Hello all I here is my debrief. Sorry for a long one. Let me say first that I am no champion at any of this but I believe I can say few things that may help some of you.Overall Prep Duration.(2-3 Months in early 2007, 2 Months in 2008)
I started preparing last year around January but had to abandon the effort in March. During those 2 months I did complete OG 11
and was actively participating in Math forum
of GMATClub. I have Engineering background, so Quant was never issue for scoring around 45-48.I hated Verbal like most who studied English as 2nd or 3rd language do. Verbal I was doing around 30+-
At the end of March 2007 I was really at peace with Math and felt very confident. I was about to move on to Verbal, when it all had to be abandoned. In between, we had first addition to our family. So all GMAT books just went onto top rack of the shelf.
Then in Feb this year, I was approaching end of a work project, I felt I have to do it now or it will never happen. I started preparing around Feb-March and was doing on and off. I had finished OG already year before, so I decided to practice mostly verbal and then review Quant again while towards exam. I also planned to take 2 complete weeks off from work.
All along my prep was pretty much disorganized. I practiced CR/RC/SC one week each about 1-2 hours on weekdays and 4-5 hours on weekends. Last 2 weeks I put in almost 9-10 hours every day.Material ReferencedGMATClub
OG Quant Review
OG Verbal Review
Manhattan SCGMATTimer by Walker
Gayatri's SC Notes [http://gmatclub.com/forum/11-p233138?t=33952&hilit=gayathri+insead#p233138
Spidey's SC Notes. [attached below]Kaplan 800
The official LSAT Superprep
- ISBN 979305063
CR 1000 ( 4-5 GMAT Sets , 4-5 LSAT Sets
Walkers Cool App for SC and RC. CAT Exams 2008
MGMAT (free and Test1)GMATClub Challenges
.CAT Exams 2007Kaplan
PetersonsSection wise notesQuant
GMAT Quant looks easy however it’s anything but, if you are looking for a serious score. I did not do much quant this year and was under impression that I did OG last year with about 85-90% hit rate so I should be fine. But then I did my first GMATClub challenge 2 weeks back and boy, my eyes just popped out. I thought I got most of them right, but when I saw 15/37 wrong, I was just shocked. I was rusty on being alert for traps...but still 15 wrong was no way I thought to compensate my poor verbal.
I did 12 total challenges and every time did lots of silly mistakes. IMO These challenges are very good help if you want to make sure you don’t drop below 48 in Quant. If you do all 25 and see making good progress (around 30 right) then I believe you can definitely expect 50 in quant. GMAT Quant does not come even close to this. It’s easier.
Overall I did badly in DS and PS was fine. Trick on quant is, you want to do all types of problems beforehand. I would say almost 90% or more problems are just standard types covered in OG. Numbers will change, some twists will be introduced...but how much different can they be? Don’t sweat too much on tough problems unless you can do easy ones without silly mistakes. You will be surprised once you do few GMAT Challenges, Spending too much time on easy problems and then making sill mistakes on some of them is what kills quant score more than those probability and other tough questions. You have to get few toughies right for a good score. But don’t sacrifice easy ones in attempt to get tough ones right.
