I was actually confused whether I should put this debrief or not. Given that tens of hundreds of debriefs are already present on this forum,I thought that does it make any difference whether I put up another debrief? I thought maybe it doesn't; maybe this post will be just another one posted by another jubilant test taker who wants to flaunt her score. But then I thought of all the great posts which had inspired me here over the last couple of months and thought that if these people would have also thought that they are just adding to the clutter, would I have known the right way to approach the GMAT and would I be this inspired to crack the exam. Maybe not! And that's why I thought of contributing here-maybe a minor contribution it is-but still a contribution. Here goes my story.
I took the GMAT this Saturday and got a 740(50,40) . The madness(read GMAT) which had engulfed my life over the past 4 months finally culminated in a good score and I’m happy and relieved that this phase of madness, sacrifices and toil is over though another more grueling phase of applications is round the corner.
To start with, the GMAT had become more important than a mere test for me.I felt that this is something which can make or break my future. I had told myself that this is the last standardized test I will be ever taking and I want to ensure that I give it my best.
Although your GMAT score doesn’t determine how successful you’ll be in your life but it definitely underlines how successful can you be in such kind of battles in life because if you look at it the components you need to win the GMAT-hardwork, perseverance and strategy-are things which make you winner in whatever you do in life.Secondly, it helps you in understanding yourself better. I started doing a lot of introspection about my thinking process which otherwise I would have hardly done. It made me maturer ; it made me better . It told me as a person where do you falter often and how I can learn from them. Maybe if I had not scored a 740, I’d have been cursing this exam as opposed to the paeans I am singing for it now after having scored fairly well. I don’t know what is true but the GMAT certainly did help me.
I kicked off my preparation on May 6th ,as shows my diary. After having read numerous articles, I framed the strategy for me and I’m sharing my plan, which is essentially the edited version of the plan I had made for me. Hope that those who are about to start their preparation will find this plan helfpul.Preparation timeline
May 2011 : Target-SCWeek 1
: Started with a GMATPREP diagnostic test. Got a 660. Found verbal challenging.Week 2 :
Started with Sentence correction as do most of the people. Bought MGMAT SC
Guide and on whiplash’s recommendation, bought Aristotle SC Grail
. As recommend by the members here, firstly I went through SC Grail
.It really did help me quite a lot as it made things those tough words such as relative pronouns ,participles etc look easy . Got a good understanding of the concepts tested on SC on the GMAT. Did the 100 questions at the end which I found basic but yet useful to test the appplication of conceptsWeek 3 :
Moved on to Manhattan SC Guide. After going the SC Grail which is arranged in quite a systematic manner, I got a little turned off by Manhattan SC Guide as I found it a little unstructured and cluttered but going through the book was a good revision. It is really very useful for understanding the advanced level SC concepts . Also started with the SC questions in OG topicwise.Week 4:
Revised the SC Grail
and Manhattan SC notes I prepared for myself and finished doing the SC questions in the OG topic wise.
So by the end of May, I thought that I had SC under my control and thought that now it is time to shift the focus to other areasJune 2011 : Target CRWeek 5 : Started with CR Grail
. It’s a huge book and may look daunting but the book helps you clear your concepts and you know start understanding the various types of questions tested.Week 6:
Continued with CR Grail. Also saw Thursdays with Ron videos on CR.Week 7:
Started with the CR questions in OG12
. As suggested by Ron,did the questions topicwise so that I get a firm understanding of the various types of questionsWeek8 :
Finished with CR questions from OG12
.Reviewed my error log
.Learnt a lot from this review process.July 2011: Target RCWeek 9 :
Break - I had to go on a week long vacation with the family so this break came as a good refresher from the two month long study.Week 10 :
All refreshed from the break, I firstly revised all that I had learnt on SC and CR for one week and practiced more questionsWeek 11 :
Started with RCs. Firstly went through all the strategies for RCs available on forums. Went through Manhattan RC
book but found it almost useless.I rather found the “Thursdays with Ron” videos better. Started with the OG passages and kept a target of 3-4 passages.Finished all OG passages by the first weekWeek 12 : Started with Aristotle RC Grail
. The passages in RC were much more difficult than the OG passages, so these passages really helped me develop stamina and find out what strategy works for me and what doesn’t.
To sum up by the end of July, I was almost through with my Verbal preparation.All this while, every week I had kept one day for revising whatever I had finished. For example, even when I was doing RCs, I would keep the last day of the week for revising SC and CR.August 2011: Quant and TestsWeek 13 :
Since I’m from India and Indians are supposedly the good at Quant and I am not much of an exception.
However, my target was that I would target for a perfect score on the Quant section so that if anything goes wrong on Verbal, the quant score can compensate for it. Started with the OG questions and found them really very easy so jumped to the last 50 questions of OG and did them.Week 14:
Practiced more Quant questions from PS Booster and DS BoosterWeek 15:
Started with the tests. Took a GMATPREP as I was quite impatient to see how much progress I have seen. Scored a 730 on GMATPREP1.Analyzed the test in excruciating detail. Revised everythiing againWeek 16 :
Started with MGMAT CATs. Got a 700 on the first CAT. Found their quant much different from the quant of GMATPREP. The questions were calculation intensive and I was struggling to finish the quant section on time.
September 2011: Practice tests and GMATWeek 17 :
Took 3 more MGMAT CATs. Got 750,730, 710. Was a little unsure of how much I’ll land up with as the scores were inconsistentWeek 18:
Took the remaining two MGMAT CATs and scored a 730 on both. Took another GMATPREP and got a 760 on this one. Was relieved that I got good scores on both the GMATPREPs and thought that the analysis of the previous CATs has really apid offSept 15 :
Hadn’t been writing the AWA so far . Ideally, one should write them while taking the tests but somehow I didn’t feel the need to write in any of the test.So went through the AWA essays and sample template. Wrote two essays.Sept 16:
Revised everything for one last time
Last day: Relaxed fully. Watched a hindi movie. It was a great stress buster.Very Happy Helped me calm down myself and helped me see that there was more to life than the GMATSept 18:
G-day. The exam went rather smoothly and without any signifcant hiccups on Maths and Verbal. The questions and the screen almost made me feel that I am taking another GMATPREP. Saw a 740 and almost jumped up from my seat. Everyone else in the exam center could see that I had made a kill as was very evident from the palpable excitement all around me.
That’s how went the story of my prep.I hope that my detailed study plan would be helpful to you. I think the biggest reason why I landed up with a good GMAT score is my consistency. As you can see from my planner,I had divided the entire preparation into phases and then into sub-phases
. Each week I had my targets to complete and I’d ensure that come what may,I’d achieve those targets .I didn’t set daily targets because from my earlier experiences,I knew that following the daily schedule exactly is next to impossible.Sometimes there’s one topic I would take more time in and sometime some question would come up which would eat away almost the entire 2hours of my daily preparation time.
I’d like to really thank this forum and all the great members who have in their own way contributed in making this so useful.Special thanks to whiplash, shovitdhar and bblast and above all bb
. God bless them! This would probably be one of the longest debriefs here but i hope that it’d have been useful.