I took GMAT yesterday and got a score of 750 (Q50 V41) on my 1st (& last!!) attempt. I am happy with my score and hope to get into school of my choice for the 2008 session.
Before going any further, I want to thank the forum for providing me with immense support and invaluable guidance during my preparations. I owe at least 40-50 points of my final score to the forum ... without the forum, I guess my score would have been 700-710.
How it started?
In Jan'07 I decided to give a shot at the GMAT. I was not very sure how to go about doing it. Hence, I went to a nearby coaching institute that specialises in providing coaching candidates aspiring to get into IIMs ( Indian Institute of Management). I remembered names like Kaplan
, Princeton Review
, etc... but I had heard of these books some 8 years ago, when my engineering batchmates were preparing for GMAT. Frankly, I was ill informed and was aiming in the dark. Well, I spoke to the counselor from the institute and decided to start my prep with the study material from that institute.
By the time I started, it was almost mid January. Studying again after more than 6 years, I found it was an uphill task. In the first few days I could manage only 2 hours a day. After about a week I disciplined myself and managed to study 4 hours every day. On weekends I would stretch myself to do 6-8 hours.
I finished studying the basic reference material in 2 weeks and also finished the section tests during that period. I realised that I was strong on QA and needed to focus on VA. I started doing some serious research on the Internet for good quality study material. I then ordered Kaplan
's GMAT Premier program 2007 and the OG 11
. I stumbled across the GMATclub quite late - in the last week of February and was impressed with the contributions of the members.
What did I do?
I used the following reference material:
- OG 11
: The OG is the bible and no one should attempt GMAT without studing the OG from cover to cover. I went through each question at least twice, esp in the verbal section.
- Kaplan GMAT premier program
2007 edition: Questions are not too tough ... can be used as a supporting material
- IMS study material - A word of advice to all GMAT aspirants from India - please do not waste your time, money or efforts in going through IMS material. The CR section sucks and many questions in CR are not of GMAT standard. IMS is sheer waste of time.
- 1000 SC, 1000 CR, 1000 RC: 1000 SC is very good for sharpening SC skills. On 1000 CR, I feel that aspirants should not spend their time doing LSAT type questions. On RC, frankly, practicing beyond a point will not improve scores dramatically. The website http://www.litesee.com/
contains most of the 1000 SC, 1000 CR, 1000 RC questions split into tests of 16-25 Q's.
- 1000 DS, 1000 PS - I found the questions easy so did not go beyond doing 2-3 tests in each of the 2 sets
- Manhattan SC guide - I got an old 2003 version from a friend about a week before the exam and went through the "theory" part. I found it very good. I strongly recommend aspirants to use the latest edition for SC.
- GMATClub forum - used it extensively to clear my doubts. I feel a bit ashamed as I contributed very little to other posts. But I hope to make up in the future by contributing actively to posts other members. The "Advanced GMAT Math" has good Math questions.
- Sahil's notes
I did the Kaplan
tests in beginning of March. My scores were as under:
test 1 - 740, Q50, V40
test 2 - 650, Q50, V36
test 3 - 680, Q50, V37
test 4 - 640, Q50, V33
's online test - 700, Q45, V39
I had saved the GMATPrep tests
for the very last week before the exams. My scores were:
GMATPrep test 1: 750, Q50, V40
GMATPrep test 2: 760, Q50, V41
I find the level of difficulty of questions on GMATPrep similar to that on the real test and feel that the GMATPrep test scores are close to what you will score on the actual GMAT.
I started getting a good 8 hours sleep from 2 days before the test. I wanted my mind to be clear on the test day. My exam was scheduled at 1:15PM. The test center was about 25 km away from my house. I had a hearty breakfast because I did not want to eat anything heavy just before the test. Not wanting to get caught in notorious traffic jams of Bombay, I left my home early and reached the center at 11:45 am. The administrator was very co-operative and allowed me to start the test before the scheduled time. After completing the formalities I entered the test room. I feel that it will be easier to enter Fort Knox than to enter a GMAT test room
AWA: AoA went of well and I completed it in good time which allowed me to review my essay properly. I goofed up on time management in AoI and got just enough time to give my essay a cursory glace before the time lapsed.
Optional Break 1: I came out after completing signing out formalities. I splashed my face with cold water and felt refreshed. I ate a whole banana. I walked in the lobby to stimulate the circulation in my legs and stretched myself. I went back to the test room after completing signing in formalities.
QA: Baring one instance, I have always scored 50 on QA. So I was very confident about the QA section. I solved the first 10 questions very carefully, double checking each answer. Always keeping an eye on the clock, I paced myself well. Except 1 question on which I spent about 4 mins before guessing the answer (probably the wrong one !!) I cruised along fine. I completed the section with 10 minutes to spare.
Optional Break 2: I came out again after completing signing out formalities. This time I ate a chocolate bar. I worked up the circulation in my legs and stretched myself. I went back to the test room after completing signing in formalities.
VA: Started of with 3 SCs, then 1 CR, then 3 or 4 Q's on a RC, CR again. I think I got all most of the SC's on the test correct. I usually mess up the RC's the most and then CR questions. Hence I paced through the SC's and spent more time on CR & RC. I completed the VA section 5-6 min before time.
After the test I quickly answered the survey questions and reached the DREADED score submission screen. While selecting the "report score" option, I was so paranoid that I must have clicked on the radio button 3-4 times. I did not want to accidently cancel the test and endure the pain all over again !! I prayed to the Almighty and clicked on the NEXT button. The screen blanked. Those 5-10 seconds felt like hours... finally the score appeared on the screen. I was happy to see 750 on the screen. Project GMAT
, for me, had come to an end.
I have just 3 simple and almost obvious advices for future GMAT candidates:
1. Whatever other reference materials you may use, do not ignore the OG - it is a must.
2. Identify your weak areas in advance and concentrate on improving that section
3. Do not spend your time on doing odd questions.
Before I end I want to thank all the moderators for doing such a wonderful job. Your efforts make the GMATclub a stimulating forum. And a special "thank you" to Caas, Amardeep Sharma, nervousgmat, vineetgupta, aimhigher, mba07, wudy, ricokevin, trivikram & dwivedys for actively replying to my posts.
Thank you for your patience. I wish all the future GMAT candidates all the very best !!!