650 on second attempt, that'll (have to) do pig!

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My GMAT path has been long and arduous. I begun studying for it about six months ago and didn't fully realise what I was getting myself into. I had never been good at maths, and to confound my difficulties I had barely added 2 and 2 together in about 6 years, having pursued a bachelor in Politics and Film at University College Dublin. Grammar wasn't exactly a strong point either; something which you may pick up on as you read on!

So my journey begun with a second hand Kaplan book and an OG guide. I concentrated on my Quant and slowly improved, but I needed more dramatic improvements; I was extremely poor at math, I mean pathetic, I couldn't remember how to do any of the rudimentary requisite GMAT calculations like long division or multiplication with decimals.

My measly study library of two books definitely wasn't going to cut it. So I did some research. Knewton seemed to be the big up and comer that offered the most value for money, especially since it gives a 50 point improvement guarantee. What I found great about Knewton was how organised it is. It's broken down into weekly lectures so it offers a really solid structural basis for your study. On the negative side I got a lot more from the verbal teaching than from the Quant. They drill really good sentence correction techniques and help you develop really good approach plans for RC and CR. The Quant teaching however lacked depth and didn't help me as much as I had hoped.

I went through the Knewton course in the space of two months and took the GMAT in September. I came out with a 580, achieving 97th percentile (wohoo!) in the Verbal and 18th in the Quant (eep!). The only positive was that I didn't reach my 50 point improvement, which Knewton guaranteed, so I got my money back.

I was a little deflated but determined to push on, my verbal score gave me some solace and also lightened the load, as I felt I was free do concentrate on Quant and push verbal into the background. This forum helped a lot too, I have to say. There's nothing like reading someone else's tale of woe to make you feel better about your's! Equally, tales of triumph through adversity spurred me on as well as listening to I'm not afraid by Eminem before study sessions (don't judge me!).

With my Knewton software now gone I had to find something new to structure my study around. I started the free Grockit trial offered through this site and was impressed by the amount of quant practice questions available. Even though it doesn't have Knewton's polished interface, Gorckit offered a type of autonomous practice that Knewton is deficient in. I bought the premium package with two tutorials. The whole thing came to somewhere in the region of €250. My new plan was to just keep practising questions, and I did, day and night. The great thing about Grockit is that it allows you to create your own games in which you can specify what type of questions you want to practice and and decide how hard you want them to be. They also offer a video explanation for each question.

Now I was really sucking diesel, as we say here in Ireland, American translation = kicking ass and taking names! In my pretests I was scoring in and around the 700 hundreds. My test was scheduled for just before Christmas in the Horizons building in Dublin. I had taken my previous test in the other Dublin test centre, Blanchardstown IT. I was prepared and ready to beat the GMAT. Unfortunately conditions were not good. The test center was a complete joke. The reception is right beside the testing room so you can hear every one coming in. I could hear babies screaming and people talking loudly, throughout the exam. I tried to remain calm but it definitely effected me. The invigilator even managed to leave the door open a few of times. I actually had to get up from my exam desk and close the door after him 3 times :x

So I eventually got through it and came out with my 650. 57 percentile quant, 83rd verbal. I thinks it's a solid score but I can't but be a little disappointed, especially with my verbal score decrease. I have decided not to do the GMAT again because I don't want it to turn into an obsession. I also need to start spending time and money on making money rather than on studying and paying for tests. I hope to apply for various Masters of management courses in Europe, mainly in France.


My two main GMAT lessons
1) If your poor at Quant get Grockit and just keep practising. It's a fantastic resource
2) do not under any circumstances do your test at horizons test centre in Dublin, those people are the devil! It's a little bit out off the way but Blanchardstown IT is a much better environment.
Last edited by fibber on Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by fibber » Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:22 pm
Sorry there's quite a few embarrassing typos, I typed it in a hurry.

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by Sathyan_911 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:45 pm
good luck with the SAI process :)

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by ariz » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:33 am
fibber wrote:Unfortunately conditions were not good. The test center was a complete joke. The reception is right beside the testing room so you can hear every one coming in. I could hear babies screaming and people talking loudly, throughout the exam. I tried to remain calm but it definitely effected me. The invigilator even managed to leave the door open a few of times. I actually had to get up from my exam desk and close the door after him 3 times :x
I would be livid if this happens to me

Nevertheless, congrats! 650 is a pretty good score