Following is a little-bit about my history into this Journey.my-introspection-while-into-gmat-prep-moving-the-exam-date-132400.html
Before I start sharing the actual details about the course material and GMAT experience, I would like to share some deep-inner thoughts that I think might be useful to some people who might be going through the same experience while into preparation. I used the term 'Journey' for my GMAT preparation because along with desperate strive for the score and eventually reaching to a level, I also noticed a great transition in my overall personality while working through the odds (+/- ves), in Point of View and in perception towards daily-life problems. I guess this might be true for most of the people, regardless of the score they get in GMAT. I enjoyed the overall preparation phase more than just the score (which I know is still not as great) and I am already missing it. In think it is more of an emotional journey than anything else. Going through various phases of emotions and eventually coming out mentally strong is the part of this whole process. I did have great doubts, frustrations, feeling of been beat-up, confusions at the initial time but as the time went by, I finally felt great while walking into the test center and towards my desk where I took exam, more in the very last leg of the exam preparation. So for all those who might not be feeling as easy, Breath! You will be fine.
Coming back to the main point about the GMAT day experience and the courses/ study material that I used. I started with 590 (Q~44, V~29) in Diagnostic test back in January2012 and hovered over 640 +/- 10 during May-June 2012 with On/Off preparation. It was really frustrating then, but looking into actual statics, due to eventful months since the start, I actually studied only for one month's worth of time.Just Before GMAT Exam
: As usual, the work pressure at office was excruciating. It was so exhausting that even trying sitting late in office after work, or leaving for home in time did not help much in focusing well. I tried best pushing myself as much, but decided that I need a break to prepare dedicated. I wish I had thought of it sooner. So, took a week (almost 10 days) off before the exam and was sweetly surprised to see my avg score bump up 20-30 points in first few days itself. I guess, my head was relieved of lots of pressure from work. By the end of of the break and 48 Hours before the exam, my Final score in GMAT Prep2 V2 (first time, all new questions) was 740 (Q50, V40). This gave a huge confidence boost to expect at least 700 +.KEY TAKE-AWAY - On the day of GMAT, be Prepared for the anything
: Everything started just perfect. I reached at the test center well before time and calmed myself down for any anxiety before signing in. The staff was very professional yet friendly and even tried to crack couple of jokes just to ease me in case I was anxious. While preparing for GMAT, I made sure that I learn also to control my reactions to any kind of noise, shuffling or anything of such kind so that there is no nervousness in case anything like that happens, for ex - while taking Prep tests, I would leave my room door and windows open, so that I become accustomed to focus into the test even with external noises, such as TV downstairs, or people walking on the walkway outside my place or even birds chirping
. However, at the time of real GMAT exam, the 'total-unexpected' slapped my face with something I could never image. In the suite next door to the Exam center, the newly signed-in Tenants decided to upgrade their place over the weekend. And with that came Drilling on the wall,which I was facing (it felt as if they were drilling directly in my forehead in the middle of my eyes), Hammering Nails or something like that on the wall, shaking all the booths in my row and dumping huge stuff like planks or boxes on the ground shaking the whole floor. Yeah, Really???? Almost every test taker (almost 12-15 people ) raised their hands at the same time as none was able to focus at all. The test center staff, jumped into action and tried to stop those people next door, but you know, they paid the rent, they can do whatever. It stopped for a while but again started and continued intermittently through the day, almost as if they were intentionally creating the commotion. This was really something I did not prepare myself for. May be next time I will leave my tools running next door when I am taking prep test at home
. The Key take away is, be ready for the worst. So, finally with all those distractions, seeing 690 was not bad after all.
On the preparation side, I kept myself focused on reading few books/ material but thoroughly through the concepts. I felt that I can spend either quantitative amount of time on all kind of stuffs available in this world or quality time on few, well supported on this Forum. I went with the second option.
- Nothing much in Quant as I was comfortable with tackling most of the questions. I focused on few areas that I was weak in, like, Probability, Standard Deviation and Inequalities.
- GMAT club math book is pretty sufficient, summarized and focused on the concepts tested in GMAT exam. Please download this free pdf and go through each line very carefully. Even for those who are strong in quant, this book will add a great value.
-GMAT Club tests
- Quant tests. I think this was the best decision I made throughout the preparation - I purchased these exams on GMATClub. Each Quant test is exactly on the same lines as actual GMAT, higher on difficulty level though. After taking around 10 exams, I got almost all of questions in DS of OG12
-GMAT Club tests
- oh, did I say that already? Well I cannot signify its importance enough.Verbal
: In verbal, while practicing OG questions, instead of timing myself, I rather did 15 questions of each type in last 1 month, making 45 a day in total. This helped me build the stamina to sit through 41 verbal questions in the GMAT test and also gave be sufficient idea on my overall speed.
: My weakest area that I started with that ultimately turned into strongest.