Another very important thing, if problem takes more than 2 minutes to solve, then you have to step back and try to think about what is it that you may not be seeing. If it helps...remind yourself No problem in GMAT Quant is worth more than 2 minutes! Verbal
This was my weak area. I would not say my English is terrible but it does not have a solid foundation. I don’t know most grammar rules and my reading speed is horrible, even without comprehension. I so hated RC/CR/SC in that order. But then if you practice it’s not impossible to get close to 40. If I could do it, anybody can. SC-
You have to master SC if you are non native. Reason not only because it’s easier to improve on this, but also because this is the one that can help you with improving timing on Verbal. Target getting at least 50% of the SCs you do in less than 1 minute. SC has again lots of patterns and if you practice them over and over then eventually you will get it. Don’t forget Manhattan SC. It can’t be done without this book; Best thing I like about this book is it links the questions from OG to each chapter. So you get to do a targeted practice. I could have read this completely 2-3 times. Notes I downloaded from one of the threads (titled Gayatri's SC Notes) were also great reading. PM me if you need them.CR-
I did bad on CR in the beginning and used to get into those typical GMAT Traps. What helped me on CR was LSAT sets in CR1000. These are just great. LSAT CRs helped me not only on CR section but also on RC section. I have started believing RC questions are just CRs with long question stems. I also did buy LSAT OG, 3 weeks back and could only read their initial prep material and do Logical CR and RC from 1st Test that has detailed explanations. If you liked GMAT OG
explanations, then you will love LSAT OG OEs. This book is just fantastic. You should check this one out. I wish I had gotten this earlier.RC-
As I mentioned my RC improved a lot after I started doing LSAT CRs. Not sure if anybody else had same experience. I believe reason is with LSAT CRs you develop a habit of reading between the lines. This makes you get out of traps for RC answers. On RC, obvious answers are almost always wrong. Also check out gin's notes on RC. They are a must
. You can get them on Scoretop.com. I always read whole paragraphs and never did take notes etc. Don’t think I could ever have with my pathetic timing anyway. I barely finished verbal in 75 minutes. Day before exam. A roller-coaster
I dint want to do full length exam day before and wanted to chill. So decided to review SC notes for 2-3 hours and then do diagnostic test from OG11
. Day started bad, I did 18 SCs fresh after revision of notes for 2-3, and got 6 wrong...same number as I had more than one year ago when I did those just after purchasing OG. My confidence sank. I decided I have to take it easy and decided to do quant to boost my confidence....did 24 DS questions...6 wrong....that started making me nervous and thought of having exam following day began creeping up on my nerves...took a deep breath a little break and did PS (3 wrong) CR( 2wrong) and RC(1 wrong). These last 3 sections made me feel much better. I then decided not too loose that confidence by doing GMAT Challenge, which I had planned to do. So in the evening I just decided to do Math section of GMATPrep2. Got 33/37 correct with 51 raw score. Some 4-5 were repeats but I did get some toughies and was happy that I got them right. So I decided to call it a day at that point.Exam day
I read it over and over in this forum "Nerves got best off me" , "I dint sleep well the previous night" I was sure I did not want to repeat those mistakes. Slept as well as I could...not without some 2 hours of tossing and turning thinking about how will it be.
My exam was scheduled at 12:15 so morning I did get 2-3 hours. Reviewed just partially Math basics from OG...and then decided to read AWA Templates and few examples from the 800Score AWA guide. AWAs
Reached exam center well in advance and got checked in at 11:45....having done GMATPrep I felt at home when I saw familiar CAT screen. This helps friends. I then picked 5 schools and started with AWAs. They both were very easy topics. I did very well on Argument essay. Issue essay I think I could have organized better...not sure what I am going to get hopefully I will get beyond 4.0Quant
After AWAs I felt pretty fresh and thought this itself will help me not screw up. But then both sections were still left. Checked in again and started quant...first 2 questions were easy and 3rd just shot up in difficulty...it was still not too bad..I think I spent 4 minutes on that one...but after that one they just kept coming...they were not difficult but then were not just lollypops...The first one I thought I decided to not find answer and guess was 13th or 14th...It was about 3d matrix. Remember it well but cant say more than that due to non disclaimer
Overall I thought I was getting less than average number of difficult questions..But I did see some perhaps tough ones with part of the question/trap from GMATPrep...so I think I could have missed them if not for GMATPrep..because I did not get them right when doing GMATPrep. There were two about Absolute value. Towards the end I got just 5th grade level questions...that made me psyche...I thought I unknowingly screwed it. But there is nothing I could have done at that point anyway, so I dint feel that bad. Finished Quant with 1-2 minutes to go. Also dont worry about this scratch pad thingy too much...at least I dint find it too bad.Verbal
After Quant I was still feeling fresh. I decided to wash my face with cold water as suggested by some of the clubbers...Had found it to help during my practice CATs. It kind of resets you. Started Verbal with 2 easy CRs and 1 SC...then RC and so on...in between got few bad CRs which had close answers. Spent too much time and got myself into a chase...dont do this on Verbal it can destroy you...once you get panicky about clock then you CAN NOT read simple stuff...but again that’s my experience. It dint get too messy though...I was getting good vibes from SCs. They were not like those last 10-20 of OG11
. My last RC passage perhaps screwed my verbal score. It was about one of those *interesting* subjects which make you pull out hair. I thought GMAT got me as I really was not getting it. I just picked common sense answers by eliminating answers with "always/must/never/most" without really trying to even understanding content. Because I had 5-6 question left with 6 minutes to go. Luckily I had some SCs left and they were not time consuming...not sure if I got them correct but I at least got to answers in around 1 minute.
