I am done with gmat.. scored 740(q50, v40), awa 6.0 .
I am thankful to this great site and members of this online community .. I have been a member of this site for more than a year. Being a non-native speaker, I really cannot tell you how I was performing in the Verbal when I started my gmat prep. I have learnt a lot during my preparation. It would be great if I can be of some help to you guys.
I started my GMAT journey in March 2011. Though I did not take OG Diagnostic in the beginning, I took Kaplan
CAT1 (the one given in CD). I scored 540 (q51, v22). Well I knew that I was very weak in Verbal. I browsed through many sites. Some recommended reading Economic Times or Wall Street Journal. Though this may help few, I really did not improve my reading skill much. I really found verbal challenging. I did not want to take my GMAT appointment without making any serious progress in Verbal. My target was 700+.
I made a time table and started following it religiously. (If you do not know how to start, consider making a time table)
I started with Manhattan SC. This was something in which an accuracy of 90+ percentile was attainable. I really liked this book. But it is really very difficult to understand all the GMAT rules given in this book in one reading. I studied this book 4 times, and I can tell you that I could find something new, everytime. I really took a lot of time to absorb the contents in this book. This book may not seem that big in volume, but it has enormous amount of information. I slowly increased my accuracy from 50% to 95%+.
The second area was CR. I really used to get confused in the logics that different books offered. I would easily eliminate 3 options and then choose the wrong one i.e. I would confuse between best and second best option. However, with lots of practicing, I was able to improve my accuracy in this section to 90%. I took e-gmat
CR course. I liked their explanation to each type of CR question plus e-gmat
has good practice question sets. E-gmats’s CR question s were inline with the OG Questions. It helped me in increasing my accuracy.
RC was something for which I really had no strategy, and the fact that it is the most difficult aspect to improve was making it more difficult for me. One thing that really helped me in this was ‘read to find the BIG PICTURE’. Do not get into the passage deeply. This may be very time consuming.
In Quants, I was scoring consistently 46-48. I have read many debriefs saying that ‘Being an Indian, I am good at quant skills’. I would really advice everyone. Even though you may know all the quant concepts, it is very difficult to get into the 90th percentile without managing time properly. Since I did not focus on this aspect, I was not getting ‘that‘ desired score. GMAT CLUB tests
helped me immensely. The knitty-gritty things that these tests ask may make you go crazy. These tricky concepts are tested more in the Data sufficiency section than in the Problem solving. But believe me, I did improve my Quant score. Please do not underestimate the importance of ‘good timing’ in the Quant section. It is very important that you score equally good in this section.
Kudos to chineseburned’s templates. These templates did the trick. These are great.
During my course of study, I referred probably all the sources.
• ManhattanGMAT: SC, RC, CR
• Kaplan Premiere
• Princeton Review
• Kaplan Verbal
• Princeton Maths
• Princeton Verbal
CR I and II
• Official Guide 12
• OG Verbal
• OG Maths
• Manhattan Advanced Maths
I know that sharing these scores may not be that helpful, but these helps those who like to draw some correlation between different CATs. I was one among these guys. That is why I want to share this.
These are the scores that I got in the mock tests:
April 11: kaplan
CAT 1 540 (q51, v22)
19/12/11: mgmat cat1 730 (q48, v41) --> untimed
26/12/11: master gmat(d) 700-720 (q49-50, v38-40)
diagnostic 700 (q51, v36) I took my GMAT appointment
06/01/12: Knewton Diagnostic 720 (q47, v42)
11/01/12: MGMAT CAT2 680(Q48, V34)
11/01/12: MGMAT CAT3 700(Q45, V40)
CAT2 620(Q50, V30)
01/03/12: GMAT PREP1 750(Q48, v45)
09/03/12: MGMAT CAT4 730(Q48, V42)
12/03/12: Knewton CAT4 770(q51, v44)
16/03/12: Knewton CAT5 720(q49, v38)
17/03/12: MGMAT CAT5 700(Q45, v40)
18/03/12: GMAT PREP2 750(Q50, V40)
19/03/12: GMAT PREP1(REPEAT) 780(Q48, V47)
I did not take any full length CAT in between april and December. This is because I was not making any considerable improvement in the few sectional tests that I took in this period.
