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760 - My GMAT experience - 29-01-2005, 05:01 PM
Hi PGites

My journey for cracking the MBA entrance scenario began six months back, when I started
preparing forCAT ... I would regularly visit this site and compare my Sim-CAT scores with others to
follow my progress ... But things did'nt go off too well for me on D-day ... My splits were -
Quant - 77 percentile
DI - 92 percentile
Verbal - 99 percentile

Could'nt make it through any of the IIMs, so decided to try my luck at GMAT ... Decided to take a
month to prepare for it and give it my best shot ...

Just gave GMAT yesterday ... And man! Am I relieved it's all over! ... The worst part about
preparing for GMAT was that, unlikeCAT, I would know what my score is within minutes of giving
the test ... And the result of my hard work will either pay off or go down the drain ... And in the
end, it did pay off! ... I got a 760, and the world has just turned a shade of rosy pink! ...

I wanted to share my experience withPG ... Hopefully it might benefit a few others who are looking
to break into the 700s ...
What I studied

The Official Guide -
Absolutely essential ... Especially for Verbal ... I did only the last 100 questions or so for Quant ...
But solve each and every question in Verbal ... And don't simply solve the questions ... Understand
why or why not ...

Kaplan CD -
Tests are OK, though low scoring ... Lessons are good for review ... Good to practise Quant from
here, as the questions are above the OG level ... If you're aiming for above 700, get very
comfortable with toughies ... RC's are very bad! ... The lengthy psycho-abstract mumbo-jumbo they
give is nowhere near the standard of the actual GMAT ... They'll throw you off ...

Princeton -
Verbal is good ... especially SC ... The rules are very clearly laid out ... Too few problems to practice
in their Bins, though ... Quant isn't that good ... AWA explanation was also the best among all the
material I referred to ...

Did'nt observe anything extraordinary here ... Just solved all the questions for practice ...
What I did not study
Barrons -
Kindly abstain ... Words are not enough to describe the Barrons experience ...
The tests I took

While giving tests, it's very important that you give the whole thing in one sitting, under a
controlled environment ... The sooner you start giving essays with your tests, the better it is ... Get
used to the four hour environment ... And spend a respectable amount of time analysing your
results ... Not just the ones you got wrong, but also the ones you got right ... Find out if you got
them right for the right reasons ...

PowerPrep -
The accepted method to start your GMAT prep is with a PP test ... People told me that the score you
get here is what you will ultimately end up with ... I got 730 in the first one and 750 in the second
one ... Both Quant and Verbal were definitely much more simpler here than most of the questions I

encountered in the actual GMAT ... But be sure to finish the two tests before you start your OG, as
all questions are repeated ...

Kaplan -
Like I mentioned, scores are low here ... I got 640, 650 and 630 ... My accuracy was about 50% in
both RC and CR ... Just could'nt identify with most of the solutions they gave ... Refrain from taking
them a week before GMAT if low scores bring you down easily ... Very good analysis for results,
though ...

Princeton -
I was'nt very impressed with the tests they gave on the CD ... Well, I did not have a net connection
on the computer where I gave my tests, so I could not check my results for the two PrincetonCATs
I took ... So I can't comment on their analysis ...

How I studied

Started off with a PP ... Then sat down to finish all the Non OG material ... Princeton, Arco, Kaplan
CD ... Took the other PP ... Finally sat down with OG during the last week and solved each and
every problem systematically ...

Here are some strategies I picked up during the course of my prep ...

Unlike inCAT, in GMAT it is not a good idea to try out the process of elimination in Quant ... If
you've got your basics right, you've got more than enough time to actually solve each and every
question ... Use your scratch pad generously ... Don't be shy to write down the process ... It pays to
be sure ... And practice as many short cuts as you can for the known problem types that you might
encounter ...

For example,
A does some work in x days
B does the same work in y days
Time taken for both to do the work is
x*y/(x+y) days

A seriousCAT Quant Prep should be more than sufficient to see you through any problem in GMAT
Quant ... Just avoid silly mistakes, and double check DS questions ...
Reading Comprehension

You will get 4 passages of an average length of about 40 words each ... Get comfortable with topics
with technical jargon, social issues, gender inequality ... No arbid topics here ... And time spent in
reading the passages thoroughly is time well invested ... And COMPREHEND what you're reading ...
Develop a burning interest in what you're reading ... As you keep reading, it helps if you start
asking yourself what might come next ... Break the passage down to a skeletal structure, and
you're done ... Initial practice may require you to use a scratch pad to do this, but with enough
practice you'll be able to do it mentally ... Just get the main flow down, details can be referred to
later ...

