The start of MBA dream:
Like many others, I felt a lack of excitement and learning in my routine job. I know that this might not be the ideal answer for the B-School application essays, but it was good enough reason for me to embark on the journey.The Preparation:
The first step I did was to rummage through the mba website to learn more about the GMAT. I came to know about the basic structure of the test, which was:
1) AWA – Writing assessment
2) Integrated Reasoning
3) Quantitative Aptitude
4) Verbal Aptitude
On the official MBA website I found out about the study material and because of the fact that it had official questions from the test, I felt it to be an indispensable part of my preparation.
The next step was to set a target score for myself. Through my research, I found out that the average score for top B-schools lies around 700-720.
I always assumed that I was pretty good at taking standardized tests and took the first GMAT Prep CAT hoping that I would score pretty well. But boy, was I ever more wrong. I got a meager 540 on the practice test and was rattled. The panic button was pressed and through more research I figured about gmatclub.
The forum aided my preparation, but it still had to learn the concepts. That is when I read the reviews about various preparation companies and decided to enroll for Optimus Prep
’s “On demand” course.
This completed all the material I needed for preparation and the topic wise lessons enabled me to stick to a schedule.The complete study material:
1. Optimus Prep On demand courseTips for Preparation:
2. The official Guide for GMAT Review
3. The official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review
4. The free GMAT Prep tests
5. GMAT Club forum
I started going through the videos from the On Demand Course and understood the rules of the game.
Treat it just like Quants, if you know how to add, you know what is 2+2. Similarly if you know the rule, you know the answer. The on Demand course made sure that I knew all the underlying rules.
Take down the notes in your notebook and revise them every other day, so that they are embedded in your system.
To break problem solving in points:
1. Find the subjectCritical Reasoning:
2. Make sure the subject agrees with the verb in numbers
3. Make sure the verb is full verb (-ing forms are not complete verbs)
4. Usage of Like (used to compare nouns and express similarities), as(used to compare everything else and such as used for examples)
5. Parallelism- Pay attention to ""and, that, either or, neither nor etc" as they are the signal words and parts on both sides of these words should be parallel
- The parallel parts of the sentences should be in the same tense.
- Perfect Tense used only when any event has already happened and is over
- Progressive tense is used when the event is in action
Practice is the key here. The best strategy is to read the question stem first and then premise. The on Demand course taught me the importance of Pre thinking to get the answer quickly.
In assumption questions, try to negate the left over answer choices and then see if the argument falls apart. If it does, then you have the correct answer. In the conclusion question, full essence of the premise should be captured.Reading Comprehension:
Definitely the section which is most underrated by the students and according to me, this is the section that can make or break your score.
I always made a passage map by writing the main points about the paragraph, including some of the details. Read the first and the last lines of each paragraph with utmost importance as they are the ones which give you a good idea about the intent of the paragraph. The RCs with the On Demand course were a good supplement for practicing along with the Official guides.
Note the tone in which the passage is written: positive, negative or neutral.Specific Details questions
: Read one line before and after the specific detail in the passage will ensure an answerInference Questions:
Treat them just like the CR questionsConclusion and Tone questions:
A conclusion will contain the gist of the paragraph and will not introduce anything new.QUANTITATIVE APTITUDE:
To study effectively for this part, there are three major things:
1) Building the concepts. The On Demand course came in handy hereTHE MOCK TESTS:
2) Practice: The Optimus prep questions along with the GMAT Club questions should suffice
3) Timed tests: A quants question can be easily solved if there is not time pressure, but on the day of the test, we need to solve it in time limit. Make sure you time your practice.
By far the most important factor in your score. Every test you take, enables you for D Day. By adjusting your time, stamina, fatigue, strategy during the mock tests, on the final day you can do wonders
My results in the different tests were:
ACTUAL GMAT: 710 (Q50 V 35)
The dip in the score in Optimus Prep
CAT3 was scary, but I was able to cope up with the setback by revising the concepts and keeping a positive frame of mind.Tips for the test day:
1. Get proper sleep before the day.
2. Reach the center at least half an hour before your appointment.
3. Go through the AWA template a day or two before itself.
4. Take an energy drink and something to eat during the breaks.
5. Take both the breaks and use the restroom to keep your mind free
6. Keep a track of the time. Make a guess if needed to get back on track
7. Do not think about the previous section. A good next section can still fetch you a good score
8. Pay attention to the first 10 questions. I feel it plays a big role in your score.
9. It's OK to devote an extra minute or two in the first 10 questions of both the sections.
All the best!