I took the test on 16th March 2013, which was after 2 postponements (originally scheduled for 23rd Dec'12 and then for 23rd Feb'13)
I had worked out half of the OG 12th
ed. by mid Oct and took the free Manhanttan GMAT test. I scored 450. Though it was a poor score, it was mostly due to timing issues and overall i felt that my mind was certainly working in the right direction. So i booked myself for the test in end-Dec while setting a realistic goal of 700.
What is to be noted that i work full time in a high pressure Business Development job and my work life is extremely demanding. With that happening in the background, I started studying the Manhattan GMAT
guide books for all the Quant as well as Verbal topics.
In mid-dec i took the first GMAT Prep, Score:650 (dont have the split). I felt OK and thought that 15 days of additional practice will get me close to 700. But unfortunatley, some important assignment came up in end-Dec and i ended up postponing my exam to Feb and took a break from studies.
All momentum was lost and i was able to regain that only in the first week of Feb'13. Purchased the MGMAT practice test
Took the second MGMAT - Score 560! I was shattered and realized that all that was gained in Dec'12 had been lost by now. I was also exhausted from all this studying and slef-imposed house arrest in the name of studies.
But i steeled up myself & took a cautious self-aware decision to postpone it just by 15 days more (16'Mar) and deal with it! (At this point my friends and family were going 'You gotta be kiddin me!, just go and get it over with now'. So it was now or never!
Started Taking practice Tests from 1st March onwards and got the following disappointingly consistent scores (dont remember the split)
MGMAT 3 - 680
MGMAT 4 - 680
MGMAT 5 - 680
PowerPrep 1 - 680
PowerPrep 2 - 680
MGMAT 1(rep.) - 700
GMatPrep 2 - 680 (this was 3 evenings before the test day)
Overall i was a little displeased over my inability to go beyond 680 (the only test where i exceeded was in a repetitive test, so it kind of didnt count)
When i took GMAT Prep2, which is supposed to be the closest approximation of your final score, i was already going down with severe body ache and by the time i saw the score, was really disappointed. It felt that i had touched a glass cieling of my peformance and there was no way i could surpass that.
The next two days i was down with a painful fever of 100/101F. It was as if destiny was consipiring against me. But i held on and never let this get on me. Just took rest till 24 hours before the test.24 hours before the test:
Thankfully the fever was gone
I chose to be strategic. Michael Phelps doesnt just dive into the swimming pool and start racing on the race day. He works his muscles just in sufficient amounts and just for sufficient time before the finale. That was the key, the right warm up. The one that will set the tone for your final jam!What i did?
Each section of the Manhattan GMAT
guide book has an advanced section (e.g. Advanced Inequalities). At the end of each section there is a list of relevant problems from the OGs. And thankfully such advanced problems are just 5-6 for each such subtopic. I kept on doing those coolly (Without timing - we are warming up not running the acutal race), no matter right or wrong (studied the wrong ones of course). This made me comfortable. My mind was on my side. What i knew for certain is that i wouldnt end up with a 610-620 something.The Finale:
I was coughing profusely. Other test takers around me raised concerns of them getting disturbed if i coughed so often during the test. There was a completley vacant chamber with 3 computers. I was made to sit alone! NO PROBLEM!AWA:
I was edgy in the beginning. I screwed up the timing on the AWA! (yes the AWA!)IR:
IR was not something that i had prepared for too much and i also had serious timing issues. I had decided that i will go ahead and bluff in all the pending questions, when there is one minute left to complete. I had to bluff in the last 4 questions! Quant:
I had timing issues here too. I had a bad habit of sticking onto problems where i felt that some more time and i would nail the problem. I ended up bluffing in the last 4 questions here too! But I knew by the difficulty levels i had attained that i was in control!Verbal
I had no timing issues here. RC was something where i had doubts, but the actual RCs that i faced here were OK and i was doing well. I knew i was nailing this one becuase of the difficulty levels i was facing by the end of it. Completed on time and knew that i did well here.
And the score appears - 710! Exceeding all my practice scores! My Advice to 700-720 aspirants:
- Manhattan GMAT
Guide books (read them, lick them through practice section wise and reread them) [the latest SC guidebook form MGMAT is very advanced and can make one nervous, its best to stick to the older version for SC. Its simpler and serves the purpose well enough]
- the GMAT OG
, the GMAT OG Verbal
review, GMAT OG Quant
review (I had almost every GMAT material available under the planet on my computer and wasted my time on such other stuff once in a while, but the turth is that had i stuck to OG practice problems, i would have saved some pain and probably done better) I purchased the OG verbal
and quant review at the FAG end. Do that early on in your case. It will serve you well.
- Download the older practice test the GMAT PowerPrep. A link for them is available on various forums. Though a little outdated and on the easier side, its the next best thing to GMATPrep. This give you atotal 4 practice tests that are close to the real thing. USE THEM WELL
- MGMAT Tests - in my case, they actually led me to doubt myself in the Quant section. The poblems are extremley difficult than the real thing, but the scoring is linient. So even though you do poorly, you score well. I fail to understand how this helps?! GO for this only if you think the total 4 PowerPrep and GMATPrep tests arent sufficient. Dispensible otherwise!
- A good warm up before the final test (In my view this is a key parameter to build confience before the finale)
- Take care of your health (Had i done so, maybe i would have done better
- Above all - Enjoy the experience! (For me it was a character building experience. No matter what B-School i get into and when, what is certain is that i came out as a better, sharper and stronger person from the expriece!)