Some quick facts about me
Indian male . Education : Engineering .Good language background
GMAT taken three times.
Prepared for around 40 days. DidnтАЩt work too hardтАж. I Was quite confident owing to my earlier successes with standardized tests such as GRE and also the fact that I got 710 and 720 in PP tests just 10 days after starting the preparation. I primarily did OG and bit of Kaplan
and Princeton ( I concluded that both Kaplan
and Princeton are way off mark.. so didnтАЩt spent much time on them)
Actual GMAT (January 2003) 690 ( 92 percentile) ( q-49 v-35( 76 percentile)) AWA 4.5
I didnтАЩt feel too much excited about my score. Since other aspects of my application werenтАЩt too strong ( GPA , work experience etc) , I thought I needed a 720+ score with verbal at least at 85 percentile( scaled score of 38).
I decided to give another shot within a month.
I hardly prepared anything this time. Just went through some SC questions of OG once again as I thought I might have messed up in SC section first time since those questions come in the beginning.
Actual 2nd GMAT
(March 2003) 630 ( 79 percentile) ( Q- 42( 67 percentile)v -34 ( 72 percentile) ) AWA 5.0
Obviously devastated and utterly confused. Coming from a Maths background this was an absolute carnage. Also, the feeling that I failed to improve my verbal score killed me. Since I had planned to apply for fall 2004, I knew I had to take it once again before the end of 2003. Some people advised me against retaking but now, apart from my application, it was a question of prestige.
. I started believing stories of profiling done by ETS. I read somewhere that when you take the test second time, computer starts from where u ended last time , which means that if u did decent first time it will start with giving you tough questions from the very start instead of giving moderate questions.
I decided to start preparing around dec 2003.
I did some paper tests released by ETS this time. Though I scored quite well in paper tests also, I was still not sure about verbal. I tried to master SC concepts once again as I believed that you cannot do much about RC and CR questions . SC questions I believed can be tricky for non native speakers. I went through Princeton verbal work out. I did all the SC questions in OG once again and tried to understand them more minutely.I also did some end questions of OG for DS.
Actual 3rd GMAT
jan 2004) All through the verbal portion, I felt very confident about my answers. I can bet with anybody that I did first five question correct. None of the SC questions, except for one, bothered me. I was quite confident for most of them. I guessed one CR question and 1-2 RC questions.
In maths , I got stuck at a tough geometry DS question which came at number 3тАж I guessed and moved on to encounter another tough question. This one I managed to solve. After question number 10 or so , questions became very easy. I started wondering that I might have messed. I finished the section 25 minutes earlier. It had never happened with me before.
Score: 650 ( 85 percentile)( q44( 73 perecentile) v35!!!!!!!!!( 77 percentile)
I donтАЩt know whatтАЩs going on. When I do RC/SC/CR questions at home, I hardly make any mistakes. So I never feel any need to prepare something extra for these. But Iam stuck on bloody 35 in the real GMAT. I feel so stupid when people write about how they increased from 26 to 40 in verbal. Am I that stupid that I cant even improve 2-3 scale points? The biggest problem is, I donтАЩt know what my weaknesses are.
I donтАЩt know if I am getting trapped in SC questions, or in CR questions, or in RC questions or I mess up questions which come at very critical points in terms of scoring algorithm, or worse still my concentration betrays me during crucial moments in the exam( We all know how one is feeling stressed during the exam and particularly during the end feels so drained, just wants to finish the damn thing). May be those questions in the latter half are not that non significant as we think.
What I plan now:
I believe that since I donтАЩt know whatтАЩs wrong with my preparation, I would try to fix everything which I feel might have contributed for my failure test after test. If itтАЩs SC, I would do basic grammar book such as practical usage by Michael swan. For improving my RC and CR ,I intend to take some LSAT tests available free on internet. For some more tough quant practice and may be even for verbal ,I am planning to buy KAPLAN 800
.For improving concentration and lack of focus during the exam, I would take at least 10 full length tests. Iam told about Arco TESTS. Somebody told me about some site which sells actual GMAT questions and some manhattan and crack GMAT tests also. If they are of any good, I would like to purchase them
Though I have touched absolute low in Maths, I am still more concerned about verbal. Of course I would do lot of practice in Maths this time as Iam sure itтАЩs just lack of practice and overconfidence in maths which betrayed me. I would be happy to get back my 49 in maths but I certainly need 38 in verbal.
Seeking some suggestions:.
I would like to hear from all of you guys regarding your suggestions on approach I should take, the books and preparation material I should use and also if somebody understands the mysterious scoring algorithm in actual GMAT and whatтАЩs the best strategy for that.
I would particularly like to hear from somebody who has gone through such rough time and succeeded in the end
In the end:
I know that GMAT is not everything. I understand that scoring high on GMAT does not mean you are smarter. I have known some people who have scored quite low in this test and they are much smarter than me any day. ItтАЩs just that itтАЩs any other battle of my life and success in this will help me.