Ok guys, i know i should have gotten to this yesterday but have been overwhelmed with playing poker and acting like nothing matters anymore. Hahaha im playing
On a more serious note,
Before i say anything i have to give my thanks to everyone here, I have only really been active these past couple of months, and at first was really intimidated. But seing the immense amount of structure to this website and testmagic, although this was my core reference point, really pushed me during my "meandering period" as i like to call it. I am a very "last minute" type of person, which is why for me it was a struggle to get through understanding the requirements of verbal. I know alot of international students will hear me on this, but learning grammar rules and methods of understanding passages makes complete sense in hindsight, but when you are trying to getting over the constant double guessing and aprehensiveness, it can be a huge mountain to climb.
This is where GMATCLUB played a big role, everyday even if i was busy if i had 5 minutes id still come here and check out some SC or CR or even a DS problem, while you may think it is just 5-10 max u can do if you get exploited at work the way i do
but honestly you remember little random things you read from random reviewing at random times. also when you have ten thousand things to do in a day and you are trying to get through a CR, its almost like sitting there with 20 seconds and your final CR question and wondering, hmmm should i read and try to answer or just guess? (Happened to me on my verbal, for my last two Q's i had 35 seconds, i dont know if i got them wrong but i went into overdrive only because i kept doing it at work) Also, a major thing that worked for me, once your day is done if possible, camp out at work, just close your office door, and focus. I am a huge "type of environment" sorta person. If i sit in my room i will turn the tv on or the computer, or go down and get something to eat. Signs of a cronic ADHD person isnt it? I know, but i also think some of the greatest minds come from us crazy impatient people. So for my last two weeks, when i really started studying everyday, i use to stay at work after hours till 11-12pm and then go home i also came in on two weekends on saturdays and sundays, at 830 am and stayed till 2-3 am. The fact that i am so use to never allowing myself to get distracted at work had an enourmous effect on me focusing while studying here.
Some things from test day:
Make sure your Mouse and your pencils work properly, I got really crappy pencils at my testing center, they didnt let me take a small sharpner into the testing area. It was really stupid and very annoying, one thing that helped me...was reading this guys post, i dont remember his name, on testmagic, who recomended using blunt pencils while taking the test. It sounded stupid to me then and i feel stupid saying it but it is important. You also do not want to find yourself in a situation like i did wanting to break the screen because everytime i tried to click on a choice, the mouse was so busted it would click on the one below. While these maybe because my center sucked, its worth it to be prepared! wouldnt you agree?
Also I agree with anyone that says RC and CR are harder on the real GMAT. There is no doubt about it, and i would bet that most people will see two out of their RC's being from science, get use to the science passages that make no sense. it really is critical! pick up the LSAT book's they have tons of them and i am sure you can manage fitting them into your budget, otherwise be like me and steal them from friends;)!
Honestly I wish i had worked more from the LSAT books for RC and CR. while Kaplan
and PR's RC's become relatively easy once you do the LSAT stuff be prepared for the actual test to be tweaked a little bit more. The GMAT seriously is not a cake walk or a joke, anyone saying that is ignorant. But i know if my going through the big orange book of LSAT questions helped big time in terms of my speed and accuracy on CR and RC then i could have excelled even more, had i been more organized.
Guys dont get intimidated that it is harder though, cause you can do it.
I know the Manhattan Gmat
has not been tried and tested by too many people but, when i was buying books i heard everyone talking about it, so i was like why not test it out. BEST INVESTMENT ever, if you are organized, write notes while you practice, mark your questions according to things you missed and things you got, this is the best alternative to a 1200 -3000 dollar course. I did not have the money for the all the books, but i saved up, and bought em anyway. the software, has relatively easy tests compared to PR and Kaplan
but still worth it, some unique brain teaser questions on some of the middle tests, 4,5, & 6. the books- they are all structured and well organized and get you to get organised. I recommend buying the whole set of 7 books! the SC book is awesome! the number properties is great! the geometry is well condensed. there is not one book in all 7 i think is not clear conscise and to the point. When Manhattan GMAT
saying, they are not like everyone else, trying to teach GMAT & GRE math or GMAT & GRE verbal. they know what they are talking about.
