I took my test and scored a 730( Q 49, V41). I wanted to post this right away but gmatclub was down. I am glad that this is over now and I can get to the next step in the process with out much thoughts on my score as it seems to be above the mean and median of schools I want to get into.
It would not have been possible if I had not met some excellent minds on GMAT. Thanks, In no particular order, Ian Stewart, Walker, bb, nitya34, bigfernhead, Ron Purewal of MGMAT and many others. I might have forgot a few names but I havent forgotten how much helpful all of you have been.
I will elaborate on this a bit latter when I become normal. I did not sleep well Friday night as I was constantly tossing up in the bed. A few drinks did not bring me back to normal from hyper. Only slept for 5 hours last night. The last Quant Q is haunting me
Quick reflection on my GMAT "One has to trust himself or herself at some point that he/she can take on this test"
. I mean not only during the test but also before the test. Probably many of you do and I am the odd man out because I have never been a good test taker. Even though I was consistently scoring any where between 680 to 760 on different CATS and even though I was telling myself that I am not going to screw up big time, GMAT had instilled in me some concern for the trap DS and CR answers. The reason why I bring this up is because I answered the last question on the Q in the last 40 seconds and I could have actually completed it but eventually had to pick an answer. This matters because, I double checked my answers to many questions and my answer did not change not even once. How ever, I cannot rule out the possibility. I guess that was my ugly predicament. Had if I trusted my self, I probably would have scored better. Again probably it is hind sight.
On the verbal, I was left with 1:30 min with 3 questions. i got an assumption question and the prephrase directly pointed me to the answer and I did not even read the other choices, but still ended up guessing the last 2 Q as only 1 min was left. Again, why did I end up here? Double checking answers on RC and CR and some times SC, if its not straight forward. I just could not let it go. First RC passage was long and almost all RC questions except for 2/3 were infer/suggest/author disagrees with scholars on what and they would cover 3/4 th of the screen on the right. Damn! At one point, I was feeling like what is this fusillade of RC questions? Is this going to end? I realized that they actually ended by 30th Question. Contrary to the Quant section, my double checking on verbal surely helped me for one question. I was about to speed up and found my mistake. Then I got back to my old methods of double checking until the last 3 questions.
If you are thinking that I am bitching and moaning about my score, no I am not and I am perfectly cool and happy as it is above the median and means at many schools. I am just putting some thoughts hoping that some one might find them useful.Reading Comprehension
nevergiveup asked me about RC and I felt obliged to share as it was not easy to get a grip on RC. I hope he and others find my thoughts helpful.
If you are a very slow reader as I was or suffer from regression as I did at one point, I recommend you this book
. You might wonder how this might help for GMAT RC right away. It wont directly but it will help you read faster. The day before the test, I realized that there is a verbal diagnostic in the OG 11th edition and took it. I completed 3 passages/17 Questions in 30 minutes and got 16 correct. I actually read the first small passage in under 2 minutes. I attribute the increase in reading speed and reduction in the number of regressions to this book. You might take this book to read and wonder why is this author focusing so much on the mechanics of the eye or reading in 3 or 4 word blocks. Dont keep it down and do work as the book says. Complete those exercises. This is what I did in Feb/Mar time frame when I realized that I was being pressed for time on V as a whole.
Enter GMAT passages. If you have exhausted OG and the Review passages, there is the 1000 RC doc which will have as much practice as you want. There was/is a great guy/gal nitya34 who posted 3 passages every day. His/her motivation pushed me further and it motivated others too.
The most important things on the GMAT RC passages that helped me were
(1) Justify the verb and the noun in the primary purpose questions and the tone/attitude of the author questions. one should be able to unequivocally say whether the author argues/summarizes/discusses or whether the passage is about research/study/practice. It gets a little bit dicey on the tone of the author questions some times for me because there might be words in the passage that might make it look like the author really has a strong opinion. Tone/Attitude generally is the one that is reflected through out the passage, unless explicitly mentioned in reference to a particular line.
(2) Principle of locality: The answer to most "according to the passage which is true" or "what does the word/phrase kill two birds in one shot in line 34 mean" questions lies around where the words are. A sentence up or down, not too far
(3) Half correct Half wrong or 50% correct.
Read the whole answer choice. Many choices on RC will have the explanations match that either match the actions in the passage and have a complete out of scope stuff in the rest of the half.
(4) Use POE. Don't look for the answer to stand out. Using POE helps increase accuracy and reduce silly mistakes.Critical Reasoning
I initially had problems to read the stem fast enough, suffered from regression. Norman Lewis book I referred above helped me in CR as well. Improving Reading comp not only helps Reading comp and CR, but also helps you keep balanced and less vulnerable. Some might believe that SC and CR will get past 40 but I feel a good balance on all three is needed, This got easier after a while as GMAT test writers cannot write answers based on their whims and fancies. I loved causation questions and there are a few specific ways the weakening/strengthening/assuming can be done on them.. Speaking of assumption Questions, Kaplan
has this negation strategy which works for about 99% of all the questions. If you are having issues with assumption questions, follow that strategy.
For extra practice I went to Borders a few times and took the LSAT super prep books and solved 25 questions each time. The difficulty of LSAT questions after 17-18th Q cranks up. I got the Powerscore CR
bible as well but did not find it much helpful. Sentence Correction
Not much to say. MGMAT SC
book. One stop. If you are taking Knewton Online Course, Dont just practice questions. Take the pretest and retest seriously.Books Used
MGMAT 3rd edition guides - 5/5 StarsPowerscore CR
bible-3/5 StarsKaplan premier
edition 2008 - 3/5 starsPrinceton review 1012
practice Questions - 1/5 (please avoid, bunch of OG knock off questions and math questions are riddled with errors)
Knewton Online course - 3/5 ( sloppy customer service but good instructors with a nice sense of humor. Dave Ingber is awesome)CATS
This is the worst part. Except for GMAT prep there is not a reliable indicator out there.
Once you take GMATprep twice, your scores further are pretty skewed. 2/3 questions can get you out of 700. Dont hold on to taking GMATPrep until last week. Take atleast 3/4 weeks ahead so that you know how much you have to catch up.
MGMAT CATS: Quant is ridiculously hard. Unless you are a 51+ test taker, you cannot complete them in 75 minutes and get 51. But what MGMAT does is expose you to all the toughest things you might see on GMAT. You might see 3/4 such Q's, MGMAT how ever will give you 15-18 of them on their test. Verbal RC passages are long and winding. So were Questions on my test. I did get 2 long passages and question/answer taking more than 3/4th of the screen. Long Q and answer choices mean more time needed to read. So In one way it was helpful. SC and CR pretty much straightforward.
I scored any where from 670 to 750 on MGMAT CATs, ofcourse I had to hit the pause button on Quant about 31st or 32nd question and about 35th/36th in verbal.
Knewton CATS: What Can I say? Pure waste of time. Completed Quant two times with out a mistake only to get 50. I wish GMAT quant was similiar. You can find more info on the Knewton cats and course in this thread
Actual test: 730 Q49 V41 I could hear my heart pounding. Its over. It took about 5 minutes for me to enter the passcode correctly on my iPhone.