Hi fellow clubbers,
I appeared for my second attempt on 01 Oct. I was waiting for the official score report before posting my story and I received it today. Scored 750 (98%) and the split is Q 50 (90%) V 41 (93%) IR 7/8 (81%) AWA 6/6 (90%). I am pretty happy with my score, given that I wasnt sure of the IR section.
First Attempt:- I had taken the first attempt in May 2012, after about 4 months' preparation, before the IR section was introduced. I thought that I could get away without having to deal with a new section. I have been out of school for almost 12 years now and have never appeared in a standardized test before, so it was not an easy task for me. The verbal section was especially tricky because there were a number of concepts that were alien to me as I am a non-native speaker of English. I used all the MGMAT strategy guides alongwith OG 12
during my initial preparation. During the advanced stages I used Verbal Review ( 2nd Edition), RC 99 , 1000 SC and a collection of CR questions for verbal prep. For Quant I used the 25 GMATCLUB CATs and the GMAT Club Quant book. This book is a collection pf PDF files and is an amazing resource for some of the shortcuts that can help you save time during the test. I used 5 MGMAT CATs and averaged between 670-710 in those. During the final two weeks I attempted GMAT Prep tests and scored the following:-
GMAT Prep 1- 730 ( Q 48 V 41)
GMAT Prep II- 740 (Q 49 V 41)
I was confident that I would do well and went into the first attempt expecting a cakewalk. The AWA and Quant sections were fine, but the real shocker was the verbal section. I was totally lost and all I can remember is that I was constantly trying to understand the question and simultaneously looking at the clock. By the time I finished, I was exhausted and the score reflected my true performance - 670 (Q 49 V 32).
I decided that I would retake and crack the 700 barrier. I needed some time off so I decided to take a break for about a month and a half.Second Attempt
:- It was Jun end by the time I decided to pick my books up again. I made up my mind to take the next attempt in the first week of October. The only reassurance I had was that many test takers whom I had spoken to, told me that there would definitely be an improvement in the next attempt. I believed them! I quickly decided that the focus should be on quality rather than on quantity and carried out preliminary research on the courses available. I came across Magoosh
and opted for it only for the reason that it offered a 50 point improvement guarantee and that it was not very expensive. I also purchased OG 13
because I wanted to practice the IR questions that were available with the book. Otherwise, there is no major difference between OG 13
and OG 12
. The Magoosh
premium membership also allowed access to the new GMAT Club Quant CATs ( 14 of them). I finished off with the Magoosh
course in about 2 months and reserved the last month for additional practice. During the last month I used the following resources:-Quant
- Jeff Sackman
Challenge Sets GMAT CLUB Tests
- Highly recommended if you really want to push your quant scores and work on time management. I started off with scores
between 34-36 and moved up to 48-51 towards the end. Verbal
- I knew that I needed a lot of improvement in the Verbal section. I did not solve a large number of questions. Instead I focused on the following:-
RC and CR from Magoosh
Set of 200 tricky SC questions ( Made sure that I read detailed explanations for each problem at the MGMAT website)
Problems from OG 12
I also solved a variety of problems from other resources such as Grockit.
Additionally,I watched the videos of Ron Purewal's Thursday sessions on MGMAT website. These videos are really helpful.
I only used the 50 IR practice questions available with OG 13
. I also practiced AWA with each practice test that I took.
During this period I also took a number of practice tests ( one every week). Score progression is as follows:-
03/07 Prep GMAT- 730 ( Q 48 V 41)- Lots of repeats from OG
15/07 Platinum GMAT practice CAT (free)- 690 ( Q 50 V 35)
22/07 Grockit free CAT- 700 ( Q 49 V 39)
free CAT - 680 ( Q 45 V 42)- Lowest Q score ever despite getting 30/ 37 correct.
05/08 Master GMAT free CAT 700 ( Q 48 V 39)
MGMAT CAT 6 (leftover from the previous attempt)- 740 ( Q 46 V 45)
26/08 MGMAT CAT 1A ( Retake) 750 ( Q 48 V 44)
05/09 Master GMAT (Retake) 740-760 ( Q 50 V 42)
09/09 GMAT Prep I 2.0 750 ( Q 50 V 42)
16/09 GMAT Prep II 2.0 750 ( Q 50 V 42)
23/09 GMAT Prep I retake 780 ( Q 50 V 47)- Needless to say almost 65% questions were repeats
Time management is an essential aspect of doing well on the test. It is advisable to divide the total time into slots of 10 mins each for 5 questions during the Quant section and 9 mins each for 5 questions during the Verbal section.Test Day experience
After the initial formalities, I started with the test. AWA was pretty straightforward and I finished it with about 4 mins to spare. IR was trickier than expected and I could only finish the first 2 questions in about 8 mins. Thereafter, I rushed through the next 5-6 questions, although I wasn't really sure if I was solving them correctly. There were a couple of CR type questions. Guessed the last question because of paucity of time and took the first break for Quant. During the beak I sipped some gatorade and stretched my arms and legs. I kept telling myself that I was doing fine and that I should focus on the next section. Quant started off well and I was in sync with my time plan. Whenever I found myself lagging behind, I quickly made an logical guess and moved on. That way I was able to ensure that I finished in time. PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF TEST DAY SUCCESS IS AN EFFICIENT TIME PLAN
. I took the next break and was pretty satisfied with my Quant performance. Sipped on some more Gatorade, stretched a little and got back in for Verbal. This time around there were no shockers
Everything was inline with my expectations and I realised how important it was to understand the correct approach. Although I tried my best to stick to a time plan, I ran out of time during the last question and ended up with a blind guess. Quickly moved through the BIQ screens before the following visual appeared before me:- FINAL GMAT
- 750 ( Q 50 V 41)
My final scores were identical to the scores in the final Prep tests. I think these tests are a reasonable indication of your likely test result.Recommendations
(Quant) - MGMAT Strategy guides OG 12
GMAT Club Quant book
GMAT Club Quant CATs ( as I said earlier, these tests are really challenging and will help you fine tune your preparations to a
(Verbal) - MGMAT SC
guide (Read it twice before the second attempt and make short notes of the concepts) Powerscore CR
bible ( Some of the techniques listed in the book are really helpful) Magoosh
Verbal RC/CR questions (Helped develop the required techniques for RC and CR) OG 12
Questions from Grockit.com verbal section (Has a really cool one month membership for as little as INR 700/-)
I would definitely recommend the Thursdays with Ron videos - An invaluable resource.
I would definitely recommend the MGMAT CATs but I found the Quant section more calculation intensive than the actual test. The verbal section however, is easier than the actual test. Besides these, you can use the various free CATs available across various forums. Use the GMAT prep software judiciously.
I am sorry for the long debrief. Please let me know if you guys have additional questions. I will be happy to help!