I think Kaplans test suck, admittedly i have a time management problem, which was evident in the test also, because i missed my Quant sections final question and screamed through the last two on verbal. But kaplan
seems to be completely off the mark in its methodology of assessing where student stand. Definitely do all the practice problems. Pick up both the Kaplan
book and the Kaplan 800
. the questions are great, they just dont know how to evaluate students and whee they stand.
[Day before the test- i got a 590 on my Kaplan
test and a 670 on the Powerprep test i took.]
PR in my opinion is ok, the book is not spectacular, the tests are challenging with some questions.
So i would recommend OG Manhattan GMAT
and the kaplan
books for practice+ the ever important LSAT books(no one over look this, seriosuly!)
I followed what MGAT's guide said, i took a diagnostic, powerprep, and then began working from SC, my weakest area, then DS, then RC, then CR. (honestly all were equally weak)
while working half way through all the gmat stuff from MGMAT, i saw no score improvement, i could pinpoint things that were odd but while before id take a educated guess, now i knew what was right or wrong but was still not making great headway. Dejected i decided to take a breather and go through the PS stuff MGMAT had sent me. awesome! makes you focus JUST ON WHAT IS NEEDED. Unless you care about being in MENSA or standing out as the person who is known across countries as a "test killer" or something, who cares? focus on what is needed. I just solely drowned myself in their PS stuff once and only looked at it again the day of the test, before walking in. Best thing to have ever done! got rid of my careless mistakes and began to push my scores up.
So while OG and the 7 MGMAT strategy guides were like my Bible and the 7 Commandments. I used Kaplan
and PR for practice.
Ok so continuing on
Now in terms of the kind of questions i saw, without breaking my confidentiality agreement, because i dont want to get sued or have my score revoked
basically i really cant say much about the verbal, except it was undoubtedly hard. i found my self guessing alot of times, the thing that helped most was assessing questions by a point valuation system (Manhattan GMat
talks about the methodology extensively). and i knw that considering i had a bunch of questions i was "not entirely sure about", between 12-18, i must have managed some "good guessing strategy" otherwise i would have done worse.
Bannerjee asked about the LSAT books, I used the Big Orange Book of Real LSAT questions, by kaplan
. do anything with real lsat questions, but make sure, AND THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT, to not just go through the motions hile doing the questions, whether RC or logical reasoning (CR), see what you get right or wrong and pin point why the other choices must be wrong, atleast at some general level, WRITE down certain pointers you think will be most helpful in helping your review process, and write down a list of questions from the OG LSAT book and Kaplan
and PR that you not only feel you got wrong but made you think twice. I know if like me anyone is weak at english or unsure at times, you might find yourself marking virutally 70-80% of the questions. this is fine, do it anyways, because what do you have to loose? make your review for the test through. You dont want to have a week left and feel u need to re-review some stuff and dont know which questions to start or stop at.
All in all i personally think I could have done better, I didnt get to study enough, partially because i am lazy and unorganized, and because work for me has got especially busy this last month. so with working a good 60-70 hour week, and trying to get this gmat stuff out of the way, i think i just managed to scurry through that ever elusive mark of 700+
Do not PLEASE do not get bogged down if you do badly on any practice test. just focus on learning the questions and being able to finish on time that is all!!!! I am emphasizing on this because i went through a deep lull with half a week to my gmat because, i was scoring a max of 660-680. most of my Princeton Review and Kaplan
scores never touched 640. the 680 was on the Cambridge Software from MGMAT.
But considering i went from 560-580 on my diagnostic, to breaking the 700 barrier for the first time on the actual test, speaks volumes not about my study habbits, but about how lacking PR and Kaplan
probably are. I somehow managed to pick myself up and say, "to hell with it, i have to give it my best shot despite my bad scores", not everyone can and not everyone should have to. cause it would be easier if i had not wasted that time pondering over how badly i WAS doing and what it WOULD result in.
