Quick Intro :
I'm an Indian entrepreneur, applying to the Top 4 US B-schools and was targeting 700+ (I scored 730 - Q50, V39, IR - 8, AWA -6)Disclaimer:
This debrief, including the tips and suggestions, is best consumed by non-natives(esp Indians) as I am unaware of the Quant & Verbal proficiency of the others.
On July 15th , I chose my GMAT Date (9th October 2013
) and assumed that I had around 80 days to prepare! But there's something very important to note about human psychology , we work like NASA rockets- not that we are awesome, but we take off only when our ass is on fire..
And thus, I wasted the first month (post July 15th) just reading various posts on GMATClub - figuring out what the GMAT is all about,reading about the scores required to get into the colleges of my choice and basically everything other than studying for the GMAT.
I wrote my first GMATPrep and discovered that Verbal is going to be my 'pain in all the wrong places' . A 640 with a V29 confirmed that I needed to take a course for Verbal. As is the common joke, Asians are great at Quant and Indians esp can pretty much recite the 36 tables reverse at midnight - so Quant was really not that much of a scare (till i wrote the Manhattan tests)
I decided to take a Verbal course to improve that dreaded V29 and started shortlisting courses. As I had workload to manage , I was sure that i needed an online course and after checking various reviews I shortlisted GMATPill and e-gmat. GMATPill
started bombarding me with success stories of previous PILLers (via their newsletter as I had signed up for the free platform).
Just like any layman who decides to buy a refrigerator after seeing a superstar endorsing it, I bought the complete pill for around $300 . Although the concept looked really cool in the beginning, I must say the GMATPill
course was a TERRIBLE disappointment and definitely didnt help me at all (i truly believe this course is built for natives, and is a huge disappointment for Indians- use the free newsletters and videos they provide , dont bother buying the course).
After spending over 14 days on the Pill and my score not increasing the pathbreaking numbers that were promised (I moved from 640 to 660), i started to look for new 'tutors' (By now i had analyzed my errors and realized that SC and CR were playing spoilsport)
I quickly moved to the next best course option and took only the SC Course ($70) from e-gmat
. I must say the E-Gmat
Course is MINDBLOWINGLY AWESOME for any Indian student as it clears a lot of basics and provides you the steps essential to solve GMAT SC questions. I quickly noticed a jump in my Scores (detailed below) and bought the complete Verbal Live package (was available for $99 upgrade). But I had just 10 days to go and CR was my big PAIN (now that SC was kind of sorted) .
On a deep dive analysis (ah! yes - being a corporate helps
), I realized that i was making 70% of my CR mistakes in Weakening and Inference questions and I focused on these 2 topics in the e-gmat
CR course and voila! my accuracy improved dramatically..
I was pretty confident I'd get a 700 by the last week but I still wasn't sure so I downloaded the (then) 'brand new' GMATPrep Tests
3 and 4 and trust me, its the best predictor of your actual score.
GMATPrep 3 and 4 have the same scoring system as the GMAT and GMATPrep 4 actually predicted the EXACT score that i would get 2 days later in the real GMAT. So, its a good tool for you to decide if you actually want to take the test on your decided date or push it for a little more learning space.
Overall, I think the most important part would be to get your basics right - CR & SC are very very workable and can be perfected with the right coaching. In case you have problems with Quant, I'd suggest Quantitative Aptitude by R.S Agarwal for practice and Khan Academy if you want to clear your quant concepts.
With respect to practice material, my humble request would be to use ONLY official material
- OG 13
, Question Pack 1 (from mba.com) and Verbal Review 2 (if you want more practice)
I took quite a few mock tests the last two weeks (almost one a day) and learnt great tactics to improve my quant speed and get my head in place for 3 hours
The MGMAT Quant is calculation intensive and NOT representative of the original GMAT. The MGMAT CR
is too tough compared to the real GMAT and I would suggest to just get your basics (thought process to crack a CR question) right.
KAPTest final score always seemed representative but their Verbal is way TOO tough and out of the league and their Sectional scores are definitely not representative
Edvendo Test Series (free with e-gmat
) was good but the Quant section lacked probability/P&C and hence scores cannot be considered right.Before e-gmat
GMATPrep 1 : 640 (Q48, V29)
GMATPrep 1 : 660 (second attempt)
GMATPrep 2 : 670 (Q49, V32)
MGMAT 1 : 610 (Q45, V30)After e-gmat
GMATPrep 3 : 720 (Q49, V39)
GMATPrep 4: 730 (Q50 , V39)
MGMAT 2 : 690 (Q45, V38)
MGMAT 3 : 680 (Q46, V37)
MGMAT 4 : 700 (Q47, V38)
KAPTEST 1 : 680 ( Q92%, V64% )
KAPTEST 2 : 700 ( Q92%, V79% )
KAPTEST 3 : 710 ( Q98%, V35%)
Last but not the least, i used the Chineseburned template to crack AWA. (The e-gmat
CR helped me put my assumptions, weakeners and strengthener thoughts together) and the GMATPrep Tests
to get through IR (e-gmat
again had a lot of IR videos and question types, but I didnt have the time to complete the course - I dont think so much effort is required though)
Also, make sure you write your mock tests with IR so that you can keep your mind awake for 4 hours (I actually lost it the last 2 questions on TEST day and i guess i might have missed out on a V40 because of that).
I hope this helps the guys preparing for the GMAT, I'd be happy to help in case of any specific queries.. Personally, I believe the GMAT is a very crackable test if you have the (right) i) Course ii) Analysis iii) Time and iv) (a little) dedication & hardwork
(If i can get above 700, trust me anyone can!!!)