I gave my GMAT for the third time yesterday and scored a 730 ( Q 50, V 40 ) 96 percentile
I ran out of time and could not answer the last question on verbal..oh well.
This is probably what I looked like after I saw the score :
About me : Indian, male, 31 years old. Working in USA for last 7 years in media and entertainmentAttempt # 1 : 620 ( Q 39 , V 36)
I gave my first GMAT about a year ago on Nov 15, 2011 and scored 620.
You can read my debrief here :gmat-620-q-39-v-35-knocked-over-not-knocked-out-123203.html
Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed and knew that my score was not good enough to get me into a good b-school.So I decided to spend some time to improve my GMAT score and push my MBA plans ahead by a year.Attempt # 2: 620 ( Q 42, V 33 )
My second attempt was on August 25, 2012.
I spared no expense in preparing for this attempt. I signed up for the Knewton online GMAT course. I signed up for the e-gmat
online course. I bought Jeff Sackmann’s sets. Between Dec 2011 to Aug 2012 , I solved literally thousands of quant problems,gave MGMAT tests multiple times and pretty much had GMAT on my mind 24x7. However, no matter how much I practiced, I never crossed the magical 700 on any of my MGMAT tests. The highest I scored on them was 680.I scored 630 and 650 on the two GMAT PREP tests before the second attempt.
I was not confident of getting 700 in my real but I expected to score atleast a 670 or 680.
Real GMAT score : 620
Now this was a true wake up call in a lot of ways. Even after more than 8-9 months of preparation I got the same score ! My quant score improved from 39 to 42 . It was still low, but there was at least some improvement. I always considered verbal as my stronger section on the GMAT. The drop in my verbal score from a 36 to 33 was very disappointing. None of the online courses seemed to work for me.
It was almost September, the first round deadlines were looming over. I attended a lot of b-school information sessions. I always felt that I was going for every session with a huge disadvantage because of my low GMAT. While talking to the school alumni or admission panel members, my first question would always be “ How does the admission committee look at someone with a low GMAT score ? “ Everyone always replied that the whole application was looked at holistically and admission did not depend on GMAT score alone. But there was always a hint that the GMAT score needs to be close to the class average to improve your chances.
I knew I was clutching at straws here. There was no way around it. I had to get a good GMAT score.Attempt # 3 : 730 ( Q 50, V 40 )
I went ahead and scheduled a date for Nov 19. I also hired a private tutor to help me boost my quant score. I had already exhausted all my MGMAT tests and already taken both the GMAT Prep tests. For two months I practiced quant from my tutor’s material , OG 13
and GMAT prep question pack. For verbal I only used OG 13
and GMAT prep question pack and MGMAT SC
I gave only two GMAT prep tests ( after resetting ) and scored 650 and 710. The 710 was after a straight two week practice from GMAT prep question pack . This was the only time I scored above 700 on any of my practice tests.
I had a pretty shaky start on quant yesterday. The first question was a simple overlapping sets
problem.But for some reason, I couldn't make out anything of the problem even after reading it twice. I spent 2 minutes just reading the problem and deciding on how to approach it. I took a deep breath and tried to relax a little bit and read the problem again. I started solving it and got a wrong answer. I tried to keep calm and solved it correctly for the second time. I spent a whole 6 mins on the first question. I could solve the second question easily. I got into the rhythm soon and was able to finish quant in time.
I actually enjoyed the verbal section on my GMAT yesterday. I was happy to see that my practice from only official questions was paying off and could recognize the patterns for SC questions.
RC and CR were pretty standard but I ended up spending a lot of time on two CR questions.
I ran out of time for the final question on verbal. If I would have answered that I might have been able to score more on verbal.Takeaways :For Quant :
posts are the bomb. Anytime I was unsure about a problem, I scoured gmatclub’s posts till I found Bunuel’s explanation for it. His lucid explanations make even the most twisted problems easy to understand.
I used OG 12
, OG 13
, Horacio’s problem sets and GMAT prep question pack for practice.
I also used http://www.gmatquantum.com
for explanations to OG quant
problems.For Verbal :
- DEVELOP A STRATEGY THAT WORKS FOR YOU
The internet is filled with tips, tricks and all sorts of different methods when it comes to approaching GMAT Verbal. Read all of them and see what works for you and stick with it.
I read a bunch of methods for effectively approaching RC and took bits and pieces from each one and combined them to form a method that worked very well for me. I was able to achieve more than 90% accuracy using it. I can post the details of my approach for RC if anyone needs it .
- SCMGMAT SC
guide, Ron Purewal’s explanations on manhattan gmat
forums and only OG and GMAT Prep questions .I can't stress enough on how important it is to use only questions that are truly representative of the ones used on the real test.
GMAT SC questions are based on pattern recognition more than anything. Stick with the official material and you won't go wrong.
I highly recommend getting the GMAT Prep question pack for verbal practice.General :
- RELAX .
Don't try to judge your performance while taking the test. I made a big deal about taking the test for the first two attempts and failed. I treated my third GMAT attempt as a casual event...worked wonders for me.
- DONT TRY TO BE A JUGGERNAUT.
You cant tackle every GMAT question head-on.I learned this the hard way. Unless you are a super awesome quant genius and a english language pundit, chances are that you won't be able to knock out every question the GMAT throws at you. The key is to pick your battles. The GMAT is smart, you have be smarter in not wasting your time on questions that you cannot solve.Guess and move on. Use that time for other questions.
- STUDY CONCEPTUALLY
Everybody says this, and I will too. I took two GMATS without doing it and scored a 620 twice. I put in tons of time and did thousands of questions. I changed my style and scored a 730. It is pointless to solve thousands of questions without reviewing your mistakes. Review your mistakes, analyze them, understand the concepts clearly and make sure those mistakes and not repeated again.
- STAY MOTIVATED.
My GMAT saga lasted for a whole year and a half. It was a pretty bleak time with disappointing results. I logged on to gmatclub everyday to read the comeback stories and GMAT debriefs.
The GMAT can be beaten. There is always hope and chance for improvement if you believe in it.
My GMAT Debrief : http://gmatclub.com/forum/third-time-s-a-charm-142800.html#p1145912
Quant Concept Videos : http://gmatlife.blogspot.com/2012/07/gmat-quant-videos.html
My GMAT Blog : http://gmatlife.blogspot.com/