Well, I am back again to say few more things. I know I have tried to say lot of things and taken very long. But then I have put together all this with lot of thought behind it. It has taken lot of my energy but I wanted to be as honest as possible. I know there are numerous others on this board who have scored much better and said lot of things before.
Well, on preparation material.
: It has now become a million dollar question that does OG represent the real thing. I think it does represent to a large extent. I know this debate will continue for ever but hate it or love it, you cant ignore OG. Verbal in real one is quite close to OG verbal
but I would not stop at OG verbal
..once you are through with questions in OG, do sc/cr/rc from vstudy and gmat+. The reason is that when you do OG for first time, you will do some mistakes and learn a lot of new thingsâ€¦ but once you are done with OG, you have no stuff to apply your new skills or knowledge ( for ex in the case of SC). Just reviewing your past mistakes in OG might give you false sense of security..so if you do some other official stuff such as gmat+/vstudy, you will cement the concepts.
Maths in OG is easy except for last 50 questions of DS. To get a score above 45-46, you cant rely on OG maths. I would say even Kaplan
maths is bit easier than real one, if you are targeting a score of 49+. So what to do? Nothing much..just be very good in basics, practice a lot from whatever material you get and avoid stupid mistakes.
: Very good CATâ€™s.. keep you on your toes. Maths is very good..verbal is fine except for RC which is unnecessary hard. Scoring is harsh..so donâ€™t get perturbed by that.
Princeton: Maths easy..verbal decent..scoring bit harsh..
800score: Not much value addition.
Gmatclub: A great meeting point where you can ask answers to your doubts .. some great people like paul , prateroian and numerous others who will always offer their help .. some very hard questions discussed in verbal and maths.. decent maths challenges..
Downside is not very organized material..if you are a beginner,you will get overwhelmed by the maze of questions and discussion threads..some very good questions are lost in the maze... I suggest that it should be run more professionally wherein threads are moderated and trash is deleted..infact itâ€™s not a bad idea to start charging very nominal fees from members of this site to invest and make the site more professional. I hope my criticism is taken in a good stride as I consider gmatclub my family.
My test experience:
AWA: After my first test, I never prepared even a single minute for it. Ditto for this time. I always knew that as long as u score 4.0 or more in awa, you are fine..itâ€™s the least counted part in your gmat scores. I scored 5.0 this time by writing some trash and finishing both the sections 5 minutes before the time.Advice for awa:
1. Follow some templates given in arco/Kaplan
2. Give examples
3. write as much as possible
4. Try to be grammatically correct and organized in your content
5. Donâ€™t worry much about the quality of the content..for instance, donâ€™t worry about the veracity of the examples you are giving.it should make sense .thatâ€™s it.
Maths: I wanted to be very careful this time as I knew that only thing which can hurt me is silly mistakes...
I mean I was doing well in kaplan
tests..had done reasonable in most gmatclub challenges
, in few challenges even scored better than few people who eventually got 49 or 50 in real one.. so knew Iam on the right trackâ€¦
I knew I had prepared as much as possible within the time frame, and preparing for another 15-20 days, doing another 150 questions, might increase 10-20 points more..but I was losing patience and wanted to get over it. I knew that if I again score less than 46,that means there is some other problem..
Geometry was my grey area.. somehow I always had a mental block when doing geometry questions..
My first question was a simple number line question..second question was a tricky combination of coordinate geometry and geometryâ€¦I was anticipating this sudden increase in difficulty ..so was not surprised..I got it in 1.5 minutes but got nervous thinking that Iam missing something..spent another 2 minutes but could not see any trick in that..Iam still not sure if I did it correct ..
After that there were usual mix of difficult and easy questions till question 25.. There were lot of number property questions, few probability questions and some exponents.. There was one tricky probability question very similar to a type of question I did in hard Princeton maths tests.. I fully remember that till question 25 not more than 1-2 questions ruffled me....ofcourse there were some busters but I did crack them..I am still at loss that how I only got 48!! After question 25 there were some easy questions till question 31-32..suddenly the last 4-5 ones were wordy and tricky..I couldnâ€™t do one at number 33-34 and guessed it..i finished the section around 3-4 min before the time. Now , even if I have done those 1-2 questions incorrect in the first 25 apart from question no 33-34..that doesnâ€™t explain my 48 scale score. After the maths section, I had a feeling that I have nailed the section and so was expecting a score of 50..or in worst circumstances 49.. 48 puzzled me..It means that I must have done at least 5-6 questions incorrect out of the scored 28 or so.. or did 2-3 questions incorrect in first 8-10 questions. Now I wish I could know which were those questions..I would have preferred to be challenged by some hard questions and having given up rather than getting into traps which I still cannot fathom. Iam sure silly mistakes got me ..but then I wonder that what else I could have done to avoid them.
