Such has been my fascination with this section of the GMATClub that I have been dreaming to write a debrief since the time I started my GMAT preparations
. I would have spent a crazy number of hours reading debriefs here and I still do. Perhaps the love for a person's story, of the challenges he faces and how he overcomes them is what makes the debriefs all the more enchanting. So this is how MY GMAT journey unfolded - Some background first
I am a 26 year old Male. NAtionality - Indian (living in India). Profession - Sailor
Everytime I came back from my stint at sea, I wondered what should i do at home, and this time it was no different. I realized that although I do not have any immediate plans of switching my career, I may need to do an MBA later in life. I decided to get GMAT out of the way.
By mid feb after a lot of contemplation I decided to give my GMAT in April. That gave me two months to prepare. I had joined GMATClub by then and had casually gone through some of its sections. One of my college senior had just given his GMAT and he suggested that I make optimum use of this website in my prep. That was the best piece of advice i ever got. The First Month -
Although I was adviced to start with Math in my prep, after skimming through the kind of questions asked in the GMAT on the forum, I realized SC was the most alien to me. I feel I have a descent Verbal aptitude, but still there are so many casual errors that I commit in normal written and spoken english that SC needed some work to be done. I got hold of the MGMAT SC
book and read it cover to cover. I then took a crack at reading Quant. Thats when I discovered BUNNEL, the GOD. Until I had come face to face with the legend(or rather his stuff) I was living in a fool's paradise. Quant seemed quite basic to me, and I felt confident on doing well. Although I had not done any Mock tests until
now, I could solve most of the 700 level Quant questions(untimed) and that had given me lots of fake confidence. Bunnel's sets opened my brain to a new world. I realized I was taking lots of time in solving these questions and most of my concepts were unpolished. I went back to BASICS. Read a
ll the MGMAT Quant books. Finished them all probably in a week. Not much was new in those, but it helped to put all the quant concepts tested on the test in perspective. Then I went back to solve the Bunnel's sets. Although a lot of questions still troubled me, I realized I was on firmer ground.
After this I solved the OG Verbal
review. Made a note of the questions I got wrong. But, It was fine and I did not face any major hiccups in any of the Verbal section. No particular section in verbal review was easy or tough for me. I solved SC, CR and RC all with 80-90% accuracy. All these were timed. I gave 2 min per question to myself. Final Month -
I did what I should have done long before. I booked my test!! Since I had not booked the test until now, every time I faced some difficulty in my prep, it occurred to me that it was no big deal. I could improve since i had an infinite amount of time on my hands. I was not challenged. I was taking it
all too easy. I realized this when i gave my first MGMAT Mock. I could not even attempt the last 7 Math questions and Verbal was a struggle
. And since I had booked my test I was, for the first time in my prep, running against time. I collected my wits after the debacle and ordered the Official
Guide 13. Solved the questions (only the last 100 in PS and DS and all Verbal questions) in the guide. That again raised my confidence, since I could solve a lot of the questions correctly. However, I did all these questions under timed conditions.
What followed was arguably the most important part of the preparations - THE MOCKS
I had bought the MGMAT Mocks and ended up doing 4 of the 6 tests offered. Here's my analysis of the tests-
1. Quant (especially the 1st 2 tests) too lengthy and calculation intensive.
2. Verbal a lot like the real thing(Although SC and CR were a lot more convoluted on the real GMAT)
Scoring depends upon what is your forte- If you are good in calculation intensive maths and have got all your SC rules in place, then the score may reflect your true prospective GMAT Score. Otherwise, the scoring is probably 20-40 points below your real capability.
My scores on these tests ranged between Q - (46-51) and V - (37-40)
I also gave the GMAT Prep tests. Here is my take on those -
1. Quant and Verbal the most representative of the real GMAT.IR a little tougher than the GMAT.
2. Scoring the most representative of the real GMAT.
I had saved all the GMATPrep tests
for the last. Gave the 1st one 2 weeks prior to my GMAT and the second one 1 week prior to the GMAT. My scores were -
GMATPREP 1 - 760 Q49 V45
GMATPREP 2 - 750 Q50 V40G-DAY
Reading a lot from these forums had prepared me well for test day and thank God for that. I had read somewhere on these forums that it is good to visit your test center a day before the test. Since I was at a hotel in a new town a day before my test, I decided to pay heed to that advice. Visited the
center in the evening. The good thing was that the test center was not very far away from my hotel and It took me 30 minutes by auto rickshaw to reach there.
TEST DAY- Could not sleep well the night before. Usual test day anxiety. Still managed a descent 5 hours(I usually sleep for 8-10 hours). Did around 5 problems each from all sections from the GMAT Prep software just to get in the mood!!! Got my stuff. ID, Appointment confirmation, Wallet, water and biscuits. Left for the center. I got into an auto rickshaw, which was stuffed with an unusually large number of passengers. It had not gone even gone a kilometer when a loud thud broke the front glass. Hordes of people circumscribed the vehicle and started thrashing the driver. I then came to know that it was a call for total shutdown of the city, called in protest of something that happened the last night. It sent my heartbeats racing. Since I had visited the center last night, I had left my hotel accordingly, keeping only a small time as spare
. I realized I was not going to get any conveyance to the center and thus had no other option but to walk. I walked briskly. The streets were deserted and had i not visited my test location before, I doubt if I would have been able to reach in time, if at all i had managed to reach.
