Well, I have been posting here for the last few months and been following some of the great stuff from Bunuel in Q and others. So will write my small debrief today, just got back from the center. I am writing this in the form of a "flashback" (those who have seen Indian movies will understand!)
I started preparing about 2 months back and was averaging about 740-750 in the GMATPrep and last MGMT CATs. I was decently confident going in, I also took in some special tips about getting some energy bars + red bull during the break and some other strategies.Test Day
Went in at 1130am, test at 1200pm. Did the usual stuff, they made sure I was who I said I was and I was let in. The center was fine, I followed some taking tests when I walked in. I fiddled around with the chair some to get the height right also tried to make sure the back of the chair was not wobbling - could not do that - perhaps should have asked the person there, but let it go. Jumped into AWA.
AWA was ok, feeling decent at this time...Break 1
- Got a power bar and red bull. Tried to open the redbull can, the thing would not open, and I ended up cutting my right index finger. Saw blood. Damn! Thought it was over. Luckily the person there had a bandaid (who would have guessed!). Put that one, had the bar and got back to the station. Screen says "you idiot, that just cost you 21seconds, I will take it away", I said fine, give me Q.Q
- Q started off well. Then there was a stupid question, easy enough, but I had this sudden urge to solve it in more than one way (why I get these urges at such an important time I do not know!), anyway spent more than needed time and then slapped myself (imaginary) to get back on track. Avg time remaining/questions remaining was always hovering between 1.89 and 2.01 (well about there). Then the last 10 questions had 10 mins. I asked myself how the hell did I get there? Well no time to regret, keep working.. On the last question, 2 mins left. I had this strange feeling that it did not matter if I got it right or wrong, so amazingly I clicked a choice, worked the problem, did not conclusively get to an answer and let it go, yes right, let it go.. Can't explain why.. Well then break time again.Flashback - Background Q Prep & Info
- I used GMATClub's Sep6th bonanza to do as many tests as possible. I also used the GMATClub's Math tutorials (very helpful). I actually did not do much of the OG at all, just some here and there. Q prep was extremely random. The main point I saw in the test is that it is tricky, it is not hard. If one is given even 50% extra time, I am sure people would do very well. I feel just stick to the rule of 2mins per question. If it takes more skip. Some of them you would be able to do within 2 mins and so you can have that in reserve later. PS questions were straightforward, but DS were not. In fact it is strange, yesterday night I just realized I got one wrong (subconsciously)! I would say that for math, the gmatclub's math tutorial and the tests are enough. The OG is useless (according to me), I almost feel cheated that GMAC would not provide true GMAT level questions in OG. But then that is another story. I was hoping for 51, but I know where I went wrong. And do not give up during the test. Go after every every question, even the last one, do not let the last one go as I did! Know your number properties - facors, LCM, GCD, geometry, prime numbers, Integers, Fractions, Mean, Mode, Median, Work, Rate, Time etc. No section was untouched. I cannot remember a single category I did not get a question in - yes even combinations and probablity!Break 2
- Felt everything was OK so far. Finished the remaining bar. Did not bother opening the red bull anymore. Wished I got a banana, saw others eating it, thought for a moment if I should ask for one, dropped the idea.V
- Had a little hangover of why I didnot solve that last question in Q. Got over it in 15 seconds. First SC, 2mins+. No clear cut answer. Kept going, at 10th Q saw a bold face. Thought may be I was doing well. Well then told myself no time to think. Read, re-read, re-read the question, could not zero in on a answer, let it go, guessed. The rest came and went, RCs long, short, CRs, long short, SCs mostly long... Unlike Q, I did not have a formula to check time in V. I had this strange equation that Abs|Time remaining - Q remaining. x 2| <= 5 - a bounded function. Somewhere along the way I see 15Q and 15 minutes. My mind races and I lose focus. Towards the end I realized it was not going to be good. Anyway finished all questions.Flashback Background V Prep & Info
- I saw on these forums MGMT SC and Powerscore CR
