My Successful (???) GMAT experience

My Successful GMAT experience - 49Q 40V 720 - AWA 5.5 Hi All, Completed my exam in the previous weekend (30th May 2009) at Cochin Centre and the experience has been good enough (even though the result is not amazing) that I thought I wil…

My Successful GMAT experience - 49Q 40V 720 - AWA 5.5

Hi All,

Completed my exam in the previous weekend (30th May 2009) at Cochin Centre and the experience has been good enough (even though the result is not amazing) that I thought I will share them.

When I first thought of GMAT preparation, I realised that verbal would be the problem area. As everyone who reads this passage might realise, sentence correction remains a problem. I just managed to keep that as an exception and managed the show around that. I did improve a lot on my sentence correction so that only the highest level of SC remains a problem.

Ok a formal chronological listing might help everyone so I would start. Please forgive me for being long.

One of the first things that I did after deciding to take GMAT was to join pagalguy and other forums. I also downloaded the GMAT prep and took the first test to see where i stood. I slept half way through the verbal and when I woke up and completed the test, I ended up scoring a 490 (I dont remember the split).

I went ahead and purchased Kaplan Premier Program, Princeton Review and OG 11. Manhattan seemed costly and so avoided it.

I then started collecting material both soft and hard copies from wherever I could. It was at that time that I heard of Arun and his course running in Bangalore. I wanted to find more about it and attended the informal meeting that he keeps conducting. The meeting not only helped me clear some practical doubts about GMAT, but also helped me to understand that verbal is a problem with most (indians) of them who attended the meeting.

The next few days was good, in the sense I completed the Math "syllabus" in kaplan and almost the entirety of pricenton (just glanced through it). I also attended the crackverbal program which actually threw out many expected and unexpected advantages. The first advantage was to actually classify the sentence correction problem into various types and finding an approach to solve each of them. Even though I later re-took the sentence correction class, the first class had actually got me started off.

Then came a period when I lost interest in GMAT. This was mid february and I was planning originally to take the GMAT by the first of May. Almost the entire February and a good part of March was wasted in terms of my preparation for GMAT. The only preparation activity that I was doing in this period was to take an occassional problem that my colleague and friend Sushant would throw at me. Then came the realisation that unless I fix up a date, I will never start off preparing. This was when I planned and took the 30th May date. Since Bangalore as always was full, I took the Cochin option. I never realised how this decision would help me later on.

Full fledged preparation started after that. I started working on various content that was available with me including 1000 SC, OG and a bit of Kaplan CD material. I also started studying a bit of sentence correction lessons. This was the time I realised that just by preparing I would not improve much. Constant help and support from Arun, Aruna and Anurag of crackverbal kept pushing me, with help, ideas and even an occassional prod. Having prepared enough (I couldnt take the book book book thing anymore ), I wanted to test my position and so I took the GMATprep again. The first attempt had been about three months prior to this attempt and so I remembered nothing other than the AWA. I gave the test with AWA and I had scored a reasonably OK 46 Q 35V 670. It was at this point that I realised that I needed more test practise. I took the MGMAT free test and then I did the second best thing in the entire preparation series, and that was to purchase the MGMAT exams.

I started taking MGMAT every weekend at a timing similar to my real GMAT (13.15 - 17.15 hrs) and every time I took the AWA along with the exam to actually simulate the experience. I scored the following in my MGMATs

MGMAT 1 47 Q 35 V 680
MGMAT 2 47 Q 35 V 680 (exact same)
MGMAT 3 46 Q 36 V 680 (something is crawling)
MGMAT 4 47 Q 39 V 700 (verbal is finally moving)
MGMAT 5 50 Q 38 V 720 (Finally I saw my range)
MGMAT 6 51 Q 35 V 700 (I doubted my Quant score in the last two exams - things got easier because of lack of questions I believe)

But by the end of this I was feeling confident of two things. First is the fact that I could take the four hour test without any trouble, I just could sit through it very easily. Second was that my verbal is becoming better. Even though I got a 35 in the last test, I knew that I was ok there.

I had three days left for the exam and so I took the GMATprep 2. I scored a 47 Q 41 V 710 there. This made me feel confident. I started the entire journey with a 720-740 score in mind and I was always counting on my abilities to reach there. A 50 Q 40 V 740 was my target.

Ohhh... having done all that I had my exam centre about 350 kilometres from my place and during the journey and also during my stay in the hotel, I took the same gmat prep 2 math section (i just clicked something in verbal) thrice and got some 48 49 50 kind of scores with repeated questions. I knew for sure that hitting a 50 in Quant might be really difficult. My only hope of reaching a 740 was hitting 41 in verbal and 49 in Quant.

I had a few friends in Cochin and the day before the exam I went around meeting them. On the day of the exam, I think there was some unknown fear developing. I realised this when I watched a comedy strip and started really laughing. In the midst of the comedy I started feeling fearful and I thought may be its good to spend some more time relaxing (I had almost stopped watching any TV in the last few weeks before GMAT - I did have my share of entertainment in games and internet).


