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720 - Huge post

This topic has 1 expert reply and 1 member reply
madz Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
29 Sep 2006
1 messages

720 - Huge post

Post Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:14 pm
Oct 2, 2006

Just back from the GMAT today and scored a 720/800 (96 percentile). Frankly, I am elated at crossing the 700 mark but,
disaapointed at my quantitative score. I got a scaled score of 47 (82 percentile) in quant and a 42 (95 percentile) in
verbal. This just means that I could have easily upped my score by 30 points if I had avoided a few silly mistakes in
quantitative. This hurts especially since I am engineer with a strong quant background -- but, I am content considering
I surpassed my expectations in verbal.

Here in I describe my experiences at the exam and my study plan before. Behond for a long post....

Test Experience

* Firstly, the test center folks are extremely professional and friendly. I gave the Kaplan Ultimate GMAT test at the center
2 weeks ago and I think it is something worth considering before your final GMAT. It gives a good feel of the test center
and familiarizes you with the entire examination procedure. Moreover, it is an entire full length practice which gets you
in shape for your final GMAT.

* My appointment was at 2:45 and I was at the center at 2:10. I needed to show my passport as indentification ( luckily I was carying one due
to a tip a friend had shared earlier ) and was given a set of rules to read up. I read the rules and then decided to check out the
restroom location to prepare for my breaks. Unluckily, the restrooms were a floor above but the 10 min breaks meant I had
enough time if I rushed up and down. I dumped all my belongings into a locker and was then fingerprinted, photographed and
ready to give the test.

* They provide you with a erasable notepad with around 10 leaves and 2 markers to write with (in case one runs out). They also
provide you with ear plugs and have noise cancellation headphones. The use of headphones and ear plugs gives me a wierd feeling
and shifts my concetration -- so I avoided them. I was lucky to be alone in a small seperate room and so had zero disturbances.

* Make sure that you have read all the test directions in your GMATprep. Preplan your procedure and breaks -- often visualizing
the entire test scene and sequences and picturing me going smoothly over the test questions to see an amazing score in the end
helped me prepare mentally for the long test.

* I had taken a bottle of cholocate milk, 2 oranges, a banana and loads of almonds for my breaks. In middle of one of my practice
tests I had to take a restroom break which had resulted in my lowest score -- so I wanted to avoid doing that at all costs. Hence,
no water bottle. Wink

* By 2:30 I was in front of my computer picking the schools I wanted. I had looked up the schools I wanted earlier and had
decided to put them through. Unless you are repeating your exam to improve your score, don't waste this opportunity to send
5 schools your scores free!

* Before I ended up filling my schools I put a few points down about the Argument and Issue essays. Just simple things
like assumption, evidence, conclusion. What is lacking in the argument ? what further evidence can be provided ?
I created a table of pluses and minuses for my Issue essay. I also created a grid for my quantitative section. This saved
me a few seconds in my test exam.

* The argument essay always comes first and the Issue essay comes second. I really recommed practicing these and get them out
of the way early in your studies. Unfortunately, I didn't follow this advice and spent a considerable amount of time look over
a few essays 2 days before the exam. Success on these essays gives you a positive mindset which carries over into the quant and
verbal sections.

* My essays went ok but, I didnt get time to proof read.Sad I was very slow at typing and using their editor. Plus, the mouse
was acting very wierd and I had real problems controlling the mouse pointer. I thought I did an ok essay but I didnt proof read
them, which would have definitely improved my score.

* I took my break and I was back for my quant section. It started off easy and I was making sure that I am rechecking every answer.
The level of difficulty was pretty moderate but, my score wasnt too good. I made one mistake for sure bcoz of mouse problems where
I couldnt control the mouse pointer and I picked the wrong answer and before I wanted to change it, it somehow confirmed.

* Finally, I figured out that the mouse pad is causing the mouse to be overly sensitive and act funny. So, I removed it and I
was able to control the mouse much better. Overall in quant (now when I think about it) I made atleast 3 mistakes and they were
all simple - comparing powers (forgot fractions), equation determination from signs and a remainder problem.

* I used to incredibly quick and good with Math in all my practice and even in my pratice exams. But, that resulted in me never
developing a strategy in quant or creating flash cards of mistakes. I assumed I will someone stem my silly mistakes. Moreover, I
had left sometime right before the exam to catch up on difficult math problems and I never got around to that due to some pressures.

* If I had plugged my quant holes (which were easy as mentioned above) I could've propelled my score higher..

* In my quant break I pepped myself up. This is it -- moreover, I had taken the Art of Living workshop...(if you havent heard
of it visit http://www.artofliving.org) the breath exercises were incredibly helpful in my GMAT studies. I used the breath techniques
in my break and when I lost focus during the test. This was a very useful tool in my exam.

