I feel I owe a debrief to this forum. I've been a silent spectator for months and GMAT Club would be first destination whenever I felt happy, sad, nervous or confident during my GMAT preparation. So here are my views on test preparation and the test in itself. Background:
Moving into my final year of engineering with a passion for business strategy which is why I want to do an MBA after a (grueling) 4 year course. Fingers crossed I can manage one of the 2+2 programs or a top MiM program. Preparation:
I was an idiot. Back in September last year I downloaded GMAT prep and gave the 1st test to get a feel of the test. I scored a 650 but wasted the test. Wish I hadn't done this because later in my prep I wasn't sure about the authenticity of my GMAT Prep scores.
I started serious preparation for the GMAT back in late Feb. I had no idea how to start so I bought the Kaplan Premier
2013. I thought it'd give me an introduction to the test format and the 5 CATs that came along with seemed like a good deal. I finished this book in about a month, gave a Kaplan
CAT(740) and subsequently moved to Kaplan 800
/Advanced, which is supposed to be a book for people aiming for a 700+ score. After I finished this book, I retook the GMAT Prep 1 and scored a 660. I was devastated, I scored lesser in Verbal than I did when I had given the test the first time. Seeing a large number of SC errors and after much forum hopping, I bought the MGMAT SC
guide with which I got 6 CATS. At this stage, I was doing the Quant sections from the OG and felt confident that I could manage a 50 in Quant. I was able to do most of the verbal questions in the OG too but still made quite a few mistakes. After, going through the MGMAT SC
book, I completed the OG. It was early May by this time and my semesters exams were coming up. Unfortunately, I had to completely stop prep for about a month because I didn't want to risk letting my grades fall substantially from the GMAT preparation.
Exams got over, and I reached home around 28th May with just over 3 weeks for the GMAT. Before this I'd given 1 MGMAT CAT (740) and two Kaplan
CATs (740, 740) so I believed my final few weeks would be a breeze and expected scoring 700 plus in all my mocks. Boy was I mistaken, MGMAT 2 gave me 690 (Q45, V38). It was kind of a shock for me and many verbal questions seemed weird/convoluted. I immediately got OG Verbal
and did the entire thing. I felt confident with the official questions but some unofficial verbal questions I was encountering just bewildered me. The explanations seemed too stretched or far fetched in RC and CR though SC still felt solid. But I soldiered on, gave the GMAT prep 1 yet again and scored 760. But the MGMAT CATS kept giving me 35-38 in verbal and I felt extremely frustrated. I knew I was better than that. I decided to screw it, finish the unofficial mocks and hope for the best in my GMAT Prep 2.
It was just about a week to go now. I was done with all the Kaplan
and MGMAT cats. The last few mocks were giving me 700+ and that was a great relief. I revised all the questions I'd got wrong in the OG and OG Verbal
, went through all the notes I'd made and gave the GMAT Prep 2. I scored a 770 (Q50, V45) and felt good! But I'd done so many questions by then that a couple of verbal questions on the test were ones I'd seen before. Unconvinced about my verbal in the last 3-4 days I squeezed verbal questions out of GMAT prep. I think I overdid it though because I wasn't satisfied with my verbal on the main test.
GMAT Prep 1- 650Kaplan
1- 740 (Q 50 V40)
GMAT Prep 1 Retake- 660
MGMAT 1- 740 (Q47 V45)Kaplan
2- 740 (Q51 V36)
MGMAT 2- 690 (Q45 V38)
GMAT Prep 1 Retake- 760 (Q50 V42)
MGMAT 3- 680 (Q45 V37)Kaplan
3- 720 (Q50 V36)
MGMAT 4- 670 (Q45 V36)
MGMAT 5- 740 (Q47 V45)
MGMAT 6- 710 (Q51 V36)Kaplan
4- 720 (Q50 V38)Kaplan
5- 760 (Q51 V44)
GMAT Prep 2- 770 (Q50 V45)Test Day Experience:
I got really poor sleep the night before but nonetheless woke up on time. Did the last ten questions of the OG for all topics. Got all correct but 3 wrong in SC (Maybe this got me anxious and affected my verbal performance too?!) Anyway, reached the center about 45 mins before the test and was not allowed in till 30 mins before. It didn't really bother me and just grabbed a bite outside and breezed through my notes. I was confident but a little nervous as I walked into the testing room. AWA wasn't too good. I don't think my second point made much sense and didn't get time to check my final two paragraphs. (Hopefully, I don't mess it up too bad). IR seemed fine. I was pretty sure about most of the questions. Finished just about on time. In the first break, I went to the loo and drank a little orange juice(my usual routine). Quant started off okay and I got hard questions as early as number 8. By the 16th question I was about 5 mins behind on timing and decided to speed up. Earlier in the test, I'd spent too long on a few questions but backed myself to cover up later. I rushed the next ten odd questions. My third last questions was a standard deviation doozy, I managed to do it but again went off on timing. I had about 2.5 mins for the last two questions. Luckily, I did the second last one in about 30-40 seconds and had enough time to complete the last one. In the break, I didn't think much about my quant, I was slightly confident because I knew the system had thrown quite a few difficult questions at me. Anyway, second break, same thing, loo followed by orange juice. Mentally prepared myself for the verbal section. I knew that this was the section on which my fortune depended. It started off pretty bad, I was confused on a few early questions and my first passage came at question 8 and it was really long. Over the course of section again I'd messed up my timing spending too long a few CR and SC questions. Rushed till I was back on track but I was never really very confident. Finished the section dot on time and didn't feel too good. I pressed report scores keeping my fingers crossed that I hadn't messed up verbal too bad. A 750 popped up Q 50 (90 percentile) V 40 (90 percentile). At that moment I was relieved, clenched my fist, punched the air and was just happy I'd managed a 750. However, while driving back I couldn't help but wonder what could have been if I'd got a 42-44 in Verbal as I'd targeted to. Though right now, I'm fine, satisfied with my score and hope that the AWA and IR scores aren't shockers
What I've learnt:
1. Thinking positive helps. When I wasn't doing well on the mocks I never stopped imagining a 760 on the final day and I did this right through till the actual GMAT, no matter my mock scores.
2. Don't let mock scores affect you too much. Back yourself to do well when it matters.
3. Don't over exert yourself in the last few days. I think I did about 500-600 verbal questions over the last two three days and can't help to wonder if I burnt myself out in the process.
Thanks for reading. Please pray that my AWA and IR scores are fine. All the best to all of you