2 GMAT Prep tests; 1 Kaplan
test (I used up all the MGMAT ones)Sentence Correction:
Just did the ones in OG 12
and Verbal. Carefully applied the eGMAT
process. It worked pretty well for me. Got about 82% questions right. Trashed that 1000SC! Reading Comprehension:
Went through Stacey Koprince’s (MGMAT) articles. Broadly identified question types as – “According to passage…” and “Infer…” questions. Tried not to sacrifice all the questions pertaining to a passage, resulting in string of wrong answers, rather mastered to do Purpose, Tone and ‘According to passage’ question types with ease.
However much I tried I still had timing issues with RC so I allocated more time (+1.5 min) to an RC passage that were shot at me during the first 20 questions. Somehow, I took more time to make skimpy notes too! Overall Timing:
Dumped the earlier timing strategy and focused on getting the first few right, not because those would have more weightage but to boost my confidence and to rub off the initial friction. I observed that I can’t switch gears as soon as I would want, so during my practice tests I allocated about 2-3 mins extra for first 10 questions.Critical Reasoning:
the only dreaded question type was the Boldface but I made up my mind to sacrifice it, in case it turns up on exam.Quant:
I reviewed all the earlier MGMAT practice test and GMAT OG
questions in GMAT Club. Bunuel makes them look so simple! I made sure I have more than one way to solve a problem – search, search and search the problem in forums, you’ll get different ways to solve the same problem.
GMAT Prep1 : 710 (Don’t remember the individual scores)Kaplan
: 660 (Eww! scared me but I was told that the old tests are inaccurate in scoring)
GMAT Prep2: 720
Packed 2 nutritional bars – one for each break. Arrived 30 minutes early, did some skipping in the rest room; Stayed calm throughout the test even when I was behind time by about 4 minutes in Quant. Official score:
700 (V37, Q48, AWA 5, IR 8) ...and for the Loch Ness monster it's history, so is my GMAT.By no means it's a great score, but it's a decent improvement!