The Verdict is here- 730 it is!

After 1 year of dreaming to crack the GMAT and 4 months of slogging off studying for it, I finally managed to score a 730. I feel as though I have conquered the world although I know that this event will just become another milestone in a couple o…

After 1 year of dreaming to crack the GMAT and 4 months of slogging off studying for it, I finally managed to score a 730. I feel as though I have conquered the world although I know that this event will just become another milestone in a couple of months and wouldn't seem this momentous. But today it does and that's why though it's very late in the night and I could write this debrief someday else, what the heck, the joy and excitement is just making my fingers hammer the keypad. I'm overjoyed, and elated that the biggest hurdle is now over!And before I write any further, please do not make the assumption that I am one of the intelligent fellows who just have to push a bit. I am an average guy who had to work very hard to reach this score.

Brief review of My test Day Experience

My test was at 2:00 pm today. The test center staff was very courteous and professional. There were about 10-12 more people in my time slot. My essay question was quite straightforward and I tackled it well. I'm hoping for a 5.5 on the essay but don't care too much about it and the IR section also went fine.
However, there were a couple questions that caught me off guard early in the quant section. I think that the mistakes I made was that I panicked in the 6th question which put my brain into the anxiety mode. I'm not incredibly happy with my quant score and feel that I could definitely do better but such is life.To all those who worry about P&C; much, you may be relieved to hear that there was only 2 questions from that topic that I saw.

My verbal section started off with a couple of SC problems. They got tricky pretty quickly, but I knew I was doing well when I was hit with very difficult RC passage after the 7th or the 8th question - very descriptive science passage that had questions that were worded nearly the same.I think GMAT RCs were quite dense and certainly more difficult than the OG passages and I'm not sure how many questions I would have got correct but I think I fared well in SC and CR moreso because these were my focus areas during prep. In the end, I finished with about 5 minutes left in the verbal section.
As far as food and drink, I had a redbull in the break and had a sandwich. It was afternoon and I surely didn't want to eat anything heavy. Talked to one person after the test and he had scored a 730 too.

My prep strategy and Material:
I joined Pagalguy and BTG a couple of months back and kept on visiting it whenever I needed help.The good thing is that every question you will have and every situation you are in would have already been answered at multiple places here.The forum's loaded with wisdom!

However, I could only get free from the last project I was working on in office in July end and then formally started my prep in in August with a free Kaplan diagnostic CAT in which I scored a 580. I was quite surprised because I was expecting around 650. Later when I reviewed, I saw that there are a lot of things I didn't know(especially in Verbal) and a lot of silly mistakes on Quant. I devised a plan to study 3-4 hours per day-2 hours focused at home and 1-2 hours causal study during office hoursdividing the time in 3:2 ratio between Verbal and Quant.

I realized that I tend to learn best when I do things on my own and discuss it with a couple of people so formed a group of 3 more test takers and we'd meet every week to track each other's progress.

The books I used to prepare and my reviews on them

I used multiple books while preparing(and I think so do most of us). Here's what I used and what I think about them.
In the first stage i.e. initial 2 months, I used OG13, Crack the GMAT,KaplanPremier and here are my 2 cents on them.

OG13- If you don't have it, it simply means you're not serious about the GMAT! Get it-not for Maths but for Verbal
Princeton Review's Crack the GMAT- Very elementary. Good for the most basic stuff. I didn't refer to it much after buying

Kaplan Premier- Solid book to give you overview and good strategies but not sufficient for taking you to the next level as everything -SC,CR,RC,Math- is crammed into one book

Ultimate One Minute Explantions to OG13 SC- Good book as OG13 SC explanations are very convoluted and didn't make much sense to me.

It took me around 2 months to finish this stuff and I took a GMATPREP then to assess where I am. Got a 640- so clearly there was still a long road ahead. Surfed through the forums a bit here and ordered the following books to move to the next level

SC Grail 3rd ed, CR Bible, CR Grail, Manhattan Advanced Quant Guide ,Aristotle PS and DS boosters

SC Grail 3rd ed- This is the book for Sentence Correction. If you're getting hammered on SC, trust me you won't find a better book than this.

Powerscore CR Bible, CR Grail- You can buy either of the books for CR. However, I ordered both of them simply because I was weak in CR and wanted to cement my learning from two sources.

