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 Post subject: My GMAT Journey.
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:26 pm 
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I am palnnig on giving my GMAT in April. I thought I should share my milestones on the way.

MGMAT CAT 1: 3/10/2012, 620 (Q43/V32)

Mood After: Happy

Condition:

Completed all the sections. No food in between. Drank water once and had to use the restroom between sections. Set the room temperature lower than normal (wanted to see how my body mind and brain responded in a little physical discomfort).
Gave this test at 8:00am. Same time I intended to take the exam. Want to make sure my brain and mind get into routine. Followed all the normal routine after waking up to simulate test day (drink chai, pray etc)

Observations:

Hushhhhh! Finally, popped the cherry. It had been 9 long years since my last CAT (GRE 2003). I was little nervous.I had to clam the nerves and this Cat exactly did it. Was impresses with my patience and ability to sit in a place for 4 hours and complete the test.
AWA:
I was pleasantly surprised with my writing skills. I had no problem writing the analysis of argument essay. It was concise, well thought and free flowing. I did not had a lot of spelling mistakes either (this is big). As for the analysis of issue, I think, I swayed a little bit off track, did not really understand how to construct and organize my thoughts to make it free flowing. Still, was able to get some ideas in. No spelling mistakes on this either. Both of the essays were done with more than 6 minutes to spare. This helped me re check my essays and add/remove stuff.
Quant:
This is it. I was excited/anxious/nervous to start on this. The questions I got were mostly 700-800 and 600-700 level. Some of them were easy bit some were totally time consuming. Nothing was out of league though. I knew the concept and thinking behind all of the questions. My constraint was timing. That clock ticking in the corner was distraction. I thought of hiding it, but did not heed to it. After all, this is how I have to give the test. I had to complete final 10 questions in last 7 minutes or so. So, I had to rush/guess in those questions.
I also observed myself being overly worried about time, so much so that I would jump the gun while reading the question. This was not helping. Also, during solving a problem, if I had to take a second or so to think a little, I would panic and had to rest myself. That took precious time.
Some of the wrong questions were pure silly mistakes, eg: clicking the wrong choice (when I knew the correct one), solving the problem but answering for radius instead of Diameter, not completing through the DS problems etc.
Major takeaway for me from this section was,
- I need to relax myself during reading questions. That would save me time later (to reset myself).
- I also need to time myself properly and try to get feel of how much is 2 minutes. Knowing that would help too.
- I found out that I was pretty good at guessing. By guessing, I don’t mean throwing darts in the dark. I was guessing based on numbers. IF I had 5 choices, I would just plug the numbers instead of solving etc. I also did not guess the most obvious answer. I would go for something out of whack option.
- Was happy that I knew most of the math. MGMAT books helped on this. Need to concentrate on numerical properties.

Verbal:

I was good time wise on this section. I completed everything with 6 minutes remaining. The result was shocking. I thought RC and CR were my strong points and SC would be where I would struggle. But the results were exactly opposite. I was good in SC but did badly in CR (compared to what I was thinking). One of the reasons might be that I studies MGMAT SC before the test. I need to go through their CR book (I have the whole set). Same as quant, I need to focus. I ran through most of the earlier questions in the fear of not having time.
Also, the house was really getting cold, and I started to lose concentration at the end because of cold. (That means a simple half sleeve T and shorts are not the attire for the real exam). This really got me in last 10 to 12 questions. The table was getting cold. I could not rest my hands on it to relax. In short, I was out of physical comfort. This was really good because it gave me understanding of what I should be wearing and doing for real test.
Major take away from this section was that I am decent at SC. I thought I was dud when it comes to SC. I also found out that I was ahead of time. I need to relax a bit. Usually while doing CR problems, I do flow chart of the argument. That helps me chose the answer and it works. But this time I did not do that. I need to start doing it. (Do not change what works for you).

Overall it was a good experience and starting point. I learned a lot about test and myself. Next test is next Saturday. I will be in full attire this time. I will try to relax and focus. I am thinking about giving the test at 10:00 am since that is one of the times available.
Will keep everybody posted. Any advice is helpful.
Bye


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 Post subject: Re: My GMAT Journey.
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:24 am 
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ManhattanGMAT Staff


Posts: 7419
Location: San Francisco
Eat during the breaks! And have something more than water to drink. The test is LONG. Your body and brain need the energy. :)

Here's a resource for the essays:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... no-thanks/

Quote:
My constraint was timing.

This is true for everyone - even me. No matter how much you study, timing is always going to be an issue, since they just give you harder and harder Qs. :)

Read this and start doing what it says:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... anagement/

On verbal, do you think you made some careless mistakes through speed? You mentioned finishing early. It can be just as problematic to finish too fast. That timing article will help with verbal, too.

