Finally done with GMAT
.... The scores are in
Analytical: 5.0 (just received the link for the official score report).
Let me start by describing the test day:
I was very relaxed when I reached the test center as I had ample time on my hands. So, even when I spent more than 20 minutes in locating a parking spot for my car and helping an old couple get theirs out of the totally crammed parking lot
, I reached the center 35 minutes before my appointment time.
(Note: Please always keep a lot of extra time in hand. It really helps in staying mentally relaxed, which I feel was a big contributor this time around
After the customary instructions and the check in, I grit my teeth and got into test mode. I started the test on a very comfortable note. The analysis of argument went well. I had enough time to put in all my points and then revise my draft.
Feeling pretty confident I started the IR section. The first question was a multi-source reasoning, which I felt wasn't too bad. Unfortunately in trying to get a couple of parts correct on the second question, I think I spent way too much time on it. I checked the timer. It was at 21 minutes. I got a little uncomfortable. I sped up a little. But, as luck would have it, a question later, I got stuck on a really tricky two-part analysis. I ended up wasting a little too much time on this as well (I should've just guessed and moved to the next question when I'd first realized that this one was gonna be a time monster for me). Consequently, towards the end of the section I had little to no time for the 11th and 12th question (also contributing to this was the 2nd multi-source reasoning which showed up). I spent about a minute on the 11th question (I think I got this right). and about (I blindly marked something on the 12th question- a graph question - which I could've solved properly had I not wasted my time earlier). At the end of the section, I was pretty sure that I'd screwed the section. No real worries here that my frame of mind would carry onto the next section. in fact I'd prepared myself mentally for this scenario.
I took my break and cleared out my head and reminded myself that the ill-effects of the IR can't affect any of the upcoming sections. I took a quick bio-break and came back to the locker room
. I quickly ate my aloo-paratha (potato filled bread for the non-hindi speaking folks here) and guzzled a third of my gatorade. The food and the gatorade really helped - I really felt that I'd been working out in the gym. I chose a slow releasing carbohydrate food which would provide me energy for the further sections. The Gatorade too helped a lot as it kept quickly refreshed my mind. (I'd advise against any sugar-rich food as it would cause a sugar crash after some time - as happened with me on a couple of my previous GMAT attempts).
The quant section started off well and I was sure that I was going to be able to manage my time pretty well, till I hit question 10. It was a question that I felt that I could do (ratios of male and female students in a class, some of who were studying french and some weren't - needed to figure out the no of males studying french) but was unable to quite solve quickly. I did solve it in a while, but I think that I took more time than was really needed (I didn't just guess and move on as this was part of the more important first 15 questions). I picked up some speed and worked my way till I reached about the 30th question (I guessed on one or two questions where I wasn't sure about the solution- after eliminating 2-3 options
), I ran into another time monster (geometry - triangles in a circle data sufficiency). I tried eliminating and then guessed (not sure if I got it right, but, then with DS, I'm never too sure anyway). I was a little short and reached the final question with about 55 seconds on the clock. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a PS question where I needed to find out the number of factors of a number made up by multiplying prime nos. I'm pretty sure I got the question right. Throughout the quant section, I was a little (only a little) on the edge, as I wasn't sure about the answers on a lot of questions.
Again as I took my break and, I reminded myself that, the quant section was over and no matter how it went, it would have zero effect on the upcoming verbal section (I really needed my brain to believe this and not psyche itself out and perform worse than needed on the verbal section). After another quick visit to the restroom, I ate some more of my snack and drank another third of my gatorade (again, I'd like to stress the importance of both these items). After almost, two and a half hours of testing, my body and (more importantly) my brain was a little tired. This food and drink definitely helped me keep my concentration for the final lap of the exam.
I started my verbal section very coolly, and was feeling quite confident as I knocked a few out of the park (SC and CR questions). Then I got a really long passage on about the civil rights movement (I hate these ones - I feel really stupid when I read these, since, I come out at the end with mostly views and counterviews which I can't remember anyway). Mapping the passage strategy really helped here, and I think I got at least 3 questions out of 4 correct here. Towards the end of the section I consciously had to keep my mind focused (I think it was running low on Gatorade
). Consequently, I started spending more than necessary time on these questions. I still managed to finish the section on time (though I did guess a couple of questions, after question no 35).
