I took the GMAT last saturday. I thought the score is nothing great to talk about, and I don't have any good strategies to share, so no reason to write a debrief. But a friend here said - "if you feel you have benefited from this forum in any way, you should write one". That made me think - "indeed then i need to write one"
[NOTE: If you don't want to waste time, go straight to "my 2 cents" at the bottom of this post
I had taken the Indian Common Admission Test in 2007, and got a 95th percentile. The level of quants and english on that test is tougher than that on the GMAT. My major preparation for the GMAT was done at that time. I learnt a lot of fundamentals, conceptual approaches, speed maths, etc. That is why I didn't need to work hard for GMAT, but I did work hard for that one. Preparation for GMAT
I decided about an year back that I would take the GMAT. That is when I also registered on gmatclub, but didn't get active untill june this year.
I took few diagnostic tests that time, and found that I was not doing badly. Just needed to practice more on the gmat-style questions.
The fact that there is no fixed date for GMAT and one can take it whenever one feels prepared is one reason why I didnt take the test untill this year. I had thought that once I am fully prepared, I will take the appointment for the test, but after 1 year i realized I was never going to be sufficiently prepared. I am one of those people who will NOT work untill they are under "deadline" pressure. So I decided to put myself under the pressure, and took appointment for the test with 40days to go.
I mostly needed to revise and practice rather than work on basics. I got the Kaplan
CD from the public library, finished all the chapters and took the tests. Scored 600 and 590. Then I started with OG 11
, my target was to practice all the questions of OG, and i achieved this target on the day before the test.
I was bit nervous about the AWA because that was one thing I had not practiced before at all. So started practicing few essays as well.
Now comes the club part. I logged in here and simply got addicted. Most of the questions shared here were of moderate to high difficulty level and that was what I was looking for. It was here that I got to know I needed to work on SC, so got MGMAT SC
and went through the book. It helped me a lot as to the SC rules followed by GMAT.
As for the forum members, I won't mention names, because I found posts from several people very helpful. One friend guided me to accessing the gmat club tests
, (though I could do only 3 of them due to lack of time, wish I had done more).
The forum provided for the major chunk of questions that I practiced for the test, and it helped me a lot. The OG questions are far easier than what I saw on the G-day.
2 weeks to go for the test, I decided to accustom myself to the 4 hour stress, and started taking 2 full length gmat-test-prep tests (including essays) per week. The essays are repeated in the software, so I would chose the 2 essays randomly from the list of 280 essays, and write them on word-pad, and follow this with the main test. Few questions DO get repeated when you take the tests second time. I scored 760, 730, 770 and 750 on the 4 tests. This made me expect a better score (about 750) and I am a bit disappointed by 730.
Day before the test, I finished OG 11
and decided to relax. I wanted to revise quant, but I was too tired and nervous and knew that I needed to relax and cool down, moreover i had been scoring 51 and 50 on all the practice tests, so I dropped the idea in order to relax.G-day
Rose early. I have never been this nervous before any exam in my life, and I also know that my nervousness does affect my performance, so I did few breathing exercises and little bit of meditation. I chose 12 noon for the test, because I know that is the time i am most active and also, I need sufficient sleep, and I get even nervous if I have to hurry to the test.
Test started smoothly with AWA. Initially I felt I will face problem typing with the old-fashioned Keyboard as I am used to the laptop keyboard, but it wasnt much of a problem. The practice and re-analysis of my essays did help me, and I was able to finish both essays in time. Quant was a nightmare. I don't know whether I was overconfident, or whether it was a bad day for me, or the questions were really tough. I was expecting first 2-3 questions to be very easy, and perhaps i got nervous seeing them moderately tough. I had never faced a single quant question in any practice tests which I didn't know how to solve(it were always the silly mistakes that led to wrong answers), and here I was, trying to figure out how to deal with the question. Somehow I managed through the section. Took a much-needed brake, had some coffee and light snacks, and told myself "don't let your quant performance affect the verbal". Verbal was fine, questions were similar to what we see on the forum. I obviously didn't reach the tougher level.
I knew I shouldn't expect a 750 after what went on, though I was not at all happy with 730 then. Guess it was not my luckiest day.My two cents
- If you are like me (work only under pressure), register for the test. Unless you have a date, you won't work your best.
- Know yourself, ie analyse your weakness and strengths. Don't feel inferior if someone is very good at something and you are not. At the same time, work on your strengths to make them even stronger, and also try to work up on your weaknesses.
- Don't loose heart if you are doing very badly now. 99% people improve only after intense practice, so will you. If someone says he studied just 1 month and did very well, that means he had studied hard previously and was already strong at basics.
- No amount of practice can substitute conceptual knowledge. If you have enough time, try to understand how a formula works rather than learning it by heart. In simply trying to analyse how one formula works, you might learn a lot of concepts which would otherwise go un-noticed by simply learning the formula.
- Set targets for yourself. Divide your available study time into months and weeks, and try to achieve targets for each period.
- ALWAYS analyse your work after you have practiced questions. That is where the real learning happens. Simply practicing 1000 questions wont help if you don't know why you went wrong, and also why you were right. Same applies to practice tests.
- Time yourself every time you practice. You will get used to the stress, and will also learn to think faster. Use the GMAT Timer
developed by walker - gmat-timer-56014.html
. Its a great tool for practicing.
- Don't ignore AWA. If you get stressed out on test day because of essays, it might affect your performance in quant and verbal. So practice enough untill you feel you can handle any topic confidently. And don't leave it for last moment.
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE PRACTICE. And apply all the techniques that you want to follow each time you practice. Don't leave out anything to be applied on the G-day.
- I find many people don't know faster ways to do calculations. Try to work on your calculation speed, and find out methods to shorten calculations. It does help. Practice all those methods 100 times so that they become second-nature to you.
- I had learnt reciprocals and squares of all numbers from 1-20 for speed calculations. Its not as tough as it sounds and its helpful.
- Get 'very' used to the 4 hour stress, some people crumble under pressure by the time they reach verbal section. So put yourself in exam-conditions as far as possible and take full-length tests.
- Much repeated - Choose a test time when you know you will be most comfortable. Do not choose 8am if you want to take ample sleep of if the test center is too far from your place. Do not choose 2pm if you feel sleepy/lazy in the afternoon.
- Relax. Try to take minimum stress in the last few days before the exam. A relaxed mind is very important. Do not try to cram in things the day before the exam. Its best to take the day off to watch a movie or do your favourite things. I found meditation and yoga very helpful in cooling down my nerves.
- Dress in layers when u go for the exam. At some centers the AC is set at too low, and you might feel cold.
- Take some sort of energy-food with you. By the time you finish quant, you may start feeling exhausted.
- Think beforehand of all the things you will need to do and need to carry to the test center on the day of the exam. Be mentally prepared.
- NEVER panic when you see an unfamiliar question on the test. It might be one from a very tough pool, or might be the question which are non-included in your final score. Have the attitude that you will do your best instead of bothering about what is beyond your control. That way you always handle problems better.
Can't think of anything else to share. Feel free to pm me for any questions.