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Bombed My GMAT PREP Big Time!

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Bombed My GMAT PREP Big Time!

by xcel730 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:39 pm

Unlike many of you, I spent most of my youth (K-12) goofing around. I did not care much for school nor did I do well. I was just a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. By senior year in high school, most people, including myself, thought I would be a college dropout and end up becoming a blue collar worker.

Luckily, I took a 180 degree turn and shaped up big time. I transferred from my state college to Boston University and surprisingly graduated from BU with a cumulative 3.69 GPA and landed in a respectable job in a fast-growing industry.

With that said, I have graduated from BU for almost 10 years. Also, let's not forget that my goofing around during my high school days means that my so-called "high school math and verbal" skills are rather weak.


[Chasing GMAT]

Last month, I decided to pursue my MBA from the top-ten business school (Columbia is my dream school). I know that my biggest hurdle will be to beat the GMAT.

My first resource was the Official Guide 12 (OG12). When I first got the book, I was intimidated. I couldn't even get through the diagnostic test. The first week was rather frustrating. I had a lot of trouble even understanding what the questions are asking and I had trouble translating word problems mathematically. For someone with a weak background such as myself, the OG12 is NOT a good resource. I couldn't even understand how they derive the answer.

Since I needed A LOT of help, I signed up for Veritas Prep course (live). The start date is going to be this upcoming Saturday (3/12). I know that my starting point is weaker than most and I want to be fully prepared for class. Hence, the past two weeks, I have been reviewing the Manhattan GMAT (MGMAT) books that my friend gave me.

I went through the MGMAT books fairly quickly and I jot down any notes that I felt were critical. My goal was NOT to fully understand the materials, but instead to get a good preview of what I should expect from GMAT. In a short period of two weeks, I finished reviewing the 6 MGMAT quant books (including foundation book), MGMAT Sentence Correction and Powerscore CR bible. I realized that I don't fully understand every concept, but I figure this will be a good preparation for my class.


[Dismal GMAT Prep Score]

As recommended by Veritas, all students should review book #0 (fundamental GMAT math) and do one GMAT prep exam. Following their recommendation, I spent this Sunday with the exam.

The result? I bombed the test with a 400. I got 22 questions wrong on Quant and 16 questions wrong on verbal.

You could imagine how shocked I was. I was hoping that I could get a high 500 or low 600. I figure with 500-600 score plus Veritas prep, I could probably push my real score to the magical 700 mark by my scheduled exam date (5/14).

I knew before my score was even displayed that I didn't do well in quant. The reason being is that I guessed A LOT of the questions. It was simply poor time, stress, and fear management. I got scared of the questions early on and in my head, I kept thinking, "I probably won't be able to solve it anyway," and guessed. By the time I reached question #31, I still had about 40 minutes left. I took my time with the last 7 questions and ended up finishing quant with 20 minutes extra. My main weakness for quant was data sufficiency (got about 12 questions wrong) and general word translation.

For the verbal section, I thought I did better, but I ended getting 16 wrong altogether (8 wrong for SC, 4 for RC, and 4 for CR). I was surprised with how many questions I got wrong in SC. In addition, I probably got lucky with RC as I guessed in a lot of the questions. Actually, I did not even understand each of the four RC passage that I read. The content, structure, and wordings were so convoluted.


Most people would classify me as a fairly intelligent person. However, getting a 400 on the first GMAT prep really set a person straight.

Despite my dismal result, I am still aiming to break the 700 barrier. I have approximately 10 weeks left to study and I am hopeful that with Veritas Prep and my hard studying, I would be able to achieve my score.

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by gmatpill » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:09 am
Hi xcel730,

Based on what I hear, the verbal section really tripped you up. Of the two sections, Verbal is actually more important to your overall score.

Reading comprehension is quite important--that usually is a bit more difficult to improve on. See if these videos help: https://www.gmatpill.com/practice-questi ... -guide-rc/

But the easiest section to improve is actually sentence correction - the section that you say you got the most wrong.

So the good news is, I see good potential for score improvement for you if you put in the effort. You'll also need to practice with time management because finishing with 20 minutes left isn't a good sign. Put a little bit more thought and reasoning for each question. Chances are if you answer too quickly--it's because you've fallen for one of the traps and picked the "obvious" answer when it's actually not the right answer.

Good luck!

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by Psychodementia » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:52 am
At this stage there are 2 areas of improvement:

a. Questions you goofed up because you lack basic knowledge such as formula, grammar rules.

b. Overall approach to test taking including elementary elimination techniques, guesstimatation, time management etc.

I think there is GOOD news in the 400 - it just shows you can improve a lot more. Just by fixing the above 2 you should see an improvement of atleast 100 points.

It is the trick to improve AFTER you hit the 600-mark that is more troublesome :-)


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by xcel730 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:10 am
Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your time.

I think I've been making some steady progress. I'll retake the practice exam in a few weeks and see how I do.