Ladies and Gentleman,
I wrote my GMAT on 10/11 and received the following score:
Quants: 50/60 (95%) :D
Verbal: 31/60 (65%)
Total: 680/800 (90%)
Overall, I am satisfied with the total score and excited about the maths score (this is the highest of all my practice scores), but were little disappointed at the out-of-balance verbal. I know the score is very typical of an Indian - good in Quants and bad in verbal. I am still contemplating my retake. Please let me know your opinion in <<add link>>.
Phase 1 last year (Decision - last year):
I made my decsion to write GMAT last year. But, I had been out of college for four years and was totally held up with work, that I was looking for a good time to start preperation. During these days, I couldn't prepare but were collecting materials and documents all along. I had also been brushing up my quants on and off, but nothing serious.
Phase 2 Day 1-45(Preperation - Read):
This July, I moved to a new client place and expected the next three months to be comparitively less loaded with work. Hence I booked a date for the GMAT in Oct. I had exactly 90 days for exam. I went through almost all the books taking notes for the first 45 days - mostly understanding the format, tricks and concepts (POE, back substitute, grammar, probability, perm comb, etc). During these days, I did not take any full test, except for the usual diagnostic PP-1 (640), but was participating in GMATClub full fledged. Please see below for the list of books that I used.
Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I explored new project prospects in the client that I work with. This was out of my (technical) work scope, but wanted to utilize the oppurtunity. I ended up preparing (sales) proposals and presentations, doubling up my work load. My usual routine was to come back from office at 7PM, sleep immediately, getup at 9 and read till 3:00 PM before sleeping for 4-5 hours and rushing to office in the morning.
Phase-3 Day 48-84(Preperation - Practice):
I had to take a break from studies to accompany my undergrad friends on a road trip after 45 days of preperation. When I came back, I started practicing with OG, Gmatclub, Kaplan800
and practice tests. I also realized my weakness for Verbal and started concentrating solely on SC/RC.
Phase-4 Day 85-90 (Preperation - Lastweek):
I took off from work all last week. The work was too hectic and meetings were filled all day, that had I not taken a week off, it would have been difficult even to practice one test. I took one full practice test almost all day last week. I even wrote the AWA essays, a couple of times.
Phase-5 (Test day):
A couple of days before exam, I got too stressed out afraid of a score of 540s and 560s. I also had too many notes to review with two days left. I eneded up studying all night on Friday and almost completed reviewing all my notes. Saturday was less painful; I reviewed my notes again and read philosophy books to keep from being stressed out
on the exam. As a result, I had 9 hours sleep on Sat night. Sunday, I drove to the nearby Malibu Hindu temple and spent four hours there. When I came back, mind was clear and cool, body and back was paining like hell that I fell asleep within minutes. Again had a 7 hour sleep.
Went an hour earlier to the center only to find that they dont open up until 8:30 or open the restroom without special key
There was a big queue to fill the forms and to get a good seat. I ended up getting a seat near the entrance. An another indian girl also wrote GMAT; She sat near me and finished the whole exam without any break. I looked like a fool using up all the break (took 9 mins break each time). Ate too much during the breaks that I felt heavy all day along.
AWA: I had the PR template. I was concerned abt my verbal skills that wanted to do the best possible in AWA, as a backup (Now it helps
). I even had predetermined words and examples - like Bush Vs Kerry debate, Afghanistan war, Patriotism, etc that I wanted to push in AWA when I get a chance. Despite all claims that AWA is too easy, I would advise test takers to put in some effort (1 day atleast) to have your own template, words and how you want to go about, etc. Never forget to write atleast two mock AWA essays for issue and analysis each. AWA is the only exam where there is no correct answer :D
Quants: Got 1 pb, 1 perm, 1 high-fi SD in the first five. Guys, quants is another good area where there is a tanglible answer. I mean, unlike verbal, one cannot argue and change your answer. (Say for eg: we all used to select some answer for a CR, when some one would come and give a new view and choose a different answer). There is no such possibility in Quants. In the exam, surprisingly, I had enough time to do the problem, check the answer and again recheck the answer by back-substituting - for first 15 questions. Please check and make sure your answer is correct for all the first 15 questions. That said, do not do this for any question after 15, since you would have to catch up on time. Formualte a time standard and adhere to it even for the practice tests, so your eye goes towards that time standard paper after each problem. I finished with 1 minute left.
