As I sit up at 5 in the morning to type this – I just have one thing in mind – why is life not picture perfect?
I guess the answer is because if it were, one would not be able to appreciate the beauty of all the things that are so hard to get. I took the gmat yesterday and scored a 710 (Q50/V35), which is an improvement of 50 points over my first try (660-46/35). But just cannot get myself to get over the fact that a perfect score(750+) was so close, yet seems so far now. I was always of the opinion that that verbal was my strength and I should just do enough to get a OK score on quant, which I thought I was not so good at after working in the corporate industry for close to 9 years now and losing touch with all the basics. But the scores state otherwise.
Just a little background, 31 years - male, married, Indian, working in the chip-designing (semi-conductor) industry. Started off with my Gmat preparations in September 2012, and took the test on 17th December and scored a average 660. Devastated, but on hindsight, I now realize that my prep was inadequate. Tackling the Gmat needs much more than meets the eye. It has layers and as I started back on the prep again, this time with more focus and some help, I realized it more as each one started unfolding.
I am writing this post to thank GMATCLUB and its members, especially Bunuel, whose posts I followed on a daily basis. The first thing I did every morning was to go ahead and try and solve all the questions that Bunuel replies to and see how many I get right and how my approach was different those suggested by other members to the same question. Helped me a lot. I guess you could try it and see for yourself.
So, 7 months since I started preparing, I finally was able to break the 700 barrier. It took a lot of determination, hard work and belief to get to this point. But being here, I cannot stop thinking that had I made a 40 in verbal, things would have been so much different. But then again, life is not perfect always.
Sharing some of the key points that helped me in the preparation. Hope it may be of some use to fellow GMAT clubbers.
• No substitute for hard work and perseverance (except maybe exceptional intelligence and/or luck !)
• Regularity – You have to get time out for yourself inspite of whatever job pressures and family responsibilities. Atleast 1-2 hours everyday and as much as you can over the weekends.
• Keep yourself motivated – (As Will Smith says to his son in the movie – In pursuit of Happyness - : "You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period."
• Divide the week into time-tables such that you are in touch with all aspects of the test over a given week – CR on Monday, SC on Tue, Math on Wed etc.
• I used to practice atleast 4 RCs every day/ every alternate day.
• First make a study plan and get hold of good sources and stick to official sources only for verbal – there are good collections of official GMAT questions available from Souvik and other members. I was immensely benefitted by the same. Thanks again!
Some of the sources, I referred to :
o Verbal – Took a course from a GMAT training institute – “Crackverbal”(www.crackverbal.com
) in Bangalore/India run by Arun Jagannathan.
o Manhattan SC book – very clear and precise.
o CR and RC from OG, Verbal review and GMAT prep questions from the official add-on gmatprep pack 1
o Quant – Took help from a private tutor in some of the topics that I was especially weak at – Inequalities/combinations/rate-work etc.
o All 5 Manhattan books
on quant – helps build a good base if you have been away from quant for very long.
o OG and quantitative review.
o Bunuel’s signature questions packs and other quant questions from gmatclub tests
o If you have to, do not hesitate to go back to your 10th class books for clearing some of the concepts.Test day :
Booked an afternoon slot, second time around, since I realized in my first attempt that mornings, I am certainly not at my best. So, please find out about yourself – what time suits you best and take all the mock and final tests at the same time. It would make quite some difference. Took my last mock three days earlier to the actual test to help regain freshness and just practiced sets of questions under timed conditions, but never a full length test. Last day prior to the test, take lots of rest, and read light.
Reached the test centre at 12 and got started half an hour before the schedule, since slots were available and I was raring to go.AWA
– Easy one about building a gym so that health insurance costs go down. Finished 6 mins before time. Just follow Chineseburned’s template and you should be fine. Previous score was a 6. Hope to repeat the same this time around.IR
– Have found both times that the IR in the actual test is more manageable that all those in the gmat preps and mgmats etc. First time ever managed to solve all 12 questions with a couple of mins to spare. Note: You may get two MSRs in the same test.
Actually helped in my case. But if you were planning to skip MSRs altogether, to focus on the remaining 9 questions – just be ready incase another one pops up.Quant
– This is my most dreaded section. Started off well. Wanted to focus on the first 10 questions really well but then this question came up a no.6 which I thought I could solve but just could not get any of the answers options to match my solution. Ended up guessing when I realized I had already spent 3 mins. Then kept pegging away and had to guess on a couple of questions to keep up on time and be able to finish strongly. For the first time ever, I finished quant with 2 mins on the clock. The last one was a good number property question, so I knew I had done well.
There are a few pieces of advice I had from fellow gmat-clubbers and Arun which actually helped –
• “Gmat is like a game of chess – to win the game you may sacrifice a few pieces”
• “If you are 90% sure about the answer, then mark and go ahead. No point in double checking the answers and losing time, thereby missing out on some questions”Verbal
- Went into the break feeling great, since I knew I had done well in my weaker section – Quant. Splashed some water on my face and looked in the mirror and said to myself - the next hour and fifteen minutes concentrate hard and you may be set for life. Went back in hoping to nail this thing. Verbal is my forte and I will do good. Started off with an easy SC and then questions started getting tougher. There was a complicated short passage at no.8. I thought I was doing well when I got a boldface at no.18. The three following RCs were something on Birds/policy and geology. Ended up with 30 secs on the clock.
Then the boring Survey, all the while your heart is beating fast in anticipation of the score. Finally, the “report score” page. Clicked on it and the score flashed – 710 (50/35). Mixed feelings – 35 in verbal – Hey ! that’s not the impression I had when I was doing the section ?? Probably this is a classic case of Gmat getting you when you actually thought, you got it.
So, that’s it. 7 months of study and lots of sacrifices in personal life culminating in a decent score but leaving something to be desired. Wife was very patient and co-operative inspite of drastic cut downs in dinner and movie outings etc. !
I would be more than happy to help, if anyone has any specific questions. Meanwhile, I will let this sink in and then maybe decide, If I need to retake, based on the colleges that I plan to apply.
All the best for your prep!
Couple of quotes that kept me motivated, when I felt I may not do well or when prep was a chore -
• “If you can look in the eyes of someone you love and tell them that you did everything that you could and there was not one more thing that you could have done, then the final result does not matter, since you know you gave your very best.”
• “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place. And I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it. You me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you can get hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward.” ~ Rocky Balboa
• “If you can stand up one more time than the number of times you have been beaten down, you are a winner.”