Just got back from the testing center and will write a detailed debrief soon.. Huge thanks to all the gmatclubbers who have given advice or talked about their experience. Mega kudos to Karishma and Bunuel who are doing amazing things on the quant boards.
I have a bit of regret on not prepping more on the verbal side but a 740 is fine and I think I have a good split with Q49 and V42.
Went from a 670 (minimal prep - didnt even know about gmatclub) --> 740 with about 2 months of studying part time (after work and on weekends).
I had one minor glitch during the test.. Had a very simple quant question that was testing order of operations but one of the symbols was unclear.. it looked as if it could either be a ^ or . between 2 numbers.. I solved both ways and realized 2 solutions were possible based on that.. I raised my hand and the proctor was no where to be found.. After another 2 minutes, the proctor finally shows up and says there is nothing she can do but file an incident report.. She gave me an incident report number. I am guessing it is an experimental question but who knows...
Only part I'm pissed about is that I ended up guessing on 2 questions around the end and if I had just picked an answer and moved on on the operations question I probably could have solved the 2 I guessed on.
Any advice on whether it is worthwhile to follow up on the Incident Report?The Debrief – Attempt 1
I took the GMAT on 2/11/2012 with around 3 weeks of preparation focused on a Princeton Review online self-study class. On the 5 practice tests I did, I scored 700+ on every single test and finished the quant with 30 mins extra most of the time. Based on the Princeton Review tests, I assumed I would breeze through the actual test and get at least a 700.
Test Day – 2/11/2012 – Attempt 1
The weather was really bad with snow flurries and a lot of accumulation the night before. My car was slipping and sliding everywhere on the day of the test, but I managed to get to the venue on time and even managed to have a bit of breakfast on the way in.
I started the test and after the initial tutorial on the test, I got two easy AWA topics and breezed through them with enough time to craft a strong conclusion. When I did simulated tests, I didn’t take any breaks so I went straight into the Quant section. It started off pretty good and about 20 questions in I got a really tough question involving a complex geometric set of beads. I was ahead on time so I figured I could spend a little bit of extra time on the question. I ended up spending 8 or so minutes on it and still ended up guessing on it.. When I looked up I realized I was behind on time so had to rush through the rest of the test. I wasn’t panicking yet because I knew I could speed up and still finish.. I did another 10 questions and hit a tough counting question. I looked at the time and realized I only had 3 minutes left. I started guessing randomly after reading the stem of the question. I ended up running out of time with to questions left to go.. I felt really terrible at this point and took the break.. I took a walk in the hallway and composed myself because I was really shocked. On all the test simulations, I was strongest on quant and even the few questions I got wrong were silly mistakes. I was a bit nervous because Verbal definitely wasn’t my strength and I didn’t prep much for the Verbal… I told myself to pull it together and do whatever I could to get as high a score as possible on the Verbal. I got back in and took my time on the verbal questions.. I was doing OK but towards the end of the Verbal section, I was definitely feeling fatigued. In all my simulated tests, I never did the essays so I didn’t have the stamina to deal with the length of the test. I powered through the section and finished the test with around 30 mins to spare. The few mins of demographics and picking schools was agonizing but I got through it and ended up with a 670 q42 v40. I wasn’t too surprised other than the fact that the q42 was only the 59th Percentile Rank…
I walked away pretty disappointed overall and feeling as if I underperformed. I also strongly believe that Princeton Review’s prep material is subpar for anyone targeting a 700+ score.Prep for Attempt 2
2 days after my first attempt, I started searching online GMAT forums and found gmatclub.com. I posted in general how I did on the test after about 2-3 weeks of prep and asked for advice on whether to reapply or not. Everyone on the forum was very supportive and suggested I retake based on my profile and aspirations and since I got a good score with relatively minimal prep. The people who responded to the first post really made me feel OK about getting the 670 and that I could do better with a few months of focused prep. I signed up for a new test date of 4/13/2012 and after browsing through some of the forums decided on a plan for prep.
