After a hectic day y'day I am back. Please know that some of the views expressed here are mine only, so they might or might not work for you. Beware that this is a big post and I am not going to edit it, so plz forgive me if u come across any typos, dangling modifiers and pronoun problems.
Undergrad (BS: Engineering): IIT - Roorkee
Grad (MS): Ohio State University
Working in IT for past 5+ yrs.
2005 (CD) ---- Good CATs but verbal not representative. However, good for building mental toughness. Good practice sets.
2. Princeton Review
2005 ---- Math avg, but verbal not at all representative (too easy). Moreover CATs have some questions repeated. Also CD has a bug where if you don't start the verbal section immediately after Quant, the test ends.
3. Kap Verbal + Math workbooks --- good as refresher
4. Official Guide (10th edition) ---- The BEST
5. KAP 800 (2005-06)---- Only good for CRs. RCs, SCs, DSs, PSs are not
that difficult. Overall doesn't bring much to the
My journey for GMAT started sometime in Nov' 04 when I realized that it is time that I evaluate my career progress. Soon I realized that my next step should be to get an MBA. So I started looking around for resources, did some research, joined GMATCLUB, TM etc. However, I didn't study at all till Jan ' 05. By Jan I had acquired all the resources I needed, and I jumped right in the gmatclub Math section. Believe me guys when I started my prep I didn't even remember how to calculate LCM, HCF etc. While I was going through Kap Math workbook to refresh basics I started solving each and every question in Math section of GMATclub. I was totally hooked to the club. Infact majority of my study time went into surfing the club (more on this later). While working through the math section in the club I met some brilliant ppl like Honghu, Nocilis to name a few. Everyone in the Math section contributed a lot in my quant improvement. Within 1-2 months of rigourous math participation, I was getting back my math skills. Then I moved on to verbal section of the forum, where I spent lot of time. It is more important to make a focused, short (2 months) effort rather than a prolonged one. I realize now that I was losing interest in GMAT as more and more time passed. I was not as excited as I was during the start of my prep. However, I was getting good score in practice tests so I was feeling confident. My scores were (sorted by date):
PP1 : 720 (Q - 48, V - 40) (Before touching OG)
PP2 : 730 (Q - 48, V - 41) (Before touching OG)
Kap 1: 630(Q - 50, V - 31)
Kap 2: 640(Q - 50, V - 33)
Kap 3: 700(Q - 50, V - 38)
Kap 4: 640(Q - 50, V - 33)
Kap (paper test on the back of the book) - 770 (Q - 50, V - 49)
PR 1: 740 ( Q - 51, V - 42)
PR 2 : 760 ( Q - 51, V - 44)
PR 3 : 760 ( Q - 51, V - 44)
PR 4 : 700 ( Q - 45, V - 42) (not sure why Math score was low even with 3 mistakes)
ETS paper tests (1-6) : 760 - 800 ( lil skewed as all paper tests have same RCs as OG )
PP2 (retake) - 800 (skewed as I took it after OG)
: 50% (first one when I didn't know much). Then consistently 90-99 % (including archives).
Following are the mistakes I was making initially and adjustments I made.
1. After scoring well in practice tests, my expectations had gone up. I was under pressure to perform in the test. That attitude proved to be counterproductive. I was able to maintain a gr8 attitude until the nite before, when I cudn't sleep all nite (again !). I guess that's just me !
2. Choosing the right center is imp. Believe me the kind of test center u choose plays an important role in you mental state going into an exam like GMAT.
3.My place doesn't have test centers, they are around 75 mins away. Instead of a hotel, I decided to drive to the center. This gave me a greater control of the env as I was in my home nite before the exam.
4. Took a more comfortable timeslot as I don't work well in morning hours. I took 2-6 pm.
1. Way too long a prep (4 months). I dragged it without any reason. Eventually I devoted only 30 days with two weeks focus on SCs and after that doing mix of CR, RC, SC (20 questions each) on a regular basis. I didn't do much on Maths this time, other than taking the Challenges. A focused approach of 2 - 3 months will serve you much better than a longwinded prep.
2. I was good in CR and RC, but in last 1 month of prep, I totally ignored CR and RC and focused just on SCs. So I was lil out of touch from both these areas. Eventually I created a schedule where I was supposed to do 20 CR and 20 RC questions everyday, no matter what else I was supposed to do. This time I used one LSAT book "Next 10 LSAT test" for CRs and RCs.
3. As you all know that verbal is a separate beast. You have to be very careful on how u utilize verbal section of any forum. Unlike math, where you can prove something wrong, verbal section can contain lot of ambiguities specially in SC. Many questions in forums are ambiguous and they do not represent what ETS will test you on. I went on a tangent and started learning real grammar instead of focusing on OG. I saw my hit rate going down in SCs and I was getting really frustrated at times. I know, this has been said a lot of times but OG is the ONLY and the BEST resource you have. I wud recommend you to not take each SC and its expl in forums too seriously. Unless the material is from ETS you simply can't trust it. You will find, however, that some ppl will come up with an explanation to even a weird SC and if you take these expl seriously u will be jeopardising ur SC prep. Unfortunately no material other than OG comes even close to what verbal is really abt in GMAT. PR, Kap they are all the same. They all have poorly researched questions and even poorer explanations. And trust me guys you don't have to learn every detail abt phrases, clauses etc. I still don't know much of grammar and I didn't need
to. ETS tests only on certain concepts and patterns and once u learn to recognize them u r golden. I see many ppl going nuts on shredding a sentence apart and in process getting more confused than ever. I personally feel that analyzing SCs after a certain point is counterproductive.
