My "GMAT experience" began just over 2 weeks ago, when I decided that I had a bit of free time on my hands (break from work), and I should utilize it productively. So I decided to give the GMAT and bought the prep material : Official Guide 12th edition, Official Guide Verbal Review 2nd edition, MGMAT Sentence Correction
(I am not a native English speaker, necessitating the latter two). I registered on the 30th of August for a test date on the 11th of September (I need to get back to work soon & I knew unless I put pressure on myself, I wouldn't have studied).
In a previous moment of impulse, a couple of months before this, I had tried to start the OG, and done about 250 or so of the 800 problems. So starting the 30th, I had about 550 problems to go, which I finished in less than a week (studying about two or three hours a day). Then I moved on to the verbal review, sentence correction was the chink in my armor, I didn't have a lot of problems with the quant sections perhaps because I have an engineering background.At this point what I found very useful is the questions on SC in the forums here !
Its a great question bank, and given I did not want to go down the path of buying more books or looking at question banks such as 1000SC (whose usefulness is much debated). I really think its an excellent platform to practice and to get concepts set in your mind. The MGMAT SC
guide is very good, but the way my mind works, I need examples in real questions, otherwise concepts (and idioms in particular !!) do not sink in.
I started giving CATs, as a primary way of practicing, along with the forum questions once my OGs were finished :
CAT 1 : GMAT Prep : 770 [Pleasant surprise ! I was over the moon]
CAT 2 : MGMAT : 770 [Really tough questions, got lots wrong, didnt expect this score]
CAT 3 : MGMAT : 740 [More realistic, but still inflated ? I had 12 Qs wrong on verbal alone]
CAT 4 : Kaplan
: 740 [Reaffirms the 740 earlier]
CAT 5 : MGMAT Prep : 740 [I started to see a pattern here ... my 750 target is reachable]
CAT 6 : MGMAT Prep : 770 [After lots of forum practice, I was getting pretty happy with myself]
CAT 7 : MGMAT Prep : 780 [2 days before the paper .... It couldn't get better in my mind .... MGMAT was tough so confidence at this point was sky high]
At this point, despite what most people told me, I gave one more practice test on the day before the real thing
CAT 8 : GMAT Prep : 750 [Lower than what I had gotten earlier, so I wasnt happy ... But it was still a very good score, above my target level]
Clearly, this is not a recommended strategy, but I gave 8 CATs, sometimes giving 2 papers a day .... But then it was the only practice I really thought I wanted to do ... a nice mix of questions under time pressure.
My overall thoughts on this were that of the lot the MGMAT papers are very tough, sometimes seemingly unrealistically tough ... so rather than think of them as a good indicator of the final score, they were good practice for 700+ level QsT-1 Prep
1) Take GMAT Prep CAT # 2
2) Read a few more SC questions on gmat club
3) Watch season 7 of entourage rest of the day [Calm down brain, calm down !]On the day
AWA : Went pretty awful ! I was all over the place ... Took about 28 minutes to complete the essays and didnt get a chance to re read .... Was feeling pretty battered after this
Break 1 : Bar of chocolate + Water + 3 minute rest .... ready for battle
Quant : This was my strength, and didnt have too many issues ... except my bad back (the reason I am on a break from work, started to really hurt ... maybe the 4 hour marathon will take its toll !)
Break 2 : 3 mins rest
Verbal : It didnt begin well ... My back hurt and I was getting nervous ... There were questions where I was really at a loss for answers, all the SC options looked exactly the same !! ... By the time I had done 10 Qs, it was over 20 minutes down, so the time pressure was also taking its toll on my mind .... I was pretty unhappy at this point, I knew I had def messed up a few Qs .... eventually managed to get through the lot with 4 minutes to spare (My back was thanking me ... a lot !!)And the result : 760 (q51 v41) !
I am thrilled but my tips to people taking the exam would def include that (a) do practice sitting for 4 hours, because you dont want to find out in the middle of the exam that maybe you arent up for it 1 :p and (b) No matter what happens, try to stay calm in the paper (and this is the really hard part .... I never got nervous in my CATs, but I wasnt doing well in the actual thing) finally (c) The obvious : But try to make sure you dont get a string of wrong answers, front loaded or back loaded wrongs dont matter as much as long strings of wrong answers
All's well that ends well I guess
1) Algebra-101 2) Sequences 3) Set combinatorics 4) 3-D geometry
My GMAT story
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