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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My GMAT journey to 700

I gave CAT (MBA entrance test for Indian B-schools) in 2007 and scored a meager 92% in it, meaning no calls from the Top B-schools (IIM's, MDI). It was when the seed of giving GMAT was planted in my mind. After researching  a bit on the international MBA admissions and GMAT test I decided to go ahead with the same. I collected the preparation material from one of my friends, who was also preparing for GMAT and with a strong will and positive mindset started my preparation. I jotted down my strong (PS, CR) and weak (DS, RC & SC) areas and prepared an xls, in which I used to note down my daily progress. My strategy was to devote more time to DS, RC & SC, but at the same time solving at least few questions daily of PS & CR. As per the advice of my friends and the expert comments on MBA blogs, I referred to the following materials/books -

1. Kaplan 800 (Great book to test your level... recommended for those aiming 700+)
2. OG (Bible)
3. Manhattan SC (The best book among all that i have come across for SC preparation)
4. LSAT CR (Great variety of questions)
5. GMATPrep (A must do... Exact replica of your performance)
6. Kaplan tests (If you have time)
7. MBA blogs for a good variety of questions and discussions.

One more thing that I did was to simulate the Test center environment before giving the practice test. It helped me a lot to be mentally prepared and not get bogged down by the 4 hour time duration of the test.

P.S. GMAT is only a mental game. It is how well you can cope up with the pressure.

My Prep Test Results -

GMATPrep1 - 730
GMATPrep2 - 700
GMATPrep3 - 720
Kaplan1 - 580
Kaplan2 - 620
Kaplan3 - 670
Kaplan4 – 660
GMATPrep4 – 660 (This must be a blip!!!!)

Due to few reasons (as previously mentioned in my first post) I shifted my test date to 8th October 2009 in Singapore. On the D-Day I arrived at the test center. I was really nervous and was hoping to cross the 700 barrier atleast {the mock test on the previous day went for a toss and I scored a meager 660}. When I entered the test center, I was greeted by a smiling and charming lady that lightened my mood a bit. She was very helpful and went me through the whole process. Then she gave me the pencil and rough pad and started my test. After dwindling through the AWAs, quant and verbal sections, the screen flashed ‘proceed to the result’ appearing to me as if shouting ‘ARE YOU READY’. With troubled nerves I pressed OK and the score flashed ‘700 (QA-50, VA-34)’. My instant reaction was a sigh of relief as I was happy to touch the 700 mark though with the kind of preparation I was expecting between 720-730. I got up from my chair, handed over the pen and rough pad to the charming lady, came out of the examination center and grabbed my hand at a chocolate bar :)

Hope my experience might prove useful to some of the readers.