highly recommended. Accordingly I bought both. I only read the MGMT SC book. People say it is the bible, honestly though I did not find the material well organized. I used Aristotle's SC Grail (very very useful) and this one other resource the 200 or so GMAT Prep SC questions list - that links to the questions on the MGMT SC forum - extremely extremely useful. For my SC prep, I just read through those 200 Qns and their explanations (Ron Purewal is God) + Aristotle SC Grail + Glanced through MGMT SC. I did NO preparation for RC or CR. Honestly here is my take on these 2. If you think about it, for RC and CR, the answers are right there, right on the screen - you just need to think and find out. So I am not sure if any "strategy" for these makes senses (did not for me though). So what I did do - was to read CR and RC from the OG (and I can say that the real thing is very similar to the ones in OG) - and that should be enough, really enough. You cannot be tricked too much in CR and RC. SC - a whole different ball game. I am pretty sure that I got lost in SC as I always could narrow down the answers to 2 choices and I must have picked the wrong one most of the time. Well the RCs and CRs I was very confident of in the answers, but SCs are tough in the real thing. Also unlike Q, I really don't know of a good strategy for time management in V. Obviously the kind of questions are different and you get thrown a RC, CR or SC at any time, so I can't think of a good strategy. One that worked for me in the tests is to make sure that you are not off by 5 mins when you take the difference between the time remaining and 2 x no of questions remaining. No scientific analysis, just experience. The other thing you need to note is that unlike Q, where you do not have to glance at the screen for 75 mins (you read the question and get down to working it out), the V requires you to stare at the screen for 75 minutes, and that can be draining - I sometimes feel if they had V before Q, may help! I would say if one focuses on SC - one can do well in V, the RC and CR will come to you. The SC is where you NEED TO KNOW the rules. The SC is unforgiving.Overall Test Prep Scores:
MGMT CAT 1: 700 12/8/09 47Q 38V
MGMT CAT 2: 550 7/11/10 28Q 38V - Did not focus, outlier data point
MGMT CAT 3: 620 7/25/10 620 46Q 32V
MGMT CAT 4: 660 8/14/10 660 45Q 35V
MGMT CAT 5: 730 9/4/10 730 46Q 44 V
MGMT CAT 6: 780 9/18/10 49Q 45V
800Score CAT 1-5: 710-760
GMAT Prep1/Prep2: 750-770 (Took them 3 times)Do you want it or not?
- Well I was thinking what to do, then with 30s left on the clock said yes, I did not know that if I did not say yes, it would auto cancel, glad I did not let it time out.
710 (50Q, 37V
Disappointed with the 37 in V. I was scoring high in the GMATPrep and the last two MGMT CAT, so this was a downer.. Anyway, that is what I got. It would not make sense to get a 720 on a retake, unless I am sure of 750+ perhaps. But then I was sure of it this time too.. So no telling...Lessons learnt
- (1) Make sure the redbull/whatever can drink you take opens well. Keep some bandaids with you just in case. Well it cannot hurt. (2) Keep mind clear of everything, just focus on screen in front. (3) Keep calm, do not panic, keep track of time remaining. (4) Keep in mind that the real test is always going to be different than the tests you take at home - the stress, the little things - chair height, screen flickering - etc. will get to you that you would not care for at home, as such it might even be better to take the tests at a library, I noticed also that all my tests were on a laptop, whereas the real thing is on a proper desktop - just something I had to get used to initially during the test - the AWAs are great that way. (5) Oh the other thing is that the Alt+N, Alt+Y works great, instead of the mouse, though you really need the mouse to select the answer, not sure if there is a way to get rid of the mouse altogether during the V and Q sections.
That is it. Will think of a retake if I feel it necessary. My background is a little different as I have a PhD with 8 years of workex already and thought that perhaps I will need to score higher to compete against all those high scorers out there! But it is what it is.... Hope it was of some help.PS
- I got home, broke that red bull can open and drank some. Well noticed that it says on the can:
- Improves performance especially during times of increased stress or strain: Would have helped in GMAT
- Increases endurance: Would have helped in GMAT
- Increases concentration and improves reaction speed: Would have helped in GMAT
- Stimulates the metabolism: Not sure if relates to GMAT
As a CR question, this clearly proves that the lack of redbull did the score in! Here is the infamous redbull and its shape proves my struggle to open...
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Update: AWA (6.0, 91%)
File comment: The 200 GMATPrep-MGMT Link File, Kudos would be great!
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Consider kudos, they are good for health