Test Day experience:
My appointment was scheduled at 9:00am in Chennai. I had already visited the centre one week before the test. I took, with me, something to eat and drink. Chennai Centre is really good. Things were going good and so were my AWA topics. I was satisfied with my AWA. I wrote more than 500 words in each essay and I followed the template. Question level on the Quants was very much similar to what I had seen on the GMAT PREPs. I saw just one Permutation question and no probability question. I finished the section on time. Took the break. Ate, drank, and reenergised myself. Verbal started with a very tricky SC question. I believe that I faired well in the CR and RC. SC was little tricky. Well, I finished the section 2 minutes before time. Then completed few questions related to demographic details. Then came the time I had been waiting for a year. Believe me, everything stops for that particular moment. I took some 3sec before clicking the show SCORE button. 740 (97 percentile) (Q50
92 percentile, V40
89 percentile). I was satisfied.
One can make considerable improvement in this section. I did MGMAT SC
guide. It has got, probably, all the grammar rules that are tested on the gmat.you should complete this book 3-4 times. Believe me, you will be able to extract something new, everytime you revise this book. But one serious piece of advice: please allow yourself sometime so that these SC Concepts get absorbed in your mind. By the time u have covered all your verbal theories, these concepts should become secondary in nature for you. The SC errors will be evident, most of the time, automatically.
Initially, I thought that there's some kind of logic for every possible CR question. But, it is not so. Relying on formal logics for solving CR questions is very dangerous. Instead, focus on getting the right meaning of the argument. Prephase it. Then come up with your answer. This might take you to the right answer in majority of the cases. However, there are certain logical flaws that can be relied upon such as CAUSE and EFFECT, causality, and wrong interpretation of statistics etc. Do as many problems as you can. But again, this is the biggest discovery in my entire GMAT preparation. No other testprep company's CR is close to GMAT CR. GMAT employs very clear logic that is understandable. Their CR questions do not confuse the reader. So rely on OG-12, OG VERBAL
, and GMATPREP Tests
for the actual thing.
Do not get into the passage. You have to figure out the structure of the passage. However, while reading, you should make note of what-things-appear-where in the passage. Figure out the logic of the RC. Atlast, you should be able to tell 'what and why is the author saying this'.. Many RC questions can be answered based on your understanding of the logic of the RC. Just following this may result in great improvement. I must tell you that I did not read wallstreet journal or economic times. I am neither a voracious reader. I think that RC is really about getting the meaning and the logic of the passage.
No test other than GMAT PREP is close to the actual thing. So, please do not rely on the scores of other source's cats. Do them for practicing concepts and improving timings.
I was really scared of this thing. I could not spend much time on this. I saw the template by chineseburned. I think that worked for me. Most important thing to know is that: A Grader rates the awa essays. One should use a good logical essay structure and put as many keywords as possible. These keywords decide the flow of the essay. Also, write as many words as possible, preferably more than 500. For example:
1)Find two or three flaws in the evidences
2)What are the assumptions, and why are these assumptions not sound
3)How the argument is weak
4)How can it be strengthened
5)Cite atleast 1 example.
About the exam timing:
I am not a morning person but I did not get evening slot. I made sure that in a week before the test, I would wake up early(5 am) and sleep early(11:30pm). This helps. You must be in the top form on the day of the exam. DO ANYTHING TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL SUPER-GOOD on the test day. You must feel as if you were Rocky Balboa
Probably these things worked out for me. The most important thing: If you have someone to support, take his/her advice and enjoy your gmat prep time. I understand that GMAT preparation can take away many things from you, but then it teaches you a lot. For me, I have had someone who supported me. She is my source of inspiration.
Guys, I will be happy to help.
Thanks for being part of my journey.