With my first post, i'd like to pen down my debrief of my 1st and last GMAT attempt, which I took today.
I scored 710 (Q48 V40). Let me start by saying I was/am absolutely weak in Quants. I won't get into the nitty gritties of my study plan, as IMO my plan was pretty unorganized and hence not worthy of emulation.
Total prep time :- 1 month. Some things I probably did right :- I knew the Kaplan
/Manhattan level Quants would be out of my range so never bothered even trying them. I knew my limitations and stuck to them. I wanted to just about manage Quant and make up for it in Verbal. I was inherently strong in Verbal (though I scored less there). In verbal I only focused on understanding as many SC problems as I could. My mindset was that you either understand a CR/RC or you don't, and there was not much preparation I could do on that front. This approach could differ from person to person.
Enough about the study plan. What I'm really interested in sharing are some of the myths i learned to be untrue and also some of my experiences on the mental state going into the exam.
1) Myth :- Your score on the real test will be very similar to your GMAT Prep mock results.
While this may be true for many of us, it certainly wasn't for me. I scored 590 on my GMAT Prep 1 and 640 on my GMAT Prep 2. I took the GMAT Prep 2 five days before my real test. What I'm trying to say is, don't let such a score make you lose your confidence prior to the test. As I will elaborate later, confidence plays a big role in how you do on the test. I too was visibly shaken upon seeing my mock results, and I was advised to postpone my date, but for some reason I was adamant that I could do well on D-Day. And it worked. Each day is different and you never know which one could be yours.
2) GMAC's statement that the 1st ten Qs are not all-important.
I can vouch that the above statement is not entirely true. I 100% agree with the seasoned GMAT Club pros like bb and Bunuel who have analysed and found that the 1st ten Qs are in-fact very important. In both Verbal and Quant I was terribly short of time. In fact I blind-guessed the last 4 questions in Quant and the last 5 questions in Verbal. My time management was absolutely horrible on D-day. In earlier mocks I used to always finish verbal with 10 mins to spare. In spite of so many things going wrong, my score turned out to be decent.
What I think worked in my favour is that I spent a little extra time on the 1st 10 Qs in both sections, in order to make sure I was getting them correct.
3) Easy Quant questions in the middle of the test means you messed up.
Let me say that a majority of the questions I faced after Q 20 most definitely could not be classified as 'tough'. And this is coming from a Quant noob. When I saw certain easy questions coming with alarming regularity, I too feared for the worst. In addition to this I had to blind guess the last 4 questions. I spite of this I managed a decent quant score (by my standards).
If this happens to you on test day, please don't let it affect your mind. Just focus on the next question at hand.
4) Don't over-analyze the test day.
I often come across people stressing too much about the test day variables. What to eat, how much water to drink, Red Bull or Gatorade, apples or granola bars, timing of pee breaks, erasable pad etc. Relax Guys !! You are making too big a deal of it. While the above factors may play a part, it isn't something that any sensible human can't figure out for himself on the day. By making it such a big deal, you may make yourself more susceptible to failure. Treat the test as a challenge. Don't give it too much importance. You will not starve if you don't get a 700. You can always retake the test. It's not the end of the world. Treat it like a personal challenge to test your own limitations.
Visualize success on the test day. It might seem gimmicky but it helped me. I kept imagining that i would score 710 on clicking the final button and strangely enough that's exactly what happened. I'm kinda thinking I should have wished for 750 now
I kept talking to myself in my head. Kept saying 'You're the man Vineet ! You can do this ! ". All in all don't let your confidence waver regardless of the past scores.
That's pretty much what I had to say. Don't worry about the IR too much, some of the examples on GMAT Prep are insanely tough, the real thing is much easier. I hope some of you find this helpful. Wish you all the best in your endeavors.