Saturday, June 21, 2008

Crack the GMAT - 770

This is a post I made on beatthegmat forum last year (after receiving my GMAT score). I have had some friends ask me questions about preparation, strategy etc ... so I am reposting it here. Please remember that this is a strategy that worked for me, you need to come up with your own plan to crack the GMAT. Here it goes:

Percentile: 99%
Quant: 50
Verbal: 46
AWA: 5.0

Needless to say, I am thrilled about my score. My prep was based entirely on material that I downloaded online from Beat the GMAT as well as few other places. I did a diagnostic test in the beginning of April and scored a 680 on it. I realized that the majority of the mistakes that I committed were in Sentence Correction and Data Sufficiency. There is this rumor that your exam score will be 10% less than the score on your practice tests (due to nerves etc). I realized it is bullshit :)

I used Sahil, Spidey SC notes which did wonders. I think the biggest single leap that I took towards a better score came when I read about the 2/3 split. It simplified things a lot for me. I used the Gmatter software to complete the SC bin from the OG. I rarely made mistakes in CR and RC, so I did not spend much time on those sections. Practice was the key to improving my accuracy in Sentence Correction.

I have a background in engineering and I always considered math to be one of my strengths. However, I was not used to Data Sufficiency questions. The "AD or BCE" strategy helped minimize my errors in that section. Most of the time that I spent preparing was spent on verbal.

I did not practice this one at all. I just hope to get something close to a 5 on it. I ran out of time while analyzing the issue. I felt good about my response to the argument section. In retrospect, I must have written at least one timed essay prior to test day.

Test Day:
I scheduled my appointment for 12:30 and got to the center at 12. I began my test almost immediately. I have read a few posts in this forum complaining about the scratch pad, but I had no problems with it. I timed the AWA-Argument part perfectly. I ran out of time while analyzing the Issue and that led to a shaky conclusion paragraph. I cant wait to find out what I scored.
I took advantage of all the breaks available. I walked out of the test room, drank some water and relaxed for a few minutes before going back in.

My advice to test takers:
- Identify your weaknesses ASAP. It was not enough for me to realize that I had trouble with SC. I analyzed my mistakes and found the exact format of questions that were confounding me.
- Print out the flash cards available on this site and make sure you know them at the back of your head. I cant tell you how much they helped.
- Have fun while preparing.
- Stay relaxed during the test.
- Figure out what works for you and don't change a thing during the test. In the practice tests, I always finished the math section with 10+ minutes to spare. I did the same during the test.

I did not buy a single GMAT book. All my preparation was based off of downloads from beatthegmat forum.

My Scores during Prep:
Gmatprep 1: 740
Gmatprep 2: 740
Retired Test 1: 680
Retired Test 2: 710
Retired Test 3: 740
Retired Test 4: 730
Retired Test 5: 720
GMAT Score: 770