* Verbal was all about concentration and elimination. You diligently narrow down your choices and then keep picking between the
last two left. And you reread the question and the answer you picked and you get pretty close to the answer choice. I had 4 RCs,
a ton of SCs and CRs (even a bolded question type -- just one). I wish I had kept the same focus on my quant section!

* I followed the following timing rules -- 40 mins left by Q12, and 20 mins left by Q24...I finished both sections with exactly
1 minute to spare..

* I was slightly nervous about the final score but I went for it. 720 was pretty good and I am incredibly happy with it.

Prep tips

Tips from other folks before starting

* Samir : Study Princeton material and give Kaplan tests
* Meera : Visit forums regularly. Especially visit www.testmagic.com and www.businessweek.com
* Savinay : Take the Kaplan class. Order the Official GMAT material. Its expensive but worth it!
* Sanjeev : You can get the score you aim for; aim high for recruiters often ask for GMAT scores especially for internships
* Mayur : www.beatthegmat.com
* Vinay : www.scoretop.com
* Study from official guide and power preps to get best idea of the questions in the actual format
* Higher your GMAT score, more chances for you to get aid.
* Give the GMAT early for you to concentrate on your essays.
* Keeping focussed during the test and stress relief are extremely important on test day!

My study experience
* Everyone around seemed to have a high opinion of Kaplan study material so I joined the class
* I got a 650 on the diagnostic and everyone had said you will go up atleast a 100 points from your diag...so it really boosted my confidence.
* The class consists of 9 classroom sessions and tons of workshops/quizzes online. These helped a lot!
* More than anything else the class helped me setup a study routine and it helped to stay on course a study plan
* On the GMAT CAT1 I scored a 690
* On the GMAT CAT4 I scored a 710
* On the GMAT CAT3 I scored a 610 - had to go to the restroom in the quant section and cost me a lot of questions
* On the GMAT CAT2 I scored a 680 - had good time left after math, have a nice snack in the middle -- almonds and smoothie
* On the GMAT CAT5 I scored a 700
* On the GMAT CAT6 I scored a 740
* On the GMATPrep1 I scored a 690
* On the GMATPrep2 I scored a 690

I tried for a week to get studying but wasn't successful with work and personal life. Moreover, I had been out of school for a while.
The Kaplan class helped me set a routine and provided me with all the required material. I ordered the OG 11th edition, the verbal
and the quant books from www.mba.com. I visited the online forums mentioned above and got some good study tips.


* Flash cards are the BEST form of study. They help incredibly at the end to go through.
* Also, mark the questions you get wrong for review and come up with a strategy of how to avoid them.
* www.testmagic.com has some good SC and Probability notes. I never got time to keep up with the forum but looked at it towards the end
* Manhattan guide for Verbal had gotten some good reviews - SC was my weakest point and this book really helped.
* Personally, I stuck to the Kaplan material and did mainly that. I did a little of the OG but should've done more Smile
* From speaking to those who didn't take any classes, the recommendations were to study the Princeton Material and follow www.testmagic.com
* Get hold of either the kaplan or princeton notes. If you arent taking the Kaplan class, princeton notes (I have heard) are easier to follow.
* Defi make an essay template to tackle Essays and remember some key words you like.
* If you are a working professional and can afford it, I definitely recommend a class. (Manhattan GMAT or Kaplan)
* www.beatthegmat.com has very good flash cards under the strategy section.
* Make notes while you study -- they are the best things to go to at the very end.
* Avoid discontining math in the last 1.5 weeks ( this caused a lot of my quant problems).
* If you have taken the Kaplan class....use the small pocket reference book they give. Its excellent!
* Take the Art of Living workshop...it helped me a ton!

NOTE: You can take the test once per calendar month. Register during the last week (Thursday/Friday if possible). If you want to repeat
the test you can take another date on the following Monday/Tuesday.

Best of luck!!

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kulksnikhil Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
23 May 2006
58 messages
Post Sat Oct 21, 2006 10:49 pm
Hi madz,

That's one Huge and inspiring post. Thanks for the same.. I guess I am facing similar problem in sticking to my GMAT preperations.. I have taken the OG11 and Kaplan GMAT 2006 edition (Premier Program) But I have hardly completed OG 11. I am having real hard time dedicating time enough for GMAT... also I shud not blame others for my failures.. but I am not in the company of friends who are in to any type of studies... we are all working guys.. so most of the free goes in to watching movies... I need real help in sticking to my GMAT preperation. ... many times I have felt like.. "GMAT and MBA is not for me".... but I know.. that's not a right approach and attittude for preparing for an MBA...

anyways.. my problems are too many.. I wanted to know.. when u said.. u had taken Kaplan classes... did u spend the 1300$ amount of money for the kaplan classes? I guess I am in same situation as u were some time before (not able to dedicate time for GMAT) So would u suggest me to take up classes ?

thanks for your help,


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Post Thu Oct 19, 2006 8:57 pm
Huge post and huge score! Congrats!

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