the last thing is AWA, i really did not study at all for it but i will tell you this, my girlfriend took the LSAT, and her forte is writing and she said that she noticed i began using ETS style writing on my essays and while she was a teacher for Kaplan
's LSAT classes, she found that sticking to their ways of writing are the best bet. What this means for us Business school people is, IF POSSIBLE, use the structure shown in CR and in some of the RC's on business (the Orange LSAT book has some nice ones!) to change the way you write a little, more in terms of incorporating the ETS aka "generic" business style of writing. [Note: I say generic cause i am well aware that while writing in the GMAT is one thing, writing for your applications to schools like Harvard and Columbia is a whole different ball game] Because of this, on the day before my actual test when i finished my AWA and found a 6 point answer for the same question online(analysis of argument question, the issue question is a easier once you master this), on a scale of 1-10 i found my essay to be at a 8, in terms of methodology of assessing the: "assumptions made", "conclusions drawn", things that would "strengthen/weaken the argument", how to make the argument more compact and pertinent to the analysis at hand.
as you might have just seen, there is a link on how you can incorporate what you learn in CR and RC to form your essay and if you get your SC's down and can do em in your sleep, it gives you an additional 5 minutes to write instead of having to make numerous corrections in your essay's review, at the end.
Ohh and another thing, i am not sure about this but judging from the percentile markings i got, i think the best time to take the test might be ASAP before the end of summer or around this time next year- why?
1) this is when schools close, so anyone studying for the GMAT wants to take it in the summer, if you just graduated then arround the end of summer or the middle depending on if you think you might have to take it again.
2) i think the volume factor plays a major role, especially now considering GMAC just put up on their website a note saying that the # of people registered to take the gmat is rising FAST.
3) I think with the CAT system they are going to find that as people get more and more goal driven, the average scores needed to get into great schools is going to go up. which puts people working full time at a bit of a disadvantage, cause i know i personally am drained at the end of my work day to then study after dinner, is one heck of a mountain to climb! so if scores are going up, then questions are continuing to be answered right, with this you lose the edge of getting any form of bonus credit you could gain from experimental questions or questions that use to be "hard" but become "intermediate", with respect to difficulty. Which is why the system will need a revision, cause no one should be penalized for everyone else trying to excel. its just grad school, what we do eventually will set us apart but if we all deserve to reach a certain pinnacle then reward us dont penalize us for our efforts. i could be wrong about this cause i dont know too much other than what i have read on different forums and websites, but things seem too cryptic to mean anything else.
So till the system alters itself, get in quick do your test so that at least for the next 5 years you dont have to walk down the same road again.
So guys if anyone feels disheartened by any part of this message, please write and ask me anything. Just because things are hard doesnt mean anyone should give up. Besides if everything were easy then every tom dick or harry would get up and get a MBA from Wharton. Alot of stuff goes into making you who you are, the GMAT is more a test of your mettle and reasoning rather than book smarts; and it makes sense because to be a success in business you need street smarts and an ability to survive- in this case your ability as a full time worker to balance family, work and taking the first step with respect to your desire to reach higher in life. Hey and if things are getting rough out there, and if you have taken the gmat and not done as well as you wanted do not be disheartened, because, with 20 minutes left on my Verbal section i was on my third passage with no clue about what was going on, i honestly was frustrated and irritated with myself, and was considering cancelling my score. but when i finished i didnt cancel because i knew i had done the best i could given my flaws and my constraints, so why not click the "PROCEED" button and just see what you have.
Best of luck everyone who is yet to take the GMAT, i hope everyone does well and gets good scores, and trust me if i can go from a 580 to a 720 you can do alot better. just learn from my mistakes and dont make em.
And anyone can do it without classes, all you need are some books and people like Honghu, Bannerjee, anand, Paul, ywilfred and so many others who use what they have learned to help others and in that process succeed themselves also.
If you look back at some of my posts from when i first started posting on GMATCLUB or testmagic, i was unsure whether to take a class with some organization or to just study on my own but what really made the decision easy was GMATCLUB, I have been so impressed with the extent to which eveyrone was PROACTIVELY involved in making this a cohesive community for all, to succeed and excel at not just scoring well on the gmats but in counceling and advising you once you are done with that. It simply is something that shows how small efforts amount to big outcomes.
I dont think there is much competition for the high volume of communication we see here on any other active forum for any other standardized testing. I could be wrong but if i do end up at a really good school, i would definitely make it one of my case studies, to see the realization of an initiative. and keep in mind compared to people like Honghu and numerous others, i have yet done modestly well. so seriously, true results come from having virtual intercontinental study groups as we do here, spanning china, singapore, delhi, bombay, NY, LA and even good ol Washington DC