I took GMAT this morning (8 AM !) and glad to report that I am done.
Is this enough - YES.
Do I want more - YES.
Will I retake - NO.
Thanks to everyone here. I have pm'ed few of you and discussed question with others. I think this forum is extremely helpful in providing a platform to people with similar goals. (I plan to write another posts on how GMATclub is actually contributing to pushing the overall GMAT score higher). Thanks to everyone, especially BB !
A little longish debrief, but my prep went through a little roller coaster ride.
I had been procrastinating for a while. I knew that I would need to put in some effort and was just been lazy. Finally, I started preparing in mid Sep, 2010. Prep Time -
6 weeks. I work full time, therefore, I invested 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening on weekdays, and about 5 hours on the weekends, except the last four days before the GMAT. For the last four days before the GMAT, I was focusing full-time on GMAT with about 8 hours a day.Material used -
Bought in 2009:
MGMAT - Complete Set of 8 GuidesOG 12
Downloaded in Oct, 2010:
Like many other people have already said - OG12
gives you a pretty good idea about the stuff you will see in the GMAT.
I started by going through all the 8 MGMAT guides
. It took me about 3 weeks; couple of hours daily. I did not use the CR from MGMAT. It is way absurd and you never know the OA coz they have real weird justifications. Once I was done with the MGMAT set, I knew it was time to take an appointment and fire up GMATPrep-I. On 1st Oct, I took an appointment for 1st Nov, 2010
.3rd Oct, 2010 - GMAT Prep I 650
- Ran out of time on both Quant and Verbal Sections (questions unattended). Definitely a big wake up call. I knew the stuff, but wasn't use to crunching the numbers and reading with the clock ticking away.
Started working on OG12
problems in timed conditions. Finished PS section and still working on all other categories. Timing: DS is about 2 mins and PS is about 2.5 mins.10th Oct, 2010: MGMAT I - 700
Quant Section seemed tougher/lengthier than OG 12
questions (maybe not I was not use to MGMAT style quant questions). Took short paragraph pointers for RC and it was extremely helpful.
So now I just got to keep working on my timing and get myself familiar with different types of questions. That was easy !
Rishiraj had emailed me SC Grail and trust me - YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO HAVE SC GRAIL. Unless, you kick some serious butt in SC. From a 20% success rate in SC, I was finally getting about 80% right.17th Oct, 2010: MGMAT II - 580
WTF ! I couldn't believe what had hit me with just 3 weeks to go. Thanks to mainhoon for his assistance. My confidence was shaken up. What the hell happened to SC Grail. I did bad in both Q and V. Extremely lengthy questions in Quant and absurd CR questions.
Got up next day and continued working question. Use to spend my lunch time at work solving question on the forum.21th Oct, 2010: MGMAT III - Did not finish whole thing but got Q 38
So essentially no progress.24th Oct, 2010: MGMAT IV - 620
With 2 weeks to go it is not something that will pump you up. Didn't help much. I only kept telling myself that everyone says that MGMAT quant is way tougher than GMAT quant. A rush performance in quant use to spoil verbal for me. Was still struggling to finish quant. Already started looking at retaking. A retake will not be possible until Jan, 2011. I had put in a decent effort and wanted to get more out of it. Did I do something wrong ? Was my approach wrong ?
25th Oct ~ 28th Oct - Fired up GMAT Club Verbal and Quant Tests. They are not CAT, but still FABULOUS. They are not complete tests, but helps you get your timing right in each section. For everyone making issues with the time - Try and get use to the clock. Not all of us can perform with the clock running, but that is the reality of GMAT. You have to get yourself conditioned to not get pressurized by the clock. GMAT Tests helped me with my time issue. I was getting about 80% correct, but that was fine. I was at least completing the section on time.
Started with Q1 ~ Q4. I was finishing with time remaining on the clock and a decent performance. Started getting my confidence back. Moved to Q20 and missed one question. Ahhhh ! The tests get tougher as you move on. I did all tests from Q16 to Q25 and V1 to V4.
I was OFF for about 4 days before my GMAT (28th ~ 31st). These four days - one CAT a day, followed by a complete review of the CAT and continue working on GMAT Club Tests
.28th Oct, 2010: GMAT Prep I - 720
. (80% of the tests was different than my previous GMATPrep I)29th Oct, 2010: MGMAT V - 680
.30th Oct, 2010: GMAT Prep II - 730
.31th Oct, 2010: MGMAT VI - 700
.1st Nov, 2010: Actual GMAT - 720
1. It seems that GMAT is like second nature for some people. I think it is all about conditioning the mind. GMAT is all about using trick and shortcuts. It is all about knowing how to approach the questions in quant and read between the lines in CR. In SC, one has to identify the mistake and come up with the correct version before looking at the choices.
