Not that this is a bad score, but after scoring a pair of 760’s in GMATprep and scoring consistently in the 39 region in MGMAT verbal (after which I had 9 minutes left on almost every test), 38 in the actual test is a letdown. Yes I was tense and yes I was sleep deprived, but who isn’t? While I retrieve the black box from the twisted smoldering wreckage that was once my fantasy of a 99 percentile, here are some pointers from what I learnt in my first brush with the G-monster.AWA:
Chineseburned is king. I’ll get my 4.5 for sure. [update - scored 6.0 /90%ile
is one section which almost gave me a nervous breakdown. It was tough! I had practiced on MGMAT and most of my friends told me that on GMAT the IR is easier than on MGMAT tests or even GMAT prep. I disagree. I don’t think I touched 5 in this one. [update - got my a** handed to me 3.0/23%ile
questions were either tough or easy – one look at the problem and I knew whether to tackle it or skip it. I did feel the sudden jump in difficulty level on PS questions. DS
was somewhat tricky. Some seemed easy, but turned out to be quite time consuming. My $0.02 – brush up on number picking else you’ll be stumped on DS questions on number properties, and I think a third of my DS questions were on number properties. Best resource for this is Ron’s video tutorial collection.RC
: I have read in several articles that GMAT passages are shorter than LSAT passages. Not necessarily true! The 2nd RC passage I came across, which was about a critique of a literary work by a Pakistani author, had 6 paragraphs, and 5(maybe 6) questions. The scroll bar just kept going.CR
– I saw a lot of ‘evaluate’ questions. Got a boldface on my 8th question, which was quite a nasty one. Then one again after a few questions, at which point I was under the delusion that I was doing nicely. SC
is the section which I think is most responsible for the nosedive that my verbal score made. I have confidently handled MGMAT SC
questions (some Kaplan 800
questions did kick my rear) and sailed through GMAT prep. But I was befuddled on quite a few in the actual GMAT.
Lesson learnt: Don’t get too cocky on verbal.Miscellaneous:
Please make sure you carry proper identification. Out of the 8 people scheduled for test in my slot, 2 were not admitted because they were carrying PAN card/Driving License. Imagine preparing for so many months, going to the test center with a heart filled with hope and excitement only to return to tell your friends, family and colleagues that you were not allowed to take the test because you did not provide proper ID. And then waiting a whole month and shelling out an additional $250 for another shot.
This may sound silly, but don’t try to make any notes during one section for help in another section. I wrote down the timing matrix for quant and verbal during the tutorial only to realize that it was gone after I came from my break. They switched my scratchpad after every section.
Those of you who feel the transition from notepad to scratchpad may be a little inconvenient, rest assured that’s not the case. You get a large pad and 2 smooth Staedtler markers, which work very well.
Carry a watch or a stop clock because they will only inform you about your remaining break time 3 minutes beforehand and once you enter the test area, even if you have time left they will not let you sit idle. If you stretch your break, you will not be informed. I got 6.5 mins of break before and after quant because I did not want to guess exactly how long 3 minutes should last. And note that after you finish your break, you have to go through a palm vein identification after which the Pearson guys will have to unlock the system, before you can access your screen again, so set aside a minute for that.
Make sure you are familiar with the name of the program you want to apply to. I faced a situation where a particular school offered several 1-year courses with similar names (PGP, PGPM, PGDM, PGPX, PGPEX….you get the picture). Luckily I guessed correctly.Resources:
Quant – IIM Quant (PS), Veritas
Verbal – SC Grail, Manhattan SC, Powerscore CR
, LSAT LR, Veritas
CR, RC 99, Kaplan 800
I started preparing for GMAT with a diagnostic score of 690 (Q47V36, GMATprep1). In the first 2 months I worked very hard on the quant and little on verbal. As a result my verbal MGMAT scores in first 3 tests was Q48/49 , V32 – total in the region of 660. I got the message loud and clear. Worked very hard on verbal, but scores wouldn’t budge. I was stymied, but not ready to give up.
I had exhausted MGMAT materials (CR didn’t work for me) and covered OG once, but all that effort didn’t make a dent on the scores, so had to think of a different approach. Picked up LSAT questions, and got the shock of my life. But that jolt helped me reduce sub-vocalization and develop reading speed and I got more familiar with the construct of the tests of RC and CR. I realized that RC was not about comprehending what you read, but just a cluster of CR questions. After about a month with LSAT materials my verbal scores touched 37 and I crossed 700 in MGMAT for the first time.
My passport reissue conundrum took its toll on my motivation level and I just stopped studying altogether. I was unemployed for a long time, neck deep in debt, and no hopes of giving the GMAT because the passport authorities had too many applications on their plate and were facing shortage of staff. My health suffered as well and my future seemed bleak. I lost the will to live.
Wonder of wonders, my best friend of 11 years decided that she would rather be with a pauper she knew than a prince her family arranged her match with. On the day we had decided to meet to say goodbye forever, feelings were stirred, words were exchanged and life changing decisions were taken. Long story short - I found my soulmate. The next two months I forgot all about GMAT.
One fine day I got a message from the passport authorities that my passport was on its way. I was so out of touch with studies that I was afraid to give a diagnostic. After 2 weeks of meager effort I gave another MGMAT, hoping for the worst. I scored 680, which was way higher than what I had expected.
I slowly picked up my speed, and by mid March, my verbal scores in MGMAT were touching 40’s. I decided not to wait any longer (lest I burn out). My test scores were going good and I was giving 2-3 tests a week. I finished it off with 99 percentile on both the GMATpreps, 1 week before the test.
On d-day, I sensed my thinking powers were somewhat diminished due to nervousness and though there were not many surprises in the test (with exception of IR), when the scores flashed I realized that I had tanked my most dependable section and just touched the top 10% (instead of the 1%). On my way out, there was a guy from a prep institute which helps with app essays, recos and stuff, who was badgering me for my phone number. I lashed out at him, at which point he backed off a few steps and let me walk away (later felt bad about it – he was just doing his job).
It has been a couple of days, and I have gathered myself. I have not planned any future steps. GMAT is out of the way (for now) and I have to focus on the other significant aspects of my life.
As for GMAT, as Arnold would say, I’LL BE BACK!!