GMAT - my exam experience and expression of gratitude

First of all, thanks the support and advice along the way concerning my GMAT experience, guys. I especially appreciate the comments you guys gave me concerning my AWA example, which I posted yesterday here. (,1049093). It’s really nice to be finally done with the GMAT. I took the GMAT this afternoon. I think I did well on the AWA, and appreciate the validation that you guys gave me in terms of not spending too much more time preparing for it (and more time going over some math and verbal problems). Based on the feedback you guys gave me, I’m pretty sure I would have gotten a 5.5 or 6.0. It’s still a section that I think is worth preparing for, and a good way to do that is to just study the passages in the Official Guide so you can see what an essay graded a 2, or 4, or 6 would look like. Looking at the essays graded as 4’s is especially instructive, I believe, because they explain quite clearly what the author *should have done* if they aspired to achieve a higher score. As for my actual GMAT score, it was in the mid-700’s. I used only Manhattan GMAT, Official Guide books, and GMATPrep software. I’d been preparing incrementally over the last couple months, but didn’t really get too intense about studying until the last week. The GMATPrep software in particular was very useful, because it gave me a real proxy as to how well I would perform on the actual exam. I took five practice tests on GMATPrep and all my scores were between 710 and 760. It was nice to be able to replicate those results on the actual exam today. In terms of personal experiences, I basically ran out of time on the Math section and guessed on the last four questions. Make sure to take the GMATPrep and pace yourself, because time is really going to fly. You will need all the time you can get – I took too much time during break and actually had started the math section with only 73 minutes instead of 75 (had to urinate really badly). Also make sure practice data sufficiency questions carefully – I found them to be the trickiest. All factors considered, I thought I bombed the math section and would struggle to break the 700 mark because I had such a bad feeling about being rushed through the whole section. Somehow got a Quantitative score in the 50’s range. I can’t explain this. As for Verbal, I thought I really crushed it but the score I got was not as good as I thought (low 40’s). I kept getting low 40’s on all my GMATPrep practice tests in spite of only missing 5-6 questions. Must have been easy questions that kept screwing me up. I don’t have as many good insights here because I scored lower than I thought. But again, time is important and I needed every bit of the 75 minutes as I could get. The one piece of advice I can offer is NOT to rush through the reading comprehension section – it’s easy to feel like you’re spending a lot of time reading, but it’s so much easier to answer the questions and not have second thoughts about them if you pick everything up the first time. I thought critical reasoning was most challenging but that might be a personal tihng. Anyway, I guess my key points are that (1) the only resources you really need are Official Guide, Manhattan GMAT books and GMATPrep; (2) make sure to practice the actual testing conditions; (3) try to get a good night’s sleep before the exam and bring caffeine with you if you need it, but don’t load up on it ahead of time unless you need to pee really badly; (4) use all the time you can get on breaks; (5) stay calm and use earplugs so you block out the ambient noise, and don’t let missed questions rattle you. You WILL miss questions because the exam is designed such that they will give you harder questions as you go along – that’ s just how the CAT format works; and (6) share your exam experiences with others on AnalystForum so that your peers can benefit. I hope this helps, and if anyone has specific questions about the GMAT, please let me know. I don’t claim to be an expert because I definitely missed my share of questions, but if a mid 700’s score is good enough for you, then I can try to share whatever knowledge I have in the hopes of helping you do well too.

A few more key points: (3*) Sorry, when I was talking about caffeine levels, it’s obviously a diuretic so be careful how much you drink before the exam. (7) Manage your time wisely. It’s OK to miss a question here and there. Do not spend five minutes on a question because you can’t allow yourself to get a question wrong. It seems so obvious to talk about time management, but after I found myself spending too much time on a question, I ended up needing to guess on questions I had no clue how to answer within a matter of seconds just to “catch up on lost time.” In fact, this isn’t necessarily a bad general strategy because if you really don’t have an instinct how to answer a question within the first 10-15 seconds of looking at it, it’s probably not worth your time since it’s one of those “out of your league” questions that comes up on CAT-format exams. (8) Bring a spare sweater or sportcoat. It’s a good thing to have in the exam room because you never know what the temperature will be like. As it turns out, temperature on my exam room today was about 68 degrees. Felt like an icebox. Thankfully I had a sportcoat on me because I had dinner plans afterward. (9) Take GMATPrep over and over again to get a good sense of your scores. Recycle the question bank files as needed. Some people say you should take Kaplan or Manhattan GMAT practice tests, but remember there’s always that trade-off between time spent studying versus incrementally increasing your score and moving on with your life. I really think that once you’re in the 700 range, you’re pretty much set (though higher is better, especially for people that don’t have a strong academic or professional background). Anyway, I’ve heard people say that the Kaplan and MGMAT practice tests were harder than the actual exam, and while it’s best to prepare for more challenging scenarios, it’s also easy to get discouraged if you don’t perform as you expected. The GMATPrep questions were sufficient for me and I just carefully went over any questions I got wrong in the hopes of not making those mistakes again. (10) No matter how badly you feel you did, resist the temptation to cancel your scores. You might be pleasantly surprised. As I said earlier, I actually thought I had missed the 700 mark when I finished the exam, but fortunately that wasn’t the case. Do not cancel your scores unless something really drastic happened that forced you to miss a huge chunk of the exam (i.e. broken limb during the test, fire alarm going off in the test center, need to leave the exam room early to go save the whales or the e-e-e-e-economy, etc.).

