From the time I've joined this forum I've been itching to write here. My desire,however, was completely shattered after my first tryst with GMAT. I did not want to share an unpleasant experience afterall I could only manage 640!
As luck would have it, I'm writing this today with immense satisfaction and relief. This post is not a pre-cursory guide of "How-TOs" or "Do's and Dont's" of GMAT preparation but more of an appreciation and a big thank you to this amazing forum and all the instructors out there who've helped me knowingly/unknowingly. I want to sincerely thank Ron, Stacey and all other instructors out there for their immense contribution to this forum.
Now for what happened during my GMAT attempts. I was, beyond any doubt, completely devastated with how I fared in my first attempt. Apart from one ManhattanGmat test I had never scored anything below 680s in any of mock exams, be it Kaplan
, GmatPrep or ManhattanGmat itself. In my GmatPrep mocks I had scored 750 in both the exams! Although I knew those results were extrapolated but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine scoring what I scored on THE day. To date, I have been unable to fathom what really went wrong during my first attempt. Quant was fine and I sailed thru smoothly for most part of the section. For verbal, I thought I was nailing it and out-performing my own expectations. In retrospect, I think that's where it all began to go haywire. Complicence would have set in as I did not cautiously check my progress; end result: I landed with Q48 V30!
This performance took a huge huge toll on my self confidence. I just wasn't able to pull myself up from wracks for weeks altogether. But finally when I decided to start studying again, I realised that the only representative mock test that resembled my GMAT score was actually the last ManhattanGmat mock test I took 2-3 days before my exam. I bought their series of 6 tests and decided to work harder on my verbal with an attempt to keep Quant steady. I started working with Kaplan 800
series for theirs, I think, has the most challenging verbal content that I have come across. As I progressed, I figured out that I get a very high percentage of incorrect answers in RC. RC immediately took over my attention and I started to follow what all the instructors have emphasised from time to time: writting briefs about each and every paragraph as you read through a passage. That served a couple of purposes: 1) I started to understand the overall picture of a passage much better and 2) Because I was writting down important details I was able to remember the facts and details in the passage more accurately and able to decipher the implied meaning with a greater precision than before.
But as I moved forth, my Quant took a real beating. I was unable to finish my mock sections on time and with dipping quant scores and no remarkable climb in verbal scores, things started to look really really gloomy. Then I came across these wonderful Gmat Club tests
. The quant tests, albeit a lot more tougher than actual GMAT, really helped me to think critically and re-focus my energies on quant. But still I was struggling to finish my sections on time. During this time my mock test scores were:
ManhattanGmat CAT4: 580
ManhattanGmat CAT5: 580 (Primarily because I was unable to complete my sections in time)
I tried to balance out verbal and quant from there on in and it was a matter of regaining my lost self confidence. I finished Gmat Club test series and by the end of it I knew the real demons lie in my longetivity, i.e. my powers to concentrate over a period of 3.5 hrs. Perhaps I was not choosing my battles wisely. Out of myth or whatever reasons, I was going hell bent on making sure that I get most of my initial 15 questions correct and in the quest loosing out on a lot of time. I reverted to my strategy that had served well (at least in finishing sections on time) during my first GMAT attempt:
- Trying to finish first 8 questions in first 15 mins ('coz we usually start out at 550 level questions and then go up)
- Trying to finish 18-20 questions with close to 40 mins remaining.
(Please note, this was how I individually tried to tackle my sections' timings and not an advisory)
With this shift in focus and all the background of restudying and mock tests etc. my last 3 mock scores were:Veritas
CAT - 670
ManhattanGmat CAT6 - 730
GmatPrep I - 730
Again, my GMAT score resembles what I got in my final ManhattanGmat CAT, so kudos to them:).As a closing note, I really urge all the guys out there that there can be lots of times where you'll be pushed against the wall but try and stick it out. For me, when I was down and staring down the barrel, one of Steve Job's famous quotes really stood out - "Sometimes, life will hit you with a brick in the head, don't loose faith".
Many thanks to this wonderful forum and all the people who make this tick:). Would be glad to give my two cents in case of any queries.