Ok so now that I am over the disappointment and the hangover (mostly atleast
) I'll give you guys a sufficiently detailed account of my GMAT score and strategy. I think people often times like to write about their strategy when it is successful but when it's a failure nobody really writes much except,"Man I am so disaapointed..." I decided to write a detailed account of why I failed hoping that maybe people here would not repeat my mistakes.
I cannot give an exact date as to when I started studying for the GMAT. I knew about a year and half ago that I wanted to go to B-school so I started studying for the GMAT off and on. Two months before I scheduled to take the test I started studying every day. I used OG, Kaplan
(2005 and 800) and PR. When I was studying off an on the only way that I would study was just do OG problems and see if they were right or wrong and briefly read what the answer was and why, thats really it. I would also do practice sections from the Kaplan
CD but I never really did full length tests. But after I scheduled the tests I would do problems and try to understand why I would get the ones I got wrong incorrect and I would do full length tests to get myself trained for the timing of it all.
So for verbal I knew that I would have problems in everything. I am a native speaker, so really I have no excuse. But slightly in my defense I have moved around from country to country my whole life and none of the schools where I studied did I really get a solid foundation in grammar. I knew I had to work on all of these but the only way I knew how was to just do problems.
As I continued to do problems I did see patterns that I began to identify for SC
(you know the typical parallelism, dangling modifiers, etc.) but I realized that if the questions were out of the scope of these kind of commonly occurring questions I would rarely get them right. For SC I went a lot by "feeling", does this answer sound right to me? Funny thing is if you look at many of my SC posts on this site, that is really all I write..."I think this is the answer because it feels right to me". And I have to say a lot of times I would get it right, but to be honest I would not know why.
again I would do problems and never really understand why I was getting something right or wrong. It was until I found this site that I started explaining my answers and that I have to say REALLY HELPS A LOT!
was where I can say I made the most significant improvement over the course of my study. I improved RC significantly by just reading a lot. I would read New York Times Op Ed pieces everyday and just practice actively reading and all of those things really helped with my RC so much so that RC became my bread and butter for verbal.
I did a lot of problems. I started off getting comfortable with DS because I've never really seen it before so I did a lot of DS problems. I also had problems with Inequalities and work equations so I focused a lot of attention on those as well. Prob and COmb/Perm was also an issue for me and I used this site extensively for those types of problems. And even though at the end I was still uncomfortable with complex Probability and Comb/perm probs I knew that I had the basics down. I did not keep error logs but I would try to understand why my answers were wrong and since I am naturally a more analytical person a look over the answer really was enough for me.
The GMAT was always going to be a psychological test for me I knew that from the get go. I tried spending the days before trying to get in thr right mental state-of-mind before I walked in. I took two days off work before the exam to look over some stuff and just get into the Zen state of mind. The day of the test I got up early, my fiance made me breakfast and I was off...a little scared but mostly relaxed. IF any of you had seen the post three days before the test that I wrote I knew where I was deficient and that resulted in a lot of lowered expectations. I got to the test center almost an hour early and the administrator asked me if I just wanted to start and I went ahead with it:
A week before I went to take the test I looked over some of the templates provided in the Princeton Review
. Thise template really came in handy fr both questions. Honestly once I had the template the BS to fill in between just kept flowing. I was able to write two five paragraph essays with several examples backing up my points for both.
The first question I got was a DS that was sooo easy that I spent 3 minutes on it trying to find the trick
When I realized there wasn't one I moved on and encountered a whole slew of geometry, work, extremely simple prob and comb/perm, long word problems and a few in equality questions. Once in a while I was thrown a simple math problem that freaked the living hell out of me because it would make me think that they are giving me easy q's because I'm screwing up or something but I was done with about 5 minutes to spare. I was pretty good about my timing in quant...I was proud of that.
The first SC I got in verbal I was like "Huh?" I looked for the obvious mistakes that I have seen in Kaplan
, PR and OG q's but I didn't see them. I was able to knock off two choices for obvious grammatical errors but then the remaining three sounded
(I emphasize sounded because I had no plan of attack other than that to asnwer these questions)fine. I got three SC in a row and then was hit with an 40 line pretty easy RC. Then I was hit with several very tough CR questions. And then another 70 line RC that was a killer! I then got a lot of SC and CR and then another 60 line RC....In this whole process I started loosing track of my timing and really I just screwed myself because I was on question 25 with 19 minutes left. Near the end I got another 50 line RC which put me at 4 RC's and then a bold-face CR to close it all out. I finished with 55 seconds remaining and near the end I guessed a lot.
Once I got my score I looked at my quant and verbal. I know there are many quant jocks in this forum who would be pissed with a 49 but for me that was a pretty good score and the funny thing is I knew that I could have done better if I was a little calmer. To be honest I was not shocked with my verbal performance. As I had mentioned before I didn't have an effective plan of attack for SC or CR and near the end I was so freaked out about time that I couldn't depend on my bread and butter RC for the points I was missing with SC and the tougher CR.
The Silver Lining
I'm going to end this loooooong post with what I got out of this whole ordeal. I was so nervous about this test and even after my realizations three days before the exam I expected the worse. I walked in like a little timid rabbit about to face a lion and yes I walked away from it a little beaten up...but not a lot. The funny thing is when I started my GMAT prep I was hoping and praying for anything above a 700 now that I have taken the test I think I can get a 750 or above. You might be wondering how I can say that after getting a lemon of a 650. Look at my prep method. You look at it and you can see the glaring errors there. I saw it only three days before the prep and I pointed them out in that post. The great thing about that is that they all turned out to be true. And now I know what to do. I need to spend some time on the fundamentals, grammar etc (any suggestions on grammar books to get will be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!), I will practice CR from now on explaining every answer that I get and I have to work more effectively on my timing for the verbal section...but really thats it. I have a two month game plan to do these things and I am pretty positive that I can.
FInally I would like to say a little something else. You see my name greenandwise comes from two things, it explains to some degree my personality and green and wise are two qualities that describe one of my favorite fictional chracters, Yoda.
You see, when I walked into the GMAT I pretty much knew that I was not going to get above a 700. And it remined me of something that Yoda says to Luke in the Empire Strikes Back. Luke, who is stuck in the Degobah system is trying to get his ship out of the swamp using the force and gives up claiming that it is too big for him. Yoda walks in and does it with relative ease and Luke looks at the ship and at Yoda with surprise and says, "I don't believe it!" and Yoda replies, "And that is why you fail". Regardless of my misguided prep I convinced myself walking in that I wasn't going to get a 700 and that screwed my chances more than anything....But now I know that I am capable of more than that and personally I think that alone is going to ensure my success. SO the point is walk in believing in yourself guys, you can't do it otherwise!!!!!
"No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.