Here are the materials I used:MGMAT guides
MGMAT Advanced QuantOfficial Guide 12
Forums (more on this later)
GMAT Toolkit – Iphone app (the OG tracker on here alone is worth it here)
Here is the schedule I followed:
Monday - Thursday :
4AM – 4:30AM Wake Up & Shower etc
4:30AM – 7AM GMAT Prep
7AM - Go to Office
8AM – 12Noon – Work
12Noon-1PM - Lunch break and GMAT Prep
1PM-6PM – Work (end time for work is flexible and more often than not this was 8-9PM)
8PM -9PM - Relax & have dinner
9PM-11:30PM - GMAT Prep
11:30 – Midnight – GMAT prep in bed on iphone app
Midnight – Sleep
Friday night – no prep –relax maybe do a few questions on iphone
6AM-9AM GMAT prep
2PM-6PM GMAT prep
2PM-6PM GMAT prep
Whenever I had free time at work, I was working on OG problems using the Iphone OG tracker. Once I completed the OG quant
questions, I also spent a ton of time answering forum questions. I would go to the Active Discussions section in the forums and try to answer all new questions. I also did provide my opinions on how to work through a few questions. I must say here that for quant forums, I really appreciate the great work being done by Karishma and Bunuel as they are doing a great service for this community. My boss was aware I was taking the GMAT and thus I didn’t have to have any awkward conversations about what I was doing. Also, I am very hard working and have proven myself to always stay and get the job done so no one had issues with me studying on the job.
Towards the end of prep, I was feeling quite burned out and in the last 2 weeks I had some major work commitments that forced me to back off the intense schedule. I work in corporate finance so quarter close brought a week of heavy work as well as the week after it where I dealt with Financial Reporting and Presentations.
Here are the test scores and dates for the MGMAT tests I took:
3/11 MGMAT1 560 Q33 V34
3/11 MGMAT2 740 Q46 V45 (I realize this is crazy to do 2 tests in one day but I was shocked by previous score)
3/24 MGMAT3 740 Q47 V44
3/24 MGMAT4 700 Q47 V38
3/27 MGMAT5 680 Q47 V35
3/28 MGMAT6 720 Q47 V41
I also took a few of the GMATclub.com tests but don’t remember the scores (I think they were in the 700 range).
After the 3/28 test, I was pretty much burned out and work was piling up so I had to switch gears and I just worked on problems after that – I spent the majority of the rest of the time on MGMAT advanced quant and OG quant
questions. I used 2 vacation days to get a break the 2 days before the test. This was pretty unnecessary actually and I ended up working from home about half the time even though I was officially off. The night before I had planned to get a good night’s sleep but I ended up staying up to about 1AM working on problems. Test Day – 4/14/2012 – Attempt 2
I woke up at 6AM and was out the door by 7AM. The test was scheduled for 8AM. I picked up 2 bottled Starbucks frappuccino’s and 3 energy bars for energy. I had one Frappuccino and an energy bar enroute to the testing site. I got there with plenty of time to spare. Stowed my drink and power bars in the locker and started the test at around 8:05AM. I chose the 5 schools I was interested in: HBS, Stanford, Booth, Wharton and Columbia. The first AWA was an easy topic about a company and a paragraph from its annual report. It was an analysis of argument essay and the argument had several flaws and I easily picked it apart. I wrote a lot and ran out of time just before clicking next. (I was done but didn’t get a chance to really check it). Next topic was a tough topic but I still had lots to write about it and I finished a few seconds before time ran out.
I took the break, grabbed my stuff from the locker, took a walk around the building, had some of the Frappuccino but wasn’t feeling hungry at all. I also drank a bit of water and splashed some cold water in my face. I took 6 of the 8 minutes and started back onto the quant section. I was breezing thru the quant section and then I hit a small glitch on a simple question dealing with order of operations. There was a symbol between 2 numbers that could either be a . or a ^ and depending on which it was, the answer would be different. I called the proctor over and she basically said she couldn’t do anything but file an incident report. The symbol looked more like a . to me so I answered accordingly and moved on. I was slightly crunched for time so I made an educated guess on 2 questions towards the end. I had sufficient time to answer the last question and I am confident I got that one right. (I assume I missed the penultimate question.)
I took the next break but I forgot the locker key in the test room so I just walked around, washed my face, used the restroom and drank some water. I came back and jumped right into the verbal.. 2 questions in I got the first Reading Comp passage and I was surprised that it had highlighted text and the questions asked about different parts of highlighted text. I don’t recall seeing any practice questions with that form. No real surprises in the verbal section. The toughest questions were sentence correction for me. I know I grappled with some SC questions for 3-4 minutes. I am really fast in general for Verbal and finished with 15 mins to spare and I deliberately spent an extra-long amount of time on the last 4 questions.
I clicked through the demo information. I was delighted when I saw the score of 740 with Q49 V42. Only thing that is disappointing is that Q49 is only the 85th percentile rank. Either way I am extremely happy with the score. I am interested in matriculating in Fall-2013 so now I can relax till App Season. In the next 2 months, I intend to take the CMA certification as well so after I take a weekend off, I will start hitting the books again.
Thanks to all of you who are part of this community. Your posts have inspired me and helped me too understand questions and question types and how to think about various quant problems. I wish everyone here all the best in their GMAT experience and beyond. Hopefully, I will be seeing some of you in one of the Ultra-Elite or Top-10 schools next Fall.