2. SC Grail talks about reading vertically. VERTICAL ! who does that. I was like, this guy is crazy. Who knew I will be reading vertical too. I noticed this about 1 week before the GMAT. I was reading vertically through the choices. If you are not sure about SC question, sleep with the SC Grail under your pillow (it helps
). Seriously, keep flipping through the Grail, it is very NEAT. The SC Grail is based on MGMAT SC
book. I had both. MGMAT SC
helps to give you more detailed explaination, but sometimes you don't need that. You just need to know that "would" is used for future of the past and for hypothetical cases. This is what SC Grail does.
3. Last one week - crank it up with the CATs. Run at least one CAT a day. Your brain needs to get conditioned to the whole thing. I think my last 4 days of prep played a vital role in helping me recover from my 580 on MGMAT II. For the first GMATPRep on 3rd Oct, I froze on my own study table. It just showed that I had to condition myself not to get nervous when the clock is running.
Make sure you get good sleep at least two nights before the test. At least it was important to me. People talk about cranking CATs the night before. In my opinion, not a good idea.
I stopped visiting GMATCLub a week before my GMAT. You do not want to get distracted in your last week.
Got up at 4 AM. Ran through the last 10 questions in each category from OG12
. I think this is important to get the brain fired up. Got ready and was at the center at 7:15 AM. Extremely nice people at the center, nice place. In case anyone if curious - took it at the center on 1960 in Houston.
While waiting to check-in, another lady had craving for c affine. She decided to uncap her coke. BOOOOM. The whole freaking thing exploded like a mini bomb. I was like - are we under attack ? I thought they had found all the explosives
Luckily, I was not sitting next to her ! She and I were the only two GMAT takers. Got my face, thumb and palms scanned and moved to the testing area.
AWA - Standard stuff. Make sure you stop typing with 2 mins to go. Use the last two minutes to proof read. I believe there is this e-rater or something. Pretty sure the best that machine can do is look for spelling mistakes.
QUANT - Started off easy. Kept moving smoothly. Kept an eye on the clock. Suddenly two DS question that I could solve in my head. (something you develop with the MGMAT guides
- you do not need to solve or calculate each and every DS question, some can be figure by looking at the choices). So now, for the first time in 1 month, I am like a minute ahead of the clock
. Got this weird Vein Diagram question - look 5 minutes !. Finally I guess and moved on. Last two question had two minutes. Guessed the last one. I am sure if I had 30 seconds more, I would have worked it out.
VERBAL - Started off well with CRs and SCs. I think I got 4 RC. The last RC was exceptionally small. Like, double the size of a long CR statement. I don't know what was the deal with that. Anyways, finished with 18 seconds on the clock.
Clicked through all the other stuff. KEEP / CANCEL ? KEEP - 720
All the prep leads to this one moment
. It is like an orgasm; it is all over in a second. [highlight]ADVICE[/highlight]
-The key is in bring your performance to the optimum by the test date.
The brain needs to get conditioned to checkout and check-in information from the storage areas as you are solving the problems. You don't want to peak out before the test. In my case, I just got lucky that I got my act together in the week before the GMAT. From my experience - make sure you hit the pedal at the right time, not too soon, not too late. I think a week before the test is just good enough.Stay calm.
Absolute key to your performance. I know it is easy for me to say this now but trust me, I had been telling myself to stay calm for the last four days leading up to the tests.Learn to loose a few battles to win the war
. I had a lot of difficulty with this in the earlier prep CATs, but managed to learn to move on. I think it is important to realize that the system is like a homing device. It is infact designed to access your GMAT taking skills (for whatever they are worth !). A wrong answer will lead to an easier question, which you will hopefully get right, and that brings you back to the higher level again.Never leave any question
Most of you must be aware, but still - make sure you finish the sections before the time runs out. The penalties are heavyyyyyy. You will pay through your nose.GMAT Prep is the key
I think it is a true indicator of the final performance. No doubt. Period. Don't waste the two GMATPrep CAT. Use them wisely.Sometimes CAT performance at be misleading
All of us try to solve a lot of questions on this forum. A lot of these questions come from the various CATS. Hence, we actually end up beating some of these questions to death before we see them in the prep CATs. If you have been posting long enough, you have most probably seen them all. Of course, it wrongly bumps up the prep score, especially if it was a high level question.
Good luck to everyone. You will always find me browsing around this forum.
All things are possible to those who believe.