I wrote my GMAT (my first attempt) yesterday after pushing it for over an year
. I have 3.5 years of work experience spanning across 3 companies- a startup for 9 months, an IT MNC (another 9 months
) and in a Management consulting firm (working currently). I have done Computer Science and Engineering in my undergrad.
The Prep stage err... the struggle
I started my casual prep in Dec' 2011 but as I am lazy and didn't want to step in and face the heat. I thought I could take it easy and have it may be some time later. Also, it had been long I took any competitive test. Last one was CAT (for mba in India) way back in 2009.
Also, my work schedule was crazy (infact it is still the same even now). After coming back from office at 10/11 P.M at night in general (at times 1/2 A.M), having worked on multiple projects with critical business rule change or some client request, I found it difficult to be motivated and study.
Weekends were spent trying to come back to life after taxing weekdays. Nevertheless, I knew GMAT verbal is killer and I wanted to improve my verbal in general so that's what I started working out on.
After finishing up Manhattan SC guide twice and finishing the OG quant
, I thought I should check where I stand. I took GMAT PREP1 and got 690 (Quant-49, Verbal-34). Link to my splitup -http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-prep1-690-quant-49-verbal-34-help-needed-in-verbal-134586.html
A pathetic score especially in verbal section considering I spent so much time trying to improve on it. Also, Quant needs to be worked on mainly in DS section. I decided to take a break and kick start prep sometime later. Then I again started pushing it back, I guess I am good at procrastination
I started my prep 2 months later in end of Aug'12. Things were going crazy in office now, I had a bad stint and got pulled up. Anyways, back to GMAT I felt Manhattan SC is taking me nowhere. I posted in GMATclub and beatthegmat seeking for advice.
I got one of the best advises - Try different strategy, have strategy for each section - each type of question and watch Ron's video when you feel you have hit the end in prep and can't improve any futher
I chucked Manhattan SC, CR Bible, RC guides and took up Ron's videos. I went through all his SC, RC and CR videos. I felt SC videos were the best and most useful and unfortunately I couldn't get much out of CR and RC videos. I felt the improvement in my understanding and accuracy instantly in SC's.
My friends started taking GMAT but I kept pushing it back. I didn't find time to prepare to my satisfaction. Also, my scores in MGMAT tests (untimed) were appalling. Anyways, I booked GMAT appointment in mid Dec'12 and took 2 weeks off. Consider that I had availed and prepared solely by practicing from MGMAT tests and GMAT club tests
only. I had done almost all of the GMAT club tests
which were free for over a week , thanks a lot for that GMAT club
I took GMAT Prep1 ( 690 - Q47, VA38) two weeks before my GMAT day, it came as a shocker for me. Not only verbal didn't deliver but also I realized that I have ignored Quant prep somewhere. I decided to reschedule it, but reschedule meant I can't apply in Round 2 this year. My friends asked me to just appear once and then retake it based on the outcome of the test. But I decided to reschedule it cause from the inside I didn't feel I wasn't ready. Beside I didn't even study for a day on IR and AWA. I took 2 MGMAT tests after resetting the question pool but scores weren't very encouraging. But I felt I am ready and I went ahead and gave the test yesterday.Materials Used:1. SC's
- Manhattan SC guide, however I dumped it for Ron's video later. Manhattan SC is good but it has so many rules that it became impossible for me to choose and apply one in test conditions. For practice I used OG - 12 and 13 ,OG - Verbal Review- 2nd Ed. And, also the collection of 70 difficult SC questions collection in GMAT club. The way I prepared was I tried to understand solution/approach to all problems even when I can solve them with ease. I used Aristotle Ultimate-One-Minute-Explanations-to-OG12
-SC to assist in my studies. At the final stage I used to look up explanation from Manhattan forums as they always had discussions where Ron/Stacey would give amazing approach2. CR's
- I started out with CR Bible but it wasn't much of help and turned out to be waste of time. I did Ron's videos to build up the required base. I used OG- 12 and 13, OG -Verbal Review- 2nd Ed, Aristotle Prep- LSAT questions and GMAT Prep's collection of CR questions3. RC's
- Ron's videos, OG- 12 and 13, OG -Verbal Review, 2nd Ed and GMAT Prep's collection of RC questions4. Quant
- OG 12
and OG quant
supplement. I mainly did GMAT club test questions and looked up Manhattan tests problemsTest day experience and tips:Tips:
1. Go visit the test center! You shouldn't spend time trying to figure where it could be and how to get there. For me the cab driver didn't know the location, it was good that I knew the location of the test center
2. Have plenty of sleep before you head for the test
3. Before you go to bed, tell yourself your dream score and assure yourself you will get it. I don't know it works or not but it sure does calms your nerves
4. Remember it's just a test, you can retake it as many times as you want! It won't hurt except the 250 USD
As was said by my friend- GMAT is best taken with calm mind, you can always reschedule/cancel it. It won't be apocalypse if you don't feel like it now or you feel you screwed it.
