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GMAT 760 : About, Tips, Tricks and a Solid Plan

Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:43 am

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First of all this is very subjective, but I have learnt from experience why the top American MBA programs have an edge over MBA programs from all over the world. Given the melting pot that US is, the experience, exposure and knowledge gain is phenomenal. Whether you want to be the young CEO of an MNC, the smart new entrepreneur on the horizon, the brilliant I-Banker, literally whatever you may aim for in life, the global perspective you develop when you share your days with the smartest people from all over the world, will be immensely valued wherever you go and come in handy when making business decisions. For any person with global leadership aspirations this is a great route to pursue.

The GMAT is a small part of the puzzle and this article will focus on GMAT preparation only. I scored 760 (Q 50 V41 ) on GMAT , 5.5 on AWA recently ( in first attempt) and will share my experiences here. If you wish, you can check my progress log in another topic I had started. I had taken it as a challenge and wanted to prove to myself that gmat can be beaten ( 750+ ) without joining any coaching classes and I can certainly assure everyone that is it possible if you are sincere, prepare and follow a plan and learn from your mistakes as well as mistakes of those who have previously taken the gmat. Goes without saying that cracking any competitive exam requires mental conditioning, development of exam temperament and hard work !

ABOUT The GMAT is a 4 hour exam that you can schedule any time of the year according to your convenience from mba.com at a center closest to you. Scheduling an exam costs about \$250.

SECTIONS There are 3 sections in all. The exam begins with AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment), followed by a Quantitative section which is then followed by a Verbal section.

 a) AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment) 1) Critique of an argument time 30 minutes. 2) Position on an issue time 30 minutes.

------------------- 8 minute Optional Break ------------------------

b) Quantitative 1 hour 15 minutes to attempt 37 questions ( You Must Attempt ALL )

2 types of question

 1) Problem Solving ( PS ) 2) Data Sufficiency ( DS )

------------------- 8 minute Optional Break -------------------------

 c) Verbal : 1 hour 15 minutes to attempt 41 questions ( You MUST attempt ALL ) 3 types of questions 1) Critical Reasoning 2) Sentence Correction 3) Reading Comprehension

------------At this point you can see your score out of 800 -------- ------- Expect to receive a score for AWA ( out of 6.0 ) within 10 days --------

SCORING GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test which means the level of difficulty of the next question depends on your response to the previous one. If the level of the questions keeps getting harder, you are doing well. On the other hand, if you find easier questions on your screen, it is probably time to slow down a bit. Once you take the GMAT, the scores are valid for a period of 5 years. If you are not happy with your score, you can always sit for another exam. Both the scores however will be reported by GMAC ( Graduate Management Admission Council) to the schools you apply to. Generally schools consider the highest of your GMAT scores. This however depends on the school you are applying to.

PREPARATION Well now that you have the basic idea of what the GMAT is all about, let’s move to the more interesting part - How to crack this thing open ?

RESOURCES I used these books for my preparation

1) GMAT official guide 12th revision This is your GMAT bible. I completed it and noted down the questions I got wrong. It is important to not repeat the mistakes you make. 20 days before the exam I re-attempted the questions I previously got wrong and was happy to find I was getting most of them correct the 2nd time . If you do not have time to do anything else, follow this book and that’s it!

2) Manhattan Sentence Correction Best book available in the market. Comes with 6 practice CATs which are closest to the actual GMAT after the GMAT Prep.

3) Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible Best book available in the market for CR. Will also help in Reading Comprehension

4) GMAT Verbal Review Needed more verbal question practice after I was done with the Official Guide Verbal section.

GENERAL STRATEGY 1) If you find yourself a little weak in English, start reading novels ( Ex - Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe ), Magazines ( The Economist, Fortune ), Editorials of newspapers like the Hindu/Indian Express, Pick up Wren And Martin again and memorize the grammar rules. When reading the books, don’t be passive, focus on things like organization of the sentence, the subject-verb agreement, the use of adjectives etc. This is a life skill and will help not just with GMAT but after that as well.

2) Be active on beatthegmat.com and gmatclub.com communities. The problems you might face have already been faced by someone and the solution is in these community driven websites. Subscribe to their “Question a day” emails.

3) Schedule an appointment for the GMAT. Until you have a date in your mind, you probably won’t do anything.

4) Preparation for the GMAT is a 2.5-3 month exercise at the rate of 2-3 hours per weekday and 5-6 hours per day over the weekend. If you can do that you will be prepared enough on D-day.

5) Set a goal for yourself. How much would you like to report to your dream school? I had a giant 750+ printed on

a sheet of paper on my wall. It helped me stay motivated.

6) Attacking the OG ( Official Guide ) :

To keep it interesting, try different strategies on different times

- See how many questions you can attempt in 30 minutes

- See how much time you take to attempt 20 questions

- Log your performance. I used the OG 12 error tracking log here.

- Logs are really helpful. They remind you of which questions to retry later, and how much of the OG you have completed and how much is left.

7) AWA

- I just read chineseburned’s notes 5-6 times

- For the last 5 CATs I took , I completed the AWA section as well and simulated the actual GMAT at home. I wore the same clothes I would wear to the center and had the same breakfast I had planned, and started and ended exam at the same time.

8) Critical Reasoning

- It is very important to use ONLY the information in the question stem when answering.

- Make no assumptions of your own. Even if it is written that there are a lot of trees on Mars, DO NOT assume that it is all green unless the word GREEN is in the question stem.

- Powerscore CR Bible will prepare you to handle any CR question.

9) Reading Comprehension I was bad at it initially. But later on I followed these steps

- Assign 5-6 minutes just to read the whole passage.

- After every paragraph, take a break for a few seconds and recall what was in the paragraph.

- Follow the above step for every paragraph

- After you’re through with the passage, summarize the paragraph in your mind.

- Now when you move to questions, you will already know most of the answers. If not, quickly revisit the passage.

10) Sentence Correction

- Manhattan sentence correction will give you all tools to crack this code.

11) Problem Solving

- This should be easy for everyone with a good handle on quant.

- Did not do much for it.

12) Data Sufficiency

- Be extra careful and learn from the mistakes you made during the practice CATs.

TEST TAKING STRATEGIES

- Do not look at the timer after every other question. Believe me you will save a lot of time.

- Take as many CATs as possible to develop exam temperament and between 2 tests work on the weak areas

you have identified.

- Take the optional breaks. Drink Gatorade for energy.

- If you screw up in Quant, don’t carry it into verbal. You can always make up for it.

- If a question takes too long, make an educated guess and move on. Seriously it won’t affect your score much. Not completing the exam however will result in severe penalty.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE EXAM

- I took the GMATprep CATs and got 750 and 730.

- Went over the OG problems I got wrong in the past.

- Went to see the exam centre.

DAY BEFORE THE EXAM

- Did not touch any book or attempt any new question.

- Just browsed through my notes.

- Took deep breaths, meditated and stayed calm

- Convinced myself that I would take GMAT prep 3, not the actual GMAT.

ONTHE DAY OF THE EXAM

- Reach the exam center ahead of time

- Stay calm

- During the breaks go to the restroom and throw some punches in the air.

- I had a “I can’t believe it” look on my face when I saw the score, and you can have the same.