I have been thinking of taking GMAT for quite some time now. Have been thinking of it since beginning of 2006, but never got around to preparing for it until end of May 07. That’s when I decided to have a go at it. I started as usual with a diagnostic test from OG. I immediately realized that my weaknesses were SC and DS. Especially Sentence correction was absolutely horrible. I read in this forum and several other forums about Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction
. Got the book and went through the concepts. At first it didn’t make any substantial difference. Then started doing OG. Finished the book in a month. Along with it did the supplementary book for Verbal. Then did all verbal from Kaplan
. Slowly I started getting better in Sentence Correction. I was always pretty good in CR’s, but RC was a problem for me sometimes when I don’t understand the passage fully. But I kind of ignored the problem I had with RC at that time.
I did the 2 powerprep tests and got scores of 670 and 700 and registered for the test to take it on August 6, 2007. I did the 2 GmatPrep tests
as well and got scores of 650 and 710 a couple of weeks before my test date. I was quite confident but very stressed since I knew that I was not fully prepared.
On the night before the test day I took a sleeping pill and went to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep!! I took another pill and still no effect. My test was at 9 in the morning. I lie the whole night awake and finally went to sleep sometime early morning. Had a couple of hours of sleep. By the time I woke up I was really dizzy due to the pills and was in a horrible state. But somehow pushed myself to the test center. Gave the test and got a 650 (Q46, V34). I was really disappointed since I was expecting at least a 700.
I was really heart broken and I decided that day that I am going to cut this beast open one day!! I knew the mistakes that I had made the first time around.
Mistake 1. took math for granted
Mistake 2. Screwed up my sleep
Mistake 3. got too tensed
Mistake 4. Not well prepared
I wanted to make sure I don’t make any of these mistakes the next time around. I gave myself enough time of 2 months to fully prepare and decided to take the test around beginning of October. I revised all my Sentence Correction once more. Went through the SC’s from OG once more. Started keeping an error log
for myself with excel sheets to analyze my progress. Whenever I do a test I used to note the time I took, number of wrong questions, percentage, note down the wrong ones and mark them as careless, concept error, etc.
Bought the GMAT challenges and started doing them. They are really great stuff. If you want to get a good math score I would say this is an absolute must. I learned a lot of concepts from them and also prevented myself to a large extend to avoid careless mistakes.
Did the Kaplan
tests. My scores were 570, 580, 620, 630. (Don’t remember exactly)
Did a lot of practice on RC’s. After a while I became really good at RC’s. I could make out the questions that will be asked while reading the passage. I practiced to do SC’s faster. My strategy for Verbal was simple. Spend more time on RC’s and less time on SC’s. Registered to take the GMAT exam on Oct 3. My practice scores on GMAT challenges varied between 99% - 89%. I usually got around 90% average on RC’s in the final stages on my prep.
Took the 2 gmat prep tests.
Gmatprep1 – 750 (49,42)
Gmatprep2 – 720 (49,40)(Kind of spend 7 minutes on a math question in between)
Another mistake I made in my first preparation was to not do the essays while doing my full test. This is absolutely important. I don’t know how to stress this more. Write your essays while doing the full tests. While doing Kaplan
tests I used to do one essay and while doing the gmat prep’s I did both of them.
I made a document with all the math formulas and another document for all SC questions and some concepts that I gathered during my second preparation. I went through these a day before my exam.
Day before the exam- didn’t go to work. Played football with a friend on mine, mainly just passing the ball around. I just wanted that extra energy to leave my body so that I sleep well that night.
Night before the exam – manage to sleep on time. I was really relaxed since I was well prepared. Slept for a good 8 hours.
Day of the exam - Woke up at 8:30. My test was at 1:15. Had a good breakfast. Bought a couple of chocolate bars and a coke. Reached the test center at 12:30. They checked my passport took my finger print and a mug shot! Started the test with the essays. It went fine. Got out of the exam room for the 10 minute break. Splashed water on my face. Walked around the hall for sometime. Started thinking of math and trying to recollect my notes. Started the math. First few questions were ok. I felt I was doing well. Around the 15th question I got a DS probability Q. I felt a sense of relief. I knew I was doing well so far at least. Went on. Around the 30+ question I got another probability question. My heart started pumping really fast. I just froze for a few seconds. I was also running short of time. I couldn’t fully solve that question. I had to guess and move on. Managed to finish math with a few seconds to spare.
Took my 10 minute break. Again drank some coke, had some chocolate, splashed water on the face. Went back in. Verbal started well. To be frank I am not really that good in SC’s. Its just due to the immense practice I knew the patterns and SC’s had almost become intuitive for me. Got a couple of RC in the first 15. Good passages. Not very difficult. Took time with the passages and understood them well and then knocked out the questions faster. Somewhere in the middle I got stuck on a SC. There was a choice that looked so appealing but I knew something was wrong in it and another choice that looked very bad but some things right in it. It was a really weird situation. I was just stuck on that for a few minutes. In the end chose the less appealing one. Again another CR similar case. I read the CR stem once again and the answer became clear to me. What I had learned during my practices is that GMAT is so full of tricks. Every question in the high bracket always tries to trick you. We have to be on our guard all the time. I didn’t get any Bold face which kind of scared me. Finally reached the deciding screen. Report/Cancel scores. I just wanted to see my score. I didn’t care even if it was a 650 again. 770!! I was amazed. I had never got such a high score. I had never score a 50 in math and never a 45 in Verbal.
That’s it guys. Thanks once more for all the help. Gmat club really helped me a lot. Sorry for the long post. I will try to answer any questions you guys have in the next couple of weeks.