I have been a GMAT club member for over 6 months now(although only started reading posts from Aug) and for some strange reason (I can hear my mind saying "you are lazy") this is my first post. Sorry for this being a long one but I believe my debrief may help a few others. Also I will be happy to answer any general questions or any particular questions relating to giving the exam in New Delhi.
But before I begin I would like to give a big Thanks
to BB & Bunnell - Without you guys my GMAT score improvement would not have been possible.
Here is my debrief:
I gave my GMAT a couple of days back, on the 28th of November, and as you can will see the post below has many grammatical mistakes, so I beg your pardon (As I know many of you are attuned to finding out even the tiniest of mistakes by now).
This debrief will consist of 2 parts - My GMAT lifecycle (From Study to Result) and My learnings from the experienceMy GMAT lifecycleHistory
In July 2012 first week I got a Gold award from my present employer(the 4th largest telco in the world), with whom I have been working for 5 years, and that is when I first thought about taking a GMAT. Why? Because I got an award for great contributions for my function, HR, and after the award the HR director had a chat with me about my career plan and how he sees me taking bigger responsibilities in HR. I realized then that my dream of 'General Management' has become a bit more difficult as I have now been 'type-casted' as an HR specialist, a cross functional movement in India Inc. is a difficult thing to achieve. I decided that now I need to change my function and hence decided to give the GMAT.
Having taken this decision, on 8th Aug I proactively booked a slot of 15th Oct 2012 for my GMAT.Dianostic Test & Material
I started reading the posts in GMAT club and decided to give a diagnostic test. I have already done my MBA from a B-School in India and the admission criteria for that MBA was an entrance test called 'CAT'(Yes my friends from India I have given my CAT in 2005) and this being a really competetive test with over 300,000 students participating I had studied for 6 months in 2005. I had got a score of 96%ile and got my MBA(majoring in HR) from one of the top 10 b-schools in India. I was hence extremely confident of getting at least a 620 in my diagnostic test.
I gave the Kaplan
free diagnostic test and got a 580(60%ile in Quant & 53%ile in Verbal). The world came crashing down. I now realized that I would need to really put in a great effort to get to my target score of 720 (yes even after my diagnostic 'I had a dream').
This is where I did research for 2 days (6 hours each) reading all the posts by BB (Thanks again) to understand the right material to study. I then decided on August 16th to get the following material:OG 13
- The bible
GMAT Club Maths Book
GMAT Club Ultimate Grammer BookTrust me, these are the only 3 books one needs to get a 700+Kaplan
2012 book - Mainly purchased to get access to their online testsMGMAT Sentence Correction
Guide - Mainly purchased to get access to their online testsStudy approach that got me to 690
I started with the OG and the Kaplan
book. Finished both on 14th September by studying for 4 hrs every Saturday and Sunday. Then on 15th September exactly one month before my GMAT Date(Got changed later) I gave the first GMAT prep test. I got a 640 in that test (Q44, V32), in which I knew that I did miss a few easy maths questions but in the verbal section my I thought I had done well (Obviously the score 'screamed' something different).
I knew then that I need to do a few things to get back on track for the target score. Firstly, I immediately need to brush up my fundamentals. I started with the 2 GMAT club books and when I gave the second GMAT prep test on 7th October and got a 690 (Q49, V34). Now since I was not close to the target score of 720 I decided (after reading a lot of GMAT club posts) to postpone my GMAT date by a month. My new date was 28th Nov 2012..Study approach & schedule for the final leg
In this I decided to do the following (and it worked wonderfully for me):
1. Every day I answered the GMAT daily question of the day, without using pen and paper (this helped me develop a habit of doing better mental calculations and a habit of active reading).
2. Every Saturday I gave a prep test (MGMAT & Kaplan
3. Every Sunday I analyzed the answers given in the test (Only the answers but did not do any other study. This helped me focus more on analysis)
4. Every Wednesday I started coming home early from work and studied a topic (at an advanced level) for 3 hours
The last test I gave was a GMAT prep retake on 24th Nov 2012 in which I got a 710 (Q49, V38). I was now prepared for giving the exam on 28th.The GMAT Test
On 26th Nov(2 days before the test) I took a day off from work and studied all the formulas and revised each and every question I had wrongly answered over the last 2 months (Yes, I had documented every answer). Then, as a stroke of sheer luck, I took the best decision that pushed my score even further - I attempted and analyzed all the questions in Bunnell's signature (Thanks a ton Bunnell).
On 27th Nov(1 day before the test) I woke up at 6am in the morning, went for a jog and did no study for the entire day. By waking up early in the morning and keeping a busy schedule throughout the day (Did my household chores, got all my papers in order and visited the test center) I went to sleep at 12am.
On 28th Nov(Test day, Test day, Test day) I woke up at 8am (got a solid 8 hour sleep), had a full breakfast (as my slot was from 1pm to 5pm I was going to miss lunch) and left my house at 11:30. Unfortunately, that day being a holiday I reached half an hour early and had to wait outside the test center for 30 mins. During the half hour wait ate 2 bananas (remembered the words of my cricket coach - "Bananas = Stamina = Performance", thought this would be true for GMAT also). They then let us in at 12:30, we did all the formalities and I was then sent to the workstation.
Started the test with a difficult AWA (Could not immediately identify the conclusion) and took a lot of time finishing that, basically got not time to revise as I wrote my last word with 18 secs left on the clock. Although did get a little disappointed here I had no time to sulk and went on immediately to the IR section. I got fairly easy questions here (in fact the ones in MGMAT and Kaplan
are way tougher).
Took my first 8 mins break - drank Gatorade, washed my face, ate a chocolate bar and did a few stretching exercises (a couple of Sit-ups and jumping jacks). Went back in, encountered a quant section in which I was able to do the first 15 questions in 25 mins. After looking at the clock post 15 questions I slowed down. A weird thing - I only encountered 2 coordinate geometry questions, 1 geometry question, no work-rate question, 3 interest questions and 1 probability questions, the other 30 questions were all either number systems or algebra. Finished the quant section with 6 mins on the clock and a newly got confidence.
Took my second 8 mins break and did exactly the same
things. Went back in, the verbal section began with the first 10 questions being - 6 sentence correction, 3 from a single RC and 1 CR. I thought to myself that I must be getting a lot of SC questions wrong and hence the system is taking my score down. But then I got 4 CR questions in a row which mad me realize that I am fretting over an extremely silly detail and should rather concentrate on answering every question to the best of my ability.
Well, finished the verbal section with 30secs and the next series of screens that came were about background information, filling which took about 4 minutes. I then encountered 'the screen'
which asked me whether to cancel or report my score (this is a timed screen which scares you by saying that "if you don't make a choice in 2 minutes your score will be cancelled" and of course after reading this line I immediately pressed report my score, a 750 (Q50, V41). An audible "Yes" came out from me after seeing the score. The noise made me get a look from 3 other test takers and a 'teacher scolding student' look from the test coordinator.
Here are my key learnings:
1. Do not be afraid to delay the test if you think you are not prepared
2. Practice every day (GMAT question of the day really really works)
3. Bunnells signature problems are a must
4. Find ways to relax yourself during & before the test (I know my situps and jumping jacks looked silly to other test takers but they worked for me)
5. Keep yourself well hydrated (Gatorade works) and eat food that give you both energy & stamina (Chocolates and Bananas in my case)
6. I highy recommend both the GMAT club ebooks for getting your fundamentals right
I am overjoyed with my score and now need help from BB and other experienced people with my short listing my target schools.
You'll never walk alone!!