- GMAT Club free 'GMAT Ultimate Grammar
': What a crisp and precise summarization of Verbal concepts tested in GMAT exam. I could not have scored without this book. Must go through it atleast once ( I went through it thrice though).
- Manhattan SC 4th Edition: Equally good. I especially liked the section-wise breakdown of OG question numbers that you could practice as you go through each chapter in the book. However, it lacks sufficient practice samples as compared to GMAT Ultimate grammar
- OG 12
SC : Thoroughly and slowly go through each SC question to understand the concepts well. Each question has it's own mystery (
) explanation behind it. I did not time myself for any OG question.
: I started really bad with this section, but eventually caught up well in the end especially with inference, Evaluate, boldface and assumption type questions.
- Manhattan CR
4th Edition: What a MISTAKE
I did by purchasing this book. The questions that I used to do right before were going wrong after studying this book. I guess this book was one of the major factors that infused the most confusion in my overall preparation. May be it was just me, but I was not able to solve any single question while even having this book open in front of me and trying to make that crappy T diagram.
- CR Bible by Princeton: This saved me big time from worse decline - Great book with really detailed explanation of each Q-family type. I have to give five stars to this book for sharing great ways of deciphering the questions. You have to find the right conclusion (if it exists) in the argument before you can solve any question. Please do not cheap-out on this book and you will get a huge return.
- OG 12
/ 13: Again, not timed.
: Did not purchase any specific course or any book for preparing for RCs.
- Read few from GMATclub Fiction books list. This made a huge difference to my reading skills and stamina. I am not a big reader and mostly enjoy news articles. But going through these books not only elevated my interest in book reading it also helped in building stamina for reading long and heavy vocabulary sentences. Should try atleast Three.
- OG 12
/ 13 RCs: I did not time myself as I wanted to have a grasp on technique of reading and answering the questions right, while also getting an idea of different subject areas that are covered in actual GMAT.
- Love my iPad: Just to spend some time on my new iPad, I ended up spending really good amount of time reading various news articles in Business Week and WSJ that I already subscribed to. This helped in building stamina on different subject areas along with keeping update with current affairs.
Some of the other articles published on this forum:
GMAT Verbs: The Perfect Tense
Critical Reasoning – the "Best" Wrong Answer
Usage of Verb-ing ModifiersTest Material
- GMAT Club Tests
. Please DO
purchase these tests for your own sake. I am not getting any commission for writing about these tests at all. I had already purchased the old tests (non - adaptive) and they actually helped in understanding the right ways of tackling problems rather than making wise guesses that I was learning from other adaptive test sources.
- Manhattan CATs: Very good for getting used to test like environment and the adaptive course of the exam, but I felt that the content was nowhere close to the type of questions asked in GMAT. OG questions are rather the closest. English is much easier in MGMAT CATs but lengthier compared to actual GMAT or GMAT prep where the questions might not be as lengthy but answer choices are so close that you end up spending longer in choosing right between the two.
- GMAT Prep software: I kept the GMAT prep questions (from the latest version) for the last and in the final week scored 720 and 740 in the two. Felt so relieved when I saw those 700s in GMAT-like tests. Although I could see that I will not be able to meet my target of 750, I was still at ease to be in decent 700s.The Itch of 700+
: As I mentioned earlier, I started with 590, and hovered over 640 for quite long. However, bringing head back into the game changed my attitude towards the problems as well as the results almost instantaneously. I guess I still have an itch of jumping the barrier of 700 but not certain of whether focusing my energy on Application is better than trying jumping again. My one half says I could have easily scored 700+ and should try again, but other says not to worry about another two three questions right and focus on Strong and genuine application. Any suggestion is most welcome. Also, What would be the right thread on the community to throw this question out at.**Update 1 ** Question type of Actual GMAT
: As mentioned above, I personally felt that the questions types in actual GMAT were very close to the Question types in OGs (12/ 13). Compared to GMATPrep tests
, I somehow felt that question types in Actual test were almost replica but tweaked here and there, especially in sections DS, some PS, almost every SC and partly CR. I do not intend to mean that scoring good/bad in GMAT prep guarantees that you are going to get same score, but if one has taken the GMATPrep tests
in the end, closer to the exam date, without any repeated questions, it would definitely give you ballpark figure. End of the day, there are several factors that may impact the score on D-Day, including Drilling/ hammering next door
, but will not be sufficient excuse to throw you off 100 desired points if your concepts are clear. In my defense, I would say I might have been able to concentrate on some of those (might have answered atleast a couple out of 8-9 of them right) questions much better, that I had to let go because of severe disturbances around, but still that does not change anything. So focus on concepts more than just solving 1000s of question and keep your head and heart calm on the D-Day, you will fare well.
All the best to next Test takers. I am aware that the score of 690 is not as great but I guess the experience is worth more. Hope the above helps.
Keeping up the spirit. Target = 750