I was quite cool on that day, never had any exam day pressures, I always had at the back of my mind that I could retake this exam and that kind of helped me keep my cool. Had my breakfast at 07.30 lunch at 11.45 and reached the centre before 1 hour. The guys at the centre (Rajagiri College) were very cooperative and allowed me some time to settle down. It was then that I learnt the two breaks were to be for 10 minutes each and not just 5. I took my time to read the instructions and had a nice chat with the guy in the centre. I learnt a bit about the general exam procedures.

The grand thing

I got into the exam hall with three other candidates taking the exam, all three were from the morning batch and so they were almost completing the exams. Took the AWA cool. I had my own template made up from what Abhinav had taught us (crackverbal again) and I had also practised them on the MGMAT and GMATPrep essays. They were cool and I was feeling confident after the essays (I havent got my AWA scores yet though - Edit - got my scores it is 5.5).

By the time I started math, everyone had left and I was all alone in the centre. This was something I had dreamt of. I always verbalised math problems and since I knew that it would not be possible to do it in the real GMAT, I had curbed this habit. Now I had a full hall to myself and so I got comfortable back again with my verbalising. Took the math cool, I got a parabola question in between and so I felt things are going fine. at about the 30th question, I felt things were getting easier and easier, so I was worried. But I did not allow this thought to eat up my mind. I kept telling myself that even if i screw up my MATH, I would still end up scoring a 47. Kept my cool completed 30 seconds before the final time and took the 10 minute break.

Had some peanuts in the break, just to ensure that I dont feel hungry, had a lot of water and did some pranayama in the break. Started the verbal section and got a boldface somewhere around the 10th question. This made me feel happy, one RC was particularly short which made me feel anxious, but that was a thick passage so I convinced myself that things arent going really bad. by the mid of the exam I started reconciling with the clock and found that I had almost 2.5-3 minutes for each question. I slowed down a bit to improve my accuracy and by the time I had about 3 questions I had only 5 minutes. Had to rush up the 39th question and then take 40th and 41st cool.

I had filled all my profile information in before the test and so it was just next next next in that section. After about 15 seconds I saw the 720. Felt happy about that but I was a bit surprised about a 49 and 40 only adding up to 720 (considering that 50 40 would be 740).

I started the entire journey with about 720-740 as my target so I was happy that I atleast reached my range.

My short profile, 30 Year old, Indian male, I am a Cost Accountant (ICWAI) by qualification and I have about 4 years of experience in the government sector (Indian Railways) 4 years in a manufacturing concern in the Accounts and ERP implementation roles and now about 3.5 years in an IT MNC as a Lead Business Analyst. I hope that a total of 11-12 years of experience and a 720 would help me to get into one of the schools of my dream. At the start of the preparation, and even now, I would not consider myself a super-math guy or a great exams guy, so a 720 from me should tell everyone here that, if you stay cool, know your weaknesses, and keep your vision, you can achieve a good score (I am not saying that 720 is good but thats what I had as a target )

I have plans to apply to Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, ISB and LBS. IIM A Nanyang Singapore and IIM B are still in my list too. I strongly believe in destiny and I think I have never remained as cool as I was on the GMAT day on any exams previously and not even in a few job interviews. With the way things have gone, I think god will take me there, sorry for getting philosophical, but I think thats the way to look at it.

Thanks to Crackverbal, Manhattan GMAT and last but not the least PG for the direct and indirect help.

A word to people prefering to verbalise the exam in India, a weekday afternoon appointment at cochin might be a good idea. They even informed me that if you take an afternoon appointment, you can take it in the morning if the slots are free. I had accomodated myself in a very good small hotel called Bluehouse nearby, it was an excellent stay which helped things too.

I am much younger to you.I have given my gmat 2 days back.I scored well.I wll be posting my blog soon once i get my offical gmat n awa score..i would like to thank u fr such a gr8 post...i was motivated very much....even i did yoga b4 leaving fr the exam after reading ur post..thank u of luck for future applications!!

Hi Superguy,

Nice to note that my post helped. Congratulations on your good performance. Do you have a list of colleges in your mind.


by the way sir,are u really admitted in harvard??when n where are u planning to apply!!!
I am really tensed these days as my AWA score are yet to be worried..and also read tht in the past there has been a 10 point fluctuation btw offcial and unoffcial score of bit wary even though its unlikely n rare...bless me god pls!!!

Hei... I am just starting the apping process... not admitted anywhere... If stanford makes the same offer to me, I will take it with both hands and smiling. I dont want a job in the US, and if I wont have an educational Loan, I dont even want a job in India. All I want is a good MBA that can help me in my entrepreneurship venture.

Lets see. on the gmat score I was actually hoping for a difference because I believed that a 49-40 split gives a 730 😞 never got though

yeah then it will b best suited for u..even to the guy to whom it was offered ,was pretty happy wid it as he didnt wanted 2 wrk in yeah then a stanford degree with loan waiver is definitely a tempting offer for every1!!!!

by the way sir i would like to know how much does it take to get AWA score and the official gmat score?? doe they come together?? please let me know.thank you

no need for reply sir..i got the official report :-)
Also i have posted my gmat exp here..

Nice post man. I dont know if you realised it already, percentiles are not calculated amongst people giving the exam on the same day, its a 3 year consolidation.

thnx...yeah i realised it just few hrs bk going thru the gmac website...but its only fr the better isnt it !! 😃