Verbal : First time in my GMAT ..I got 3 SCâ€™s in a row. The first one was itself not that easy as I was expecting..it took me more than 2 min to do thatâ€¦4th question was CR. Then few more scâ€™s and crâ€™s till I hit two back to back rcâ€™s . As I discussed earlier, I was going very fine as far as time was concerned.. None of the rcâ€™s were tough..somewhere around question 18, I was unsure for the first time in one rc question.. one cr got me towards the end.. I got around 4-5 bf questions and they started appearing as early as question 15 or so..one of the them was bit strange.. I think bf questions were fairly easy unlike the bf questions discussed in this forum, some of which I used to have no clue.
SCâ€™s were tough towards the end.. atleast in two of them there was a close call between two choices.i could not eliminate and had to guess..
CRâ€™s were of same standard as the ones in og/gmat+/vstudy .. Rcâ€™s were also of same standard.
Score of 38 suggests that I must have done atleast 6-7 mistakes.. I guess ,going by my memory, I did around 2 rc questions incorrect, 2-3 scâ€™s wrong and two crâ€™s..
After the section, I was expecting a 40+ score..but was not surprised to see 38 as I knew the vagaries of verbal section. Moreover, 38 in verbal was satisfactory for me.
I think what made all the difference for me in verbal this time was my improved focus and reading speed and doing lot of extra SC questions from 885 list and vstudy/gmat+.
My practice tests scores:
: 630,590,670, 710
Princeton : 700,680,730
800score : 720 and 660
free online test: 680
Princeton online test : 700
Gmatclub maths challenges : My percentile ranged from 93 to 68,but mostly it was 80%ile+
Computer adaptive format of GMAT:
CAT does not spare even the president of United States. It doesnâ€™t care who you are, what is your level, how much you prepared and what were your practice test scores ..what it cares is how you do during those 2.5 hours.. Please be extremely careful in first 10 questions
..those 10 questions can kill you if you are not careful..They are not going to be very difficult but slight error in judgement, nervousness or weak basics can get you. Thatâ€™s the reason why sometime after scoring well in first attempt in one section, people are caught unawares second time. What happens is that they tend to take it easy next time in that section and assume subconsciously that after doing well first time, they should atleast reach to that level again without any problem. What they forget is that CAT doesnâ€™t know what you did first timeâ€¦
Repeating GMAT: Donâ€™t fall prey to the temptation of taking GMAT again if you know well that you have already prepared enough and if your score in real GMAT is +/-50 of your score in practice tests . Donâ€™t assume that you were unlucky first time..it might be that you already got more than what you deserved. If you really feel that score does not reflect your abilities then take it again, but not without doing honest evaluation of your skills and working much harder than before. Ideally if you score around 680 with 75%ile + in both sections and you were not scoring 750+ in practice tests, forget about retaking and move on to prepare your essays. Ofcourse it depends upon individual cases and sometimes you might need 700+ to compensate for other weak spots in your application. In any case, a 700+ score with 80% ile + in both sections should be enough for any school and will only raise eyebrows if you retake that kind of score.
In the end: GMAT exam is like life in certain ways. It tests your character..like life, it turns the heat on when it really wants to see if you have some balls. Like life, it rewards you if you tackle tough frontiers successfully. But again, like life, you can do well only if you are well prepared and can hold your nerves.
Itâ€™s not the end of the world if you donâ€™t do as well as you hoped, but whatâ€™s important is to give your best shot and stay honest with yourself.
I wish my best wishes to everybody in this forum who is going to take this exam and I hope that all of you get the score what you want.
Once again thanks to gmatclub, bb, prat, paul, anand, abisurd,ian,boksana, dookie, hardworkerindian, venksune,srijay, bhai, dj, vivek_dj, many others who replied my queries, numerous others who contributed their experiences and hundreds of others who saw my posts and made me realize that Iam not alone in my battle.
I will shut up now and will be happy to answer any other queries you guys might have. Donâ€™t be shy of asking me anything you would like to know either through this forum directly or messaging me or mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org