I finished last verbal question with 20 seconds on the clock.
At the end of it, I felt relieved to have just finished it without a breakdown. That raised my hopes of at least not scoring in lower 600s. The survey part was annoying and its like 10 long screens before you can get to score...made sure I checked "Report Scores" and then Hola!....730 on the screen felt blissful. I was elated. Tried calling home only to find out that my folks dint hang up earlier call correctly and it just kept beeping...that was such an anticlimax...but then that meant I can pick on them acting I screwed it...which I did...before telling them real score.
Overall the test experience itself was not extraordinary. Do your GMATPrep zillion times. It may give you false confidence only if you don’t know why you are repeating it. You should do them again and again to get difficult questions from the software. My best score was 770, I think you should do these till you get 800. Again, you know yourself when to stop. But even though I did 3 repeats of each I was surprised I was doing same silly mistakes...and more variants of silly mistakes you do before exam...better off you are on exam day. In summary:
---Practice, Practice, Practice.
---Time your prep practice. Use walker's GMAT Timer
---Maintain Error Log
( I dint, and I regret)
---Have some plan, dont do totally random stuff. Begin with end in mind. See how much time you have. Create short daily goals and then longer weekly ones. Create them on paper and not in your head.
---Schedule exam if that pressure helps you. You can always reschedule. I think it helped me realize I can’t do this prep forever..and trust me with all the material you have available these days...you can keep practicing forever.
---Participate in forums and avoid short answers, as much as possible.
---Do as many LSAT CRs/RCs
---Do all GMAT Challenges. Don’t wait to get them free if you are short on time...just buy them...they are worth it.
---Do as many GMATPreps as possible...without bothering too much about high scores.
---Always do thorough analysis of what you got wrong. Otherwise you will be repeating those mistakes again.
In my preperation I have met so many kind souls on this forum. Can not finish this without mentioning them. I thought of not putting names just worrying that I will definitely forget some of you...but I do want Thank all and then Honghu, Kevincan, Walker, Vikaramjit_01, Fig, Rhyme, Kidderek, ncprasad, AmaradeepSharma, BSD_Lover, Vavali, pmenon, saravalli, bkk145, terp06, meddlingkid, vshaunak, uphillclimb, suyahjwahar, Hanumayama, maple, sondenso, Nihit, Leopard and many others
Last but not the least believe in yourself.
The fact that you are thinking about better career option itself makes you smart enough to ace this exam. What is left then is right approach and mastering the details. Trust me If I can do it YOU CAN!
Good luck with your preparations and exams. PM me for ANY help you need. My Practice scores 2007 March
GMP1 - 650 (could not complete any section, never do that, keep last minute for just guessing remaining questions)
GMP2 - 6902008 April
GMP1_1 - 700 [Q48, V37]
GMP1_2 - 720 [Q49, V39]
GMP1_3 - 760 [Q50, V44] Lots of repeats. So dint believe in this one anyway
MGMAT Free Test - 600
MGMAT 1 -690
GMP2_1 - 650 [Q49, V29] Just dint do it carefully on Verbal and kind of pushed through it to completion. But seeing 650 perhaps helped me most last week to work hard.
GMP2_2 - 740 [Q50, V45] some repeats.
GMP2_3 - 770 [Q50, V45] around 10 repeats in each.
GMP1_1 - Just Quant - 50
GMP1_2 - Just Quant - 51
GMP1_1 - Just Quant - 50
Test Correct Total % Correct
m00 5 5 100.0%
m01 22 36 61.1%
m02 29 36 80.6%
m03 28 37 75.7%
m04 22 36 61.1%
m05 25 37 67.6%
m06 23 36 63.9%
m07 27 37 73.0%
m08 20 37 54.0%
m09 19 36 52.8%
m10 22 37 59.5%
m13 28 37 75.7%
v01 24 41 58.5%
v02 26 41 63.4%
v03 33 41 80.5%
v04 24 41 58.5%
v05 25 41 61.0%