So….i’m finally done with the GMAT. Took the test on Oct 21 and got a 720(Q49 V40). I didn’t beat it as hard as I could, but I guess I can’t complain.
I’m not putting up a very detailed debrief because I’m busy with other things that’ve come up.
Also, sorry for poor grammar or faulty sentence construction. I’m not too good with grammar and I’m writing this in a hurry.
Firstly, I would like to thank my friends pratyush and mukul for the tremendous support they’ve given me all through my preparations. Also, thank you bb for answering my queries no matter how silly they were. And finally, a big thank you to all of you at gmatclub! I guess this is the BEST resource that a gmat taker could get to aid in his or her preparation.
I gained a lot from this forum and I thought it’s time I give back what little I can.
I’m an Indian male, 21, and just got done with my engineering. I have no work experience and decided to take the gmat as I had a lot of free time between my graduation and work joining. So, for me, the applications aren’t going to start for another 2-3 years. I’m gonna be a part of the dreaded Indian IT male pool. So I might have to retake the gmat later to be competitive in my pool. However, I’m not too worried about that right now. Just enjoying the score I got on my first attempt.
The list of books I used:VerbalVerbal:
• Manhattan Sentence Correction Guide 4th edition
- I feel this book is the best thing that could happen to sentence correction. When I started my preparation, sentence correction was my weakest area. However, by the end of prep I was pretty comfortable with this section. I read the book and took note of all important concepts. After the first read, I read this book twice just to get all concepts drilled into my head.
• Official Guide 12
- The most valuable resource. Use it well. The questions in the OG are most reflective of the actual gmat. I feel that the OG should be used only after you are well versed with the concepts of every section. Don’t start off with the OG just to get a feel of the questions. You’ll end up wasting a valuable resource.
For getting a feel of the gmat, I would suggest that you solve some books like the Kaplan Premier
• Verbal Review for Official Guide 2nd Edition
- Another super resource! If you’re weak at verbal and are looking for some additional practice, this is a very nice book. Again, because this is official material, use it wisely!
• Powerscore CR bible
- Simply the best book for CR. The best part of this book is that you really don’t need to learn all that it teaches you. The content flows very smoothly and the concepts come to your mind intuitively while solving the questions.
• Manhattan strategy guides
- The best books out there for quant. In depth coverage of topics, and In Action problems to develop basics.
• Manhattan advanced quant strategy supplement
- This is one awesome book. It has tricky problems and the techniques provided help a lot!AWA
• Chineseburned’s guide to AWA is a must. Very Very helpful. (Thanks chineseburned!!)Test resources
• MGMAT tests
- Just the things you need to get a kick on your behind. These tests are pretty close to the real thing. The quant is more difficult. It isn’t conceptually difficult, but includes a lot of computation that slows you down. However, the questions are very good for practice. I felt that the verbal section on these tests is easier than the actual gmat. Though good, the verbal section isn’t as good as the official guides.
My scores in the tests-
MGMAT 1-680(q47 v35)
MGMAT 2-690(q45 v38)
MGMAT 3-740(q47 v45) (took this test without essays)
MGMAT 4- 660(q44 v36)
Till the fourth test, I used to work without a pacing plan. I severely screwed up my timing in the quant section and this poor quant performance reflected on the verbal section. Though thoroughly demoralized, I must say that I learnt a lot from this screwed up test.
MGMAT 5-720(q47 v42)
• GMAT prep
- The golden standard. Nothing comes closer to the gmat than these. I scored a 700(q48 v38) on the first one and a 710(q48 v40) on the second one. Ended up with a 720(q49 v40) on the real thing.
- scored a 590 on my first test(after scoring a 680 on mgmat) and 610 on my second one. I decided that I’m not gonna take another test after these scores.Things I missed out on
• GMATclub tests
– i’ve heard superb things about these tests. Tried to solve a few questions from these tests that were available in the forums. found them to be really good.
• LSAT RCs
- these RCs are ideal practice material for the GMAT. Got to know about them pretty late into my prep and hence couldn’t take full advantage. These RCs are pretty long and will prepare you for the GMAT RCs. I’ve heard about RC99, but can’t comment as I haven’t used it.Things I could have done bett
Being an engineer, I assumed that I was good at quant. A Q48 on my first gmatprep was okay because I thought I made silly mistakes and would improve on them. I focused all my efforts on verbal prep. I didn’t pay too much attention to the MGMAT quant tests. I thought a 45-47 was pretty okay. Got a big shock when I scored a 48 on my second gmatprep a week before the exam. I hadn’t improved one bit and lost all points because of stupid mistakes. This really shattered my confidence. But it was too late and there was nothing I could do. I decided that I would take it easy and would read questions really well on the gmat. I guess it worked a little bit because I ended up with a 49 which I think is good enough after all my over confident behavior.
