This might be long so please get a cup of coffee while reading this :D
I still can't believe it that the journey of 6 months finally ended. my first GMAT was not a complete disaster as the GMAT diagnostic that I took in princeton review
got me a 430 but the I did make rapid progress and in the mock tests, including the GMAT preps and mgmat tests, I scored about 720 on an average. But when I saw the score report on April 27th 2011. I was at first disappointed at the score and thought that it is a decent score so I will work for 2 more years and get into an average b-school. But then I realised that my GMAT1 was an aberration and that I needed a good score. I didn't want GMAT,which is under my control, to decide whether a school accepts me or rejects me. So first thing i did was get inspiration and this forum helped me a lot. There are so many people who gave the GMAT for the second time and did well.
How it all started
as soon as i reached home after my GMAT 1 and read a whole lot of stories about how to improve my score on both gmatclub and beatthegmat. I was helped by the fact that just an improvement of quant score would guarantee me a 700. Also for my GMAT1 I neglected RCs,CR and quant. By now I was fairly confident of my SC skills so i focussed my energy on those 3 sections. People suggested LSAT papers and gmatclub tests
. So the whole month of may I spent in getting sufficient information and collecting relevant material. I was too exhausted after my GMAT1 so I gave myself 1 month time to rest.
The process :
So from June I started working on the LSAT papers. I used to do RCs and CRs on alternate days. At first i looked at accuracy so didn't time my responses so by doing that I improved my accuracy to about >90% in RCs and CRs. CR is a little tougher on LSAT but the tougher it is the better we get equipped with the techniques. I did read powerscore cr
bible for my GMAT1 so I did know the techniques all I needed was good practice. For SCs I did manhattan sc book twice before my gmat1 so i wanted to try SC grail this time and completing SC grail was a cake walk. It is very very concise and I knew a lot of concepts from before so I finished it really fast. The 100 practise questions cover the basics pretty well and but are not very tough. I did this study the whole of june for about 1 hours in the morning (5-6) I did spend about 1.5 hours but then I am talking about the time I concentrated. I am not a night person and work kept me busy and by the time i came home i was exhausted. I did sit in front of books but most of the time was spent spacing out.
In the end of July i bought the GMAT club tests
and started practising them and the questions are really really good. especially the ones on inequalities and number properties. I haven't found a better material for GMAT quant. The OG is misleading, there are very few 700 level questions in that. My quant teacher told me that the questions would be similar in the real GMAT and I was pleasantly surprised on GMAT1. my timing went haywire and I panicked so I got a paltry 47. I never scored so less even on MGMAT quant. Maybe the pressure got to me and also I lacked practice. PLEASE DON"T NEGLECT QUANT UNLESS YOU ARE A MATH WHIZ. That is something which I tell to everyone who writes the GMAT. So I practised quant from those 25 wonderful tests. Meanwhile there was a lot of turbulence at work and I was so frustrated that I gave my resume out and searched for a new job. Got one and gave in my papers on Jul 27th and I am serving my notice period right now. Btw I also gave my TOEFL(june 25th) and got a decent 110. So coming back to GMAT prep. Work place was a happy place as I didn't have to deal with the troublesome people anymore so I utilized this time in resolving a GMAT math test of gmatclub everyday at work. I reinforced my concepts and started gaining confidence.
Last 1 Week :
One mistake I did during the break which I took for gmat1 was that I focussed on writing as many tests as I could. I wrote 3.5 hours test(including awa) in the morning and 2.5 hours test(Excluding AWA) in the afternoons. I was doing so well in my scores all above (710) that I didn't review my tests. PLEASE REVIEW YOUR TESTS PROPERLY EVERY TIME YOU TAKE A MOCK TEST. I didn't repeat the mistake this time and I took only 2 tests in my last wekk before GMAT2. Both were GMAT Preps. I got a 750 in GMATPrep 1 and 740 in GMATPrep2. I finished taking tests 5 days before the GMAT day. After that I took the OG and solved all the SC questions(OG is really good for SCs) and in every question that I was stuck between 2 choices or in questions that i couldn't zero in on an answer, I looked up for explanations on google. GMATclub, beatthegmat and manhattangmat forums are very very good for answers to these doubts. I wonder why MGMAT guys banned og
RON PUREWAL's explanations are out of the world (except when people argue that the official answers are wrong LOL!!) So I neatly took notes of all those explanations and fine grammar points. I did the OG SC for about 2 days. Then in the last two days I reviewed the quant sections of my MGMAT tests(which I had given before my GMAT1), GMAT Preps and gmatclub tests
. GMAT prep to see how many questions I can get wrong to achieve a 50 and whether i can afford wrong answers in the first 10. Fortunately i made a few silly mistakes and got 8 answers wrong in GMATPrep 1 so i knew that I could make about 8 mistakes(this might be flawed as there are experimental questions but then this way i could build confidence and its hard getting a 90% accuracy all the time). I also read chineseburned's awa guide and some sample essays from random sources just to get a feel of the skeleton. The day before GMAT I also saw a few episodes of my favourite anime and had a hearty laugh I think this helped to calm my nerves.
