An end of one journey (Next Gen GMAT 670 with Q-44 & V-38) and hopefully the beginning of another (MBA).UPDATE (Official Score Report) :- Q-44, V-38, AWA-5.5 & IR-6/8
I gave my GMAT exam for the first time on June 16th, 2012 and wanted to write a debrief of my experience. Even though I did not get anywhere close to a fantabulous score, I am quite happy with my overall score (although disappointed with my quant score) and hope my experience will help at least one other person on this forum.
PS: - Please forgive any grammatical errors and the long post.
Work Experience: - 32 year old Indian Male. 7 years as a Human Factors/Safety/Ergonomic Specialist with a Fortune 500 company in the US.
M.S in Industrial Engineering (Human Factors/Safety/Ergonomics) with a GPA of 3.3 (US)
Bachelor of Tech. in Mechanical Engineering with a GPA of 3.7 (India)
Reason for MBA: - To shift careers from the technical side to Safety Management or Safety Consulting.
Target Schools: - I intend to pursue my MBA on a part time basis (possibly online) and hence my target schools at the moment are the online programs Kelley Direct (Indiana University) MBA & Penn State IMBA program
OR part time programs such as Drexel University, Temple University and University of Delaware. Looking at the average GMAT scores for these programs and since my target is a part-time MBA, I feel like my GMAT would be sufficient and I do not plan a retake (for the moment
Length of study: - 5 months (Jan 15, 2012 to June 15, 2012). Studied 2-3 hrs/weekday and at least 4-5 hrs on weekends. Tried to take a practice test once every 1-2 weeks. First 2-3 months was concentrating on the Knewton course, MGMAT quant guides and practice questions. The last 1-2 months were spent on only practice questions, ERROR Logs, redoing questions and reviewing flashcards.Materials Used (NOTE: -
I first tried to study for the GMAT in 2009-2010, but never got around to taking the exam. Some materials below were purchased in 2009-2010):-
1. Knewton:- I enrolled in the Knewton prep program (4 months long) and found it very useful even though I did not achieve the 50 point increase (my score actually went down! -- please see practice test scores below).
2. Manhattan GMAT guides
for Quant and SC
3. GMAT Hacks (challenge set and Extra Challenge set).
4. Powerscore CR
Bible for the CR section (Quick read).
5. For RC – Used the Knewton method of main idea, purpose, and structure.
6. GMAT Pill
7. IR Section: - OG 13
and GMAT Practice Prep.
8. Extra Practice Questions – OG 12
, 13, GMAT Focus and GMAT Practice Prep (400 Qns)
9. AWA Essay – Used the popular template from this forum as a guide for creating my own.Practice Test Scores:-
Knewton 1 (Diagnostic) 01/19/2012 - Q-46 V-37 Total = 680
GMAT Prep 2 02/26/2012 - Q-50 V-34 Total = 700
Knewton 2 03/04/2012 - Q-46 V-39 Total = 700
Knewton 3 03/18/2012 - Q-45 V-47 Total = 730
Knewton 4 04/01/2012 - Q-48 V-42 Total = 730
Knewton 5 04/22/2012 - Q-49 V-35 Total = 700
Knewton 6 04/28/2012 - Q-47 V-34 Total = 670
GMAT Prep 1 05/27/2012 - Q-51 V-40 Total = 750 (Saw some similar questions – hence the possible reason for a higher score)
MGMAT 3 06/02/2012 - Q-47 V-39 Total = 700
MGMAT 4 06/12/2012 - Q-46 V-40 Total = 700ACTUAL GMAT 06/16/2012 - Q-44 V-38 Total = 670UPDATE (Official Score Report) :- Q-44, V-38, AWA-5.5 & IR-6/8
Test Day Experience: -
Similar to most folks here. Felt very comfortable with the testing environment (except the headphones which were painful after a while and so I just did not use them ; the headphones were not really required since the environment was very quiet). There is enough space available on the writing pad and the pens work very well.
The IR section has always been tough for me and it was no different for me during the test. Had to guess on few questions because my timing was out of place.
Took 1 break after the Quant section.
