Dear GMAT Club Members,
It has been a long ordeal that has lasted over 3 intense months and arguably 2 years. Frequent disappointments often caused me to throw in the towel but several posts on this forum glorified stories of some amazing fightbacks from the brink of defeat and some even had a touche of 'romance'. Well, my story is not quite as dramatic or romantic but could do its bit to encourage people.
My first attempt was in Sep 2002. I studied on my own (GMAT Club - where were you?) and had virtually depended on OG, PR and the Kaplan
workbook - a disappointing 650.
Sep 25, 2004: Second attempt accounted for intense 3 months of preparation over the last few months and although not as active as some other members of the forum, I did try to add value where I think I could instead of indulging in mindless posts (nothing wrong with that!) I was amazed at my own consistency: scored 650 again with almost identical score distribution as in my first attempt: Q47, V33
I used only 3 sources for my preparation:
OG, Manhattan GMAT
Online Course, GMAT Club Participation.
Against much conventional wisdom (GMAT is adaptive; it adjusts to your true ability; you wont improve your score by much), I decided to take one final attempt and that too on the eve of my 30th B'day - they say once you're over the hill, you get miraculously wiser.
Oct 5, 2004:
AWA was usual - even had the audacity to blatantly lie about why buildings in Thailand have conical structures - now if it is graded by someone who is a native of Thailand, I will need to rely on the collective prayers of this club.
Math: 1. Average(E) 2. Geometry (M) 3. Combinations(MH) 4. Exponents(E) 5. Number Properties (MH)
Those were the first 5 questions where E=Easy; M=Medium; MH=Medium Hard.
Very soon, the questions became very hard and remained so till Q20. The OG is a joke compared to the questions I received on the test. The myth about high scoring students not facing Geometry questions while true, the questions itself are super tough! The GMAT Club Challenge while tougher is more reflective of the actual test, especially for 80 percentile scorers and above!
I faced a lot of long-winded "Word" problems - it sometimes took me close to a minute to read and understand what the question is asking for - that explains why I was behind on time! However, I went with a specific strategy and didnt waste more than 2.5 minutes on any question. Also, I faced an interesting question on Average that was concealed as spreadsheet analysis but very easy once you know what ETS was getting at.
I finished with about 15 seconds remaining - is it Parkinsons Law - work expands to fill the time available
Then came the much dreaded Verbal portion: the first three questions were SC; then a 40 line RC and a few CR's.
Luck came in when around the 11th question when I faced an RC whose contents I was somewhat familiar with from my readings earlier... thanks to a friend who works in the field of american history.
The third RC is what I think did the trick for me: its was 85 lines long and had 4 extremely difficult questions; however, it was about currency exchange rate fluctuations, capital flow of goods and services, trade deficits and monetary economics - a subject that I deal with on an almost daily basis for my work. I nailed it!
Inspite of these advantages, I had to guess on the last 2 questions. Interestingly enough, there were no bold-face questions.
It was a liitle unbelievable but when I clicked on the "Report Scores" button, it said 740 - Quant 49, Verbal 42.
One other strategy: I have always had problems with mental stamina; I took a generous dose (2 capsules each) of Ginseng, Ginko Biloba and Whole Vitamin with Grape juice before the start of the exam and during the 2 breaks. I had tremendous clear-headed ability and felt I could go for another hour or so. Maybe, it had a placebo effect but it did work.
A word of thanks and gratitude to all members on this forum who not only tolerated my questions but ever so willingly helped me out with insightful replies along with charitable words like how great my question was... Special note of thanks to the founders who brought this forum together.
And lastly gratitude to Paul [boy, is that surprising
] and hardworker_indian and some other veterans ...
In Paul's now immortal words, I killed the GMAT beast!