760(Q-51,V-41)-Impossible means I am Possible

It’s been a few days that I took the GMAT and I thought that I will share my experience with the PG community too because it was through this community that I first took the first baby steps into the MBA world. Now that the GMAT journey is ov…

It's been a few days that I took the GMAT and I thought that I will share my experience with the PG community too because it was through this community that I first took the first baby steps into the MBA world.

Now that the GMAT journey is over, I understand the hardwork and discipline that goes into achieving this scoring. One has to really take the right decisions at the right time to do well on the GMAT to make the seemingly impossible possible! It was especially tough for me because I was initially planning to take the GMAT in first week of Jan. Somehow I was under the impression that like all other business schools, ISB also has its R2 deadline in Jan. But suddenly one day I was surprised when I got an email that ISB's R2 deadline is November 30th . What the hell I wasn't prepared for this but anyway cribbing would have obviously not helped so the only way was to get started for the new goal!


Background : I'm currently working in US for the last 1 year. Total work experience is around 3 years in an IT consulting role.Targeting to switch to Finance post MBA and planning to apply to ISB, Booth, Wharton and Stern.

Total prep time- 2 months.

Strategy- Based on my score on the diagnostic test, I realized that I need to focus more on Verbal. Quant has never been too much of a challenge for me but Verbal on GMAT requires understanding the various type of questions, strategies etc so it indeed demands dedication. I put in approximately 30 hours/week for 2 months. 30 hours/week is more than what most will recommend but since I was on a tight schedule, I had to finish learning concepts and strategies well on time so that I could have enough time to practice


AWA : Use Chineseburned AWA guide- Simply awesome. Just practiced 2-3 essays and I was good to go!
Integrated Reasoning : Used only the OG13 IR questions. Most of the schools have already said that IR is not very important so didn't want to spend a lot of time on this. I think I did fairly well

Quant: took the MBA entrance exams in India the last year and the Quant in those is certainly more difficult than the GMAT Quant. Didn't have to worry much about it. Just practiced questions from different sources(Kaplan,Aristotle etc)

Verbal
Sentence Correction

This was my Achilles' Heel on Verbal and though learning rules is not difficult but applying them is definitely a tough task. Also 500, 600 level questions are not difficult to tackle but 700+ level questions require clarity of concepts,not to mention good overall command on English.

I knew that if I could improve on SC, I can improve my chances of getting a great score quite a lot. Why? Simply because a) Maximum number of questions on Verbal are from SC b)It's easier to improve SC in a limited time frame as compared to CR and RC so this was my kill area.

Books I used
Manhattan SC- Good book but can be confusing. Doesn't have practice problems also so you will have end up exhausting OG13 questions by the time you finish it.
SC Grail 3rd edition- Purchased it from amazon during the preorder phase. It's 2nd edition was okayish but the latest one is awesome.Much better than Manhattan SC. Focuses on application of concepts and covers advanced SC concepts in an easy way. Also provides 125 practice questions.

Critical Reasoning

Manhattan CR : Didn't like it much. If you like doing CR with symbols and diagrams, you will like this book but I think more intuitively and making a diagram to understand the argument wasn't my cup of tea.
CR Grail : Not as great as the SC Grail 3rd ed,but I think the book's approach was better than Manhattan CR's. Structured and without any nonsensical diagrams.


Reading Comprehension
Honestly speaking, I never practised much for RC. I somehow felt confident on RC and just went through the strategies on various forums so that I could tackle RC better and practiced only the OG RCs.

Practice tests
Kaplan : Poor scoring algorithm. Was devastated after taking one test. Read it on the forums that these tests aren't good so moved to Manhattan.
Manhattan CATs - Good scoring algorithm and excellent tests overall but quant can be much tougher than the actual test.
GMATPREP- Extract the juice out of these tests. Very very good.

Test scores:

Kaplan #1 – 580
MGMAT #1 – 670
MGMAT # 2- 710
MGMAT #3 - 740
GMATPREP1 #1 - 720
GMATPREP1 #2 - 760
GMATPREP2 #1 - 750
GMATPREP2 #2 - 770

You'll see that the GMATPREP scores on reattempts are inflated. This is because I knew a couple of questions.