QUANT Section: - Questions felt similar to what you find in official sources. Got 4-5 questions in geometry/coordinate geometry and algebra/number problems. I did not see a lot of probability/perm/comb questions which was obviously due to the fact that I got the easier/medium level questions wrong and was never able to reach the higher level
VERBAL Section: - Again the questions were of similar level to what you find in GMAT Prep and MGMAT Tests. Nothing extraordinary. No bold face CR questions, but got CR questions such as Evaluate argument, 2-3 assumption questions, “logically complete” questions. Received 4 RC passages with one being very long (3-4 para). SC questions were again similar (not very easy OR extremely difficult).
I thought the Quant section went well (was expecting more than 44!) and the Verbal section went ok (was expecting lower than 38!). I was happy to see my score of 670, but obviously disappointed with my Quant score which is the lowest I have ever received!Tips/Advice:-
1. I am a person who needs a structure for my studies and hence I went with Knewton’s online prep program. I loved the flexibility and content/presentation of the program. The verbal lessons are kept interesting by the teachers (Dave & Jen) and the program has a huge number of questions spread throughout the 13 sessions. The quant sections (Jess and Rich) were also useful in building up the foundations (now looks like I needed a stronger foundation!), but may not help someone looking for a Q-48 +.
One possible drawback would be (as a lot of folks have mentioned in the past) the accuracy of the test scores. But I believe this is going to be an ongoing issue for most test prep companies.
I would recommend Knewton’s program to anyone who wants a structured, cheaper option.
2. Go with Manhattan GMAT
’s strategy books especially for SC and Quant.
3. I would skip GMAT Pill
(SC section) if you have a good base and understanding of Manhattan GMAT
’s SC book. There are very few practice questions and unfortunately I did not find the course useful (especially for the price). I am not sure about the content of E-GMAT
’s SC course, but it looks like they have a lot more practice questions than GMAT Pill
4. GMAT Hacks – Very good source of Quant questions for people looking in the Q 40-47/48 range.
5. I regret not being able to use GMAT club tests
to increase my QUANT score. So, if you have time, and need those extra tough questions, please use the GMAT club quant tests.
6. For IR Section:- Practice OG 13
and GMAT Practice Prep (Official) questions over and over to understand the technique of solving. I found Multi-source Reasoning the toughest and Graphics Interpretation the easiest. But I could never solve most questions in 2.5 mins and had to guess a lot. I do not think that I will get over 4 for the Actual GMAT test. If I do retake the GMAT, I will make sure that I practice even more for this section.
7. Try to take practice tests with the essay and IR sections included (at least towards the last month of prep). During the practice tests (NOTE:-
I took 3 to 4 tests at a Barnes and Noble shop to get used to taking tests outside the normal, relaxed home environment and would definitely encourage this option if you are a person who does not feel comfortable with new environments while taking exams), I never took a break since I wanted to simulate worst case test day condition (fatigue, stress etc)
8. Please try to stick to official GMAT questions from OG 12
, 13, GMAT Practice Prep and GMAT Prep Qns (Quant and Verbal) for practice. REDO questions to identify PATTERNS instead of looking for new unofficial sources and REFER to the 2 big GMAT forums (GMAT Club and Beat the GMAT) for explanations to these official questions.
9. I created ERROR Logs in the form of flashcards and Powerpoints. For example, if I got a question wrong in GMAT Hacks, I would write the question/solution on a flashcard. For Knewton and other online questions, I would take a “Printscreen” and create a Powerpoint Error log
. I reviewed these documents during the last 2 weeks.
10. From my practice test scores, it looks like I had a very bad day in QUANT. If I do retake, I will make sure that I practice even harder.
And last but most importantly, I would like to thank this wonderful forum and its moderators for an outstanding job in helping students all over the world take one giant step closer towards achieving their dreams. The enriched wealth of information, resources and support have helped me with my GMAT Prep .This forum along with the Beat the GMAT forum was part of my daily routine (even though I have been a silent observer) for the last 5 months and I will continue to use these forums while preparing my applications.
Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to provide an answer ASAP.