I wrote the GMAT yesterday and scored 700. (Q49 and V35
While, I agree that this is a good score, I am really disappointed and I will explain the reasons for that in my post. I am a non-native speaker with an engineering background so Verbal was my weak link when I started my prep.Prep:
1. All MGMAT Books
except the one for CR.
2. PowerScore CR
3. Aristotle SC Grail
4. GMATClub Tests
and OG Math & Verbal Review1. MGMAT Books:
These books are really good. They are good in terms of building your concepts and laying a strong foundation. (Both Quant & Verbal, especially SC). I did not read the CR book so can't comment about it. Anyone who wants to start preparing for GMAT should start with these books. Also, I felt that the RC book was useful but not that great. However, the math and SC books are top notch.2. PowerScore CR Bible
This book is the best book for preparing for CR. Just read this book once and your hit rate in CR questions will be greater than 90%. There is no need for anything else. This book also indirectly helps you for RC.3. Aristotle SC Grail
This is a useful document for re-enforcing the concepts learned with MGMAT SC
. My hit rate on SCs was very poor but after going through this document it improved significantly. So my strategy was simple, I used MGMAT SC
to develop a base for SC question types and re-enforced my concepts using the Aristotle SC Grail. I feel that this document on its own will not help you get a 700 + score.4. GMATClub Tests
I can't thank the creators of these tests enough. While I was able to do all the math questions using the concepts I picked up with MGMAT SC
, I was having a hard time with time management. If you are already around the 40 level on Maths, then practicing with these tests will take your score in the 48-51 range. Highly recommended!!5. OG12 and OG reviews
Needless to say that this is the best practice for GMAT type questions. However, the level of difficulty in the earlier questions is not that challenging and if you are looking for a high score(700+) then you need to practice using other sources.Time Duration of the Prep
Studied on and off from Feb to May with a full time job that requires me to work 72 + hours a week. That meant that I could not study more than 10 hours a week.
Last month of exam I took some time off from work and really pushed myself to study on average 3-4 hours daily.AWA
Everything was pretty simple and straight forward. It was in line with the experiences shared by other users.
I was short of time on AOI and hence, could not check my work. Just received the AWA scores and got 6.0 (91%) in AWA. Seems that lack of checking in AOI did not affect my score. However, I strongly suggest that you write 5 paragraphs in 25 minutes and leave 5 minutes for checking. Write as much as you can. I believe I wrote around 500+ words.
Just follow the template of chineseburned! They are extremely good. I followed them myself and practiced for a few hours before the test. The result just goes on to prove their effectiveness.CATs vs Actual GMAT
I wrote the MGMAT CATs and two CATs from GMATPREP. I wrote full CATs each time including AWAs.
The level of Math on MGMAT CATs is much harder than the actual GMAT. The verbal on MGMAT and the verbal plus math on GMATPREP is representative of the actual GMAT.
My test scores in the order of writing them were:
MGMAT CAT 1 650 Q41 V38
MGMAT CAT 2 670 Q40 V41
MGMAT CAT 3 610 Q50 V34
I took the first three at around 50% of my preparation and hence, I feel that they are not really indicative of my true scoring potential. After getting a 610 in my 3rd CAT, I decided that I will only write CATs once I am done with my prep
GMATPREP 1 720 Q50 V38
MGMAT CAT 4 730 Q50 V39
GMATPREP 2 740 Q50 V40
MGMAT CAT 5 730 Q48 V42
MGMAT CAT 6 750 Q51 V41Actual GMAT 700 Q49 V35
On the actual GMAT, QUANT was the same as always. I felt I was running short of time so took 2-3 guesses mid way. Got a question which talked about "mode, median and mean" of some statistics. I had never seen a question on "mode" in MGMAT or GMATPREP so that was a bit surprising. Combining my educated guesses and room for silly mistakes, I don't think that I got more then 6-7 questions wrong. The last 3-4 questions which I got were easy so I realized that no way was I going to get a 51 but I was expecting a score of 50 points.
In verbal I felt I was doing very well at the halfway mark. I had done 21 questions and I had 37 minutes remaining. It is at this time that I became complacent and relaxed. I then got a very difficult& long passage full of terms on botany and I think I spent a lot of time in trying to understand the passage. That totally ruined my timing. When I next looked at the clock I had 8 minutes remaining and I still had to do 9 more questions. This made me panic and I had to rush through. I had to guess 3 questions blindly and I also ended up leaving the last question unanswered. I hope that my post helps everyone realize about the importance of time management and of not becoming complacent or relaxing mid way during the exam.
So basically, the score I got on verbal (V35) is much lower than the score I had been getting on my practice exams. I think that this score is not really representative of what I can accomplish. I feel I should re-take the exam and do better in terms of time management. Improving from 35 to 41-42 points on Verbal should be possible. I agree that improving on Quantitative will be tough so if I do retake the exam, my aim would be to just maintain this score, if not improve it. I really need some advice about this as I just cannot seem to make up my mind
. Advice/comments are welcome and also if anyone has any questions, I will be glad to answer them.
p.s. I wrote the GMAT again after 5 weeks and managed to improve my score. Debrief about the second attempt in the posts below.