I can’t believe I’m done with this damn test! I left the test site an hour ago and I’m still on cloud 9. Although I was aiming for a 720, I scored a 700. I am really happy with my score. I did make several mistakes during my GMAT journey and hopefully someone won’t make the same mistakes I did.
I’ve been studying off and on for the past year but whenever I got close to start taking practice exams “life happened”. My father passed away last year then I received a promotion, which made me dedicate more time than I expected. Overall my GMAT experience has lasted over a year, which means I had to take the new integrated reasoning section.
Don’t do this! Make sure you can dedicate 4+ months to your studying so you can take it right when you’re ready. Over the past year, I’ve felt ready multiple times but never set a date to take the exam. Because the schools I’m applying to have their deadlines next week, I had to take the exam now. Don’t follow in my footsteps – take the exam before you start applying to B-school so you can not only focus on your essays but you can focus on your preparation.
My practice exam test scores are as follows:
MGMAT 1 – 7/12/11 – 630 (Q 44 V 31)
MGMAT -2 – 11/4/12 – 690 (Q45 V 38)
MGMAT 3 – 12/9/12 – 630 (Q46 V 31)
MGMAT 4 –12/12/12 - 630 – (Q46 V 31)
MGMAT 5 – 12/27/12 600 – (Q46 V 29)
GMAT PREP 1 – 12/28/12 - 690 (Q48 V 37)
Actual GMAT - 12/29/12 - 700 (Q48 V 38)
After every exam I analyzed at all my answers, attempting to figure out what I did wrong and how I could use my time wisely. I thought I was making a huge dent in my knowledge gaps but according to the MGMAT exams, I was lacking in several things, especially Sentence Correction. I really question the validity of MGMATs practice exams - their math sections were very hard, especially to only score in the mid-40s. Their materials are great though and you should definitely use them to study.
While studying, I was confused to see my score decrease because I went through the MGMAT SC
twice and each time I thought I learnt something.
I really started to flip out two weeks ago when I saw a huge decline in my score. I started to doubt if I was ready for the exam and if I should bother applying to the schools I selected (Wharton, Columbia, NYU, Yale). In mid-december i scheduled my exam for the 28th. After my practice exam on the 12th, I rescheduled. I'm happy that I did I was still having a SC problem but this time CR was a problem as well. I took the next week to focus on my weaknesses. I downloaded the CR and SC question bank from GMAT Club and went to work. I literally did every single question twice. This really helped. I can’t over-emphasize how important this was for my score. Instead of guessing on SC’s, I knew what to look for in the right answers, and better yet, how to eliminate the wrong answers. On my last practice exam, I didn’t know what to expect but when I saw my score, I knew I was back on track.
AWA – This was easy for me as a native English speaker. I focused on what holes were present in the argument and listed several ways to strengthen it. I didn’t have much time to review my essay but I should receive a 4-5. Will update later
IR – I only started studying for this section of the exam last week so I don’ have much to offer. What I will say is that I approached these problems similar to how I approached the RC and CR questions – write down important information/descriptions. My time management was fine and I started seeing some very difficult questions towards the end, which boosted my confidence.
I took the first break. I ate some food, drank a protein shake, and went to the bathroom. Unfortunately, I overestimated the amount of time I had and returned to the quant section 2 minutes late (?!).
Quant – even though I got to the exam late, I didn’t panic. For the past two days I reminded myself to breathe and that I put in over 100 hrs studying for the exam – I should be able to make up for the missing time within the first 4 questions. Which I did – I think I finished the first 4 questions in only 3 minutes. However, around question 18-20, things got really hard. Remembering that I didn’t have as much time as I thought, I guessed on several questions after only working on them for a minute. I didn’t regain confidence until I got to the mid-20s but when I saw questions that I recognized. However, I got scared when I started seeing easy questions. I definitely thought I was on the path of a 44-45. Thankfully I was wrong.
Verbal – I WAS LATE AGAIN! But thankfully only by 30 seconds, which is totally manageable. If I was late by 2 minutes like I was with the Math, I would have been screwed. I wish I estimated the time better during my practice exams. When you study for the GMAT, make sure you time your breaks. I didn’t do this and no, I didn’t pay for it but I got lucky. Who knows, maybe I would have gotten higher if I had timed my breaks better.
After all the prep I did on CR and SC, I knew how to break down questions. I merely went with the flow and clicked on what I could prove on the CRs. For the SC, I did use some logic but I my stategy was to get more than 50% of them right. I’m pretty sure I did that. For RC I had, or at least it felt like, 2 long passages and 1 medium one. I don’t remember seeing any short passages at all. I didn’t know if this was a good sign or a bad.
When I finished the test, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew I didn’t score a 650 but I didn’t know if I broken the 700 barrier. My 700 was a VERY happy surprise.
Things to consider
1) I didn’t take any prep classes but there were times that I wish I did, at least for the SC questions. If you have a really weak section, don’t try to hide or
compensate for it by trying to be perfect on the other questions. Address it head on and make it a strength. I think this is what kept me from getting a 720.
2) I echo other’s thoughts on postponing the exam if you aren’t ready. Originally I scheduled the exam for yesterday. If I didn’t reschedule, I wouldn’t have scored as highly as I did.