Here is a more detail of my GMAT experience.Brief Circumstances:
I am one of those who have to work about 12 - 13 hrs and commute about 2.5 hrs.
I also have my own business along with my work which takes around couple of hours each day.
More over, have a wife who needs good attention as we are expecting our first kid in next 1.5 mths.
I started my preparation on 1st Nov, expecting to take my GMAT by Dec end.
But early Nov we got the news that our baby could be born premature.
That shifted my focus for about a 20 days till we said to ourselves -- We have always been helpful and GOD will help us in these hours.
I had taken a GMAT in 2007 and scored 680 in that.
But I was aiming for top 5 schools and 680 would not help an Indian to stand on the list.Test Scores:
GMAT PREP 1 -- Nov 1 -- 700
MGMAT 1 -- Nov 7 -- 680
MGMAT 2 -- Nov 14 -- 680
GMAT PREP 1 -- Nov 15 -- 690
MGMAT 3 -- Dec 27 -- 680
MGMAT 4 -- Jan 9 -- 700
MGMAT 5 -- Jan 11 -- 720
MGMAT 6 -- Jan 16 -- 660 (internet problem pulled my concentration down along with my score)
GMAT PREP 2 -- Jan 18 -- 730Study Plan:Phase 1 (Nov 1 - Nov 20)
Being a manager, I am used to breaking down a task and adopting a process for any outcome.
Gave GMAT PREP 1 to gauge my abilities.
Used ursulas post to estimate quants and verbal breakup I will need to target a score. This I called as TARGET.
Wrote this target on a sticky paper and stuck that on my study table.
Created a list of all EXPECTED strengths and weakness for the TARGET score in an xls.
Created a plan that will help me target my focus areas.
Researched which website and books could help me and got those tools.
Started with OG 12
- completed 50% of RC , CR and SC and 100% of PS and DS say in around 10 days.
That helped me touch water and create a database which indicates my TRUE strengths and weakness.
Gave MGMAT and Kaplan
free tests to arrive at my CURRENT score.
So, task remaining was simple: Bridge gap between CURRENT and TARGET score using gap between EXPECTED and TRUE weakness.TARGET:
740 -- Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%le
730 -- Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%le
720 -- Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%leEXPECTED strengths and weakness:
Expected strength (which I need to have to attain my score) -- 50/51 in quants, min 80%le in verbal, patience ....
Expected weakness (which I might carry with me to the exam irrespective of my studies) -- great vocabulary, speed eading and grasping, atleast one part of body hurting on the test day ....
After GMAT PREP1, MGMAT 1, 50 SC,RC,CR from OG and all PS and DS from OG, I was able to guess my TRUE strengths and weaknessTRUE strengths and weakness:
TRUE Strengths: good concentration, PS, CR .....
TRUE weakness: SC (major), RC (complex topics), DS (silly mistakes), bad breathing pattern during exam, bio-break pattern ....
Created a plan that will uniquely target each of my weakness and build my stengths to bridge the gap.
Though my MGMAT scores didn’t completely reflect my studies, I was slowly and steadily improving on my weakness ... one at a time.
Started taking some very complex quants and CR from internet and LSAT.
Bang -- Nov 20 doctor visit and didn’t touch the book for more than a month
After Phase 2 (Dec 23 - Jan 22)
Started with a MGMAT test to gauge where I stood.
Results showed that I haven’t improved, but I haven’t degraded either.
Started again to bridge the gap.
But by this time I knew that If I don’t give GMAT in Jan, I might not be able to give it in 2010.
Took a date of Jan 23 and directed my study schedule to it.
Tried to think how would GMAT make a question complex.
Kept on jotting various ways of how 1+1 = 2 along with 5 answer choices, three sentence para which asks for something which we do every day and a 40 line para with 3-4 questions can be made difficult.
That proved to be great for me as it even addressed a few of my weaknesses.
Did OG complete, Verbal and Quant Review complete, MGMAT all books complete, LSAT CR
one reading, and in depth analysis of every question I got wrong.
All of this was perfectly timed, used grids to find the type of the question and some handy tips I wrote for myself as I was studying wrt approaching a problem.
