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Things to avoid on GMAT- Sharing my experience

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5 KUDOS received
Joined: 04 Jul 2013
Posts: 92

Kudos [?]: 37 [5], given: 30

Location: Australia
Concentration: Strategy, Technology
GMAT 1: 690 Q47 V38
GPA: 3.2
WE: Information Technology (Consulting)
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Things to avoid on GMAT- Sharing my experience [#permalink]

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New post 18 Dec 2013, 19:37
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Hi friends, I gave my GMAT yesterday and got a disappointing 690(Q47, V38, IR 6, AWA 5.5 ).Just wanted to share some of my learnings so that others can avoid making the same mistakes as I did. Disappointed because I belong to Indian IT male category(also 30+) , I have no choice but to retake :(

1) Only take GMAT when you are ready

I find it very difficult to work without concrete goals; hence I booked my date before starting my GMAT preparation. Unfortunately I underestimated the kind of effort it requires to get the elusive 700. I rescheduled the test once and should have done it again. In the last one month, I was absolutely slammed with work and had to work crazy hours. All my plans of taking two week off (reduced to 1 week off - reduced to 3 days off) finally came to nought. I ended up working till 9 pm on Tuesday evening.

Going into the test, I knew I should have done more. I could not complete the GMAT club tests (gave only 3) and neither could I finish the collection of all official questions compiled by Souvik.
I missed 700 by a whisker and I know that it’s more to do with my incomplete preparation rather than anything else.

Knowing that work pressure was not going to ease up, I should have rescheduled the test however I wanted to be done with GMAT before the year end.

2) Give yourself time to research on GMAT.

I came to know about Thursdays with Ron very late. By that time I was already nearing my exam date and the crazy work hours meant I could only finish few of them. I also came across the thread on compilation of all official questions very late and thus could not complete them. These are an absolute must and I wish I had come across them sooner.


It’s funny how sometimes we end up making the same mistake that we know we should avoid at any cost. Tons of material is out there emphasizing the need to get your timing strategy absolutely right. Unfortunately the stubborn ass that I am, I always believed that what has worked for me over the years will continue working in the same way. Frankly speaking, I never had timings issues during the mocks and I was always able to finish the test on time.

During the actual exam, I came across a brute of an RC and some really tough CRs- all in succession. Unfortunately my entire verbal strategy revolved around getting every single RC and 80-90 % CR correct. I ended up spending extra time on these questions and before I realized, I was 10 questions behind the clock. I kept playing catch-up throughout the exam. If only I had kept track of time , I know I wouldn’t have screwed up so badly in my verbal. I knew I had done decent enough in Quant. It all came down to verbal and I was determined to do well and thus ended up double checking the answers etc.

4) Never underestimate GMAT and keep your ego in your pocket

Going into the actual test, my strategy for verbal was simple - Get every RC correct, Get 80-90 % CR correct and fight for every single SC - question by question. I have always been proud of my ability to destroy any RC passage thanks to the fact that I am a voracious reader and enjoy reading just about anything. Before the actual exam, I gave 8 GMAT prep tests (GMAT prep and Exam pack 1) which included 4 retakes after resetting the question bank. I had every single RC correct!! Lowest that I scored in verbal was I think 40 (even in undiluted tests).

In the actual exam, as I mentioned before, I got a very long RC and it was a torture. To make the matters worse, it had 4 questions. I fought hard but have no clue if I did those questions correct and ended up screwing my timing.
Moral of the story - No matter how strong you think you are in a particular section or topic, GMAT can hand your ass back on a plate. So be humble.

5) Don’t take the test if you are not getting your target score in mocks (GMATprep).

GMATPrep mocks are the best predictor of your scores. I had scores of 690, 690, 720 and 680 (retakes were all above 730+ because of repeated questions). As you can see, I got more or less same score on the exam. Miracles don’t happen on the exam day.

6) Going into the test, you are your own worst enemy and your biggest ally.

I read in some post that we should know our enemy very well. In this case, GMAT algorithm. IMO , the test is too long and exceptionally designed. It will figure out where you actually stand and you can’t fool it. Your biggest enemy in the test is your inability to handle stress. Going into the exam, your confidence is the key. This is one factor that can make or break your day.

7) 2-3 days before test, do take rest and be fresh for the exam.

I was working like crazy even 1 day before the exam and knew that I had not done everything that I should have done. Both days, I stayed up late, going through the solutions of my last 3-4 GMAT prep mocks. I can tell you, they did NOTHING and would have done better to avoid them. To make matters worse, I kept postponing studying for IR and ended up going through the 50 questions that come with OG 1 day before the exam. Well as it turns out, it was completely unnecessary.

Some answers that I knew I knew yet didn’t know

Is the Quant in actual exam tougher than OG and GMAT Prep ?

Don’t think so. It was more or less similar to GMAT Prep.I was never a Quant whiz and all my scores in mocks ranged from 44-49 in Quant. 47 on actual test is just about there.

Is the Verbal in actual exam tougher than OG and GMAT Prep ?

Definitely! Specifically CR. Though for some reason I found SCs quite simple and meaning based. Also the answer choices in the Scs were such that most of the times 3 could be straight away eliminated.

What to do with IR?

Take your mocks with IR. That is more than enough. No extra study is required.

During the test, how to identify experimental questions?

You can’t! You will have no clue while giving the exam about the level of the question. Some questions in Q were so simple that I literally had to double check if I was reading them correctly and missing out on some trap. Yet I got 47 which is not great but not pathetic either.

This has become quite a long post. Just wanted to share my test experiences with you guys in the hope that someone will benefit. Can’t tell you anything that’s not already out there so not writing about study material etc except the fact that I did benefit immensely from e-Gmat course.

Fell free to ask in case of any queries.


Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get!!

Kudos [?]: 37 [5], given: 30

Things to avoid on GMAT- Sharing my experience   [#permalink] 18 Dec 2013, 19:37
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