I had chosen the self prep route with help from online test prep companies. This was primarily due to my travel schedule. I travel 3/5 days a week for work with my colleagues - who do not know about my MBA dreams.
Long story short, It wasn't working. I did what anyone who hasn't thought this out would do: I picked another web-based test company. While, I did brush up on my quant skills and plug my way to a still poor score of 530 (Q34 V28). The timing pushed the dream further.
After a lot of research I zeroed down my traits and matched my preferences to the test prep providers. I love to compete and coordinate. I still had my travel schedule to honor. I want to attend a top MBA program. I selected an web-based classroom setting offered by Manhattan Prep. This move was a game changer. Chris Gentry led 8 of 9 classes, making GMAT seem fun. Before I move on, I have to recommend Chris to anyone who is looking to ace the GMAT. His humor and loaded questions really stick with you long after the class is over and form an anchor point for each question type.
Back to the prep. I put in the work everyday. I mean it. Whether I got my desired 4 hours a day during a work day or not, I stuck to at least 30 minutes. This is what followed:
Q39 V34 - 600
Q44 V33 - 640
After I finished my class, Chris worked with me to come up with a plan to address my weak areas, which would help raise the bar.
Things I changed to move up 190 points:
1) No matter how good the class prep material is, you HAVE TO do the OG questions.
An old timers advice that I did not truly appreciate
2) Keep a log and track your mistakes AND questions that took too long to answer:
Use an excel version - it saved time to sort out the most common weak spots
3) Quality over quantity:
Solve fewer questions if you must but solve each question to MAXIMIZE YOU ROI. This is, in my opinion, the only way to up the ante
4) Disciplined schedule:
If 4 AM - 7 AM works for you, stick to it. If post work 7 PM - 11 PM works for you, stick with it. Each to his or her own. Just make a plan and execute.
I have made more tweaks and signed up for another Manhattan Prep class, looking to up the ante. This is not a finished article. I am not done yet. The biggest reason for me to write this is to tell the girl or the chap who is wrestling with the GMAT that there is hope. Just put your head down and tackle the weakness head on: first thing, every day.
I will be back with a follow-up to this post. I promise. When I do, It will be true success story.
Upwards and onwards.
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