I am happy to have finally found the time and peace to narrate my GMAT story.Firstly ,a breif about myself.I am an Engineer,currenly working as a telecom IT consultant.I love music,and I love a challenge.An MBA has been a lifelong dream for me(as I am sure it has for everyone here).So one fine night in the mid of November 2011 I decided,well its time to start working towards that dream,the first step being the GMAT!
To kick off,I initially got hold of the OG12
and all Veritas
subjectwise books from a friend.My technical background and flair for the English language had me thinking that GMAT quant and verbal should be a breeze,but rude shock cannot even start to explain what I felt about 2 weeks into it.
This was going to be a tough nut to crack,so I made a concious effort to work on specific areas at a time(SC,Problem solving etc).I started identifying my weak areas,and kept working on them and sharpening them.Soon I was done solving most of the Veritas
manuals and stuff from the OG.
Around 2 months before by test date(April 10 2012),I purchased the Manhattan CATs package.But as the days inched closer,I realised I'm not prepared enough.This along with several other things going on in my personal life,meant that I needed to postpone my date.This seemed like a wiser decision than using up an attempt and blowing it.My psychological readiness was'nt at its optimum-which I think is most crucial in the GMAT.So I moved my date forward by about a month to 7th May.This I felt was enough to work on my weaker areas even more,get more practice and enough time to solve more mocks.So I did.When I thought I'm ready and done study wise,I started taking full-length CATs.My scores in the CATs,spread over 2 months, upto 1 day prior to D-day were:
Both GMATPREP and the MCATs mimic the actual GMAT style of scoring pretty well,and also replicate the difficulty level(though the gmatprep quant questions are a bit too simple and redundant at times).As I was to discover later,the Manhattan CAT quant is NOT extra complicated and not much tougher(as is widely believed),than the actual GMAT.
Most importantly,I used to by habit login to GmatClub almost everyday to go through the posts and see if I can find something new and useful(and I always did).I may not have contributed much myself,but I cannot start to thank GmatClub enough and the awesome folks here for all the threads,discussions,tests,pointers and links.To mention just a few,the numerous bite sized tests by Bunuel for quant(the man's a rockstar),the posts by Sriharimurthy for work and time related problems(golden stuff),also numerous other posts on quant,verbal,as well as AWAs by some really wonderful people who know their stuff,the math workbook,the diagnostic test,the GmatClub tests
,the infinite repository of invaluable tips,and so so so much more.This was one of the most important,and fun aspects of my GMAT journey!Test day
After the initial instructions and identity verification,I was ushered in.My AWAs were OKish.The topics were good(enough juice in them to go around), and I managed to do them fair justice.
Once done with my second AWA,I had the option of taking an 8 minute break.I took it(always take it!!).I came out,stertched a bit,munched on a bar of chocolate (had the cover of the chocolate removed and kept in a box in bite sized pieces,dint want to lose those few precious seconds.Too geeky?
), drank some orange juice, and was ready for the next section, like I had practiced!!
Quant-my starting few questions were a breeze,and I was feeling good about myself.I was at question 5 with 70 mins on the clock.Around here on,the questions got more and more tough(as is the CAT pattern).But they just kept getting tougher.I spent about 3-4 mins on some of the DS questions,as they were lenghty and had a lot of data to play with.And Im sure I still got some of them wrong.Guessing is inevitable and unavoidable on the GMAT,even for the Eisnteins.And I was no Einstein!I had practiced a lot of 700 level and tricky questions.But even with all that and my supposedly strong quant base,I struggled with a lot of questions on the real test.And not because of my lack of practice,but because the questions were actually really tough!!Much much tougher than I had expected them to be-they tested me in every way,mentally and psychologically.Psychologically because there were more than a few instances that threw me into the deep sea of frustration,and I was this close to banging my hands on the keyboard and storming out.But its important to hold your own under these situations.I had to pick an answer and move on,just so I could complete all 37.Somehow,I reached question 36 with a minute to go.It was a question on slopes,I tried solving it,but panicked,marked an answer and moved on.Had to guess on 37 without even reading it.Quant I thought,was a distater!
But I knew better not to let this bog me down for the rest of the test.I still had verbal that could save me.And save me it did!After the second 8 minute break(same set of activities-chocolates, orange juice,water,restroom,wash face),I was all geard up for verbal.I always knew a good verbal score definitely boost up your overall score,more emphatically than a great quant score.So I went at it full throttle,total focus,totally in the zone!The SCs and CRs were as exepcted,similar in look and feel to ones I had practied,RCs were a bit tricky ,and needed multiple skims to nail the answers.So I ended up spending slighly extra time on them.Nevertheless,I was fairly on time,except the 1 crazy CR I had to guess on towards the end(it had multiple unheard of names of weird substances,actually having charactres like * and # in them).A rule of thumb I generally followed for verbal,with respect to timing ,was to be on question 27,with around 27 minutes to go(give or take 1-2 minutes).So I was comfortabaly done with verbal,and ended my exam on a happy note.Then came the annoying survey part.Some 8 survey questions to be filled out inside 3 minutes.I did what I could and moved on,clicked on the 'Sumbit my score' option(always advisable even if you feel you have done badly,cancelling your score dosen't make sense in any case,lots of thread in Gmatclub discussing this).And my score popped up.710(Q45,V42).Takeaways*
You never know whether you have done well or badly,till the scores come out.So don't fret over them,give each section you best shot,and move ahead.*
Quant should'nt be taken for granted.The level of GMAT Quant is much higher than it probably was 5 years ago,and is here to increase.So brush up on your math skills,and practice,practice,practice!!*
I'm going to get slightly ahead of myself by saying that Verbal should be given a tad bit more importance than quant(ok,I may get a bit of flak for this).But what I'v seen and expereinced,and what the general trend has been over the years is that your overall avearage precentile(and hence your score),is closer to your Verbal precentile than your quant percentile.So your score will not plummet as much if you get a couple of questions wrong in quant,as it would if you do on verbal.But your best bet would be,to just go for the kill in both sections
DO NOT let your performance in previous section/s affect you in any way.What is done is done,forget about it and move on!GMAT may seem like a brutal force to reckon with,but it is,in fact very lenient in allowing you to make up your score and improve your overall performance,even if you think you have got a few questions wrong in the beginning(as I found out).*
DO NOT leave scope for any kind of surprises on exam day.Know exactly what you are going to do on D day,how long you are going to spend on your routine activities,and be mentally prepared by following the exam day routine well in advance,so that it's just another day when it arrives!*
Lastly,relax!!!GMAT is just another exam. So have fun along the way!!
Cheers to all!!!