Wanted to share my experience and to get some useful feedback on my decision to retake and how I should be going about it.GMAT Prep:
I wanted to do my MBA right from Under grad days. But couldn't clear the final interviews at XIM-B, XLRI, and SIBM in India in 2004. Then I came for my MS in US and have been working since Jan 2006. I wanted to give a go for MBA in 2006 but realized that experience is required for top B-schools of the world. So just kept working. Got married in Feb 2008. Got finally inspired by wife's rigorous study for her MS and finally thought of giving the GMAT a shot esp with me completing 5 yrs in US IT corporate world by Dec 2010. But this time I really wanted to do it from a top tier B-school and hence wanted for sure a score of 720+ as I am an Indian IT male (as you all know the competition is that much higher for this particular group).
I thought for a short while in 2009 to give GMAT, but was busy with work. Finally when I put down the Part-time MBA admit
I got from UF in Spring 2010 (with my high GRE score) after paying a deposit, that I really got a good kick to prepare seriously for GMAT and go for my MBA from a top School in next two years(i.e. either 2011 or 2012). And I immediately realized that GMAT is very crucial for me (though I had good acads throughout my schooling and Masters, it took a beating in my undergrad). So I started immediately by 1st week of Feb 2010 that I should get going. On Feb 7th I booked a slot for GMAT exam for April 24th as I knew with Job and Commuting between two cities (yes my Job is in one city and my home is in another), I would just slack if I don't have a target exam date. So with many questions in my mind (my last exam was GRE which I gave in May 2003-7 years back) I went ahead and booked the slot.
And then I started off with OG11
(which I did buy in 2006 but never really opened it). Immediately I knew that I was pretty rusty even in Math (my strong area). So I just kept going. Studying on weekends and trying to study for 2 hrs on the weekdays (which was not always possible). Within few days I realized that my SC was pathetic and bought MGMAT SC
book. I gave following exams on saturdays/sundays as I had only 2.5 months for my whole prep:
MGMAT2(500)=>This was around March 14th
By this time I was so down with MGMAT that I did not again get back to those remaining 4 MGMAT exams, but in the retrospect I think that was a mistake (will explain further on that below-Under "On the day of Exam").
After this MGMAT2 exam I gave only 4 more exams which was again a mistake. I should have practised more.
GMAT prep2(610) on 04/09/2010
GMAT Prep-Retake1(710) on 04/18/2010.
Here by 04/09/2010, I was getting doubts about my ability to cross crucial 700 mark (for top schools). But again in retrospect, that was another mistake to go down mentally. Because I changed gear after this exam from 4th to 3rd, whereas I should have gone to 5th gear during my final 2 or 3 weeks.
So to summarize I read OG11
and MGMAT SC
and gave the afore mentioned exams. This was my overall study in 2.5 months (studying mostly on weekends-around 5-6 hrs on saturday and sunday each and around 1-2 hrs if possible on weekdays).
Actually 1 week before the exam I was so not confident of crossing the 700 score that I talked to my wife about post-poning the exam. But here my wife gave me greatest advise: Complete it whtever might be the outcome...because u have put some real hard work these 2 months along with other responsibilities. These words really encouraged me and I just went ahead with the exam. The best thing was, I was willing to take anything-Success or Failure. That was very satisfying for myself.
Some revelations during these 2.5 months:
1) Age DOES count towards your speed and alertness. During my peak years (17-23), I could get up as early as 2:00am and could study go to college and yet was very alert. But now even getting up at 6:00am is a big pain.
But the good news is that we can succeed using our experience and maturity, which I am realizing now and its sweet:)
2) Rustiness does come about of tackling the Competitive exams. To get into groove takes time when we are back to writing such exams like GMAT and GRE, it took me some time.
3) Deciding to take up MBA aspiration again was a very good idea. I have learnt a lot!! I will post more about these after more experiences in future in the path of my realization of dream to graduate from a Top B-school.Before the Exam Day:
My exam was on saturday and I took day off on Friday. But I had to work till about 10:00am on friday too (due to some important activities at work). Then I shut down everything and just went through some of my notes. I did NOT write any exam.
I relaxed a lot and saw movie also:) ate well and slept by 9:00pm. and got up at 6:00am on Saturday. My exam was at 8:00am. My wife helped me a lot to relax by just talking abt Non-GMAT stuff:). On the day of Exam:
Went to center by 7:30am. Started the exam by 8:00am.
Essays went very well. I am expecting atleast 5.0+
Had a banana in the break and some water.
Math was pretty tough I thought (like MGMAT level). I thought I should have practised more MGMAT exams. But I focussed really well and I think I might have got first 10-12 questions correct due to which the difficulty level became high and I might have wasted some time on some very tough questions. I then ended up guessing last 3 questions. I was not very happy.
Took break, ate banana and Snickers (ultra small) and drank some water.
I think I was may be upset with why I had to end up guessing last questions in math and might have sub-consciously effected my concentration levels. But I tried hard to stay focussed, but still my timing was niot accurate and ended up guessing last 6 questions.
My final score was 680(Quant -50/51, Verbal 32/51). Then I realized that math actually went well and Verbal was bad. I might have gone awry in SC.
I thought I got what I deserved. Missed the golden figure of 700 by 20 points, not that bad. But immediately thought that I had a good opportunity to really improve my score. It was nice that my mind was very positive after the exam. As if I got what I deserved kind of feeling and that my hardwork kind of paid off!! I felt it was a right step in right direction....Future Plans:
I am having a trip to India next week and shall be back by May 23rd. I am planning to study hard and try to focus on my verbal section (esp SC and reading skills), and give again in around August. I am planning to devour some Fiction books and also get back to basics at Grammar. Also would practise more in timed formats to get my timing right.
But please suggest me who have similar experiences and how you had overcome the second time with excellent scores?