I have to do a lot of analysis at work and most important piece is to think outside the box to come up with solutions.
I used my critique sense to judge that every piece in GMAT exam is wrong and I have been given the responsibility to correct the world with these 37+41 questions.
Suddenly I wake up due to the sense of responsibility and concentration shoots to great highs.
Then took the next set of tests when I was around 2.5 weeks from exam date.
Score were improved and I could see some pattern of errors. There was clearly clustering of mistakes which I need to scatter across the exam.
Identified that i keep my elbow too long on my chair without moving it. The moment I move it (usually happened around 12th quant and 8th verbal question) I get a pain and my 12th quant and 8th verbal questions are always wrong.
Got to see that my legs get tired around 50 mins in exam and I change my position also disturbing my concentration. Again a shoot in mistakes around that time.
Noticed that when I am in flow I forget to keep up with my strategies and drift away with clever tricks of gmat paper.
Also found that tension gives me psychological feeling of having the urge to go to restroom when actually I don’t need it (yeh, I am filthy but this is my analysis and want to share with you so that you can benefit from my analysis)
GMAT more than just questions has important soft aspects to it which are very important to be addressed.
Used some yoga and concentration techniques for last week, skipped through my problem areas and used websites to solve questions that other students asked.DAY BEFORE D-DAY:
My exam was on saturday. Took a Friday off .... switched off my cellphone and blackberry, asked my brother to transfer 20 bucks to my account to give me a sense of having earned something in my business
skimmed through more than 200 pictures of my to-be-born kid ..... got to know that though the nose of my kid looks like my wife, forehead and to some extent shape of eye was like mine .... drew a couple of pics how my kid would look ...
turned out to be more like poppye ..... Evidently ... i was a bad artist
Day was just good ... when things started going bad.
Found out that I don’t have undergarments for next day and had to go to laundry.
Sprained my right leg while running towards laundry. Forgot to put detergent while washing ...
realized that my snickers and Gatorade was out of stock in fridge ... ran to nearest 7-11 to get a few of those
got hyper over an email I accidentally saw when I opened my gmail account
My exam was at 8 in the morning, 20 mins away from my home ...
Though I had visited the week before to see the center, decided to leave from home by 6:45 so as to be there by 7:15.
Schedule was to sleep early ... around 9ish and wake up at 6 .. .good 9 hrs of sleep.
Got into an argument with wife at the dinner table at around 7ish ... was kinda expecting that ....
My wife is my biggest supporter. She has helped me for every exam, imp days and even during GMAT. But the 7th month is the month of crankiness .... and now I know that crankiness just goes worst with every day
Got over that thing ... had dinner .... decided to move around an hour or two and then sleep.
Was in bed at 8:45 ... as planned.
Then my fire alarm went off .... for no reason.
Found that it just popped out of the base and that caused it to alarm.
Fixed it and came back to bed. In next 10 min my CO2 alarm started making very slow but harsh sound. This was due to low battery. Changed battery and came back to bed.
Then my fire alarm went off again (may be I didn’t fix it properly the last time ... ignored it for 2 mins ... and then our main door siren went off ...
That was really bad noise. Had to wake up. Went downstairs to see the main door alarm. Stood below the alarm for around 10 mins trying to fix it and waiting for a fire brigade or police to come.
The alarm automatically stopped in a few mins ... but left a weird deep noise in my head.
When I came back to my bed by around 9:30 ... noticed that there is a weird noise in my head which was due to the alarm sound.
This noise didn’t go for hours and finally slept at 2 am as my body was just too tired. woke up at 4:30 and didn’t sleep after that.
Reached the center at around 7:15 with the alarm noise still in my brain ....
wow ... the moment I reach there I see that every one complaining about the server noise ... I couldn’t hear that at all as I was deep in my head-alarm.
Every person who came there was disturbed due to server noise ... I was cool with my friendly head-alarm and enjoyed my test.
Started my test with a big big smile and pic of my kid and wife in front of my eyes ....
boom ... very soon the test was done and popped up a score of 740.
Will continue in second post