Well, I finally gave my GMAT today. My scores were as follows:Quantitative: 49 (86th percentile)Verbal: 40 (89th percentile)AWA: 6.0 (91st percentile)Overall: 720 (94th percentile)My thoughts on the score:
Mixed feelings, but more happy than anything else. Why ‘mixed’? Because I feel that my Quantitative score could have been higher, and that I am capable of achieving more, but then again - it’s a whole series of ’ifs’ and ’buts’, so no point in dwelling on that. At the end of the day, I’m reasonably satisfied.How I prepared and what books I used:General: OG 12
, OG Verbal
Review, OG Quantitative ReviewQuantitative:
I’m fortunate to have been fairly strong in Mathematics since my school days; as a result of this, I never had an issue with the concepts to be learned here. It was more an issue of working out every question within 2 minutes and learning the ‘tricks & techniques’ to do so. No real book used here as such. However, in hindsight, I will admit that a Manhattan GMAT
Guide for Number Theory might have assisted me a bit here. Verbal (General):
Reading has been one of my favorite pastimes since I was a child, and this proved to be extremely helpful in my preparation. The funny thing is that English is not my native language, but I speak and write it the best of the few languages I do know - including my native language as well! This has much to do with where I grew up, though.Sentence Correction:
My SC abilities were about 70% of what they could be, but thanks to my purchase and use of the Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction
Guide, they were pushed up to about 85%-90%. The guide was extremely helpful in pointing out many of the finer aspects of what might be tested on the GMAT - it did in fact alert me of several errors that are almost part and parcel of speech today; things such as these definitely helped fine-tune my abilities in this section.Reading Comprehension:
As I mentioned above, my natural inclination towards reading was of great assistance and more so here than anywhere else. That said, I must admit - the GMAT has the annoying knack of finding some incredibly boring passages for you to read. For these, I did initially struggle to maintain concentration while reading them and actually got several answers wrong during the initial phases of my preparation. However, towards the latter stage I decided to (sort of) paraphrase every thing that I read from an RC passage and write it all down in short while I was doing so (reading) - even during tests. While I never referred to these notes when I was actually answering the questions, they definitely helped me concentrate better on the passages and I noticed I was getting far more questions right after adopting this technique. Critical Reasoning:
This was my weakest area at the start, and, relative to everything else, still is. But I can confidently say I improved substantially here as well; and a lot of credit for this goes to the PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible
. That book actually lives up to its name - it really is the ‘Bible’ for CR. It provided me with in-depth knowledge of various question types from the CR section, and likely answers. And thanks to this, I had a much better idea of how to approach such questions.AWA:
I never focused much on this. All I did was read through chinesburned’s ‘How to get 6.0 in AWA… guide’ and had faith in that. Oh, and I read a couple of sample essays. After receiving my AWA result, it looks my faith in chinesburned's guide paid off!Mock Scores:
Here is a list of my mock scores in chronological order. Please excuse the horrendous first one, as I gave that one without having any knowledge at all of the GMAT - I didn’t even know what sections there were (I actually expected a ‘Science’ section as well!). Also, I had no idea about the importance of time, so I left about 6 questions unanswered in Quant and 4 in Verbal.
Also, some may wonder how or why my scores have increased and decreased in a couple of tests - I have provided explanations for the same alongside the scores.
Princeton Review 1: 510 Q36 V24
Princeton Review 2: 630 Q45 V32
Princeton Review 3: 700 Q50 V37
Manhattan 1: 650 Q44 V35
Manhattan 2: 720 Q45 V42 (Completely untimed)
Manhattan 3: 640 Q44 V33 (Was very unwell)
GMATPrep 1: 680 Q48 V36
Manhattan 4: 680 Q48 V36
Manhattan 5: 710 Q48 V38
Manhattan 6: 680 Q47 V36
GMATPrep 2: 720 Q49 V39
GMAT: 720 Q49 V40
(For MGMAT Tests 4 & 5, I set the timers 100 and 90 minutes respectively for the quant section. My aim was to allow that extra time to compensate for the relatively more difficult MGMAT questions, but at the same time let myself remember that there was a time-constraint.)On the day before and the day of the exam:
I did absolutely nothing GMAT-related on the day prior to test day, apart from watching a couple of movies.
I had heard of several stories of people becoming extremely nervous during the test or very mentally tired by the time they reached the Verbal Section. To try and prevent this as much possible (the mental fatigue), I made sure I had a good night’s sleep the night before.
On test day, I carried along some Gatorade and had the same during the breaks. I also washed my face then, to help me stay alert for the next section. This definitely helped.And last but definitely not least:
A very, very special note of thanks to this forum, its members and its founder, bb. Apart from the study material I used, I cannot underestimate the importance of gmatclub. I may have not posted here regularly, but I have read hundreds of posts that provided me with countless tips.
Here are a few miscellaneous ones that helped me the most - (Disclaimer: some, or most, are from the forum, but unfortunately I don‘t remember which thread they are from or who their posters were):1.
When you begin your preparation for the GMAT, focus on concepts first instead of time. Once you are confident there, move on to techniques/shortcuts and time-saving methods. 2.
Test yourself in short bursts first. Then start taking tests on a regular basis; the GMAT exam is also a mental marathon of sorts. Your brain and body need to get used to working for 3.5 hours continuously at optimum levels.3.
Practice as much as possible, and to stay as close to the GMAT level of questions, there is nothing better than the OG. Keep reviewing your mistakes from your practice questions and mock tests, highlight your weak areas and naturally focus on them.4.
Find out why you got answers right as well; this is something many people overlook as a result of their tendency to focus only on weak areas. If, for example, you get a question right but take a little over 2 minutes to do so, have a look at the solution: there might be a simpler and faster way of reaching the answer.5.
Keep reading debriefs from this forum for motivation and tips. It really does help, and definitely helped me. There really are some fantastic articles by several 700+ers with invaluable tips. Also, I would like to add - 2 of the most important reasons thanks to which I increased my verbal score, are MGMAT's SC
Guide and PowerScore's CR Bible, both of which I came to know about thanks to this forum!6.
Keep visiting this forum in general as well, throughout your preparation - even if you have no particular question on your mind. There are many times, when even though I had no particular doubt as such, that I came across posts asking interesting and useful questions that simply hadn’t struck me before. Honestly speaking, the amount of question and knowledge you can gain here regarding the GMAT that is not necessarily just part of the study material is surprising!7.
If my memory serves, this is a very useful tip I read in a post from bb regarding guessing: during your mocks and your actual test, if you start running short on time and are forced to made educated guesses - try and guess alternate questions rather than consecutive ones. This is because, if you get your guesses wrong, getting them wrong in alternate questions results in a lesser percentile drop than getting them wrong in consecutive questions.8.
When you walk in for the actual exam, avoid ‘expecting’ a particular score when you begin the test or when you are giving it. This expectation, high or low, can stay at the back of your head and affect your mind’s train of thought when tackling a question. 9.
When you are in the exam room and answering questions, focus only on the question in front of you. Do not think of the ones you have answered or the ones that might possibly come your way. Even if you are confident that you answered a set of questions correctly, forget about them because it may result in a degree of overconfidence.
That’s it from my side. I hope this helps aspiring GMAT-takers to get a score that helps them get into a B-School of their choice!