UPDATE: Got the official report today and I got a 5.5 on AWA and an 8 on IR. Happy with the AWA score and a bit baffled about IR. On MGMAT I got around 5-6 in preparation exams so I guess YES, the real IR is easier than MGMAT.
What concerns me a bit is that apparently Q48 is no longer 80% but 78%. Hope this won't be an issue since there are rumours about an "80%-rule"... Well, retaking is not an option here so I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it turns out.
I took the GMAT today for the first time and wanted to give a debrief about it so that someone hopefully will learn something from my endeavours. I have been rather "passively active" in the form, in that I read many topics but did not contribute as much. I have to say GMATCLUB is by far the best forum about the GMAT that I know - thank all of you guys for sharing your experiences and bb for creating this wonderful thing.
Here it goes:Why GMAT
I am a non-native speaker from Europe, currently working at M/B/B. As some of you know we have this thing where you leave the firm after 2-2.5 yrs of work to attain some additional sort of degree (MBA, MPA, Phd...). My plan is to apply to an MBA fulltime program this fall, starting Mid 2013. Obviously to get access to the MBA programs you need to tackle the beast aka the GMAT.Study materials usedMGMAT guides
(all 8) --> Number properties and SC were by far the most helpfulOG12
/13 --> Simply a MUST for everyone who takes preparation seriouslyKaplan GMAT 800
--> in my opinion pretty useless, most questions are far from 700+ level and awkwardly phrased, a bit off from the real thingGMAT Club Tests
--> I think it's an amazing resource I should have spent more time on (only did around 100-150 questions)
GMAT Club AppPractice Scores
GMAT Prep 1: 660 (43/38) (Diagnostic):
MGMAT 1: 700 (45/40) (Diagnostic 2.0, no serious study involved)
MGMAT 2: wasted (just did Quant part)Kaplan
CAT1: 640 (I think the Kaplan
Scoring algorithm is completely off)
GMAT Prep 1: 700 (47/39) (No repeat Qs as the first one was 6 months ago)
MGMAT 3: 740 (47/45)
MGMAT 4: 680 (46/37)
GMAT Prep 2: 730 (47/44)
GMAT Prep 1: 770 (50/44) (Some repeat Qs)Preparation
I first thought about taking the GMAT September 2011 when I decided to get an MBA. I took an initial diagnostic test and scored 660 (GMAT Prep 1). Since I knew I still had loads of time until the serious phase of applying would start, I did not do any studying whatsoever until finally in May 2012 I took time off work to seriously prepare for the GMAT. Took another "Diagnostic Test" and scored 700 on the MGMAT 1.
I started off my preparation by building up the basic understanding of concepts tested on the GMAT. I ran through all the MGMAT books
1-8 and completed all the questions in OG in the MGMAT logic. I think this is a great way of building the foundation to master the GMAT but another really important factor is missing - PRACTICE. When I finished those books after around 2.5 weeks I took the next practice exam and guess what - 700 again. I got a bit frustrated as to why I had put so much effort into studying these books if it didn't affect my performance at all. Then it occured to me that while studying the MGMAT helps you build an understanding of the basic concepts it cannot substitute for PRACTICE. Upon reviewing my practice exams I saw that I made many mistakes which resulted either from carelessness (even integer, consecutive integer...) or could be eradicated by practicing the question types. So I started to do many questions and got adept to most of the question types. This really helped me boost up my practice scores as at some point you just start to see the solution jumping at you. I continued doing practice questions (e.g., GMAT Club App, GMAT Club tests
, OG, Kaplan GMAT 800
) and came closer and closer to the test date. The day before test day I did not do much, mostly reviewed the notes I had taken during my studies and some problems from the OGs.
Some tips that might be useful:
- MGMAT guides
can only get you so far - if you need the extra push (49+) go for the GMAT club tests
(unfortunately I did not spend anough time here)
- SC: Use MGMAT SC
to learn the rules and then practice, practice, practice. I increased my hitrate from around 50% in the beginning to around 90% in the end by practicing many questions
- CR: Hard to practice in my opinion since it is mostly logic. I think the strategies in MGMAT may be useful for some but I did not apply them (T diagram...). What helps is to first read the question and then go into the text. It helps you focus on what's asked
- RC: Again, really hard to practice. I guess reading fiction can help to understand difficult passages, but it just takes time. What I think helps most is trying to get excited for the topic - make yourself get interested and it's going to be an easy task.
- Don't stress yourself out. If you're applying this year I think they won't care too much about the IR anyway as they will receive apps from ppl with and without IR and also they will not really know how to evaluate the scores by then.
- IR on test day was a lot easier than the practice questions (did the 50 on the OG13 HP) - again, don't stress yourself out
- What really helped me get my timing straight was the following: In quant I used the logic that after 25 minutes I have to be done with 13 Qs, after 50 min 25 Qs and after 75 min 37 Qs (13/12/12). In verbal I did the same thing with a 14/14/13 split. This strategy really helped me as I stopped having to rush through the last couple of questions and forced me to keep the time in focus.Test day
The day before the test I went to the test center to just see what I was up against. I would recommend this - it takes off the pressure of the unkown on test day. When I got in, the lady from the center told me to wait a couple of more minutes until the test would start. Did so and 15 min later I sat in front of the screen. The first thing I did was putting my grid for verbal on the scratch pad, since in the beginning the test is not timed. After clicking next for a while I started off with AWA. Breezed through, having in mind the Instructions from chineseburned (read. his. post.). Next up was IR. Honestly in all my practice tests I was struggling with timing issues (had to guess the last 1-2 questions). On test day though I finished in time and was pretty happy with my performance (seemed easier than the practice Qs). After IR I took the break and ate a snickers + had a bit of orange juice.
Next up was quant. I felt good throughout the entire section although I oftentimes had the feeling that questions were too easy and spend some time second-guessing I probably could have saved (prbly experimental Qs). Still, finished Quant with 3 mins left, pretty happy with myself.
After the second break (splashing water in my face) I went back in and started off with verbal. From the beginning I felt I was struggling. The SCs were tougher than the ones I knew: no easy splits, many times I had to half-guess between two options and spent much time on SCs when I would usually spend around 1 min per Q. The RCs were also horribly boring and one was among the longest I had ever seen about a topic I did not AT ALL care about. What I did was trying to pull all that's in me together and fight through. Did so but at the cost that in the end I almost ran out of time. Had 9 mins and around 6 Qs left, so I rushed through the last ones a bit and finished the section not quite happy - at that point I would have evaluated my performance at around 39/40. One more thing: No boldface question at all, just some questions of the type "finish the argument" or "which evidence"... Maybe they are on to this "tell sign" of good performance and start to take it out of the test.
After the excruciating part of answering the survey I finally clicked on "Report my scores" and saw... 750 (48/44). I was superhappy and suppressed a loud scream of excitement (pumped my fists though
Some tips for the test day:
- Make sure you get there rested. I can't stress this enough - it will kill you if you get a headache during the exam
- Get in the right mood: I AM THE GMATKILLER; I WILL GUN YOU DOWN BI*CH
- Don't drink too much: I think many ppl drink a whole bottle during their break and - surprise - have to pee later. This can affect your performance in 2 ways: you lose time when you go to the toilet OR you can't focus 100% thinking about peeing all the time.
I hope this debrief helps some of you guys out there just as the debriefs have helped me.