So….math was my strength, but I took it too casually. NEVER do that. Work on your weaknesses, but don’t neglect your strengths. G-day experience
I have this huge weakness when it comes to standardized exams. I get all nervous and end up ruining only because of that nervousness. It wasn’t much different in the week leading up to the gmat, but my parents and friends were immensely supportive and this helped a lot. Not being nervous before an exam is the most important thing there is. Because no matter how well prepared you are, the anxiety and stress can totally mess your exam. The GMAT is a test. If it doesn’t go well, you can take it again. Don’t worry too much about it. And most importantly, don’t let this worry ruin your exam.
I reached the centre half and hour before they exam. Completed the formalities and started off with the AWA section. The argument and issue topics were easy. Didn’t have any problem while writing the essays. I finished each essay around 3 minutes before time. Used the 3 minutes to put my pacing plan on each page of the notepad and made the ABCDE grid on each page of the scratch paper.
The AWA section is the lesser important part of the exam but just DON’T neglect it totally. Use it to settle down before the quant and verbal sections. Don’t tire yourself thinking about the essays. Take it slow and easy and this section will definitely calm your nerves and help you settle into the test environment.
After the essays, had a can of red bull, washed my face and readied myself for the quant section. I was pretty worried about this section because of the reasons I’ve mentioned earlier.
So I took deep breaths, calmed myself and started off. The questions were not too difficult. I guess the MGMAT test quant does prepare you well for this section. The questions were a little more difficult that the gmatprep but definitely not unmanageable. Read the questions VERY carefully! They’re not difficult to understand but are cleverly worded to make them tricky. Pay special attention to what is asked. For eg, in my gmatprep exam, I got a question in which I had to solve for a variable ‘n’. I got the answer and marked it. Later I realized that the question asked me the reciprocal of ‘n’ . I marked it wrong just because of a careless reading error. Don’t let that happen!
Completed the quant section and knew I would get a 48-49. Had another red bull, washed my face and started off with verbal. I must say that the verbal section on the gmat was tougher than anything I had prepared for or maybe it was just the anxiety and fatigue that were taking their toll. The SCs were okay, but the CRs were quite tricky. I had to re read the stimulus and options. CR was my strongest section during prep, so the low confidence while marking CR answers shook me. Then came the first RC. The RC wasn’t long but it made up for that in its density. Almost all the questions were inference based. By question 20-21, I had totally exhausted myself. The RCs were tough and inference based and I wasn’t marking CRs confidently. I almost gave up. But then that would’ve been the stupidest thing to do. I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. And guess what…the calming exercise really helped. I continued the section and it went off smoothly. Not that I felt it got easier, but I was able to handle myself better during the section. However, my mid section panic ruined my pacing and I had to randomly guess the last 2 questions.
After the screens, I clicked on the report scores and a 720(Q49 V40) popped up. I was happy. After all the mess up in the verbal section, a V40 was more than I could have asked for. And the Q49 added to my happiness. This was the first time in any test that I touched a 49 in quant. A few things I’d like to say
• Don’t neglect the AWA during tests. The AWA section does tire you out before the main gmat. If you don’t want to spend time on the AWA, do some mind stressing activity before you start off with a CAT.
• Always keep calm and be confident. (not stupidly overconfident as I was ) After all the hard work that you put in, being relaxed is the only thing that will ensure you give your best during the test.
• In case you panic during the test(as I did), just take deep breaths and get yourself on track. Trust me, you don’t want to ruin all the effort you put in just because of a few difficult questions that shook your confidence.
• Read the experience of the guys who’ve aced the gmat. They have superb advice and tips from which you can learn. I gained a lot from their debriefs. Get yourself notes put up my Slingfox(Thanks Slingfox!!). They’re simply amazing for revision. However, don’t blindly follow everything they say. I say this because I believe everyone is different. You should take tips from everywhere and follow a plan that best suits you.
• Read motivational gmat posts. These posts gave me confidence everytime I was low and out.
• There are posts where people have mentioned what they’ve done wrong. Learn from their mistakes.
• Make full use of forums such as these. They’re the best resource you could have and they have an answer to every question could ever come to your mind
• The GMAT is beatable. I’m an average guy. If I could get a 700+, most of you out there can. It’s just about putting in your best and studying in an organized manner. Just believe in yourself and keep your confidence up. Panic or anxiety will ruin everything.
Just thought I’ll put in my two cents. Hope it helps. Best of luck guys! Though I’m not as phenomenal as many other guys out there, I’ll try to help you’ll in whatever way I can.
My GMAT debrief: http://gmatclub.com/forum/thanks-all-720-q49-v40-122303.html