I took my Gmat recently and scored a 760 (Q50, V44). It was not an easy journey for me from a 640 on my first attempt. This time around I did things quite differently and hope this debrief helps anyone looking for ways to ace the Gmat. So here it goes.
First of all, I would like to thank Strategy4GMAT ( http://strategy4gmat.com/
) for their wonderful support. I was lucky enough to stumble upon them at the beginning of my preparation and this was what was different from my previous experience of taking the Gmat. Smart work for Gmat preparation is as important as hard work. Strategy4Gmat helped me plan my studies and mocks. The consultants provide invaluable personalized service and their constant advice throughout helped me keep my preparation on track. They helped me plan every minute detail of test preparation and test taking. My call with my consultant just one day before my exam covered every aspect of test taking and truly helped a very anxious test taker (me!) calm down. I highly recommend their services. For me Strategy4Gmat was the difference between a good and a great score and without their guidance I would not have managed to cross the 700 mark. The guidance they provide is unmatched and a sure shot recipe for success.
In addition to this, I would highly recommend GmatClub. It was my bible throughout my preparation. From great questions to elaborate explanations, GmatClub is the perfect resource for Gmat preparation. I would definitely recommend it to anyone preparing for the test. This is where you start!
I also joined Jamboree
classroom coaching. The teachers are smart and knowledgeable and the study material that Jamboree
provides really helped me a lot. It is a great collection of a vast number of questions. Also classroom study really appeals to me as you also learn lot from your peer group. So for anyone comfortable with a classroom pattern of learning, I suggest Jamboree
is the place to be.
I am a dentist, which means I have not dealt with numbers in a long time. Although I was really good in mathematics in school, my concepts had become sketchy and hence I started off my preparation with quant. Initially it took a lot of effort as i had to literally dissect each question and internalize the concept. With time, though, it got much easier. I highly recommend stick to the official questions. There are endless resources to prepare from but the best to study from are the ones released by GMAC.
Verbal was never really an issue for me, except for SC. Initially I would rely a lot on my sense of hearing and that is not the best way to prepare for this particular section. Hence I purchased the Manhattan SC guide. Although I could not finish all of it but it definitely helped me clear some concepts and rules. Along with the Manhattan guide I received the full set of Manhattan mocks. I took 4 of these mocks and found them slightly harder than the GMAT Prep mocks but they were a great way of getting used to the test taking system. Don’t be disappointed by your mock scores, just keep going. It is extremely important to build the stamina to sit for that long and keep the concentration level at its maximum. This gets really hard towards the end of the test. So guys practice as much as you can. Another thing that is very important is to time yourself throughout your preparation, even if you’re not taking a mock. I cannot emphasize enough on its importance as it gets really tricky on the test when the timer is ticking on the right top corner. Be prepared to work under time pressure.
The materials that I referred to were -
OG 16 (did it twice)Jamboree
Manhattan Sc guide
Gmat Club questions
Official questions released by GMAC available for purchase
I took A LOT of mocks, basically anything that I could get my hands on and every time, I took it as if I were taking the final test. I suggest that each time you take a mock, write the AWA as well, no matter how boring it may seem. This was how I trained my eyes to be locked on the screen for long hours and still be able to focus. Initially I wasn’t doing well on the diagnostic tests but eventually it got better. Just keep going. And yes, review each mock. This is one more thing that Strategy4Gmat helped me with. They reviewed every mock I took and analyzed it for me. It really helped me focus of my weaknesses.
I took the afternoon slot as it spared me from getting up early in the morning and rushing to the test center. Plan everything for the day but expect some surprises. I got stuck in a traffic jam on my way to the test center. Luckily I had left really early and made it to the test center in time. Phew.!
On my mocks I would generally fall short of time on the quant section and eventually would end up blindly marking the answers. This is why on the test day I was extremely conscious and would constantly check to see if I’m lagging behind time. For the first time I had 2 minutes to spare on the quant section. To my surprise I found Verbal to be particularly tough, esp the RCs. On the test be prepared for some heavy reading. I was getting tired towards the end of the section and had to really focus hard. Because of this I was also taking up a lot of time on each question. When I looked at the timer I realized I had about 12 minutes left for the last 10 questions. I knew I had to pace up but I could not lose my cool. The key is to be able to take that pressure. GMAT is a lot about controlling your anxiety.
When I got my score I was relieved. I had heard so many stories of people just missing the mark on the test day. Luckily for me things worked out well.
A few tips to wrap this up-
Strategize - it is the most effective way to prepare
Practice as much as you can and review your mistakes
Keep it light one day before the exam
Take all the breaks on the test day
Keep calm and focus on the question at hand. Forget about what you’ve already done, you cannot change it.
Thanks and good luck!