4. As I said earlier, I was completely hooked to the forum and in some way spending more time in surfing the forum than doing my studies. Make sure u don't neglect ur prep schedule during ur studies.
6. Make sure you don't get happy by doing the same questions and getting a good strike rate. Do not repeat the same resources, other than OG SC. Always challenge urself by doing new questions. Remember all the questions in the test will be brand new.
This was the biggest nemesis in my prep. In my eventual SC prep I was totally focused on just OG and MGMAT SC
strategy guide. I wud highly recommend this book for SC and believe me it can do wonders for you. This guide goes through the ONLY aspects that u need to know and categorizes each OG problem. Again focus on these two books for SC and put the rest of the mumbo-jumbo aside.
Just practice. Use OG and LSAT. Participate in the forums for CR discussions. Again stay away from ambiguous ques.
Again not too much to say here. Use OG and LSAT. Put urself on author shoes and try to think as he/she does.
Use OG and above all use Challenges.
I used GMAT Challenges extensively for practice. After u have learned all the concepts in Math u need to get good practice of tricks and that where Challenges come in handy. I started with a 50% score in my first challenge, when I didn't know much. Eventually I was consistently getting 90-99 % (including the archives I took).
Last but not least "attitude". You can do all the prep in the world for yrs but if u don't have the rite attitude u can't perform to the best of ur abilities. If u put lot of pressure on urself u will not do best to ur abilities. What will separate u from getting a good score and an avg one is how u r feeling on the test day. Take the day before the test off and relax, watch movie, go out. Remain calm throughout the test and don't just give up on a question just because it looks hard. Remember a question u r giving up now might be the ques which can keep u from getting ur dream score. Optimize ur timing on ques. I know all these r very subjective and need practice.
I didn't pay too much attention to AWA and wrote whatever I cud. Noone bothers with AWAs so don't break ur head over it. Get a template of some kind and use it in the exam. Energy saved here is better spent on sections that really matter. I had 5 mins left on Issue section and 12 mins in argument. I took 5 min rest to focus on what was coming and then clicked proceed. Took 5-10 min break. Ate a cookie, a twix candy bar and some water. Make sure u eat something u like during the breaks. Good chocolate can give u an immediate mood uplift.
Settled down, put the keyboard lil away and made a bigger workspace for myself. Started off nice and throughout the section, I felt that quant was very easy (OG level) except 1 or 2 hard questions. Surpisingly didn't get any Probability or permutation + combination question. Got lil worried abt that, but stopped thinking abt it. Lot of word problem questions. Got stuck in one problem where my ans was not matching, was tempted to guess and move on, but decided against it and reread the ques, only to realize that I was reading the ques wrong. Finished the section just in time.
Took the break, ate a cookie and chocolate, washed my face and talked to myself in the mirror reminding myself that next is make or break section, so take one question at a time. Chit-chatted with the proctor while having water and went back with new set of pencils and scratch papers.
First 3 questions were SC, then CR (tough one, not sure if I got it rite), then RC (80 liner - tough), then SC, then RC again (45 liner - tough). Then it was a combination of SCs and CRs. Got my next two RCs in middle of the section and one towards the end (last one was again 85 liner and tough RC). Was getting worried as till the 37 question I hadn't seen a BF CR. I was overjoyed to see BF CR as my 38 ques. Last 3 were CR and SCs. There was lil disturbance in the room, so lost focus towards the end of section but no complains. I was very confident that I cracked each and every SC in the test and that made me happy. Needless to say that SCs tests multiple concepts, but I take it as a good thing because then the correct OA doesn't rely on u knowing the rite idiom. I have seen that all the wrong choices have multiple errors and ETS can't take a risk by giving the OA just based on an idiom. Therefore, do not get perturbed u can't crack the SCs where only 1 or 2 words are underlined, as u will not see those kind in the real test. Real SC questions have almost 2/3 of the sentence underlined and take that as a good thing as u will be able to see the errors from multiple angles. CRs were tough as choices were too close for comfort. RCs were tough as well with tough questions and long psgs. As u see SC being my nemesis I was surprised that I did better in SCs compared with RCs and CRs.
Clicked through the survey, having my fingers crossed. Looked at the score, cudn't believe my eyes. This has been my dream score. Pumped my fist few times and got out of the room. Gathered my printout and was literally dancing on my way out of the center. My wife, who was waiting for me outside, was overjoyed and immediately knew that I did it. I can't thank her enuf for putting up with me all through my prep for past few months. At times she had to go through boring weekends and holidays just because I was "studying" or taking a test. Altho I thoroughly enjoyed the prep but I am glad that this GMAT is over. Infact, this shud be my last standardized test for life. Now off to app process !
This forum was an inspiration from the beginning. With ~1600 posts, I have learnt a lot, discussed a lot, argued a lot. I can't thank enuf to Praet, BB for putting up such a site. Very many ppl have helped me thro this journey: Honghu, jpv, nocilis, mcKenna, MA, christoph, vithal, praveen, saurabh, paul, gmat2me2, gmataquaguy, rxs0005, folaa3, fresinha2, dlmd, maverick, prep_gmat, rothad too name a few. Thx to ChallengeMaker for wonderful challenges. Still don't know how he/she comes up with so many good questions week after week. I wish we cud make the site lil more stable, specially during challenges it can be frustrating.
I guess I will stop now. Unfortunately, this has become too long a write up. Hope it helps ! Will be happy to ans any queries u mite have. I will be around.
I have also attached a document which details some of the tips on quant, traps etc. Hope it is helpful.
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