Numi, I’m glad to hear that you scored so high and thanks for breaking down your key points. Knowing what study tools you used and found valuable is especially helpful. Having said that, if someone needs to leave the test center to save the e-e-e-e-economy, that should be encouraged.

Awesome. Congrats. With your experience, ec’s, writing ability and 700+ you are a heavyweight contender. H/S/W are very much in your grasp.

Numi, this is great advice, my score was in the same range and I used everything you said but Kaplan instead of Manhattan GMAT. I think most of these big prep names are good, and they will all get you to 650+ if you put in time and energy and then its just your math and verbal skills over the last two decades really. My experience was that I found math to be easy throughout the prep and the real. But I’m biased , I majored in math. That said, it can get tricky so I reminded myself to be careful. English was hard for me as I moved to the US when I was 18 and my english wasn’t terribly good. I bombed the English sections but surprisingly got a 6.0 on my essay, the readers were smoking pot for sure. I don’t know how this happened. GMAT needs according to me about 6 weeks as numi said, of moderately intense prep(10 hours/week) and then 30 hours for the last two weeks. Hope this helps as a another point of view/supplement to Numi’s solid advice.

Congratulations - did you ever decide what you are going to do work/travel-wise?

Excellent write up numi, I’ll be sure to look at this again when I do my GMAT. Good tips, I would never consider the room temperature aspect but brain doesn’t function well in freezing cold. Congratulations!

hey Numi- That score is definitely something to celebrate so cheers to you! Your experience is actually motivating me to go after this myself. I’ve long planned on taking it, scoring well enough to secure admission into a good program abroad. That way I’d get time off to travel and up my chances of switching to a better position. I guess I should start at step one no?? :slight_smile: Let me know if you are interested in selling your study materials as I’m a willing in-town buyer!

Congrats on the score Numi. Just curious - did you buy your MGMAT materials from MGMAT or at Amazon or some other bookstore? I think if you buy from MGMAT you get free online prep materials so I’m still trying to decide if the discount at Amazon is worth taking.

Bankin’, kblade, buyicide, artvandalay, Blaze, etc. - thanks so much for the well wishes. I’ll be working on business school applications shortly and definitely appreciate all the encouragement. At this point, my next steps are just writing the essays and getting my recommendations. Probably won’t have time to travel and do more leisurely stuff until I get some business school applications out of the way, but I am contemplating spending my springtime volunteering in Asia and summertime traveling in Europe. That’s still a while away, but I definitely want to spend an extended period of time overseas. Some of you, among others on this forum, have spent some time overseas and I’m sure that in the coming months, I’ll be asking you for some advice on foreign travel (which I’ve never spent an extended period of time doing, and I’d definitely like to change that). nodes – Blaze’s point about recommended GMAT preparation is more or less what I did – he wrote, “GMAT needs according to me about 6 weeks as numi said, of moderately intense prep(10 hours/week) and then 30 hours for the last two weeks.” I think any longer than that might be too much time. Studying for exams is not that exciting, and you want to give yourself enough time to study but not too much time, else you were get bored or burn out. It shouldn’t be that hard to get to get a GMAT appointment - I only needed to sign up a week in advance for mine – so wait till you feel like you’re achieving your ideal scores on the practice tests before signing up for the exam. Then, that’s when you kick your efforts into the next gear. akanska, thanks for the congratulations and sharing some of your prospective goals. Those are some goals that I share as well and an MBA might facilitate a career change for me. But yeah, if you have some capacity right now, it’s good to get the GMAT out of the way. I’ll let you know about the GMAT materials too – if my girlfriend doesn’t end up needing them, I’ll keep you posted. By the way, when are we going to the dog park?!

Congrats numi. I am an active reader of your insightful posts and really felt that you were a 750+ person since the very beginning. I plan to take my GMAT in couple of years.

Congrats on your score Numi … Quite useful post…

Congratulations, numi. I hope you get into H or S in the near future.

swaptiongamma, BullPow, TheAliMan - thanks for the well-wishes. Sure hope to get into some place like H/S/W. One of them was my alma mater but you know how some people say that business schools are a different animal from the college, and having done undergrad there may not help as much as one would think…well, I’d be curious to know if anyone here has heard any differently. In any case, your well wishes are much appreciated and hopefully my post provides some useful insight as you prepare for the GMAT yourself. Drop me an email anytime or post here if you have questions and I can try to help.

Numi, I am sure you are super excited for the next three years! Traveling + b-school… Let us know as you start hearing back from school, where does Cal and Columbia stand on your list if they are on there to start with?

numi, congrats. your ugrad brand will certainly build credo for the target school, if nothing else in your profile. now that u’ve achieved the 700 score checkmark, the focus should be on fleshing out your story. i’m in the same boat.

Too bad i bombed math section and ruined my chance of getting into a decent program. Is it true that schools will look down on you if you get <80% percentile q?

Too bad i bombed math section and ruined my chance of getting into a decent program. Is it true that schools will look down on you if you get <80% percentile q?

Just out of curiosity… wat type of recommendation letters is requried? from employers or any professional who can write about your attricutes? Also if its from you employers is it about your work or general capabilities? thanks…

Just out of curiosity… wat type of recommendation letters is requried? from employers or any professional who can write about your attricutes? Also if its from you employers is it about your work or general capabilities? thanks…