I'm happy to inform you all that I am done with the GMAT, forever. Got a 750(Q-51,V-40) and though it's a little less than the 99th percentile(760 benchmark) I had set for myself,nonetheless ,I'm on top of the world.
A brief background
In India, we are told by our parents that every exam is very “crucial for your future” . So the high school exam is “make or break” for “deciding your future”, the same is for the 12th grade and the same continues when we prepare for the engineering exam and then for the CAT. I have been hearing all those things since time immemorial “Beta, padh lo! Life ban jaayegi”(Son, study!Your future will be secure!) . Huh! But to prepare for the GMAT was the first time when anybody didn’t have to tell me that, because
1. This time I didn’t tell anyone that I’m preparing for the GMAT so there was no one to bestow me with suggestions
2. This time I myself knew that this exam is really important as it is going to determine my future.
I started my preparation 4 months back . As I am working full-time, I kept aside around 20 hours of studying per week as I did not want to burn out fast by studying too hard.Test day ExperienceAWA -
I didn’t prepare anything for AWA till the day before the exam. Knew that I’ll do well on this. Saw the template by Chineseburned and just practiced writing one essay each of argument and issue on one of the AWA topics on mba.com and surprisingly as luck would have it, I got the argument essay on the GMAT on which I had practised writing an essay! .Quant:-
The questions were very easy and I was cruising at good speed.Suddenly,saw that 2-3 questions were quite easy and I got nervous thinking that I was not doing well but as the score showed later, I think I couldn’t have done better on quant. The language and format of the quant questions was very similar to the ones you’d see on the GMATPREP CATs , so I’d suggest you to really take time analyzing the GMATPREP CATsVerbal:-
First two questions were SC questions. The sentences were not long but the questions were quite tricky. And though I had practiced a lot of meaning based questions from Aristotle New SC Questionbank, I was thrown off balance because of the pressure on the exam. Took a good 4-5 minutes on them and cursed myself for that. Regained the composure and said to myself not to exceed the time I have set for myself for each type of question. Then started tackling the questions with greater poise.
Finished the Verbal section just in time. Only 10 seconds were left on the clock. Books referred:-
I primarily referred OGs, Manhattan and Aristotle Prep books as I didn't want to go crazy doing everything on the internetOG12
- The OGs are the best resources for practising as they contain retired GMAT questions.
SC -Aristotle SC Grail
- Both the books complement each other. No wonder these are the most referred books for SC.Ultimate One minute Explanations to OG12 SC
- Has to understand explanations to OG12
CR : Manhattan CR Guide
RC : Ginn’s RC Guide for RC strategy
and Aristotle RC Practice sets 1 & 2
Quant- Nothing much. In fact, I got a little jittery in the 3rd month of my preparation that I have completely ignored maths Practice test scores
GMATPREP and Manhattan CATs are the best out there!
Before I started my prep, i took a GMATPREP CAT.Scored a 670 on that so knew that I’d not to be just focused to score well.
After 3 months
MGMAT CAT 1 - 640( Got shocked that after preparing for 3 months I got a score less than what I had gotten on the diagnostic)
MGMAT CAT 2 - 670
MGMAT CAT 3 - 720
GMATPREP 1 - 740 (Was overjoyed that I have broken the 700 barrier on GMATPREP)
MGMAT CAT 4- 740
GMATPREP 2- 750
GMATPREP1 (Retake) : 780 ( Saw around 4-5 repeat questions/sections so that’s why the score got inflated )
Final GMAT : 750(Q:51,V-40)
I’m quite happy on getting this score but maybe a little disappointed that I couldn’t touch the 99th percentile mark at 760.
Here are some things which I learned during the journey and after reaching the destination
1.) TIME MANAGEMENT
- I think that time management is MORE important that practicing.A lot of us fail to control our emotions on the actual exam and end up spending more than the stipulated time on a particular question. For example, I wasted around 4-5 minutes on a probability question when all I should have done is that I should have
2.) Educated guessing/Ballparking
: Making educated guesses on maths can help you answer questions faster. The GMAT doesn’t expect you to solve every question till the last digit. Learn the art of ballparking as you prepare for the exam.
3) Prefer only good quality material
: Do not go mad doing every other resource out there on the internet especially those 1000 SC documents. Its more important to do 10 questions a day and get 7 different concepts out of it rather than doing 100 and getting only 5 different concepts out of it. How to find different concepts ? Read the answers in the OG very carefully. They hide little gems.
4.) Visit the forums often
: This forum is the best way to keep yourself in the groove and be motivated. Follow threads by good members.A good way to get good questions (or explanations ) posted by different people is to search for their older posts. Three people i can vouch for are : GMATLA,Santanu,PTK and Bunuel.
Thanks to all of them
Great story. Loved your tips especially related to ballparking. I realize that ballparking is superimportant to eliminate choices. It becomes even easier when one works with the options while doing ballparking