My Real GMAT score
Scaled score Percentile
Quantitative 50 93
Verbal 37 80
Total 720 94
I am an Indian IT engineer. I have been working in US since 2003. I wanted to move into business, hence I switched my career from IT Indian giant to US Healthcare Company in bay area. I am one of those guys who always thought that I have already achieved lots of things in life, but I started to think about my MBA as I realized that I need a Master’s degree to further advance myself in my career. I never read any books apart from work related. I have very poor reading habit.
After being out of school for the past 10 yrs, I was struggling with basic Math. I could not concentrate for more than 30 min. Verbal RCs always put me to sleep. I was doing OG 12
during my BART rides. I bought Manhattan SC/RC/CR after reading reviews in Amazon. I also enrolled in Dave GMAT course just to have a regular study pattern. Once the course was completed, I took my GMAT prep 1, somewhere in early May and ended up with 560 (Q48, V24). I did not even understand what these scores mean at that time. But was very disappointed that I scored only only 560. At this point, I was thinking to reach 650. Verbal was my biggest nemesis, I hated it so much that I did not want to practice it. I always practiced Quants.
I scheduled my test in mid July, as my baby was due in 1st week of August. I thought I had a master plan to conquer GMAT. I took a week PTO from work prior to my test day. I over-stretched myself. I was studying about 15 hrs a day for the entire week. Took my GMAT Prep2 3 days prior to the test day and I was shattered to score only 590 (Q48, V26). To add to the wounds, my wife had to go to labor 2 days prior to my test and my son was born a day prior to the exam. All these resulted in me not able to take the exam. I was extremely happy for my son but disappointed with not being able to take the exam.
I scheduled my test again after 2 months. This time I was more focused. I met a guy during my BART ride, after seeing me practicing GMAT; he started talking to me about what I was doing. He told me that he got selected in ISB. He told me about gmatclub and other forums and how it helped him so much to improve his scores. After that, I started using GMAT club and all its resources. I read through several GMAT experience posts (particularly the ones who improved verbal scores), this helped me to realize what it takes to score well in GMAT. I changed my strategy, I allocated 80%.of my time with verbal and did not bother about Quants except practicing OG 12
during rides. I did not gain much from Manhattan SC in my first 2 reads. But for the third time, I read the glossary first to understand what a clause, gerund, infinitive, phrase mean. This helped me to understand the rules a lot better.
I also found grockit. It’s free to practice. One of the primary reasons for me not doing well in verbal is that I am a very slow reader, hence I started using grockit every night and it helped me to increase my reading speed and comprehend. I was still fighting with RCs at this time. I was answering most SC’s within 45 sec. CR was always my strength.
2 days prior to the test my hands started to shake as I was reviewing my error logs. This may not work well for everyone, but whenever I was shaky or nervous, I started to eat something I really like cake, biryani etc). I simply went out and ate some food when I was nervous. I normally do not go to buffets, but I went to 2 consecutive buffets prior to the test day. This helped me to relax a lot and it took my mind of the test.
Test Day Experience
My test was at 12 noon. I found Borders close to the test center and was waiting and seeing some of the error logs. I had a sandwich and a cookie at 11 am and drove to the test center. I signed in and gave my finger prints and photo. Everything was real smooth and easy and everyone at the test center was very friendly. Please review GMAT bulletin at mba.com prior to the test.AWA
I did not do anything but review Chinese burned’s thread. I did my last couple of CATS with AWA. This helped me to build some confidence. I still do not have my scores but both the essays were extremely easy. I am hoping to sore 6.0.
I took the break and forget to get the keys for the storage so I could not eat anything
but still just relaxed for a while. I went in early with 2 min left on the clock.
I received my score report. AWA 6.0.Quants
This is where the fun started. I got lots of arithmetic, inequality questions. Surprisingly the quants were very very easy. DS was my weakness; hence if I found a tough DS problem, then I made an educated guess and moved on. I got only couple of geometry and one probability question. I was doing really well on time. I was 100% sure of the answer for all the PS problems. Even for the tough ones, I took my time to answer them because I knew that I can get them correct. I got couple of tough compound interest questions; I think this is where I lost some points. Overall I felt Quants went really well. I finally scored 50, which is definitely on the high end of my practice scores. If you do OG 12
couple of times band review Bunnel’s posts, I am sure you can score well in Quants. Also error logs are a must.
I took the break again and I ensure that I got the keys this time. Drank Gatorade and ate some walnut.Verbal
I knew that this is where my final score will be decided. I got 4 straight SCs to start with and all tough ones. It was easy to eliminate 2 or 3 options but was really confusing to choose between the last couple. It was followed by a couple of big RC with 4 para and followed 4 questions. I got couple of bold faced CRs as well. Overall, CRs was just similar to OG, it was not that tough. RC and SC were tougher than OG, you really need more practice on these areas to score well. Also I was really tried with last 10 questions and I am sure this is where I made some mistakes which pulled my verbal score back a little.
Then the suspense, I chose to report my scores and I was excited to see 720 on the screen
Materials UsedOG 12
, OG 11
, Verbal and Quant 2nd editionManhattan CR
, SC and RC
GMAT club resources
Brutal SCs and Quant 198 from GMAT prep
I did take lots of practice tests to build stamina.
GMAT Prep 1 -5/15 (Q48, V25) – 560
GMAT Prep 2 -7/15 (Q48, V33) – 590
GMAT Prep 1 Retake -7/5 (Q48, V33) – 660
MGMAT CAT1 - 7/14 (Q48, V37) - 700
MGMAT CAT 2 - 7/18 - (Verbal only, V36)
MGMAT CAT 3 - 7/21 (Verbal only, V35)
MGMAT CAT 4 - 8/21 (Q44, V36) - 660
MGMAT CAT 5 - 8/28 (Q44, V36) – 660VERITAS
CAT free ones - 9/11 (Q49, V34) – 650Kaplan
- 9/18 (Q44, V42) - 660
GMAT Prep 2- 9/19 (Q47, V37) - 690
What worked well?
1. GMAT is all about confidence. Be confident that you can do well. Try to remember your college days and how you did well and try to execute the same strategy.
2. Focus on your weakness and trust your strengths. In the beginning, I skipped verbal and focused too much on Quants and it did not help me to improve my scores. I knew that things will come together in Quants, I was always confident.you need balanced scores to improve your overall score.
3. OG 12
, 11 and 2nd edition along with Manhattan verbal guides are must.
4. Maintain error logs and be sure to analyze your practice scores on where you are making mistakes.
5. Take GMAT Prep’s more than once, these are excellent practice. Even though retakes boost your score, it helps to build confidence.
6. Take practice tests every weekend to pace yourself and build stamina. It all boils down to how you manage time in Quants and verbal.
7. Last but not the least, the encouragement, motivation, and advice I got from fellow GMAT club members is priceless. I would not have come this far, if it is not for the encouragement given by some of the senior members in the forum.
I never thought I will have this big of a story to write, but it will sure help someone in the future. I know that I still have a long way to get admitted into my target schools, but GMAT is a good beginning. I am happy with my score.
I am primarily interested in Haas-Berkeley-Columbia EMBA program.