Alright, I can already hear somebody whining " another bastard bragging about his score". Well guys I finally said good-bye to this exam yesterday after going through the grueling 4-5 hours of shit and really glad to share my experience with all of you
. Like most of you, I've been the silent observer of this website and writing here so that some of you might learn from my previous agonizing experience.
I prepared for GMAT in July-Aug 03 and appeared first time in late Aug. That time I mainly prepared using OG,Kaplan
and 800score tests. In power prep I scored 740/750 and was scoring well in 800score tests (I don't remember the scores). So as a result I was quite confident and was expecting a score in mid-700. However, it was a different story altogether on the actual GMAT. I scored 650 (96M/56V) and was completely devastated. I couldn't believe the score when it popped up on the screen. Later, in the soul-searching I decided to find out what went wrong. Two thing stood out:
- my power-prep scores were inflated becoz I had seen the problems earlier in OG
- I blew-up big time on the timing in verbal section . On question 32 I had 3 minutes left and after that I just clicked on the remaining questions.
As most of the deadlines were in Oct, so there was also not enough time to start preparing from the scratch. And I was also losing confidence on seeing this score, so just couldn't dare to register the exam without regaining the confidence. Anyway, I did nothing for next 2-3 weeks, searched internet, heard people's opinion and kept on thinking on how to approach the exam again. I luckily found out about this group and believe me, hearing from many of you about your experiences convinced me that if you are capable then it's just the 'day' which matters. And of course, I'm not forgetting the practice here, that makes a great difference.
Among all the above factors, only practice was in my hand. So, I started practicing. I purchased CDs of Kaplan
and Princeton and crackGMAT tests, and downloaded GMAT+ from this site. Here are my scores in various exams
1,2,3- 640,650, 600
Princeton 1,2,3,4- 650, 670, 730,740
Crack GMAT 1,2,3,4- 650,660,660, 700
Amonng these, Kaplan
's math is on the tough side but still not as tough as in the real exam. Verbal is ridiculously tough and you should make sure that you don't touch Kap tests anywhere near the exam day, it'll take a big beating on your confidence, I can tell you that. Kaplan
probably has made its CATs extraordinary difficult to attract the beleaguered students to its coaching institute.
Crack GMAT's verbal I found on the easier side, its math is the toughest though.
Princeton is probably the best indicator of your actual score and its difficulty level (verbal) is also similar to the real exam, maths is on the easier side.
(My assessment here might not be true for all, as I'm not a native English speaker and on the better side in maths.)
Anyway, I practiced using these exams and decided to give a shot again. Essays and Maths were breeze. Now came the Verbal section. This time I wanted to make sure that I at least don't blow the timing and I'm glad that I didn't. But never in the exam I got the feeling that I'm doing well. Probably the reason is that GMAT always keeps you at the edges of your capabilities. I finished verbal in time, and believe me was ready to see any score popping up on the screen. Well, it came out to be on the better side, so I'm glad and spent whole last night drinking
Some tips, which some of you might find useful
- practice practice & practice with the help of CATs
- Among books, for verbal, I think Kaplan Verbal
is the best. For the guys starting fresh, I would recommend that you go through Kap Verbal once and then give one of the power prep test and see how it goes. It'll help you to find out the weaknesses in your armory, it could be RC, it could be timing. Then start working on OG(*the* best) and don't just see the explanation of the wrong questions but of the right ones as well. Keep note of all the questions you get wrong, so that you can revisit them. Keep practicing with CATs. For math I didn't refer any book, so can't comment much on that.
- While writing the exam, keep yourself cool and calm, donn panic
- Don't get discouraged with the scores in Kaplan
's grading is way off the scale
- If you're aiming for 700+ and have to leave/guess more than 5 questions at the end of the section, then consider canceling the score
- donn believe the $hit that first 10-15 questions decide your score. No. I think algorithm is smart enough to weigh all questions as equally as possible.
- Make full use of the 5 minute breaks you get in the exam, take deep breaths, splash your face with water, take sips of sugarated water.
- There is no single way of preparing for this exam. So, formulate your own strategy and as long as you can see that it's working on your practice CATs, stick with it, refrain experimenting something new altogether on the actual GMAT.
That's it guys. I read the experiences of many of you who screwed up on GMAT on the first attempt and aced it on the second, and that gave me a lot of confidence that I also could do better. I hope my post will help to boost the confidence of some of you.
All the best,