Finally I am done with my GMAT with a score of 750. Although I was targeting 770, I am satisfied with this score and will take it as a success. I am writing this post to share my experience with future test takers with a hope that it will help them in some way. I will begin my post by giving special thanks to my wife who lovingly coerced me to this success and made me take studies seriously. I booked the test on 19th October. Initially the test date was 6th December and so I started serious preparations by end of October. But towards the end of November I realized that I was not ready in all aspects. So I postponed the date to 19th December. The details of the full length practice tests and the final test are as below :-Kaplan
(free) Diagnostic Test - 26th November - 740 (Q 99, V 89 - percentile)
GMATPrep1 - 6th December - 740 (Q 50, V 40)
GMATPrep2 - 14th December - 730 (Q 50, V 40)
GMAT - 19th December - 750 (Q 50, V 40)
AWA - In all my practice test I used to finish it in 20 minutes. But I took it too seriously on the actual test and realized that I had only 5 minutes left when I had more than half of the answer to go. Fortunately I have a decent typing speed and I had it all clear in my mind by that time. I finished typing my answer with about 4 seconds left. I hope the argument was fine and expecting a 5. Will update when I receive the final score.
IR - Again time management in this section was totally different from the practice tests. In practice tests I could never attempt more than 10 questions but on the real test when I looked up to see the question number when I had some 2.5 minutes to go I was surprised to see no. 12. This made me happy and boosted my confidence.
I took the first break. Went to washroom. Splashed some water on my face. Came back, had some gatorade.
Quant - I was feeling quite confident when I started this section. The first question came. A simple time and work problem. I made the table and filled in the details after assigning variables. Then all of a sudden I realized that I dont know what I am doing. I tried again but I just could not solve it. I was frozen. I saw at the clock. It had 73 minutes remaining. I tried again and I just dont know what was happening. I was simply rewriting the same equation again. I had heard that this kind of things happen. Based on some tips that I received from my mentor I had taken 4-5 quant and verbal questions with me which I had tried doing on my way to the test center, to kind of wake my brain up before the test. But still this happened. For a moment I thought I have lost this test and now I am going to start with a wrong answer and going to get a very bad score. I had read all those posts suggesting how important the first question is. And I was targeting a Q 51 ! Anyway, I tried to remain cool, made a logical guess and moved on. I turned the clock and question no. off and just kept on flowing with the questions. I have always had timing issues in all my exams but this day was full of exceptions. I turned the timer on at around question no.22 and saw that I am quite safe on time and that I have collected enough seconds to give 2-3 extra minute to a tough question, if I get one. I put it off again. When I put it on again I had 5 questions left and I was having some 16 minutes left. This was a big surprise for me. I got scared that may be I have been getting all easy questions and thats why solving them so fast. So I decided that now I have just 5 questions and plenty of time so I will make sure that I answer these 5 right. I started working on each of them and double checked my answers. For the last question I still had around 5 minutes left. Finally I completed the section with around 3 minutes left (I dont think these minutes got added to my breaks). Last two questions were indeed of top quality. I would have certainly guessed them and moved on on a normal day.
Verbal - It was as usual for me. Somehow I never had a clue on all my practice tests about difficulty of questions on CR and SC. Same happened in actual test also. I just went with the flow, clicking on whatever my heart said was right. Really I didnt apply too much of logic. But with the amount of practice that I had I believe the logical steps required to solve SC or CR had gone into my sub-conscious. I had always been good at RC. I got one long, one short and two medium passeges. The first one came at question on 5 only while the last and also the longest one came at around question no. 33. I was able to complete this section just in time.
After finishing the test I was not satisfied with my performance and felt like I will get around 730 or 740. So 750 was a happy surprise. I was glad that I dont need to appear for it again. I was under immense pressure to perform this time. A lot of things in personal life were dependent on this one result. I have a history of performing better under pressure as it helps me maintain my focus. Good that I peaked at the right time.
I found this test to be very scientific and rational. This was my first and only Adaptive test and I really loved the way it works. I believe it succeeds in judging the level of a candidate.
Another conclusion which I can draw after giving the test is that taking a professional coaching class may be an advantage to some but it is certainly not necessary and one can prepare for GMAT on his own with the material available online. I am highly obliged to GMATclub.com for the quality and volume of free information that I found on these forums. I used their resources extensively and benefited a lot. These guys are doing a great job.
I will mention some of the best resources which helped me in my preparations, in addition to OG 13 and various forum discussions on GMATclub
- Post by Chineseburn on GMATclub.com - how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.htmlIR
- Video by Manhattan for GMATclub.com members - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRBl7jO0kacQuant and Verbal
- The 8 book collection by Manhattan, ultimate ! I truly loved reading them.
Additionally, I received some very valuable tips from one of my college juniors who got his own GMAT lessons from Mr. Sandeep Gupta, the GMAT instructor from Banglore, India. It helped me because I got it from a single source and at the right time but I must admit that there are very few original stuff there and most of those tips have now become a conventional wisdom, widely shared on public forums and in various coaching centers world-wide. So if you are smartly following all the discussions on GMATclub and some other similar sites then you are safe enough.
I will now end my write up with some tips, based on my own experience..
1. If you are preparing on your own make sure you have the right study material and you are following the right strategy. I wasted first two-three weeks of my preparation reading outdated books. And then I spent a lot of time trying to memorize the idiom list only to know 5 days before the test that GMAT is no more asking those idioms anymore and that meaning is all that matters (attention-gmat-takers-very-important-120728.html
)! I had to redo my SC three days before actual test on these lines. I wish I had read this discussion long back. While on self prep you may miss such subtle details on any topic. So exercise extra caution.
2. If you are not ready just postpone it. Spending 50 dollars on a reschedule is better than spending 250 on a retest. Retest is a real pain, try to avoid it. I am glad I did.
Thats all for now. Open to questions and kudos.