Test Day

At times both during the Quant and the Verbal section, I felt as though I am not doing well and drove the anxiety level high. However, I constantly kept on telling myself to focus on the question on the screen because my assessment on my performance didn't matter. At the end, clicked on Report score and was overjoyed.

Five "Takeaways"(a too frequently used word in GMAT world i think)

1. Do not take the GMAT if you are not prepared. Trust your instinct. If you are not prepared for, don't waste your $250. I booked my test date only when I thought that I'm ready to take the exam.
2. If you have a limited time, focus more on SC than on CR and RC. SC is easier to improve.
Analysis of questions is the key to improve yourself.
3. [i][b]I don't know what is the surest way to fail but one of the definite contenders would be “Wasting more than the allotted time on a question” .[/b][/i] It is not only stupid but it is futile. It especially happens in Quant when you've already taken say 3 minutes in a question and you are still thinking that you'll get the answer soon. It'll just throw your entire time management into disarray
4. Make sure that you used the optional breaks in the tests.
5. Don't bother too much about IR. I have seen a lot of people on the forums here fretting about IR.

Good luck to all of you here and thanks a lot in helping me achieve this goal. PG rocks. PG rules!

Congrats! And ATB for the app process!


btw I have my gmat scheduled end of this month... let`s c what`s in store

Congrats dude on such an amazing score. I face this difficulty in CR that after reading the argument,when I start moving through the options I forget the argument. Did you face this issue and how did you deal with this ?

Congrats on the great score. What was your studying strategy ?And did you join any coaching ?

Amazing story. Your story is an inspiration for many here. I've also heard that one should take Powerprep tests ? Are they good ?

@Quidditchpro said:
Amazing story. Your story is an inspiration for many here. I've also heard that one should take Powerprep tests ? Are they good ?


I have taken one powerprep test and found it to be easy. The math questions are especially much easier than what i have seen in other tests. Don't think the GMAT tests on those easy questions. But can be good source of practice overall. My 2 cents

@mariner25 @mariner25 @mariner25
Hi Ancient Mariner, I believe you are skimming the CR stem instead of reading it properly
You need to take time in reading the question stem in CR, it is not the same as RC where you quickly read the passage

@unclesam2013 you could have shared it in any exiting thread ..
refrain from making new threads when there is already one.
ATB
Regards

@INSEADchaser said:
Congrats on the great score. What was your studying strategy ?And did you join any coaching ?
No, I didn't join any coaching. I spent around 20-30 per week. Focused on verbal mostly.

heartiest congratulations on the splendid score man.

What are the schools which you are applying to apart from INSEAD ?

@unclesam2013 said:
No, I didn't join any coaching. I spent around 20-30 per week. Focused on verbal mostly.
Thanks. One last question. Where do I purchase the SC Grail 3rd edition & CR Grail from ? Can't purchase it from amazon as I live in India and the books are not available on Flipkart
@INSEADchaser said:
Thanks. One last question. Where do I purchase the SC Grail 3rd edition & CR Grail from ? Can't purchase it from amazon as I live in India and the books are not available on Flipkart
It needs to be purchased from the aristotleprep website itself...
@Charuj said:
@[email protected]@mariner25Hi Ancient Mariner, I believe you are skimming the CR stem instead of reading it properlyYou need to take time in reading the question stem in CR, it is not the same as RC where you quickly read the passage
Yes very true. Miss a couple of words in a CR question and chances are good that you would have interpreted it in a totally differently way so paying close attention is important
@Akki25 said:
Yes very true. Miss a couple of words in a CR question and chances are good that you would have interpreted it in a totally differently way so paying close attention is important
Great advice. This especially happens in case of assumptions questions where we tend to miss out on info easily
@hemant02 said:
Great advice. This especially happens in case of assumptions questions where we tend to miss out on info easily
It happens in reading comprehension also quite often with me..sometimes i miss a word and end up marking a wrong option even when i'd have understood the passage properly
@hemant02
Did you see those fully underline type of questions on the GMAT ? I'm really scared of tackling those questions and need a strategy