I thought it would be really helpful to a lot of you guys if I shared my Gmat experience.It has been a journey,primarily because it took me a long time to find out what is really required.I am sure a lot of you feel the same way.GMAT 1:
I first started studying for the GMAT 3 years ago after not having picked up a book for close to a decade.I started with all the normally recomemnded books:Princeton, Kaplan
and some math guides.As I started preparing I felt extremely confident of verbal and since I was out of touch, I was moderately confident of math.
With an attempt to excel, i put in the hours required (at least 3 hours on weekdays and 5 hours over weekends) to understand the concepts etc.I studied the enclosed books thoroughly:
4.OG and OG verbal
and quantititative books
5.Official GMATPREP tests
My average Math rose to 46% and my average verbal was about 37% so I was expecting a score of about 680.Having said that, I was not conistent enouugh and there were fluctuations in my scores-620 or 680-the average was about 650.MY essay score in round one was 5.5.
My official test score was 630(math 46% and verbal 32%).I was disappointed because this was the lowest verbal score across all my tests ,but I knew that one of the reasons was the amount of time I had to spend just to figure out which material is the best etc, so I set out to study the right material and prepare for attempt 2.GMAT 2:
During the second attempt, I bought all the Manhattan GMAT
material.I avoided princeton because I felt that I had soaked in as much as I could from Princeton(the material is for beginners)
I studied all of the above and mastered the Manhattan GMAT
material-their material is very very good and precise.I also took their tests 2 times each .My average score on MGMAT tests were 680 and my average math was 46% and verbal was 37% so I was confident of beating the GMAT.
Attempt 2:I felt exactly as I had after the first attempt during the break between math and verbal.I thought to myself again'Math was hard, but I felt I did ok'.This usually does mean that Math was harder than usual, which means I did do better.I finished the verbal section.I was extremely disappointed by what I saw-a score of 620(46% Math and 29% verbal).Again, the worst ever verbal score across all my tests.My essaey score was 6/6.
With this is mind I analysed throughly on what the problems were:
I knew most of the concepts.In attempt 2, I had learnt complex and advanced absolute value etc etc.What was the problem then?.My wife pointed out to me that since I knew most of the material, that I should take more tests.It was all a matter of practice.With this in mind, i solved for the enclosed(THIS IS THE BIGGEST LEARNING WHICH I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE):Mastering Verbal:
I know everything, then why such suboptimal performance during the test.Solution:
a)Practice a lot(dont waste time studying concepts again and again)
b)Time yourself and put pressure(GMAT Club Timer is excellent)
c)Most important:Don't choose an answer until you have eliminated others.Most often in verbal you will find that the right answer is right because the others are really wrong.So I started making an ABCDE chart and marking off each question in that grid.On the tough ones I was usually left with two options, and I usually got the one right after some thought.
d)I am a really fast reader, but my RC was horrendous.I tried all the techniques etc, but never got more than 60% accuracy.So i did the following:I practiced and read actively, even if there were issues initially.I made a checklist for the following:what is the main point/tone of the author/attitude of the author/gist of each passage and could this sentence be useful or interesting as a question?In addition I did two more things:a) the ABCDE approach as for other verbal questions and b)read question 1.I figured that if I got the first one right I am almost there.
e)The ABCDE approach worked after initially being a burden on my time.I was soon getting 35-36 out of 41 correct on verbal.Maths and Overall:
I thought to myself again, I know everything in Maths conceptually, I clearly need to practice harder and harder questions.With this in mind I did the following:
a)Used the EZ methods advanced Math book-nice questions for somebody who is looking at excelling in Math
b)Used the Manhattan tests effectively-these are the best math questions for the GMAT
c)used the GMAT Club Math test:Awesome resource(wish I could done all of them before the test)
d)Used the Kaplan
Tests:Not very GMAT like questions-but great to practice your timing drills.
e)I also decided that to beat the GMAT, I need to start scoring 730 odd on tests at home, so even under pressure, if there is a drop in score I will ensure I reach my goal.
f)Again-very important-I spent hours mastering stuff-I spent a lot of time one each question I got wrong or found difficult till I mastered it.This is the biggest reason my scores started moving up.
My average score had reached 730 and in fact I event got 760 on some tests.I was ready and I felt confident.GMAT 3:
I got some really hard questions on Math upfront(during the first 10), I thought to myself-this could only be good and moved on.After Math, I felt the same way I had during my first two attempts-but I knew if cracked verbal I was through.
When I saw the final score I was elated.I had scored 700(Math 44 verbal 42).I knew that I had severly underperformed in Math and that if I had-I would have scored a 750, but I knew that this is a test format where you cannot predict results.You just have to ensure your score is high enough in your practice tests.
These are my learnings from the test.I wish you al the very best!
PS-Please do reach out to me in case you need my material/or any other kind of help on the GMAT.