Once you do this for a passage, the content will be so imprinted in your mind that you'll be ready to
answer the questions without the need to refer back to the passage ...
Critical Reasoning

Process of Elimination is the backbone of CR and SC type questions ... But, for CR, refrain from
looking at the options immediately after reading the argument ... First frame a general idea of what
the question wants you to find out ... Nothing beats the thrill of finding out your answer among the
options listed ... If not, you'll atleast hit upon the right idea ... And that should give you reasonable

confidence to mark the option as the right answer ...
Sentence Correction

Before starting my Prep for SC, I picked up an old grammer book of mine and reviewed certain key
concepts ... Knowing basic sentence structure is essential to cracking SC ... Find out about clauses,
both independent and subordinate, subjects, verbs and other important components of a
sentence ... Be comfortable with all forms of tenses ... And then of course there are the standard
rules like misplaced modifiers, parallel structure, subject-verb agreement ... Any GMAT prep book
should get you familiar with this stuff ...

Approach towards a problem is very similar to the CR approach ... Before jumping to the options, ask yourself what is wrong with the statement itself ... If you're able to find atleast one mistake, immediately eliminate all options containing that mistake (of course, you have to be sure that it IS infact a mistake!) ... Once you get your options down to two, it should be easy enough ...

Last few days

I started with the Official Guide only one week before the GMAT ... Wanted to save the best for
last ... That way, the problems I solved and the errors I made would be fresh in my memory ...
Finished the quant first and focussed on verbal over the last couple of days ... Repeated a PP the
day before just to get comfortable with the testing process ... Also kept an error log of the questions
I got wrong in SC ... Solved all these questions again on the last day ...


Watched TV the whole day till the test in the afternoon ... Did not touch any book or study
material ... Just wanted to relax myself ... Got to the centre well in time and finished the minor
formalities ... They make you sign loads of confidentiality agreement docs ... The rules are pretty
strict out there, so come prepared ... Can you believe they made me take out my sweatshirt coz it
had a hood! ... Apparently anything with a cap is not allowed ... Make sure you shave, coz they take
a mugshot of yours too ...

Without warning, I was suddenly called from the waiting room outside and thrust into a small
cubicle with a computer ... Was'nt quite ready for it so early, so had to compose myself ... Lucky
thing it begins with the essay section ... Really helps to calm your nerves ... That's why it's much
better to practice atleast 10-12 essays before the D-day ... Since this is the first section you'll be
facing, it helps if you've got atleast certain things down pat, like structure and introduction lines.

Quant was of average difficulty ... Questions 5-20 were more difficult than the rest, so schedule
your time properly ... I divided up the 75 mins into 3 parts of 25 mins each, and aimed to solve
atleast 12 questions in each section (for verbal this was 14) ... Word problems are a favourite with
ETS, so get ready to convert them all quickly into equations ... Checked and rechecked all answers,
and so managed to finish it just in time ...

Verbal started with a shocker of an SC ... Stared at the question for sometime before things started becoming clearer ... Third question was a relatively simple passage ... Got four passages totally, of length 35, 40, 40 and 60 ... Questions in all were manageable ... CR started pretty late for me, at the 7th or 8th question ... Did get a couple of boldfaces in the end ...

Overall was expecting 750, so was pleasantly surprised to see 760 ... Breakup was 51 (99 perc) in
Quant and 41 (93 perc) in Verbal ... Took some time for the whole thing to sink in ... After a long
walk for half an hour, during which I made loads of calls to my family and friends, I finally settled
down ... The suspense was finally over ...
But the journey has just begun ... I have just a couple of years work-ex under my belt currently, so
I'll be applying for 2006, by when I'll have three ... Gives me plenty of time to start my research on
B-schools and work on my applications ... Since I'm very new to the US B-School applying process,
I would appreciate if someone can start me off in a broad direction ... What range of B-Schools can
I aim for with this kind of a score? ... And since Financial Aid is also a huge consideration for me,

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