Took the GMAT today, the results are
Q 51 - 99 percentile
V 42 - 95 percentile
Overall : 770 - 99 percentile.
AWA - 6.0
I'm stoked. I just keep staring at the unofficial score report to make sure that I'm seeing it right.
First things first!
A big big thanks to all the contributors of the forums at GMAT Club. Without the insight and advice of the forum members I would never have achieved this score. Each step of my preparation was based on the advice at this forum. This forum is a fine example of how people can achieve more collectively than alone!
While I'm really happy about my scores, I am a bit disappointed with my verbal score, I was expecting more and am surprised that I could get 770 with a 42 on the verbal.
My preparation was very haphazard. Demanding work schedule and other responsibilities made my preparation very inconsistent. I started preparations in August hoping to give the exam by october. However after about a month, several things happenning on the personal front distracted me and I hardly studied in sept, oct and nov. I finally picked it up again in december.
I think the best thing that I did in terms of preparation is that I reinstalled the GMAT prep software yesterday and gave both the exams again yesterday. A lot of the quant questions were related to the questions in GMAT prep. They tested very similar concepts. The GMAT prep software is invaluable and the best preparation tool out there. It is worth giving those two tests atleast 3-4 times just so that you can get to each one of the tough questions.
Prep books used
OG 11th ed.
Comprehensive (Should have got the premier edition on this one)
A lot of the material available online.
IMS - CAT Quant guides (These are the guides by IMS for the admission test to the IIMs)
I started with quant, because I love maths and it was the least painful way to get started. I worked through some basic quant material for about 3-4 weeks from the IMS quant guides. These guides are the best basic preparatory material that you can get for quant. They go from the easiest to the toughest problems that you can see.
For verbal I started out with the Kaplan
Comprehensive and went through it. However I was really uncomfortable with SC. I just couldn't get consistent in SC. So I went back to basics. I bought the high school grammar book that I had used years back and went through as much as I could. Unfortunately while that helped a bit, I still couldn't get a handle on SC. Then I read people raving about the manhattan book on the forums. I immediately got a hold of it and went through it.
All said and one, while I improved on SC, I still don't feel really comfortable with them. I still depend a lot on my ear for correct grammar to wade through SC. That explains my not so high verbal score.
I think the Kaplan800
book was also pretty good. The explanations to the SC problems are really good and showed me how I had to basically go through each of the choices and try to find out the flaws in each of them, before marking the best choice.
I didn't really spend a lot of time on RC and CR as I felt that my scoring on those just depended on how well I did on the day of the exam.
My practice scores
Test 1 : 720
Test 2 : 750
GMAT Prep (Reinstall, just the night before the exam)
Test 1 : 770
Test 2 : 790 (This one was a great confidence booster, I got all the verbal questions right.)
Test 1: 770
Test 2: 780
Test 1 : 700 (This one shook my confidence a bit)
Online test : 750 - It was the crappiest test ever.
Book test : 720 - It was crappier than the online test.
comprehensive book is the worst of the lot of books that I went through.
The princeton review
book does a pretty good job with this one. I had some templates ready for AWA. I wrote 2 essays each of both types before the exam just to get the timing right.
1) You can't do the GMATPrep exams enough number of times. Aim to do them atleast twice if not more.
2) Its all about Pacing. Pace yourself well on the exam. I took too much time in verbal on the earlier questions and I had very little time for the last 10 qutestions. I think that hurt me on the verbal score.
3) Workout!! Running boosts your IQ by 10-20%.
4) GMAT epitomizes the age old battle between speed and accuracy. I struggled to find the right balance. In the end I decided to let go of speed for accuracy. I found both in verbal and quant I missed a lot of the traps if I went fast. Moreover in verbal the faster I tried to read, the less I comprehended and had to just go over the passages again. Moreover looking at the way the CAT scores, I knew that even with lots of wrong answers it gives good scores. For example I got something like 12-13 wrong in quant and about 15 wrong in verbal and still managed to get a 720 in one of the GMATPrep tests
. The point being, my opinion is rushing through a question might not work. A question will take the time it will take to get answered. You can't really speed it up by trying to go to fast. But if you get a lot of the tougher questions in the beginning and the middle right, you will score high even if you have to guess randomly on a few questions in the end.
5) For non-native speakers of english, while we do have somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to sentence correction, I would suggest to not get too caught up with it. Treat the verbal more as a test of logical reasoning than the english language. Get acquainted with all the traps in sentence correction, for example detecting parallelism errors, verb errors such as had been, having been, locating the proper subjects and subject verb agreement. Also try to memorize the idiom lists from booksl like the manhattan SC
and use them in sentences of your own. Paste the pages with the sentences on your wardrobe or mirror and read a few of them everyday. I think by following the rules in the various books and using your reasoning to eliminate choices, you should be able to get 70-80% of the sentence corrections right.
6) For CR, one very important strategy was to repeat the CR to myself after I had read it once. I then forced myself to identify the conclusion, evidence and assumption before going to the answer choices. It took discipline, but it did make a difference. I was able to comprehend the answer choices quicker and a lot of times I was able to eliminate choices very quickly, especially the ones that were out of scope.
7) For RC, I used to read the passage the first time very carefully. I even re-read some paragraphs if I didn't understand them. I also used the strategy I used in CR, that is try to recollect the gist of a paragraph in my mind as soon as I finished reading it.
Will add more tips as and when they come....