Hey guys. I don't normally post much but I took the GMAT for the first time today and am pretty happy with the results. Looking back I decided I definitely owe most of my good fortune to gmatclub, and as such decided to write a quick debrief on the experience. Hopefully, this will help someone who's struggling along the way.
I decided to take the GMAT after seeing a Manhattan GMAT
presentation in late July. In regards to background, I'm a recent Finance graduate from Boston College. As I'm currently unemployed, (or "recent graduate"), I had loads of time to study. I took the manhattan gmat
diagnostic test cold and scored abysmally low. I think I got a 560, with maybe a 40 at best in math and a low 30s in verbal.
Books Used:OG 11
/12Manhattan GMAT SC
Listed in chronological order, from earliest to most recent. Unfortunately I did not write down the breakdown of each test, so what follows is my best guesstimate. Manhattan GMAT
560 (forgot breakdown?) (Taken cold with calculator)
630 (No calculator, untimed)
670 (some repeats)
710 (46/39) (May have looked at a few triangle facts that I forgot
720 (48/42) (Some Repeats)
My last few GmatPrep scores were usually 10-12 math wrong, and about 8-13 verbal wrong. I usually spent extra time on the first 10 or so, so my math errors were usually at the end of my math section. But with verbal it was all over the place. Usually for my verbal I'd get 2-3 CR wrong, 0-2 RC wrong, and a lot of SC wrong. Incidentally my mother would probably kill me as she's an English teacher...
I also took the Knewton
diagnostic tests. But those did little for me except to shatter my confidence. Granted I may not have tried 100% on the knewton
one, (530) but I tried pretty hard on the Kaplan
one but found that their interface was bothersome and I only managed a 620.
Realizing that this was going to take some time I then quickly hauled ass to the nearest library and started working through OG 11
. After working my way through both books I started taking the manhattan gmat
tests again and slowly built up my confidence. After a few tests it became clear that my verbal (specifically SC) was my weakest area. That's when I started working through the Manhattan GMAT books
The Manhattan GMAT SC
books were helpful, but the one thing that I didn't really like is that each section of the book only deals with one specific type of error. The main problem I had with SC was that when I knew what type of error to be looking for, I could easily find it. But when faced with a wide variety of potential errors I typically got it down to a 50/50 or a 1/3 type deal and things usually went south from there.
After I worked through the Manhattan SC book I started running through CAT's like it's my job (because quite frankly it was
) I typically took one every other day. I spent the in between days going over my mistakes. An error log
was key as it helped me identify the types of SC questions I was getting wrong.
Along with CAT's I also crawled through the many quality links on gmatclub. SlingFox has some quality notes up there that I really wish I found earlier. I only discovered them yesterday
. Additionally, ChineseBurned has a great AWA section up there. The most important part here I think is trying to solve the questions you got wrong before looking up the answer. Often times I found that if given another crack at a problem I could get it right with enough time. I think this helped solidify my fundamentals and helped me with my pacing.
So a quick TL:DR on study plan: (Nothing really groundbreaking...)
1) Error Log
2) Fully comprehend your mistakes
3) Try to solve questions you got wrong before looking at answers
4) Try to keep on schedule
I got a tremendous amount of sleep the night before, so I woke up at 4 am on test day. I lounged around watching TV for a good 3 hours primarily because I didn't want to burn out before the test started. I started reviewing SlingFox's notes at around 8:30. Also during this time i had quite a delicious turkey cheddar bacon flatbread from dunkin donuts and a coffee.
I got to my center around 30 minutes before my testing started and actually ended up starting at around 11:10 am instead of 11:30. I was fortunate in that I got a corner cubicle so that I would not be distracted by any movement.
AWA/Issue: Seemed pretty typical, but for all I know I could have done terribly as I did not receive my score yet. Chineseburned's guides seemed exceptionally well written. I didn't study that much for this section, I believe I only took a full GMAT with essays only once or twice before the actual test.
Break 1: 1/2 redbull and lots of water (poor life choice) I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't get thirsty during math but all I really did was make myself want to pee ...
Quant: Pretty typical of GMATPrep. Actually, it might just be hindsight bias but I felt really good coming out of Quant. The problems were fairly basic. In my mind, I felt that I scored in the 46-48 range. I still feel like I have a poor grasp of some of the more important math fundamentals, but time management is definitely key in this section. I had a really easy problem for my last one but I did not have enough time to solve it, so I had to take my best guess, actually I wonder if I got that right...
Break 2: 1/2 redbull, more water, and a much needed bathroom break
Verbal: Here's where distraction started kicking in. Although I knew that verbal was my weakest section, it became increasingly hard for me to concentrate. For some reason I got really cold around this part of the test and was easily distracted. Around questions 8-14 I kept day dreaming about what my score for math was. I think I need help with my pacing on verbal because I typically finish with around 20 minutes left on my timer. Even for the actual test, when I tried to work as slow as humanly possible, I ended up with around 15 minutes left.
After the test was over I got my score, did a quick fist pump and ate some celebratory chicken nuggets. I doubt I'll be retaking, even though I know I can do better. Although I do have ample time before I apply so who knows, but I'm not sure if my butt can handle another 4+ hours.
Hope this helps someone, unfortunately none of my experiences are truly groundbreaking, but if you have any questions let me know and I'll try my best to help someone else out. Just trying to pay it forward...