Saturday, October 22, 2005

My GMAT 2-cents:

I had finished the GMAT in September. To people applying in the future, I would like to say that it is better to finish the GMAT by June/July of the year you are applying. This will give you some time to kick off the next stage - preliminary university research, essay drafts, visits to schools, etc.

Anyways, here's some advice I had posted in a GMAT forum about my experience:

Here is a brief recap of my exam and prep:
My test began at 4.00pm. I prefered a morning time, but there were no other slots in september for the test center closest to where I stay. I reached an hour before the test, finished all the paper work. The administrator told that I could start right away, but I decided to wait 10 minutes, just so to cool my nerves.

AWA. simple topics, both of which I had prepared before, so that helped me relax for the remaining portion of the test. I took the break after AWA and splashed water over my face. Felt much better and ready for the grind.

Much tougher than ETS OG 10, OG 11 and even Kaplan. Almost al the questions test your quant basics in a variety of ways.
Started with PS (percent increase/decrease, then moved to some probability, geometry etc) and then finally some DS. The section that I most feared was the GCD/LCM/remainder area in Number Theory. I had easy questions in that area. But I had some difficult function questions.

I almost ran out of time in the Quant section, but managed to finished it with 2 seconds to spare. I was very careful in the first 15-20 questions to avoid making a silly mistake.

Because i thought the quant was very tougher , I thought my score would be like 45-46. But was relieved to get a 49.


In alll practice tests, my verbal performance was between 44-47. So I felt relaxed about verbal. That must have backfired. Because I got very tough SCs. RC and CR were OG level.

Verbal started with a SCs in the first few questions. Then I had 2 back to back RCs. My first CR appeared at question 14 or Q15.

I had read Spidey's notes and referred a grammar book (SAE) to polish my SC skills. In my powerprep and gmat prep tests, I had no errors in SC. However, I could not apply any of the rules in some of the SCs in the test.

I think I spent too much time on those SCs and hence my time management suffered in the Verbal section. As a result, I had to click through 4 of the last questions in Verbal. I am sure that impacted my score negatively. And I got a 35. I am sure that I can perform better than that.

Quant: 49 , Verbal: 35


I did a solid 2.5 months of prep, slow at the start but picked up in the middle and towards the end - about 2-3 months after on a weekday and then 10 -12 hours on the weekend.

After going through the kaplan and princeton books, I did some GMAT test and found out my weak areas :- Number theory, Geometry in Quant, CRs in Verbal. Then I made a weekly plan to attack those areas.

FOr Verbal, I was really scared of the CRs, so I did the OG CRs twice, made my notes about the patterns I found in the OG CRs. And even did the OG 11 CRs, and CRS from the 1000 CRs doc.

For all the practice tests and the exercises that I gave, I made a note of all the errors, and then went through in through detail. After I got a question wrong, I do not jump to look at the explanation given in the book. Instead I try to see why I got the question wrong and see whether I can come up with the correct answer. After enough trying, if I cannot get the correct answer, then I looked up the correct answer. That process helped me a lot in understanding the finer details.

In quant, I made a lot of silly mistakes. I decided to speak the process while solving the problems and that helped me to reduce the number of silly mistakes in the Quant section.

Also, when you go through your error, in addition to understand why X is the correct answer, you should also understand why Y and Z are the wrong answers.

Based on my experience, here's some suggestions:

Resources: OG (THE BIBLE) - master this

Kaplan Book , Kaplan 800, OG 11 (mainly last 150 problems) , problems from the Kaplan tests , atleast 10 problems from this forum everyday

Standard Grammar book
Princeton Verbal Review (the verbal section at the end of the book is good)
Kaplan 800
OG 11 (must do)
1000 CRs (must do)
1000 SCs (must do)
RC doc floating on this forum (must do)

For additional practice, you can do the 9 ETS paper tests and even the LSAT CR and RC sections.

For the pratice tests, here are some of my scores:

1. Powerprep1 (no OG prep) - 720 (Q46, V45) - lots of silly mistakes in math
2. while doing OG Prep, ETS paper test1 - 760
3. while doing OG prep, ETS paper test2 - 770

4. After OG prep, I gave a Kaplan test - got some 600 odd score, but focused on the mistakes instead of the score

5. After OG,
GmatPrep1 -730 (M 49, V 44)
GmatPrep2 - 750 (don't remember the split)
Powerprep2 - 760 (M51, V46)

Some ADvice:

1. After going through the basics, do one test per week till the end. This will build your stamina for the actual exam
2. Don;t leave the powerprep/gmatprep till the very end. Give one in the beginning or the middle. this will help you understand your weak areas from the ETS point of view
3. Powerprep tests repeat questions after 2 attempts. But GmatPrep tests can be given about 3-4 times totally before they start repeating questions. Use that to your advantage
4. Master OG
5. Don't study on the exam day and a day before the exam. Very important that your mind stays fresh for the exam.
6. If you get very complicated equations while solving the problems, then you have messed up somewhere. I realized this during the gmatPrep tests. ETS tests your math basics and therefore they do not have problems with complicated techniques or equations on the exam

Again, the sure thing to crack the GMAT is to focus on your areas one at a time, master them. and then as you give the tests, work on your weak areas and minimize the number of mistakes.

Above all, enjoy the process and don't get frustrated. Although this is easier said than done. Think of the verbal section as if you are a MBA student analyzing lots of business data and the quant section as if you a MBA student doing finance work.