Now that the GMAT journey is over, I understand the hardwork and discipline that goes into achieving this scoring. One has to really take the right decisions at the right time to do well on the GMAT to make the seemingly impossible possible! It was especially tough for me because I was initial planning to take the GMAT in first week of December. Somehow I was under the impression that like all other business schools, ISB also has its R2 deadline in Jan. But suddenly, in August, I surprised when I got an email that ISB's R2 deadline is November 30th so had to take the GMAT well on time to meet the deadline.
I'm from India currently working in US for the last 1 year. Total work experience is around 3 years in an IT consulting role.Targeting to switch to Finance post MBA and planning to apply to ISB, Booth, Wharton and Stern. Total prep time
- 2 months. Strategy
- Based on my score on the diagnostic test, I realized that I need to focus more on Verbal. Quant has never been too much of a challenge for me but Verbal on GMAT requires understanding the various type of questions, strategies etc so it indeed demands dedication. I put in approximately 30 hours/week for 2 months. 30 hours/week is more than what most will recommend but since I was on a tight schedule, I had to finish learning concepts and strategies well on time so that I could have enough time to practice
AWA : Use Chineseburned AWA guide- Simply awesome. Just practiced 2-3 essays and I was good to go!
Integrated Reasoning : Used only the OG13 IR questions. Most of the schools have already said that IR is not very important so didn't want to spend a lot of time on this. I think I did fairly wellQuant:
I took the MBA entrance exams in India the last year and the Quant in those is certainly more difficult than the GMAT Quant. Didn’t have to worry much about it. Just practiced questions from different sources(Kaplan
This was my Achilles’ Heel on Verbal and though learning rules is not difficult but applying them is definitely a tough task. Also 500, 600 level questions are not difficult to tackle but 700+ level questions require clarity of concepts,not to mention good overall command on English.
I knew that if I could improve on SC, I can improve my chances of getting a great score quite a lot. Why? Simply because a) Maximum number of questions on Verbal are from SC b)It’s easier to improve SC in a limited time frame as compared to CR and RC so this was my kill area.Books I used
Manhattan SC- Good book but can be confusing. Doesn't have practice problems also so you will have end up exhausting OG13 questions by the time you finish it.
SC Grail 3rd edition- It's 2nd edition was okayish but the latest one is better than Manhattan SC I think. Focuses on application of concepts and covers advanced SC concepts in an easy way. Also provides 125 practice questions. Critical ReasoningManhattan CR
:Didn't like it much. If you like doing CR with symbols and diagrams, you will like this book but I think more intuitively and making a diagram to understand the argument wasn't my cup of tea.
Aristotle CR Grail : Not as great as the SC Grail 3rd ed,but I think the book’s approach was better than Manhattan CR
’s. Structured and without any nonsensical diagrams.Reading Comprehension
Honestly speaking, I never practised much for RC. I somehow felt confident on RC and just went through the strategies on various forums so that I could tackle RC better and practiced only the OG RCs.Practice testsKaplan
: Poor scoring algorithm. Was devastated after taking one test. Read it on the forums that these tests aren't good so moved to Manhattan.
Manhattan CATs - Good scoring algorithm and excellent tests overall but quant can be much tougher than the actual test.
GMATPREP- Extract the juice out of these tests. Very very good.
#1 – 580
MGMAT #1 – 670
MGMAT # 2- 710
MGMAT #3 - 740
GMATPREP1 #1 - 720
GMATPREP1 #2 - 760
GMATPREP2 #1 - 750
GMATPREP2 #2 - 770
You'll see that the GMATPREP scores on reattempts are inflated. This is because I knew a couple of questions.Test Day
At times both during the Quant and the Verbal section, I felt as though I am not doing well and drove the anxiety level high. However, I constantly kept on telling myself to focus on the question on the screen because my assessment on my performance didn’t matter. At the end, clicked on Report score and was overjoyed.Five "Takeaways"(a too frequently used word in the GMAT world I think)
1. Do not take the GMAT if you are not prepared. Trust your instinct. If you are not prepared for, don’t waste your $250. I booked my test date only when I thought that I'm ready to take the exam.
2. If you have a limited time, focus more on SC than on CR and RC. SC is easier to improve.
Analysis of questions is the key to improve yourself.
3. I don’t know what is the surest way to fail but one of the definite contenders would be “Wasting more than the allotted time on a question” .
It is not only stupid but it is futile. It especially happens in Quant when you’ve already taken say 3 minutes in a question and you are still thinking that you’ll get the answer soon. It’ll just throw your entire time management into disarray
4. Make sure that you used the optional breaks in the tests.
5. Don't bother too much about IR. I have seen a lot of people on the forums here fretting about IR.
Good luck to all of you here and thanks a lot in helping with achieving my goal.I hope to be active on the business school threads now as i move to the next stage. If you have any questions, let me know.