GMAT Day :
Got up at 4 my usual time got ready am a religious guy so did my usual prayers and then got ready and solved the last 5 questions of SC,CR,PS and DS. I got them all right so I thought that I won't solve any more questions. I reread the awa guide of chineseburned and then went on to read the notes that I had prepared in course of my preparation for GMAT. Fortunately I noted down only difficult stuff so the content was not much. I had my breakfast and started for my test centre 1:15 mins before. Usually it takes just 30 to reach the test centre and during my GMAT 1 I went to the test centre 1 hour before and got anxious so I thought that I would reach the centre only 30 mins prior to my scheduled appointment that was at 9 am. This time i experimented with another route and I travel using public transport and it took so long that I got to my test centre at 850(I have always been a punctual guy so this tensed me a lot) but i was fortunate in that there were a lot of people before me in the queue and I had about 20 mins to calm myself down and focus on my exam.
I have always been decent at writing stuff but it all depends on what topic I get. GMAT 1 the argument was okay but issue was kind of irritating and more than once I wanted to go to quant. But in GMAT 2 maybe I didn't want any more failures so I stayed put and wrote two decent essays. I think I will score more than 5.
LOL this was my worst nightmare in GMAT 1 and because of the surprises it threw I was thrown off track in verbal too as I was thinking about quant while doing verbal. This time also the quant started terribly. The question was a simple fractions question and I used unnecessary numbers and kept trying to get the answer. I went back to my algebra and solved it in 30 seconds. I wasted 4 minutes on that. second question too I was tensed and took 3 minutes to solve. Then I regained composure and started solving, the I get terribly hard inequality questions in DS. I AM VERY BAD AT PLUGGING IN and I LOSE TRACK OF WHAT I PLUGGED IN. SO PLEASE LEARN THIS AWESOME TECHNIQUE. Theory will only confuse you as the time keeps ticking away. So while my timing got messed up and these inequality questions kept coming. For the last 10 questions i had only 15 minutes. But somehow I think i nailed each most of them. But I did intelligent guesses in 4-5 questions in the middle so I was not sure. Also I have this stupid nack of making silly mistakes so I was kind of down with my performance in quant. I was expecting it to be around 48 this time.
I took the break and regained my composure. I even had the thought of cancelling my attempt. But I left that thought and went ahead to my verbal section.
Verbal seemed so much better SC and CR questions were going great and an RC came up. I was surprised at the length of the passage. The passage had 2 big Paragraphs. in GMAT Prep I used to get smaller paragraphs. But I think i answered the first one well. LSAT RCS helped me as the RCS are usually very big and I practised solving them at 8-10 minutes(Each passage has about 6-8 questions). So it all kept going well and from 20-30 I took a lot of time as the questions started getting harder. So to prevent getting stuck any further, I 'moved the **** on(I picked this up from one of the debriefs here :D)' again for the last 10 questions, I had 15 minutes. CR was time consuming as the questions were lengthy and the came another 2 paragraph RC with really complicated sentences. So i moved on to questions instead of understanding the passage(I usually understand the passage and then ) fortunately the first one was a main point question so I think i did a good job in that. The next was a weaken question and I searched the paragraph and found the answer. The next was Except question the worst kind ever!! this type of a question always stumped me but I chose some answer and moved on. The last 5 questions I had 7 minutes. Fortunately 4 of them were SCs so I think i solved them well. CR the passages were again lengthy and had tough meanings so I chose a random answer in 1 and solved two.
Then I clicked the score and PRESTO 730. I punched my fist in the air looks like today was not the day that I would make any silly mistakes in quant. Now schools wont use my GMAT score as an excuse to kick me out
I will work on my profile a little more and then apply next year.
A few tips :
1. Don't neglect quant.
2. Learn plugging in and solve the same problems using multiple values so that you get the hang of it. This was my only weakness in quant so please don't ignore this.
3. SC Grail and manhattan gmat
are both good but i don't know which is better as I read them both.
4. Don't show stinginess in GMAT prep. Buy all the good stuff and you won't repent.
5. Start verbal preparation by understanding the MEANING of a sentence simply focussing on rules will only get you an average score in verbal.
6. Review each test that you take and don't miss the answers which you got right as in some cases our flukes will hit the spot
7. Do not neglect AWA get yourself familiar with AWA. If you start a test well, you will be more confident.
I am over the moon today. My score might not be that great for a few but still I know how much trauma I went through during the last 6 months to get here. I am satisfied with my score and I am glad that I am among the top 4% of the people who take gmat. At least 25% of my application looks good now
Do contact me for any specific tips.
ALL THE BEST GMATTERS.