I started my GMAT preparation in last week of July ’12, and targeted to take GMAT in first week of October ’12 with 2 months of preparation. Based on the result of diagnostic test and my experience from previous incomplete GMAT preparation in 2008/2009, I was aware that I needed additional help on verbal section. I have used Manhattan and Kaplan
materials for verbal preparation in past but these have not helped in improving my score beyond 36. Having said this, Manhattan GMAT
course materials are superior to most of the materials out there. My quant score in all the mock tests was in range of 47-50, so I decided to spend most of my time in verbal preparation.
On quick research on GMAT club website, I found e-Gmat
and subscribed its online course. Within few weeks of preparation with e-Gmat
course, I started seeing improvement in my sentence correction accuracy – which increased steadily from 50% to 85+%. In addition, this course was also very helpful in CR and RC sections.
After a month, I realized that I will not be able to take GMAT in first week of October as my preparation was detoured by an unplanned international trip; so I needed to re-plan to take the actual test in December. I was able to complete initial preparation with e-Gmat
material by end of October, and I then focused on mock test for 6 weeks till the date of final GMAT. Initially I was satisfied to score 670-680 in first few mock tests, and hoped that I would soon cross 700. To my surprise, I was not able to cross 680 for next 3 weeks which worried me. I have to take final GMAT in next 3 weeks and I was far from my target score range of 750-780.So I did some adjustment in my mock test environment (key to my final score):
1. Quiet Room - Made my room quieter, free of distractions; placed water / Gatorade next to my table; and took continuous test without unplanned breaks.
2. Timing – Decided to limit time spent on any question and continuously hit below targets:
Q Number (After Finishing) Math – Time Left Verbal – Time Left
10, 55 minutes, 56 minutes
20, 35 minutes, 37 minutes
30, 15 minutes, 19 minutes
I used above and other learning from following article to manage my timing: (refer attached document for link)
3. Visualizing success: Zeke Lee’s article (link below) on GMAT psychology and visualizing success helped tremendously to handle pressure and emotions (in addition to timing). (refer attached document for link)
Other article to push the score beyond 700+ : (refer attached document for link)
With above focus and changes, my mock test score shot beyond 700 and I continuously score 700+ in my later mock tests (with exception to 1 test). And scored 760 (Q51, V41) on the actual GMAT test.My prep and final score were:
Practice Tests: Date, Q, V, Total
MGMAT 1, Nov 3 2012, 47, 34, 670
MGMAT 2, Nov 7 2012, 44, 36, 660
MGMAT 3, Nov 10 2012, 47, 35, 680
MGMAT 4, Nov 17 2012, 46, 31, 630
MGMAT 5, Nov 18 2012, 48, 35, 680
MGMAT 6, Nov 29 2012, 49, 38, 710
GMATPrep1, Dec 2 2012, 50, 29, 660
MGMAT 1A, Dec 4 2012, 51, 46, 780
GMATPrep2A, Dec 6 2012, 50, 39, 740
GMATPrep1A, Dec 9 2012, 51, 39, 740
GMATPrep 1B, Dec 13 2012, 50, 42, 760
GMATPrep 2B, Dec 16 2012, 51, 44, 770
MGMAT 2A, Dec 17 2012, 47, 40, 710
GMAT Test, Dec 19 2012, 51, 41, 760Key Preparation points:
1. AWA – I scored 4.5 on AWA. I thought I did well on this section but scored low. I could not comprehend the reason at that time. During prep, I used MS-word grammar report and template as detailed in this article - (refer attached document for link). This worked well for most part of it.
Later after final GMAT, I noticed that there are grammatical errors that MS-word grammar report does not capture (particularly errors related to articles – a, an, the), but the GMAT-Write tool captures. I recommend GMAT-Write Tool to avoid any blind spots. Link to tool: (refer attached document for link)
2. IR: I scored 8 on IR. Given that this section in not yet valued enough, I prepared briefly from this link: (refer attached document for link) . I noticed that IR section is tough and I was not able to complete last 2-3 questions and had to guess on those. Though note that guessing on IT questions is much more error prone due to format of questions in this section. Also note that the MGMAT mock tests IR section are much more difficult than actual IR – I score in range of 3 to 5 in my mock tests – IR section.
3. Quant: If you are good / reasonably good at quant, then quickly review basic math from Manhattan GMAT
materials. To score higher beyond 47, use MGMAT Advanced Quant book (amazon link - (refer attached document for link)) to prepare and religiously follow the timing techniques mentioned earlier.
4. Verbal: After completing Manhattan verbal books, I used e-GMAT
online course extensively for the verbal section. I targeted for 100% accuracy in SC to achieve higher score in this section; and e-GMAT
was helpful in pushing towards that. Given that 16-17 questions out of 41 questions in verbal section are SC questions and there are limited rules that GMAT can test, I understand achieving higher accuracy is key to overall high score in verbal.e-GMAT
makes the verbal section much more logical and understandable. This course removed much of guesswork that I earlier used in this section. I found the e-Gmat
method of audio visual method with pre and post-tests after each concept much more helpful than just reading MGMAT books
. This course helped me in pushing my verbal score from 35 (mock) to 41.
In addition to e-GMAT
material, I used verbal prep material from gmat club verbal advantage section to understand tougher concepts. This is compendium of related articles on tougher verbal concepts (many of these articles are contributed by e-Gmat
). Link - (refer attached document for link)
I hope this debrief of my GMAT experience is helpful.
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