A hell-burning-worthy hot central Indian morning and I couldn't find a thing to eat on the way to the exam center because of some problem going on with the retail stores in this alien city where I came to appear for my GMAT. (Not that I was very hungry
) Nevertheless, I reached the center a good one hour before my appointment, thanx to my friend who was kind enough to drop me on his motorbike. Well, the administrator was a charming lady (I had a v-pin turn of opinion about her later during my exam
) who asked me whether I would like to start my exam early. I thought about it for a minute and exclaimed to myself "what the hell, lets get it over with". Within minutes I was checked in to my station and was presented with my AWA question. I told myself the same thing I used to tell my friends all through my undergraduate days, right before my exams: "Let's Rock" and started. AWA
Preparation: Read through the list of topics on the GMAT website and got a basic idea of what the topics are like. Then, as suggested by most of the prep books such as Kaplan
, Princeton et cetera, wrote down a template for both of the essays and tried fitting in a few topics in my templates. I had to modify the templates a bit, but by the time I was through 3-4 essays for each section, I was pretty sure that I had a nice frame to fit my essays in.
Test-Day: 5minutes on each of the essays for framing my ideas, approximately 23-24 minutes for the writing part, and 1-2 minutes for checking. Though, I'll suggest anyone taking the GMAT to try and keep this checking/proof-reading time at least 2 minutes. I was lucky that I did not make many grammatical or typing mistakes on my test-day essays.The break
Well it was a happy time, I drank some juice, ate a few cookies and was ready to go. Though, I decided to take a li'l break before going for my quant. I thought of taking a walk in the test-center balcony for a while but the sun was shining harshly enough to give a touch-me-not impression to the open space. Instead, I decided to just sit for a moment after which I checked back to my system.Quant
Preparation/Books: 1. A few of the books from my IIT-JEE preparation era. 2.A light read through Manhattan Prep math books 3.Practice from OG, OG-Quant, Kaplan
-800, and Princeton review.
Test Day: Quant had always been my favourite section all through my GMAT preparations. This liking reflected on my test day as well. I started the section, whizzed through the section and was done with it in 45 minutes. The last question was a tough one and I still had a full 35 minutes left. I gave the question a good long five minute period and I was done. (PS: I hope i got it right
Advice: Practice as much as you can, get a big white sheet and stick it up on the wall in front of your table. Whenever you get a question wrong, write the concept on a sticky-note and put it up on your sheet. Keep revising the concepts, and practice as much as possible.Verbal
Preparation/Books: 1. Extensive reads through Manhattan Prep Verbal books (3-4 times) - I revised through the books regularly and by the test-day, the books were highlighted all green, blue and yellow.
2. Prepare for the Idioms well and from the starting itself. If you're not familiar with them, it'll take some time for the strange use of grammar to sink in.
3. Practice as much as possible. Try and see explanations for answers to all the questions you attempt, whether you got them right or wrong, on online forums. It helps building the concept. This advice is based on the fact that its normal for people to get the correct answers sometimes based on pure instinct and gut-feeling.
Test Day: Well, this is where things went wrong for me. First of all, I was starting to get hungry and a fresh test taker on the system next to mine typing away in a crazed frenzy was not exactly helping me boost my concentration. I was just about to get over this concentration issue when the administrator did the most cruel thing ever by getting her lunch delivered at the test center and filling the entire center with the intoxicating smell of a yummy Indian delicacy. I almost suddenly started hating the woman (:P). Though, I soon got over the distractions and finished my verbal section just in time. Post-test
I went through a bunch of crappy questions to finally see on the screen of my system : "710". I exhaled a "Phew!", got up, took my unofficial score card, gave my remaining 2 juice packs to the administrator saying that "ma'am you must be really hungry sitting here all day", thanked her and left the center.
12 days after I took my exam, I got an e-mail on my phone that read "PEARSON VUE". I took out my unofficial score card, and to my relief, I had another "Phew!" moment with my 6.0 AWA score.General Advice
1.Start the preparation 2-3 months in advance. I started 60 days prior to my test day. Also, plan this prep time properly.
2.Keep going through the forums regularly; the best of the lot, according to me, are GMAT Club and Manhattan GMAT
3.Take a fair number of practice tests before you take the actual test. It is essential to develop an examination temperament and to manage your test timing properly. Also, try to take the practice tests on the time you'll actually be taking the GMAT.
4.Practice a few questions before you leave for the test center on the test day. It'll warm you up for the exam.
5.Visit the center a day before the exam. You don't wanna get panicky right before your GMAT because you're not able to find the center.
6.Finally, on the day before the test, stay cool, be confident and right before your test say to yourself: "Let's Rock".