Hi GMAT Clubbers,
I just had my GMAT exam yesterday (23rd of June 2014) and I scored 540 Q 42, 54%
V 23, 31%
A huge disappointment of course but let me lay some background information so you can assess my situation a little better. I am Egyptian who has been living in Cairo all my life. I have graduated in 2011 from an American university majoring in Computer Science and have been working for a technological multinational for the last 3 years. I consider my English skills to be adequate. Anyway, I have stared my GMAT journey back in October 2013 and I am planning to apply for top 20 MBA schools for class '17 in round 1 (October 2014) & 2 (January 2015) so I can use all the support you can provide me with.
I will try to put my story in timeline format for readability.
I want to start strong so I set myself away from all time wasters. I have deactivated Facebook, concluded meaningless friendships and relationships, moved TV out my room and basically, I stopped doing anything that was distracting in nature.
I initially scheduled by exam at the end of the December so I commit myself to studying and started in October by reading all MGMAT books
. (8 guides) I know that I get confused and distracted when I am having multiple sources so I decided to stick with MGMAT guides
I work on average 12 hours per day so I dedicated daily 3 hours after work and 5 hours on weekends.
I was wasting way too much time as I spent 3-5 weeks per guide and I decided to hold the exam till March 2014.
December 2013 to February 2014:
By Mid-February, I finished 7 guides in total I wasn’t even done so I pushed back my exam till late May. I also gave up on reading on the last book (RC guide) so I can start solving a bit.
Reading the whole books without practicing was really one of my biggest mistakes; I never really grasped the concepts till I actually started solving. I was force-feeding my brain beyond its’ limits and by the time I started solving, I have already lost most of what I learned by reading.
I bought MGMAT 6 Exam set and started solving them. This was my very first trial of solving exams. (Or anything to be honest) First round, I took 5 exams over the course of the month and revised my answers. I averaged around: AVG: 530
I decided that I should focus only on Quant as I noticed that most 700 clubbers get an average of 44+, so I made my biggest mistake of totally ignoring the verbal. I took another round of 6 MGMAT exams however, whenever I reached the verbal section, I would just quit the exam.AVG: 380
(This was actually disappointing as I was targeting to increase the quant average score, not decrease it)
I realized that I was no way near ready so I postponed my exam for the third and last time to 23rd of June. I also noticed that I was focusing way too much on the quantity rather than the quality of my solving. I decided to finally follow the advice of fellow members and construct an error log
My error log
was quite simple, basically, I created a word document and whenever I solve a question incorrectly, I would just copy it with the detailed answer and include its’ difficulty level. A fellow member mentioned that the key to breaking the 700 barrier is solving all the questions from (300-500) range 100% correctly, the questions of (600-700) range by 80% efficiency and (700-800)range by at least 20% efficiency. I focused all of my energy on questions from range (300-700).
I created another word document (which was extremely useful) and I named it “Cheat Sheet” so basically whenever I ran to a smart method, short-cut, rules or anything that helped me to solve questions faster, I would log it into this document.
I decided that I was to increase my Quant average score and I decided to focus all my energy on solving Quant problems only which I did (raised my average from Q33 to Q42). I was getting around 42-44Q score on average per exam.
Last week in May, I was totally out of shape and becoming increasingly unhappy so I took a small vacation and stopped studying for around 10 days. I decided to hit the gym 3 times a week to combat stress.
The grinding phase. I finally decided to give up on MGMAT exams and work exclusively on GMAT Prep exams after a friend took the GMAT exam and told me that MGMAT scoring scheme is a bit skewed and doesn’t relate to your actual score. She told me the best indicator to your actual score was the GMAT Prep exams.
I worked daily on my error log
and “Rules” documents and I felt my Quant level was getting really good. I took 3 GMAT Prep Exams during this month and averaged 550
I know that my verbal score should have been a sign; however, I admit I was mistaken as I always rushed the Verbal section.
I took the day before the exam lightly, didn’t study a lot, just went through my “Cheat Sheet” and slept early. I felt pretty comfortable on the day of the exam, I woke before the exam by 2 hours, stacked 3 energy drinks with me and went there.
I started the exam normally with AWA, it was an easy passage. I skipped the IR (randomly answered the 12 questions) then started the Quant section, I was particularly cautious not to make any mistake within the first 10 questions. I kept on solving till I noticed there were about 6 minutes left and about 9 questions remaining. I spent way too much time on certain questions making calculations. I got nervous and managed to finish the remaining questions on time.
I took the 8 minutes break to try to calm down and then started my Verbal section. I felt pretty comfortable solving it and I finished on time, till I got my scoreboard which was quite shocking. I estimated a final score between 640 to 680 but I didn’t plan for what I saw.
The worst thing is I didn’t even feel I was solving questions incorrectly in the Verbal section. On the other side, I would know if I am making a mistake on the Quant so this indicates that I have to work on my Verbal skills heavily.
Due to schools deadlines and test center availability. I scheduled a retake on 25th of August. (In exactly 2 months)
I am aware that some of you might think this is irrational as I am posting this 1 day after my exam. However, I thought about this a lot and I believe that if I was able to concentrate on my Verbal and increase my average to 38-40 then I will break the 700 barrier. It took me roughly the same time (2 months) to increase my Quant average. Meanwhile, I will try to increase my Quant score by 3-5 points or at the very least maintain my current level.
I realized that my SC is rather good, however, I struggling heavily with CR and RC. I don’t know where to start from.
All I can think of is solving verbal questions consistently on daily basis. I am considering buying GMAT Prep Exam Package to practice their verbal sections. I can’t afford to waste time reading whole verbal guides all over again but I can go through minor guides that give quick fixes or summaries to verbal questions. Please share your advices on how I can increase my verbal score average over the course of the next 8 weeks.
I am a very persistent and tireless person and I know I will reach my target score eventually, however with your help, I can reach it faster.