Ok, I know 710 is not bad at all, but in my case it is pathetic. Not because I failed, but because I failed due to the lack of confidence. Background
One of my strengths is that I have a very good background in Mathematics. I was in classes for gifted students in maths for 9 years at elementary and secondary schools, so I'm used to solving hard problems. On the contrary, my English isn't that proficient. The initial diagnostics test showed that my weakest part was SC, and strangely, I could never improve this section afterwards. Materials
- Cracking the GMAT
- Manhattan's SC
- Manhattan's Word TranslationStudy
The worst point of my study is interruption. I first studied GMAT for 3 weeks last October, then discarded it due to the lack of self-confidence and switched to IELTS. I was only forced to come back to GMAT this May because my conditional offer said so
In a nutshell, I had 3 weeks in Oct
to read all materials, then 2.5 weeks in May
to do OG, take 2 CATs of GMATprep and 2 CATs of Manhattan. And I did not even have time to complete all practice questions, just focus on hard questions or my weak points.What have I learnt?
1. My most serious mistake is that I never took a CAT before preparing the GMAT. If I had, I should have known that the GMAT was not hard with me, and that I should have never quit just because of being scared of low scores. When I returned to GMAT in May, I took a GMATprep test. I got 710! And after 2 weeks practicing I got 750! The thing I most regret is that now I already missed the opportunity to apply into top programs which require GMAT. I hope noone would ever repeat my stupid mistake.
2. Of all materials, I strongly recommend Cracking the GMAT
for anyone planning to prepare GMAT in a short time. The book doesn't cover everything, but that's exactly its strength. It's a handbook of must-know GMAT rules that you could quickly master and apply into the test. Other materials, such as Manhattan series, are more detailed, thus require much longer time to learn.
3. Time control is critical. I spent too much time on some difficult verbal questions (just to recheck!), then ran out of time at the end and it hurt my score badly.
I guess there's nothing I can do now. My score is fixed. It's far above the grade required in my offer, yet still isn't high enough to get any scholarship. And I missed top programs because I did not dare. In the end, maybe the best thing I learn from GMAT is to trust myself. I realized that my whole life had been spent in so many gifted classes, among talented people of which I thought I was only average, that I forgot my own confidence. Now I know I'm not that bad. So I will surely chase opportunities when they come, and hope to get better results