5. Have light breakfast and avoid water
6. Get chocolate bars, Red Bull / some energy drinks for your breaks
7. Don't predict your scores in the middle of your exams
8. There is a subtle difference between letting the question go and spending some more time to get it correct it. I screwed it up in verbal and paid heavily for it. Don't let it happen with you, keep tab on time and be realistic. Take mocks under timed condition to develop that sense
9. Breaks are effectively of 5-6 mins. Keep that in mind!
10. Remember the location of 5 B-schools you want to apply for free Test day Experience
I was suffering from cold and bad headaches for last 1-2 weeks but I just had to take the test now!. I had booked a cab for my test center but the guy didn't turn up, I am yet to talk to that cab company and give him a piece of my mind. I was lucky to get a cab willing to go on hire just outside my housing society. I ran into a old schoolmate of mine in the test center. I met her after ~ 10 years!, it was sure some day. She had so many things to talk about! anyways it in someway took my mind off from the test and take it easy after the chaotic ride to test center.AWA
- It was kinda easy, I just wrote according to Chineseburned's template. I took it easy and just filled up IR
- Easy compared to what I have been through in MGMAT test. I skipped 1 two part question and 3 multi source questions (language wasn't clear to me and I didn't want to burn myself in this section). I hope the score isn't abysmal Quant
In first 10 question itself I saw probability and questions which were pretty tough. Thank god that I did GMAT club tests
and I wasn't under shock with difficult questions popping up back to back. It was easier compared to MGMAT tests as there were I believe occasional 500-600 questions in actual test. Got some weird questions, I haven't seen or dreamed before! Anyways I finished with 1:30 mins remainingVerbal
Difficulty level seemed to sky rocket after 21-23 questions. Crazy RC's, CR's and SC's started popping up. RC's and CR's were difficult ones and I haven't seen these many ambiguous/tricky type of questions before! two of the RC's actually threw me off along with occasional CR's. I ended up with no time in the end. I had to rush through 5-6 questions, just randomly guessing. I couldn't even read the last question as time got up. I believe I had to pay heavy penalty for it. There was a good lesson that GMAT is smarter than you and it starts throwing questions you can't handle after one stage. Its important to realize it, accept it, bow out and keep track of time. Practice tests: Take the MGMAT tests -Verbal and Quant questions and GMAT Club tests (for Quant only) very seriously!
I found close resemblance of difficulty level and skills tested in the actual test with those in MGMAT/GMAT club tests
My scores in practice tests were low, ridiculous and demoralizing
But I always believed that mocks are MOCKS and real one is the actual thing. I took even the GMAT Prep as a mere mock
Things I thought about practice tests are - take mocks ->learn concepts and time management and ignore the scores. If you feel from the inside that you are ready then you are!
Sorry for my irreverence to the mocks!Before reset:
Didn't analyze these tests for close to 2 weeks after taking them! All of these tests were untimedMGMAT 2
: Sep'15, 2012 - 670-Q -45 , VA-36. Got 7 DS and 8 PS wrong, across numbers, quad equation, geometry pretty much everything. Got 8 CR , 4 RC and 5 SC's.MGMAT 3
: Sep'26, 2012 - IR - 5.34, 680 - Q - 45 , VA-37. Got 8 DS and 7 PS wrong. Got 5 SC's, 6 RC's and 4 CR's wrongMGMAT 4
: Sep'29, 2012 - 650 - Q - 44, VA -35. Got 11 DS and 7 PS wrong. Got 4 SC's, 4 RC's and 8 CR's wrong. This test was absolutely devastating for me. Untimed test and still this is what I got with scores plummeting down!After reset:
I took GMAT prep1 some where in mid Dec'12 and got 690 - Q 47, VA - 38. This is when I decided to reschedule the test though I had two weeks left for GMAT at that time. I went back to the GMAT club tests
I took , I had list of questions I screwed up in GMAT club tests
and I started to go through them and solve them
These tests were timed :MGMAT 1
: Dec'30,2012 - 680 - Q-46, VA-36. Got 7 DS and 7 PS wrong. Got 6 CR, 4 RC and 3 SC's wrongMGMAT 2 & 3
: I skipped them! So its like I set too low time and the test automatically got over. I thought MGMAT 4 and onwards would be easier and I would get a moral booster
. But the way MGMAT tests work is that questions of higher difficulty keep coming if you haven't used them up early. I didn't know it then MGMAT 4
: Jan'6, 2012 - 690 - Q-48, VA- 36. Got 5 DS and 4 PS wrong. Got 3 CR , 5 RC and 5 SC's wrong. I had got lot of repeated questions as in questions which I have seen before, what I did was solve it rather than try to recall what answer was or could have been. Even if i knew the ans to a question and I couldn't reason it then I marked the questions wrongNext steps and may be retake?
That's all I guess I had to share! Let me know if I can be of any help/assistance. I am going to take 2 weeks off from MBA prep and applications. I guess I am already pretty late and out of time for apps for this season. Well for now, I hope that the girl I am pursuing relents and decides to meet me
. I hope I will be able to decide on retake and apps once I come back to the frayRetake:
Well, I believe I could have done better if I managed my time better in Verbal. I am aiming at US top 10 B schools and I feel 730 is not a great score. I would like to know what experts feel I should do at this juncture! Shall I retake the GMAT and get better score so that I have a better shot at Chicago/Kellog/MIT?