I am not sure whether I should be sharing my GMAT experience because my preparation was not a structured study plan. However, I made up my mind to do so because I felt others can learn atleast from my mistakes if not from anything else. So here it goes.
My score: 700 (90 percentile)
Quant: 49 (86 percentile)
Verbal: 35 (73 percentile)
Firstly, a big thanks to Adishail for keeping me motivated at all times. Buddy without you I would have given up on GMAT a lot time back. Kudos to you.
I started my preparation in June 2010 when I joined my Kaplan
classes. I was really just going through stuff in the first few weeks to understand what the GMAT actually tests and the kind of questions they put forth. I took my first GMAT CAT from Kaplan
online on 20/06/2010. This was more like a diagnostic test.
Diagnostic test: 560 (Ran short of time in Q and V)
I scored 560. I wasn't very sure if this was a good start. At the time, I was going through various GMAT sites and most of them said that the diagnostic hardly even mattered when compared to the actual test score after good solid preparation. Some sites said that you can score a maximum of 100-120 from the diagnostic test. But a lot of them also said that scoring a 700+ isn't really rocket science. And so I wanted to believe that.
Anyways, I continued preparation. I finished the Kaplan
workbook given to me as part of the Kaplan
classes. These are not freely available in the market. But the material gives you a basic feel of the GMAT content. I also went through the Kaplan Premiere
guide 2009 edition. One can use these books to get a feel of GMAT. Then I took the second CAT on 11/08/2010.
CAT: 700 (Quant: 99 percentile, Verbal: 53 percentile)
Whoa. I was like this is so cool. There are 2 things I want to mention here. 1) I felt that the quant section was really easy. 2) My concentration levels for the first time were high. But I figured that if I try doing the OG now, I can get the feel of the real GMAT questions. So, I timed myself and started attacking the OG. The OG questions are very close to the type of questions you get in the GMAT. So please do them. Redo them. Re-redo them.
At this point, around the first week of August, I blocked the date for GMAT to 17th Sept, 2010. And this where it went all wrong. Due to personal reasons I did not have any time to study at all and I completely lost focus. I postponed the date again to 13th October, 2010. I was hardly studying and was doing other things which 'seemed' more important to me. The whole seriousness of GMAT had left my mind.
Last postponement: I further postponed my dates to 29th Nov, 2010. This time I knew I had one whole month. I knew if i worked hard enough I could still crack it. It was at this time that I happened to read the blog of Adishail with the subject 'Time to Move on! GMAT 720. I was really inspired by his blog. He had talked about the exact same things I had felt while taking a CAT. If you guys have time, please read through it. I started preparing seriously for about a week. Did about 10 GMAT club quant tests. Extremely helpful. Guys, please take it. Trust me it improved my quant scores a lot. As far as verbal is concerned I did the following books.
1) The Critical reasoning bible.
2) Manhattan Sentence correction
3) The SC grail.
4) OG 12
5) Spideys and Sahail's notes
5) Kaplan 800
for more complex sentence correction.
6) Kaplan Verbal
7) OG Verbal
You don't need to do so many books. Just the ones mentioned in points 1,2,4,5 and 7 should suffice. Also you can do SC grail/Manhattan sentence correction
. The BIGGEST MISTAKE I did was that I stopped studying about 9 days before the exam. I really was bored and had no enthusiasm to do it anymore. In fact I took only one of the GMAT preps 3 weeks before GMAT and scored a 690. Learnings:
1) GMAT is not rocket science. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
2) GMAT is a journey. For some it takes 6 weeks and for some 12 weeks. Block your GMAT dates after you take the diagnostic test. Please give the diagnostic test with some basic preparation. Understand the types of questions asked. Refresh basic math skills. Understand what happens in CR, SC, RC.
3) STUDY EVERYDAY. Even if its for 1 or 2 hours. Give equal importance to all 3 sections of Verbal. If you do 5 question in SC, do the same for CR and RC also.
4) Please give at least 3-5 CATs on the last week before the actual GMAT. It will train your mind to focus for 3.5 hours. It will take away fear. Bring confidence.
5) try to be atleast above 80% accuracy in SC. Very important.
6) Go through the CR bible. It will make a lot of CR questions suddenly look simpler. It helped me a lot.
7) Go through the Manhattan SC/SC Grail. It will make a lot of SC questions suddenly look simpler. It helped me a lot.
8) Try doing tougher quant problems. I recommend the GMAT club tests
9) Knowing all the tricks isn't enough. Pacing yourself with time is equally important.
I woke up at 10.30 today. Was scared to death before the exam. In-fact I even thought of canceling the test last night, I was so scared. The reason for this was that I taken any CATs in the last week. Was it due to my laziness? Maybe. It is because of not taking CATs that I ran short of time in verbal section. I had 18 questions to do in 22 minutes. Can you believe it? I just did not keep pace with time. I randomly guessed the last few RC questions and some CR questions. Maybe that is why I scored only a 35 in verbal. Guys, please do not make this mistake. I am very sure if I had taken the full length CATs I would have been able to pace myself better and keep my concentration steady.
Anyways, when I clicked on 'report my scores', I was thrilled to see a 700 on screen.
Will I take GMAT again? Honestly I do not know. Here, I would like to urge fellow members of GMAT club to share some light. Is 35 in Verbal ok? Please share your thoughts and opinions.
If any of you have any doubts, please post/pm me. I will be more than glad to help you out
WHERE IS THE PASSION?