Junk Verbal: DOnt ask me about that
. Anyway, it started with SC, CR, SC, 50line-single para-women related-RC. The questions were also okay. I thought I answered them correct. I got a bold faced in the 15th question or so. One thing that we miss in GMATClub is long SCs. I once got looong SC that I thought it was a CR, strangely it was underlined most part. I thought ETS is testing me by underlinging instead of boldfacing the CR.
Alas, it took me 2 mins to even read the SC and find the sublime changes in it. Got a 90line RC towards the end.
I guess the culprit for my case would have been some SC/RC error in the first 15. I finished with 1 minute left.
OG - Got this from library sales for $1
- I completed 80%
A MUST; try to finish atleast 80%, if not 100%. Also, do not do this in a hurry, make sure you read ALL the explanations in the answers scetion (not just for wrong answers). I used most of OG in the second phase. Best method would be to form a table with date, 10SC, 10RC, 10CR, 10DS, 10PS and hang it in your bedroom. Strike them each day as you do - gives you some sort of acheivement and satisfaction. I used to do OG whenever I feel bored with reading books. If I am bored with OG, I used to participate in GMATclub.
2004, Kaplan 800
, PR or Kaplan Verbal
: These are also must books to start, particularly for non-natives.
Maths - http://www.ilovemaths.com
-- basics; can use when you start.
Verbal - http://dictionary.cambridge.org
I used to listen to a grammar cassette in my car too - "The write way", a good one for basic GMAT grammar.
Make sure to try both Power prep exams. 4 PR CD tests come nearby. Its a good idea to not keep Kaplan
for the last 2 weeks, since that may destroy the confidence.
Word of caution: I tried my hands at crack-gmat CD tests, an Indian product. But this was more out of context for GMAT. Most questions appeared to have been prepared for the Indian CAT exam.
I was also not satisfied with an another Nova Press CD. It was too preliminary.
07/17 - Power Prep - 640
07/24 - Kaplan
center - 680
8/7 - Kapaln CD1 - 580
8/14 - Kaplan
CD2 - 600
9/12 - PR CD1 - 690
9/19 - PR CD2 - 660
10/5 - PR CD3 - 690
10/6 - CAmbridge - 690
10/7 - Nova Press - CAncelled exam
10/7 - Crack GMAT - 630
10/9 - PP - 730
Stress - Howto:
1. If interested, read philosophy books for 30 mins or so, the day before.
Some posters that I had in my room:
"I don't bound out of bed aspiring to mediocrity, I strive for perfection".
"Fortune facors the brave"
How does GMATClub contribute:
1) GMATclub may seem like a relaxation technique, but we end up learning more than what we do by reading books. I was so addicted that I would turn up laptop as soon as I got up from bed as soon as I reached home from office.
2) When you answer to a question, explain why you went for this answer. ALso, when someone is in trouble, stretch yourself to help them as much as possible. IMO, knowledge multiplies when divided.
Improvement in GMATClub:
1) We need to have more RC pratices.
2) We need to have long SCs, completely underlined stuffs.
3) We need to practice timed verbal questions (the most practice here has been doing verbal in a relaxed mood, taking 10 mins for a CR) - more similar to Challenge Quants.
1. Sleep for 8 hours is very important - atleast for two days before the exam.
2. OG is like GOD for GMAT. If you haven't exhausted atleast 80%, you have not prepared yet.
3. Review, review, have a log of mistaked. It just takes 2 mores seconds.
4. Dont over practice or over read. Mix it up.
5. If you had to read some book that you find very tiresome, mix it up with something you like - for me Quants and Kaplan800
6. Take a week or two days off before exam day.
7. Write AWA essays sincerely atleast twice.
8. Practice atleast two exams at the same time in the week before.
9. Reutrn back to old sleeping habits in the last week.
10. IMO, 3 months is an apt time for one to prepare for GMAT, unless you have written LSAT or GRE before.
Thanks a ton to BB, Praet, Paul, Venksune, dj, anandnk, among all others.