Took the GMAT on December 16th . Had trawled these forums before the GMAT . So wanted to give back.
First a little bit about me. Indian/Male/ Graduated 6 Months back in Engineering/ Now in Consulting.
Had on a whim scheduled the GMAT long back for December. Thought I would postpone. Then Things were sorta lean at work . Was lucky to get about 15 days of lax work. So though I will take the exam.
Following is a detailed debrief.
Apologies beforehand for my language. Nowadays only writes text messages!! Quant
Fairly strong in quant. In my first Powerprep scored 48 . However realized that I needed to improve. I used all the Manhattan Books
. I cannot emphasize how useful they were especially Number properties, Inequalities and Word Translations. The most important things about the Manhattan Books
were that they made me approach the problems in a structured way. Previously I used to spend a long time figuring out how to approach the problem. Manhattan gives you great tips on the types of Problems and ways to approach them. For eg the problems where you have two people leaving at different times etc.
Number properties was incredibly useful for me as I learnt so many properties I had not used before( like you must have a even numerator to get a even quotient ). These properties were definitely tested on the exam. It also helped me with respect to timing. Of course apart from this I also worked out all the problems on the OG. I never ran into issues with time on any of my tests – so I never timed the problems. I also liked the fact that you could test the concepts you learnt in the Manhattan with Real OG problems. Verbal
For me the major stumbling block was only SC. I honestly had few if any issues with RC/CR. Both were fairly straightforward. I also flipped through the CR/RC Manhattan books
. Both were OK. Nothing great I throught. However take my opinion with a pinch of salt since RC/CR were never a issue for me.
My SC strategy was that I used Manhattan in conjunction with the OG. This probably made the biggest contribution to my good score!. Manhattan SC
is so clearly explained. All errors are clearly categorized.
I also went through the Brutal SC’s . That was my preparation for the Verbal SC. AWA
Got 4.0 on the GRE last year. So knew I had to give a lot of effort in AWA.
I think here was where I adopted the most different strategy . I though the arguments were fairly straightforward so not much preparation for that. For the issues I did prepare quite a bit. I went through all the analysis of Issue Topics and made 4/5 line notes(position I am taking – 2 points – examples) for the ones I found difficult. I especially concentrated on abstract topics such as self respect vs self discipline!!. I know this is like a brute force approach to the AWA but this was because on the GRE I got a totally abstract topic and I had no points to write.
I also followed the ChineseBurned 6.0 AWA guide! A big thanks to Chinese Burned for that. I wrote about 8 issues and 3 arguments before the GMAT.General Preparation Strategy
Manhattan 6 Tests- ULTIMATELY USEFUL!!!!! What more can I say . Really helpful in analyzing where I stood. They have a nifty diagnostic feature using which you can figure out the areas you are weak in .
However I felt the RC/CR level of Manhattan was higher than that of GMAT Prep. Quant also required longer calculations than the actual GMAT. But compared to the other Tests this was the closes to the GMAT. I scored 690,720,730,710,700,750(The Last Test is Skewed because it runs out of difficult questions ). I reviewed each test after I took them to see the mistakes and the solutions. This definitely helped me to avoid some obvious mistakes on Test Day.
I studied for about 5 Hours a day. I also used GMAT Prep about 3 Times each test. Various scores from 730 to 770(the test where I got many repeated questions :p ) . Yes questions do repeat but you also get several new questions. I reviewed my errors after each test. Just google the question title and you have answers to the questions. I especially recommend the manhattan forums answers to these questions as they were the most detailed.Test Day
Had scheduled the test at 9 AM. I usually wake up late! So that was not my peak time. But that was the only slot I guess in my test center. Anyway I studied a few hours the day before and stopped studying by about 3 PM. I went out with people from work for a ultimately awesome Korean Dinner . Kept my mind off the test and the Bulgogi was AWESOME . Crashed by about 11
Was up by 6 30 on Test day. Just went through the ChineseBurned format that morning. Had a so so breakfast and reached the test Center by 8 30 . Guess what! I was the last to arrive. I tried to be relaxed and went through the entry procedures. I had long debated whether to drink Red bull at the test center – I am not used to it. I anyway packed two cans and a snickers. Went in by about 8 45.AWA :-
Argument was fairly straightforward. Attacked it in all ways I could. Must ve done about 400 Words. The issue topic was one of my “Abstract” ones. So had prepared for it beforehand. So did AWA quite well.
Took the 8 minute break. A Bit sleepy. So gulped down a Red Bull!! Instantly woke me.
First few questions were tough . There were atleast two or three that I could not figure out and took a guess on. Around the 15th question I realized I was behind time. So I tried to go faster. I finally ended 7 mins early!! This was a record for me as I usually finish with a minute or two to spare. I honestly thought that It had not gone so well. Geometry is one of me weaker sections. I got only two Geometry Questions! There were maybe about 5 or 6 problems where I could directly apply Manhattan Principles
I don’t remember much about Verbal . It was fairly straightforward albeit slightly tougher that GMAT Prep. Nothing much to talk about. Usually I finish with 5~10 minutes to spare. In this case finished with 30 second to spare! This was probably because I took about 5 minutes each for 2 questions I was very doubtful about.
After this was eager to see the score. Skipped all the screens after that. Don’t even remember what it was all about!
Finally saw the Screen 50 – 45!. In All the preps had only got 49 in Q. So was thrilled! 770 was unbelievable. Had got 770 only in one 3rd attempt GMAT prep :p.
A amazing thing was that I got my AWA score on Saturday ! Took the test on Thursday. Got the score by Saturday. Am applying this year to LBS MiM. Hopefully I make it. Else wait 2 years and apply for a MBA!.
Ping me if you have any specific questions.Last Words/ Tips
1.Manhattan is GOD!
. Especially SC,Number Properties and 6 CAT Tests. DON’T attempt the GMAT without doing them first.
2.You can Prepare for AWA!
3.Focus on your Areas of Weakness
4.You can take GMAT Prep multiple times
5.Eat Korean food the night before the GMAT