I took the GMAT on 30th November and almost destroyed it with a 770(Q-51,V-44) . I had been raring to write the debrief here, but some other commitments and post GMAT celebrations tied me up for the last 4 days. Today the urge to share my story became all the more and here I am writing my debrief after putting all the other sundry things on the backburner.
Firstly, I don't have words to express my gratitude to gmatclub for helping me achieve this fete. It wouldn't have been possible with the numerous advices I solicited time and again. Whenever I needed help or was confused/depressed, all I had to do was put my heart out in a post and then there used to be always someone who used to support me.
I started my prep in July and finally finished it after 4 months.Although I am a non-native speaker, Verbal wasn't much daunting to me as I have pretty much been a voracious reader right from college days. However, SC was still a tough nut to crack and that's the area which I prepared for the most. Most of the gyaan which I am giving below is already on the forums, but I'm sharing my knowledge here for the benefit of future test takers.Strategies & Advice
1. While preparing for any topic, do not practice the questions from the OG sequentially. Pick any topic, learn the concepts inside out, practice a sufficient number of questions, then move on to the next topic.Thanks shovitdhar for this tip
2. Read the explanations to each question and in your error log
, write down the takeaway from each question. This will help you revise the questions easily.
3. The cardinal rule which I learnt early on is that "if you don't learn anything new from a question, that means you have wasted your time and effort".
4. In reading comprehension, figure out what works for you. Skimming, for example, didn't work for me. This is in contrast to what most instructors suggest. You have to understand the passage properly to be able to do the questions correct.
5. At the same time, don't get too much entangled in the details in RCs. The GMAT makes RCs difficult by using weird terminology, so make sure that you are not getting bogged down by that.
6. Do not exploit the OG questions in the beginning. I used theSC Grail
+ 100 questions at the end first. After having done this, I felt pretty confident. And then I moved on to OG12
and again did the questions topicwise. Then I did the SC questions in OG11
which didn't overlap with the OG12
questions. At the end, I did the Aristotle New SC Questionbank
which had an emphasis on meaning type of questions.
7. Take at least 6 CATs and not more than 8 CATs. Devote an entire day to take the test. Taking a CAT will take you around 2.5 hours, if you skip AWA. Analyze the test for at least 2 hours after that.
8. In the analysis of the CAT, recognize the pattern of mistakes which you are making. Then refer to the relevant reference material to work on those areas.
9. Take the GMATPREP CATs at least twice each. These are the best tests available in the market.
10. Do not go crazy learning Idioms. I don't remember seeing any Idiom based questions so that rumour that idioms are being phased out is indeed not a rumour,it's the truth. This is from my own personal experience so please don't hold me accountable if you see any idiom based SC.
11. In the last week, go through the compilation of GMATPREP SCs and CRs and review them. Believe me this is the best thing you would do just before your exam as the questions are closely reflections of the GMAT questions and you would gain a good hold over the questions if you practice these sets.Review of materials used :
SC was the area where I used to struggle in. RC and CR had never been big challenges so I didn't refer anything. In fact, if I were to tell the truth, I didn't practice any passages from OG12
let any other resource. It was something which came naturally to me.
1. OG12 and OG11
is the simply the best practice material for Verbal. Don't know why though they have given very easy questions on Quant. Otherwise the book is really superb for Verbal. You can also use OG11
If you are looking for more practice problems. However, there's an overlap between the questions in OG12
,so I did only the unique questions from OG11
which were not there in OG12
2. Aristotle SC Grail + Aristotle New SC Questionbank
- Great book. To the point and easy to understand. The questions at the end of the SC Grail are not of high quality though. However,the New SC Questionbank is pretty good as the questions has a lot of emphasis on meaning,something which has increasingly become important on the GMAT.
3. Ultimate One minute Explanations to OG12 SC
- The OG explanations are notorious for being too complicated, and searching for the explanation to every question was tedious, so I bought this book which has explanations to all the OG12
SC. Really helpful.
4. Barron's GMAT
- Why the hell did I buy this book!
5. Manhattan Number properties Guide
-Great book. I bought this book all the more to gain access to the 6 CATs which come free alongwith the purchase of any Manhattan book
6. Aristotle CR Grail
- Awesome book. Simple to understand and can be finished in a week
7. Aristotle RC Grail
- Could do only half of the passages. Did the strategies and the medium and high difficulty level questions.
8. Chinese Burned AWA Guide
- Simply the best guide for AWA.