Hi all, I just got back from GMAT center and I wanted to share with you all that I MADE IT! 730! Thank god I used Prep4Gmat app. Let me share with you everything:My background:
After my first GMAT crush, I decided that in my second attempt, I would be fully dedicated to the test. Since my company is in transition between 2 products that we are developing, I have managed to convince my manager to release me for an 8 weeks unpaid vacation solely for the purpose of study for the GMAT (my manager, as well as other colleagues from work, are well aware that I plan to go abroad and pursue my MBA. They even encourage me to do so..).
Although I had a slow start in the first couple of weeks, during the entire period I managed to study many hours a day and put all my effort in the exam. I knew that I had to improve my verbal section and I put it as a goal to get around 35 in the actual exam (which obviously I failed for the second time…). I knew that my strength was always, and probably will always be, my quantitative part.
I registered to Master GMAT course and spent around 2-3 weeks to complete about 80 % of the course material (80 hours total). It has a "unique" interactive algorithm that decides for you on your weak areas and provides questions respectively. In my personal opinion -this course was a complete waste of time and I can't even understand why I signed for it at the first place. There are numerous of problems with the way the algorithm teaches you:
First – you can't really "tell" the algorithm (apart from which section you wish to work on – Verbal or Quantitative) that you want to work on specific area (only SC / RC / CR, not even talking on specific subject in each area), because according to Master GMAT - the "software knows better than you what you need to study".
Second – their questions pool is very poor.
Third – Master GMAT assumes that without really knowing a lot – you can actually succeed in the GMAT, which, in my humble opinion, is the wrong way to go if you want to score a good grade.
After I have realized that I am not on the right path, I took a turn and went to a complete different direction – work with well known books and become an active member of GMAT Club. After I read couple of debriefs, it gave me a good understanding on how I should study. Apparently, I was not doing enough and I need to start working harder.
During my next 3-4 weeks I have adopted an extensive work and practice patterns that included:
Reading articles in recommended websites for about ~ 1 hour daily (NYTimes, Science News).
Maintaining vocabulary document of every word I encountered and didn't know the exact meaning. I tried to memorize and review them almost every day. I have become really obsessive to this list and ended up with learning ~ 500 new words.
Following couple of GMAT Club Quantitative section moderators to maintain my level and learn new more tricks.
I even started to run almost every day 4-5 km at the beach at 5 pm exactly. This helped me lose ~ 5 kg and my performance increased especially after.During my preparation I have used the following materials:
If there is one thing that this success can be accounted for is Prep4Gmat app.
This app is amazing! Unique user interface, and in general the app is much better than an online course or a book. The best one I’ve used in my entire preparation process! I think Prep4Gmat is nailing the verabal part, critical for internationals. I highly recommend spending these $30 on this app instead of paying $500 for a course or $30 for a study book.
1. Manhattan SC –a very good reference. Every question that I didn't solve right, I searched both in GMAT Club forum and in Manhattan forum and got pretty good explanations for the concepts tested in the question. There was a positive change in my SC performance only when I solved a document with 200 Gmat Prep SC questions, twice!! After each and every question I have read the explanations (especially in Manhattan website) and understood the concepts.
2. GMAT Critical Reasoning bible - PowerScore. Read this amazing book twice (all the 300 + pages). But still, I wasn't able to master these questions and always had less confidence in it.
– solved all SC / CR / RC. In my opinion, although these questions are very helpful, they are not an indication whatsoever to the real GMAT. The majority of the questions are not hard – especially in the CR section. I have managed to hit 85% of the questions (timed) but never felt like I am really proficient in CR.
4. OG 12
5. GMAT Club forums – I have adopted a daily routine to solve about 10 new CR questions and few new math questions.
6. GMAT Club Math tests – so far – the best advice I got was to start solving these since they provide you questions that require specific tricks to solve them quickly. These exams kept me "warm" in the math section and a lot of the questions were very challenging. In most tests (I have completed 10) I have managed to score 80-95 %, although I had couple of falls (~60-80 %).
7. Manhattan tests
Except for the free MGMAT CAT that I did ~ 1 month before the exam, I purchased the 6 CAT package ~ 12 days before my test date. These were my scores.
9/29/2010 free – 670 (Q 50, V 33)
10/15/2010 – MGMAT2 740 (Q 51, V 41)
10/17/2010 – MGMAT3 680 (Q 49, V 34)
10/20/2010 – MGMAT4 640 (Q45, V 33)
23/10/2010 – MGMAT5 680 (Q50, v 33)
8. Gmat Prep - 2 weeks before the exam I took GMAT Prep1 – got 720 (Q49, V 38), 2 days before the exam I took GMAT Prep2 – got 630 (Q50, V 28 ) This really reallyreally slump my confidence in the verbal section.A day before the test:
As was recommended by many GMAT clubbers, I have tried to stay away from solving any question. I went over my formula sheets, idioms, vocabulary, etc. Mostly I tried to calm myself because my anxiety level just burst up. I went to a walk on the beach and went to bed early. However, I did not manage to get one minute of sleep!! My head was solving problems all night! I was checking the clock every half an hour and "woke up" naturally at 6:30 (my alarm was set to 6:45).
On the test day:
I got to the test center at 7:20. I was extremely nervous and felt not really in focus (the same as it happened on my first GMAT test). Solved couple of problems to warm up my mind before and went inside the testing room.
AWA went OK. Quantitative section was also OK – a bit worse than it usually goes in the simulation tests (I guessed 3 questions because I felt that I am spending more than 3 minutes, even though I knew the way to solve them. Unfortunately I finished the section 3 – 4 minutes before the time and I felt bad for not trying harder on those). I took the 8 minutes break and tried to calm myself before the verbal section. I tried to go over some questions in my head, tried to calm calm myself, but I was so nervous!! I couldn't focus and my mind was just bouncing all over. My heart beat jumped up and I started to lose my confidence. I started with couple of SC, then CR, and then got a hard RC. After the RC, I felt that the questions became easier and I knew I made mistakes in the first passage. I got really nervous and when I reached the second RC, I felt it was very easy (both the passage and the questions). At this point I knew that the test is not going very well. My pace was slow and I have left with less than 10 minutes when I reached question 30… !!! Unfortunately, I had to guess some and solve some, but even the ones that I tried to solve seemed to me at that moment very hard. I couldn't focus and apply the techniques and rules, both in CR and in SC.
At the end, it crossed my mind to hit – "NO", but eventually clicked on "Yes". When I saw my score, I totally shocked! I have felt like a Loser. I couldn’t explain even how many things ran through my head at that moment – My fiancé, My family, My friends (all I neglected in the past 8 weeks), My co-workers, My boss!! I was a shamed and didn't know what to do with myself after I left the center. I had to sit for 20 minutes in the lobby to relax in order to be able to go on my motorcycle back home.
I have analyzed it over and over in my head and I couldn't find any other reason for such a huge drop in my verbal score, again, except for me being extremely nervous and not being able to perform properly on the real day. If I had gotten 20-50 points less, I would have said that it was just a bad day. But since I got ~ 100 points less than my average, I have to face it that I have a serious problem – performing on the test day! The stress is killing me...
I am thinking what to do next:
1. Signed up for another exam 4-6 weeks from now, but probably I won't make it to the second round. Third round is not an option. However, I need to work more on CR and RC, and solve my stress and performance problem.
2. Forget about retaking the GMAT and either try to get accepted with either one of my BAD scores to other low ranking MBA programs or forget about MBA dream and change a direction in life.
Anyway, this is my very disappointing story, and I wanted to share it with you all! Does anyone have recommendations? Some thoughts? Good tips?