I am Sameer and I would like to share a few things about my GMAT journey. I started preparation in March and took my exam on July 9. I am happy to inform you that I was able to score a 750 (Q50, V40). Firstly, I would like to thank all the people who helped me to realize my dream and say sorry to all of you guys for the delayed debrief.
When I started thinking about taking GMAT, I had no clue of how to go about it. I consulted one of my senior colleagues and he advised me to start with OG and Manhattan guides. I purchased OG and started with Math. I was able to complete all the OG quantitative questions in 45 days and moved on to verbal.
Since, my concepts of SC and CR were rusty, I was not able to answer most of the questions (even the first 50 questions of OG). Most importantly, I didn’t have a solid logical explanation for why I chose a particular answer and not the other four. Since I did not know where to begin for learning concepts of verbal, I sought the guidance of internet god – “The google Devta” and stumbled upon GMAT club. I registered here and found the offer (trial version) from e-gmat
announcing the verbal coaching specialized for non-natives. Without having a second thought (since it was free) I just registered there too.
I attended one free session on strategy - 1 by Mr. Sadana. I am very thankful to him for such a great session, which cleared the myths I had about GMAT and helped me develop a clear roadmap. Here are the few things that I think played an important role in my success:1. Play on your strength:
The first myth that Mr. Sadana broke in session was “verbal score is more important than quant score.” It does not matter if you get 44 in verbal if you get a 30 in quant. It is always necessary that you identify your strength (verbal or quant), concentrate on that, and improve that to your desired level (which will be quicker and easier since you will only need to brush up or practice). My strength is quant and here are some tips for quant:
This may appear silly, but I am gonna go ahead and say. Start with basics – Tables (1 -20 till 20), squares and cubes of first 30 numbers, list of primes up to 100. Get them by heart and trust me you are gonna save a lot of time on your exam.
GMAT tests only finite number of concepts. Please keep that in mind. Instead of getting a book and start to mug up the formulae or trying to learn entire new concepts, just get some practice questions – GMAT club or grockit or any book and start doing problems. Don’t target for number of hours of study. Target on number of questions you do. Let us say at the beginning assume that you take 3 mins to solve a question, and you can spare two hours a day, then target for 20 questions which should take approx. 1 hr and start analyzing each of the question both right and wrong. See if you can do the same in a simpler way and check out the solution given by the source. For all the wrong questions make sure you catalogue them into categories for e.g. negligence (addition) or conceptual (Coordinate geometry – slope). The categories should be personal based on the kind of mistakes you are doing. For all the conceptual errors go through the particular concept and revise. This may take that additional hour. As you progress in your preparation, you will be able to see improvement in all fronts i.e. accuracy, & speed – Takt time. By this process you will not learn and then apply. You will learn through application and you will be able to appreciate the concept with more clarity and will be able to work in a systematic way to identify and regulate your weak areas.2. Verbal – Stick to one course:
When I was practicing in grockit, I saw many people who say they are reading manhattan books
books, and some test prep course. Also I saw people preparing in one course for some time and then shifting to other. My advice is stick to one method or course. Take trial runs for each of the course and see which suits you the best and stick to it to the last minute and don’t wonder if the other books or courses are better.
I selected e-gmat
for mainly two reasons. I was impressed by the way Mr. Sadana took the class in strat session 1 and I liked their audio video approach rather than reading from a book after a 10 hr workday (6 day week).
The reason I was able to make a good pace in e-gmat
was I neither read any other book nor I had any apprehensions of any other process. So I didn’t need to unlearn anything. So it was easy for me to adopt their process since that was the only way known to me.Sentence Correction:
Three step sentence correction approach: In the first SC session, Ms. Payal asks everyone in the class about the most important aspect in SC, and 8 out of 10 said – Grammar and I am sure that most of the guys reading this post think the same.
But with her logic that grammar is only a tool which is used to convey the meaning (Purpose), she made us understand that understanding the meaning of sentence is vital than knowing bunch of grammatical rules. I can say that this changed my approach towards SC questions. None of us here are grammarians and most of us don’t know all the rules of grammar. Even if you know all the rules of grammar as explained in many articles of gmat club, there can be two answer choices which are grammatically correct but only one will convey the intended meaning.
There is more than one instance where I was able to pick the correct choice concentrating on the meaning of the sentence when I was confused between two or three answer choices.Critical reasoning:
Pre – thinking has greatly improved my accuracy and takt time in CR passages. Many of you who are familiar with the process may think it will take a lot of time or it is very difficult to pre think. But take it for me once we internalize the process (it will take time to get used to it and sometimes, we forget to prethink but keep on trying and after some time you will start to pre think even without realizing), it’s basically not selection from the given choices but you already know the answer u just wanna search the answer or something similar to that. Believe it or not guys, I was able to finish my verbal 15 mins before the scheduled time and I prethought.Reading comprehension:
In RC, apart from the tips every book gives, I found one thing extremely useful. I don’t know if this help you guys but it’s worth a try. After reading a paragraph, just write down what you understood from the paragraph in your native language. And start answering the questions. You will realize that you are able to comprehend the passage more clearly and quickly this away. Also, set yourself a target that once you are finished with reading passage and started answering the questions, you will not refer to the passage unless it is a detail oriented question.Mock tests:
There are people who say that too many mocks will have an adverse effect. But I say give as many mocks as you can. This will bring your stamina up and will go a long way in managing your stress on the test day. Don’t forget to analyze your mocks, using any of the methods available online. But do remember the aim of taking a mock test is to experience the testing environment. For this, for every mock think that you are actually taking the GMAT. Adhere to time lines and break times. No Music. No distractions and No breaks.
Finally I took two weeks off from my work before the date and crammed around 8 – 10 hrs a day for 10 days during which I gave 5 mocks, revised entire verbal course once, made notes etc and the 11th day afternoon, I gave the GMAT prep 2 test and I called the preparation closed. Don’t sweat yourself in the last three days. I don’t think mugging up a formula or two in these last days will help you anything apart from raising your stress levels. So take a backseat and do something you like.. a novel or movie etc
The night before exam I made sure that I had a good sleep by watching my favorite comedy and if you like you can do with a glass of your choice of liquor (I said one and I meant one its good to feel relaxed. But you don’t want to be hung over during the exam do you?)
During the exam, think as if you are going for just another nasty mock and you will do well. I did not believe in test taking strategy and I dint feel the need of time management ( I ended up finishing both my sessions with 10 -15 mins surplus time) After all said and done, I thought it was all about answering 78 questions right and I just wanted to concentrate on getting as many of them as I could correct.
I request all the readers to excuse me for the long post. But I thought I would give a detailed debrief rather than just saying the things all the books and test prep companies say.