After finishing the test, I turned nervous as the moment of truth was a few clicks away. I toyed with the idea of score cancellation (for about one second). Then I remembered people telling me that many times you don't feel that you've done as well as you'd like, but then the score surprises you. I selected "report my scores" and clicked "Next" through all the background questions (One, I'd answered them on earlier tests. Second, I just wanted to see my score). When the screen showed 720, I couldn't believe my eyes
and I just sat there, with a blank expression on my face for about a minute. Also, quite surprising was my score of 7/8 on IR, considering that I felt that I'd not done too well on it. Then gathering myself, I smartly raised my hand and had the proctor lead me out.
A few pointers that I'd like to share (I may not have followed all of them myself, but then, I still believe that had I done so, I might have scored a 700+, earlier in my GMAT journey) :
1. Always take your breaks (even if its a bio break). Gives you a opportunity to clear you mind from the previous sections and prepare mentally for the next section of the test.
3. Drink some water (or any liquid so that your throat doesn;t parch) both before the test and during breaks (but not so much that you feel the urge to pee while working on a section
3. You never really know how well/bad you're really doing. Don't beat yourself up over past questions and wasted time. A section that is done with, has no real effect on the upcoming section(s). Also, always see your score (unless you've had a major problem during the test and were not able to concentrate/complete). You've probably done better than you believe.
4. If a question seems unfamiliar spend about 10-20 seconds to analyse if you'll be able to solve it (mostly applicable in the quant section). If not, eliminate (if possible) and guess. Don't waste your time on a time monster, when an easier(I mean easier for you) question awaits you ahead. Note: My strategy for blind guessing is, always mark the same choice (pick a letter) - better probability of getting a few right.
5. Though the GMAT tests you on a number of quantitative and verbal concepts, it is (at least to me) a test of endurance as well. So feed your body (and mind
) during the test.
6. Use an error log
. I only used it for my preparation this time and it really helped me in getting to know my weak areas.
The material that I've used:OG 12th
Princeton Review course+ material (the course was taken from Feb to April '12). The verbal material is good and helped me with my RC as well as CR (that is besides helping me with the SC
Manhattan Guide (this seriously helped me with some verbal strategies + concepts and a few quant concepts as well).
Online Manhattan Tests + question banks. Kaplan
(all books). Somehow, I was not very comfortable with the entire Kaplan
book series throughout my prepartion the first few times. Hence, I didn't really touch them this time around.
GMAT Prep Tests
Test History:GMAT 1 (Sept 2011): 640 (Q49, V28)
I just took the test with a week's worth of preparation. I'd taken the GRE a few years ago and had done quite decently on it (1470/1600). So I though I was James Bond
and didn't prepare a lot. Just the basic Kaplan
book and GMAT Prep Tests to familiarize myself with the test structure(I didn't really treat the GMAT Prep as tests back then). When I saw my score, I figured that I'd had a bad day. I just signed up for another test barely a month later.GMAT 2(Nov 2011): 660 (Q48, V32)
Hmmmm, something was odd. I'd used Kaplan
basic+advanced 800, and still a 660 (no offense to anyone guys, it was just that I was targeting B-schools, who felt that my ability to score a 700+ would somehow make a better fit for their school).GMAT 3(August 2012): 670 (Q48, V34)
. No dice!!!!
. What was going on? I'd taken the Princeton course, done the OG questions (well half the questions to be honest
). Taken some practice tests. Something was wrong. Some serious introspection was needed. I took some time off from the GMAT (couple of months). GMAT 4 (Nov 2013): 720 (Q49, V39)
: Finally.... At least the B-schools would have to reject me on something other than my GMAT score!!! I know what I did differently. No general preparation this time around (preparing since May). I registered for the Manhattan online tests. Used their analysis tool religiously to analyze my problem areas (this seriously did wonders). Though I scored 690 consistently on their tests (4/6 tests), I really felt that I was improving, as on every subsequent practice test, I would score higher on the Verbal section (and lower on the quant
). After every test I would religiously analyse my problem areas (especially in Verbal) and refer the particular question type from Manhattan and Princeton. And then practice the relevant questions from the OG. I genuinely believe that this has seriously contributed to my score increase (from 28 in Verbal to 39
). The GMAT Prep Tests really helped me evaluate myself (I got a 730, 5 days before my test and a 750 the day before the actual test).
I know I taken up a lot of space to talk about my GMAT journey. But, I seriously felt the need to share it as I am quite confident that there are many others out there who can possibly benefit from my mistakes (and non-mistakes).
To those who are yet to get their target score
Now onwards to
. Applications, here I come
My GMAT Debrief | My ISB 2015 Interview