MGMAT Advanced Quant Guides-If you're getting stuckin Maths, get this book.

Aristotle PS & DS Booster- Good for practice as OG13 Math questions are too easy for practice and MGMAT books didn't have many practice questions.

Instructors whom I recommend:
[email protected] and and [email protected] : Truth be told that are a few good instructors in India who're professional . Most of the coaching institutes in India are run by people whose only focus is to get the money out of you but these folks are different and you can judge that by their contribution to this forum


In Hindsight:

-If you're on one of the forums here, you're already on top of the game.The learning from all is just invaluable. You're way ahead of someone who's slogging off on his own without knowing whether he's doing it the right way or not
- Confidence is the key to doing well on the GMAT.I truly believe in the message in Rhonda Byrne's The Secret. If you tell yourself something again and again, you will become that person. If you tell yourself that you are a loser, you will lose; if you tell yourself you're a hero,you are!

- I think what greatly helped me is that I started reading good business magazines alongwith prepping for the exam. I've been reading The Economist and HarvardBusiness Review in the office library and I could literally see a lot of CR questions there.

- Getting anxious for the test is normal. In fact, I am the kind of person who gets anxious very easily but to let anxiety overpower you and spoil your test is no good. I just took depth breaths and asked myself to play it like a game because a game is played to enjoy as much as it is played to win. So I needed to enjoy and telling this to myself helped calm my nerves.

I can probably throw in a couple of more advices but I guess I have written enough for today. Trust me if i can score well, there's absolutely no reason why you can't- all I did was I prepped well!

Whoa! YOU.DID. IT! Although I was expecting you to score a 740-750, 730 ain't bad. In fact, at this score it doesn't matter at all whether you have a 730,740 or 750. Great job and debrief!

Awesome debrief. I really liked your tip 3 and planning to put it in action. Where did you study for IR from ?

@arung
Thank you very much.
@mariner25
I didn't study much for IR. Just referred to OG13. Use the CD that comes with it. That should be enough I guess. Schools this year are anyway not focusing much on IR

Thanks for sharing your story. I had a question-did you use Kaplan800 book too ?And what do you think about it ? Currently I have SC Grail 3rd edition+CR Grai+CR Bible, Manhattan Number properties and Advanced Guide and obviously OG. Do I need more books ?

Did you use the 1000SC and CR documents ? How good are they ?

@Quidditchpro said:
Did you use the 1000SC and CR documents ? How good are they ?
My 2 cents. The 1000SC & CR documents are not very good. There's no point in practice a lot of questions without reading their explanations which unfortunately the 1000 series documents don't have. Just rely on quality stuff
@gauravdangi

You'd better use some already open GMAT Thread to share this
..

@visionIIM-ACL :mg:

Gaurav,

Congratulations - Looks like 4 months were enough for prep since I have just those many as i write.

i am struglling with SC - what are the ways you can crack these, i am not sure which all books to buy since their is loads of info out there which makes it even more confusing.

Please help

Deepak
@rendezvous_deepak said:
Gaurav,Congratulations - Looks like 4 months were enough for prep since I have just those many as i write.i am struglling with SC - what are the ways you can crack these, i am not sure which all books to buy since their is loads of info out there which makes it even more confusing.Please helpDeepak
sir, you also have posted the same in this thread,.
http://www.pagalguy.com/forums/gmat-and-gre-prep/gmat-study-group-april-2013-t-88156/p-3610110/r-4166725?page=1

you will get your reply soon,
do not post the same in multiple thread. :)
ATB
Regards
@rendezvous_deepak said:
Gaurav,Congratulations - Looks like 4 months were enough for prep since I have just those many as i write.i am struglling with SC - what are the ways you can crack these, i am not sure which all books to buy since their is loads of info out there which makes it even more confusing.Please helpDeepak
SC Grail 3rd edition and Manhattan SC are the only two books you will need for SC. I think they're more than sufficient.

Thanks for sharing a lot of insights..Really helpful. And congrats! 😃

@INSEADchaser said:
Thanks for sharing a lot of insights..Really helpful. And congrats!


Thanks..All the best dude!
@gauravdangi what did you do to improve your concentration ? secondly, which all schools are you applying to ?

Congrats on the great score. I really liked your tips..I'm struggling with SC. can you please let me know how useful sc grail 3rd edition will be ?