Got done with the GMAT and I think I couldn't have asked for more. I can't just stop being happy with my scores
I’m a native speaker and currently work with an equity research fund as an analyst on the east coast. I plan to work in Europe for sometime post MBA and INSEAD is my primary target and LBS,IMD are the other schools I'll be applying to. I speak French and Spanish apart from English and I love the French culture so want to live and experience the European way of life for a couple of years and then decide whether I want to move back. I don't plan to get into a hardcore finance role post MBA though I'm open to do financial consulting.Prep strategy :
I prepared for around 4 months in all...Started my prep in October end and joined beatthegmat and gmatclub in first week of November. At one point of time, my addiction grew so much that I had set a goal for myself to visit the forums only once in 3 days. But I think that the credit for this score in part goes to these forums only as I learnt everything about the GMAT,preparation strategy etc from here.
Anyway,what I learnt early on from the forums here is that building a strong conceptual base should be the first target so I kept the first two months for theory and the last one month for intensive practice.
For Verbal, I primarily relied on the Grail series from Aristotle prep. The Grail series is very exhaustive both in theory and practice.I had other books too but didn’t refer to them much. Manhattan SC
was helpful too but didn't find Manhattan CR
and RC useful.
I’ve done my undergrad major in finance so the GMAT Math didn’t seem very difficult. Saying that it was a cakewalk would be going too far but yes I was able to handle Quant better. For higher difficulty level, I referred MGMAT Advanced Quant
Guide and for practice PS and DS boosters rounded up my studies. Testing Experience :
The test day experience was smooth. There were around 8-10 people in my slot. I had a redbull and some cookies during the breaks. Got a little nervous at the beginning of the Quant section and ended up doing some calculations again. Took a deep breath after a couple of questions, told myself everything will be okay and then plunged ahead.
In the verbal section, the RCs were quite dense and boring. Some of the options were close and I really ended up changing the options a couple of times before moving on to the next question.
Overall, I felt that I did well and was expecting around 730-740. It was a long pause after clicking on "Report score" and then I couldn't just stop smiling looking at the computer screen.
I know many people would have secured this score in the past and I'm not the first one to get this score yet it feels very special. More than anything else, I feel glad that I won't have to take the test again because frankly speaking for the last 3 months, I have prepared with a lot of focus and to go through the grind again would have been a little difficult.
a) Take around 8-10 practice tests: Use MGMAT and GMATPREPs
b) Take the GMAT early. It helps-I'm planning to apply for Fall 2014 intake and the deadlines of schools are far away. I could have prepared later but hey when I can do it on time, so why procrastinate.Now I have sufficient time to work on the other equally important aspects of the application.
c) Have a plan for yourself and write it down- I think we stick more to our goals if we have a plan for us otherwise the plan just goes out of the window-this is something that I learnt from my job as we need to be very disciplined to meet our targets. On MTW,I focused on sentence correction, ThuFri, I did CR and Sat, I did RC . This helped me stay in touch with the topics every week and also helped ensure that I stick to the goals I have set for myself
d) Conceptual Clarity comes first and then comes practice- One of the instructors here had posted this on the forums long back and this advice really helped me. I think unless you don't have a strong command over the concepts, practicing would be futile.So focusing on understanding concepts, patterns should be your priority. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't practice while learning concepts. You should do practice questions but the focus should still be on understanding the application of the theory.
Thanks a lot to the awesome participants and instructors on the forums. I look forward to keeping you guys posted about my journey post-GMAT!