3 years back, in 2010, I attended the first session of Toastmasters club in Mumbai. I wanted to present a speech in front of audience from that very moment. Months passed, I could not join the club, but I always used to think how would be my speech, how it will progress, will the ending be impactful. December 2012, I finally joined the club and got the opportunity to write my speech. Whatever I was thinking for last 2 years, I could easily write it down now. It was an awesome feeling to face the crowd for first time successfully.
But what does this has to do with the GMAT? So, coming to exam…I wrote my first exam in July last year, score - 640.
What a blunder!
Another few months, took some online courses, completed OG 10
, 12 again, and repeated MGMAT SC
book. I read many success stories in this forum and thought I would also give a long debrief after my second attempt. I thought this time I am going to score at least 700. I imagined that when I will report my score I could even get a higher score. Finally, I would get a chance to write here, again imagining the content. But... Second attempt – September, 2012, score - 660 (Q50, V28).
I was left with 15mins in quant and 10 mins in verbal section. I was still not sure what went wrong. I thought I can't improve on my verbal skills anymore. I wanted to seek some help. I approached to several tutors but it did not work out. But I still had some hope left. I kept searching for more material. Repeated all the MGMAT tests. Reviewed OG12
again. My wife booked the exam date for me. She said, I am not going to be serious until the countdown doesn't start. By the time 2 months were left for the exam, I was still in the same situation as I was few months back. I somehow worked out a schedule to cover up the course, tried to stick to the same, but eventually I was doing the random sections. Finally, the day arrived. I had two outcomes for the result, on one hand I might get a good score and continue with mba journey, this cheered me up! On the other hand, I may get a score in mid 600's, and no more mba - this was frightful. Even when I sat in front of computer, I was hoping to get 700 or at best 720. Last 5 mins, I was as impatient as ever.April 30, 2013 - final attempt - score 730 (Q50, V38)Serendipitous!
And now, I have got the chance to write my story for which I have waited for almost a year. No more entrance tests for me. I now think that it is quite possible for anyone to achieve the desired score. The clues for success are written in each of the de-brief here. I just failed to notice them before, and if you failed to notice them too, here I am mentioning them again.
Materials I used:
A good course for those who are really weak in verbal section.
This course would come handy when you have a good grasp on basic verbal concepts.
4. Powerscore CR bible:
Get a conceptual clarity, and practice from OG
5. GMAT - Question pack 1:
I used the official question bank 1 week prior to the exam. It has good number of questions and is an excellant source after OG.
6. My error log:
This was the most important thing during the whole preparation. During my first and second attempt, I never reviewed any of the wrong answers. I thought when such/similar question appears again in exam, I would be able to do it. But I was wrong. For my third attempt, I maintained the log. It need not be an excel sheet, but a simple sheet divided into two columns - What got it wrong/What got it right. Keep checking the log again and again. My error log
even contains similar entries again and again. For example - I was getting questions on Subject verb agreement wrong. Every time I got a question wrong and wrote SV in my error log
. Within one week, I was able to reduce such repeated mistakes. So, trust me error log
7. MGMAT online tests
8. GMAT club, Ipad app:
Got it in exchange of posts/kiudos. A very useful app, with lots of questions.
What changed from 2nd to 3rd attempt:
Keep a track of your progress. Evaluate your strengths/weakness. MGMAT tests do provide a good insight about your performance. Checkout your accuracy and timings. I was getting easier questions wrong in CR. My score decreased with increasing difficulty of questions. So, first thing I had to do was to get the easier questions right and then solving the tough ones correctly.
I mentioned before that I was left with 15mins in quant and 10mins in verbal. This was a huge mistake, and continued for long time. I was not giving sufficient time to each question. In a SC questions, I might choose an answer in 30secs. But spending another 30sec still be worth spending, just to make sure that chosen answer is correct.
Revise the error log
. Keep track of your mistakes.
4. Exam temperament
At least once a week go for a marathon. Take a test, review it, solve more questions from each section. Just don't stress too much. Dress up well on the test day. Relax and focus. Don't rush during the exam. Be confident.
And that was the old wine in new bottle!
Thanks to GMAT club for helping me out. And a special thanks to my wife who had always been supportive to me.