Well, I did reach the center just in the nick of time(exhausted already from all that brisk walk, but probably well warmed up for the battle
) Deposited all my belongings. Went inside and started my test. AWA
: It was a simple argument, with some readily apparent flaws. Got down to business. Finished it just in time. Could not revise though. Expecting a 5. IR
: I had problems with IR all through out my mocks. Still never lost any sleep over it. Did not even finish the 50 questions that came along with OG13. The real IR was a lot easier than the mocks. (The MGMAT IR is insanely tough). I think i did just fine. Will be happy If I get anything above 5. Quant
: The quant on the real GMAT was the easiest Quant section that I ever encountered in all my mocks. I took a lot of time on the questions, double checked my answers, and only then moved on to the next question. Did get some tricky DS questions, but nothing unmanageable. One stark difference from the MGMAT quant was the emphasis on concepts, especially in DS. Few, if any required heavy calculations. I did get one Geometry question(PS) that i could not get my head around, even after spending a good deal of time on it. Made a random guess on that and moved on. Finished the section with close to 5 minutes left. Felt bad about it. I thought that I had made a lot of silly mistakes in my initial questions and thus the system was only throwing medium level questions at me. Yet, another piece of advice from this forum came to my rescue- Do not be bothered by the perceived difficulty of the questions (some can be hard, u may think that they are easy, experimental questions etc). I tried getting all that negativity out of my head and went into the break.Verbal
: I knew that the real Verbal section was going to be tougher than anything I had practiced (due to anxiety and exhaustion) The few CRs at the start were anything but straightforward. The options were kind of too close to each other. I may have spent close to 3 minutes each on 2-3 of them. Still I kept my concentration up. SC, although similar to GMAT prep was dense, in comparison to MGMAT. I had to read and re read the options before i could decide on a single choice. I think I got a lot of CRs and SCs wrong in the first 10, and that could have pulled my score down. Got my first RC at Q-12. RC was alright. Similar to the OG and MGMAT mocks.
I completed the Verbal section just in time. Was not feeling confident at all(I never could, in any of the mocks, since most of the answers to the tough questions are arrived at by POE)
Reported my scores 740 Q50 V40
Felt happy. Not over the moon, but not down in the dumps either. It could have been better, but then it could have been far worse.
Here's my quick summary of the things that I realized helped me the most.
1. Get your BASICS right, before even attempting to solve questions. No matter how many questions you solve you can never exhaust the questions that can be asked on the GMAT. The MGMAT books
was what I went to get my concepts air tight.
2. For quant, I did the OG 13
questions(just the last 100) and refered GMAT club's explanations for all of them. Learned to solve some questions faster. Timed myself for every question. If i took an inordinately long time for any question or got them wrong, i used to make a mark in the book itself. Revisited them later. Did the same for Bunnel's sets and other 700 level questions on the forum.
3. For Verbal, do only OFFICIAL questions. I did OG 13
and Verbal review. Their explanations are great too. However if u r getting the same kind of questions wrong(SC same kind of error, RC details or main idea, CR-boldfce etc) google them for better explanations.
4. Maintain a notebook all throughout your prep. When reading MGMAT SC
book, take notes. Even if u think that u have understood a new concept at that time, be rest assured you will make mistakes in its application later. So make a note of anything that feels novel to u. Even for quant, if some explanation is better than your approach, or if u find a shortcut method make a note of that.
5. ERROR LOG
- A lot of praise has been bestowed on this hallowed document already. However, it just did not suit me. I tried using one of the popular ones uploaded on this website, but it ended up consuming a lot of my time. So i decided to shun it. what i did instead was to make a notepad my Error
log. Whenever I used to get a sum wrong, and if it was due to some concept lack, i used to paste that question in this notepad. I maintained a separate notepad document for the solution of these questions. At the end of each solution i used to note what I did incorrectly in that question. These questions I used to revisit every 10-15 days. At the end of my prep, I had close to 50 Quant questions in this document.This enabled to address my mistakes and if i used to get a question wrong the second time or even the third time, i used to make special note of these. The next time i used to solve only the questions i solved incorrectly the last time and any new questions. Thus I tried to ensure I did not repeat my mistakes.
6. Probably the most important of all things i learnt. ANALYZE YOUR MOCKS. I always maintained a fair gap between all my mocks, so that I could understand the kind of mistakes i was committing in the test day mode. Every mock helped me to improve. I realized I cannot work on questions with
full concentration if I kept worrying about the clock ticking away. I then devised a strategy to hide the clock and have a look at it only at pre specified question numbers. This enabled me to take the time factor virtually out of the question solving process. In some time, I developed a gut feeling as to when I was taking too long at a problem and that i should move on(but without looking at the clock after every question)
I realized that I was performing horrificly at DS. In the rush hour i was sometimes using both statements without even considering them alone, sometimes using both statements but marking only B(subconsiosuly using the 1st statement too). I went back to the drawing board then. Solved some DS problems. Started writing LEGIBLY on my rough work things like - " ST 1 ..., St 2...., Both...."
I realized that of all the mistakes that i was committing on Quant, 80-90% were silly mistakes, such as ignoring the INTEGERS, EVEN, ODD, PRIME etc part of the questions, or in Verbal not reading the EXCEPT in the RC or CR question. Again started addressing this by writing clearly on the rough sheet
all that was mentioned, such as +ve, integers, except etc. (and not just hoping to register it in my head). Silly mistakes were my biggest nemesis on Quant. I think i still would have managed to do around 4-5 such mistakes on the real GMAT
, but i m happy it was not 10-15, like it used to be in my mocks.
I know it has been a terribly Long Debrief, but if u have read through all the above i hope it benefits you in some way. I enjoyed writing this as writing a debrief was actually one of the perks of appearing for the GMAT, that i was looking fwd to
(Business schools are still quite far).
I must admit i enjoyed it.
P.S. Just before my G-Day One of the GMATClubber had wished me luck that I kiss 750. GIAN, I could not quite kiss 750, but i did manage a peck on the cheeks.
Happy prepping guys.
P.P.S. Received my AWA and IR scores