After my debacle in CAT 2007, I almost stayed away from PG. In 2008, I was back in PG in many GMAT threads and in GMAT Hyderabad study group. I made very good friends from PG for my GMAT study in 2008. They moved to B schools such as Olin, Rotman and ISB. But here I am, awaiting to realize my purpose of MBA and when I did, I was quick enough to seriously take GMAT.
I took my GMAT yesterday on 27th July 2010 and scored
QA - 51 (98%ile), VA - 36 (78%ile) and OA - 730 (96 %ile)
I'm afraid this is going to be a detailed debrief and hopefully, my varied GMAT experience would help other test takers.
I come from a engineering background and I am a non native speaker of English.
Quant - None - practiced problems only in few mocks
Verbal - Manhattan SC, Powerscore CR bible and all official GMAT material - OG 11, qns from 1000 SC, RC, CR
Mostly free exams - Knewton,Princeton and MGMAT free test .
GPrep1 - 760
GPrep2 - 720
I cannot give much advice on Quant as I take it for granted. May be I can help with any specific queries about it. I consumed more time in my first break after AWA and lost 1.5 min when I started with Quant. I was breezing with all questions today and never rechecked twice on my solutions. It was only in some qn in 20's, I got stuck for some 8 mins or so !! I was adamant to give up and found no correct answer. Finally relied on my common sense, eliminated few options and choose one of two shortlisted options. In the end, I was afraid I will run short of time but i calculated few questions without even using my notepad and could barely scape through last question with 1 min remaining .
1) The breaks are only for 8 mins. NOT much significant time you think it is. So be careful about it.
2) Don't let your ego overwhelm you. Just move on taking a reasonable guess, if you are stuck somewhere.
3) If you think you are good at Quant, you should really aim for 51 and not 50. All it takes to reach 51 is to be cautious and avoid silly mistakes. Don't fall in traps set by GMAC in DS questions. That margin of 1 point may increase your overall score by 10 points. So why lose a chance ?
For Verbal, I would recommend only official materials. Somehow, I felt few of the questions in verbal were a bit familiar and similar to few questions I practiced from those official materials. I have a poor memory on such things. So they were no different than new questions to me. But stick to basics in SC, put your reasoning in CR, read carefully the entire passage in RCs. Race through the time. You can consider the whole verbal as 4 sets of 10 qns each and each set requiring around 19 mins.
Now here's my personal story I wanted to share with you guys and take some suggestions. I have taken few attempts in GMAT and today was my third attempt. But don't read much in these lines as my prep was not significant in 2nd and 3rd attempts. Matter of fact, even before my last attempt, I was working till 10 pm in office on Monday , even when I had a exam on Tuesday at 9am !! Such were my professional and few personal circumstances. One quality for working professionals who want to take GMAT is endurance. No matter how much pressure you face in your office, in the end you have to get ready for the exam and fight the battle alone.
GMAT 1st Attempt - Aug 5, 2008
Score - 690 - Q:50, V:33
Really disappointed for not reaching atleast 700. Verbal did it for me. I did all 1000 SCs but it was of no use because I repeated my mistakes. Never tried to learn from my mistakes during my prep. I gave up on whole idea of MBA after getting this score. Infact I had a vague idea of why I really wanted to do an MBA and so continued with my life.
GMAT 2nd Attempt - Nov 7 , 2008 - A disaster and biggest mistake in my life!!
Score - 580 - Q:51, V:18
Can you really believe this? A 110 point decrease in OA when compared to my previous score. The mistakes I have done:
1) Gave up on my prep for 3 months after my 1st attempt and booked a slot for my 2nd attempt desperately looking for the nearest available date. After lazying around for 3 months, I realized in November that I need to get on with my apps but didn't wanted to do so with 690. So booked a slot within 1 week, took few mocks, underestimated GMAT and rushed to exam center. So how did i go wrong ?
2) GMAT is like a F1 race with 3 laps - AWA, Quant and Verbal. I was racing ferociously in my first two laps and in third lap, I was stumped at a RC at around qn 14 and was frozen in infinity. Time kept ticking and I lost more and more in the race. I concluded that I will not be able to finish the exam within stipulated time and counted on my luck. Made several guesses from 14 to 41 , even to that extent of guessing an entire RC, convincing myself it to be a uncounted question. Hmm, dumb enough. I was more foolish enough to expect a better score after such dismal performance where I counted on my luck. Needless to say, I was dumbstruck at my score. It took me 1.5 yrs to gain confidence and attempt GMAT again.
a) Keep a check on time. Do not be deterred by a question you cannot understand. Breathe and relax. Stretch yourself a bit and attack the question. This is what has worked for me today.
b) Forget about the stupid uncounted questions. You may want to think of it as merely a myth. Knowing such fact will not help you in anyway. So you have 41 questions to solve, equally important enough.
c) Don't be desperate enough to improve your scores. I advised the same to one of my friend who scored 650 and without much proper prep, gave his 2nd attempt in a month only to end up at 680 !! Assess yourself, take your time and realize your mistakes. Desperation usually backfires.
It was very difficult for me to gather confidence to go for another attempt after a dismal performance in 2nd. I still remember, I visited a admission consultant after 2nd test and that guy ridiculed me saying that my level is at 580 and it will be foolish if i try another attempt to reach 700. Those words struck me hard but there was nothing I could do then. I just had to wait until yesterday. I have an answer now. :-)
GMAT 3rd Attempt - July 27 , 2010
I was professionally serious and never could really take a break from my work to prep for GMAT. This time, starting from June, I worked only on verbal, especially on SC. Resolved the incorrect ones during my practice from the first 400 SCs in 1000 SC doc. I was doing SC's for more than a month In July, I started with Powerscore CR bible and it gave me the basics of CR. Know how to deduce conclusions, premises etc and the rest depends on your reasoning in CR. For RC, I would suggest doing passages from 1000 RC. There are around 100 passages, if i am not wrong. I solved only first 25. The advantage in these RCs is you will be asked more number of questions (7 to 9) for one RC . Thus, you will be exposed to more variety of questions in RCs. This is not the case in OG. Interestingly, you will find similar RCs in both 1000RC and OG.
I was working on an onsite project and was busy with my team. I booked my date for Aug 5th but had to prepone it to July 27th because I couldn't stay longer in onsite and had to return my head office. I was busy working at office even at 10 pm on the day before the exam. I simply couldn't help it. I was cursing myself for not fully completing OGs and many other material I wanted to. But I told myself that everything is gonna be OKAY and take the exam with a cool frame of mind.
Finally I ended up at this.
QA - 51 (98%ile), VA - 36 (78%ile) and OA - 730 (96 %ile)
This is not a elite score, I know, but this was the least score that could satisfy me.
Deprived of sleep in past one week. Guess, I should sign off now.
Just don't give up guys. Believe in yourself.
PS : I want to ask, how this abnormal fluctuation in my scores 690->580->730 would be treated by B schools? Would they simply take my highest score or read much into the pattern of scores ?
hey buddy... ur d real winner 4 sure... just rock solid and hard enuf to bounce bak 4m any kind of situation.. i believe the assessors will look more into u rather than ur 1st or 2nd score.... finally it will be abt u, ur 730 nad ur resume that will matter the most at the end of the day... A whole world of best luck to you fro ur future ...!!!!