Oh, yes, wear layers to the exam! T-shirt with a sweater or sweatshirt over. That way, you can adjust based on the temperature of the room.

Use this to analyze your test results:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... ice-tests/

That will help you figure out what to do with all of that data - what to study before you go take another practice test! :)

_________________
Stacey Koprince
Instructor
Director of Online Community
ManhattanGMAT


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 Post subject: Re: My GMAT Journey.
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Posts: 12
Thank you Stacey for your input. I did use some of the mentioned advice such as eating during breaks, drinking water, relaxing myself and that helped a lot. Below is the debrief of my second test. Unfortunately I went through your blogs after that test, and that is where I found out that I need to work on letting things go. So hopefully next practice test will be ok.

Date: 3/17/2012
MGMAT CAT 2: 640 (Q44/V33)
Mood After: Happy
Condition:
Completed all the sections. I ate banana in each break. I also, drank water in each of the breaks. Set the room temperature lower than normal (wanted to see how my body mind and brain responded in a little physical discomfort).
Gave this test at 8:00am. Same time I intended to take the exam. Want to make sure my brain and mind get into routine. Followed all the normal routine after waking up to simulate test day (drink chai, pray etc)
Observations:
Timing study helped. I was constantly aware of 2 minute mark in quant section. But, I still need to learn to “let it go”. I chased some of the questions till the end and paid penalty in the end of the section. I was wearing full attire this time and the low temperature didn’t bother me. What did bother was anxiety to see the score in the last 5 to 10 verbal questions. I thought I wasn’t giving my full attention to the question due to the anxiety. Need to work on this.
AWA:
Essays were good. I finished both with 5 minutes remaining on each. I used “Chinese Burned” techniques. Still have issues on “issue essays”. Ideas are not flowing freely. Need to look at some examples.
In argument essay, I wrote the essay agreeing with the argument, instead of going against like last time. Need to get into habits of using different words and structure for both, agreeing and opposing the argument.

Quant:
It was good for most of the part. I stated very well and was ahead of time. But, few questions in the middle of the section sucked up a lot of time. I wasted almost 4 to 5 minutes on 3 of them. I got one correct. That put me behind on time. In the last 10 minutes, I had to finish 12 questions. I got a string of questions wrong due to guessing. This brought me down from 95 % ile to 73 % ile in last 10 questions or so.
Probability seems alien to me. I went through the guide but still it is hard to get. Also, I did not get enough time the day before to go through my refresher notes. It was a bad idea. Some of the stuff in those notes was asked, such as Find area of isosceles triangle with only one side known etc. If I knew the ratios on top of my head, I would have finished that problem lot faster. I had to derive the ratios and use them. This kind of stuff took a lot of time.

Major takeaway for me from this section was,
- Learn to “let it go” by taking educated guesses. This is better than sacrificing the time.
- I am getting better at pure knowledge of topics being tested. The Mgmat guides are helping. Doing some OG problems should help me next time.
- Had control over silly mistakes. This one was biggy. I am notorious for those. Tried to pay attention. Helped big time.
Verbal:
Time wise it was good. I had 10 minutes for last 2 questions. I think, I might be rushing through some stuff. Especially SC. I need to go through the sentences thoroughly to find out an issue, before looking at the answers.
CR was good. I got most of them correct. Going through Mgmat CR guide is giving me some confidence and new ways to look at answers. No more over confidence like last time. Still need to look at different question types before answering.
RC was good too. I got 4 or 5 paragraphs. I was stuck on some technical details in one of the paragraphs. I had difficulty answering the technical details question that span over 3 paragraphs. Writing down ideas would help. Need to try it next time.

Major take away from this section was,
- Pay attention to the sentence and analyze it before answering the question.
- Keep on doing and improving on CR.
- Get into method of writing for RC.
Over all it was what I expected. A little score increase. But most importantly I made new mistakes. That is a good sign because I am not repeating the old ones. Eating in the breaks gave me more comfort. Wearing full attire caused no physical discomfort. I am juggling between which tests to give this Saturday: mgmat Cat or Gmatprep. I am inclining towards Gmatprep to see something different. I have read that Verbal on gmatprep is harder. I do not want to live in dillusion if my mgmat verbal scores are inflated.
Will keep you guys posted after next step.
Regards


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 Post subject: Re: My GMAT Journey.
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Posts: 12
Date: 3/24/2012

GMATPREP1: 700 (Q48/V38)

Mood After: Happy and Surprised
Condition:

Completed all the sections. I ate banana in each break. I also, drank water in each of the breaks. Set the room temperature lower than normal (wanted to see how my body mind and brain responded in a little physical discomfort).
Gave this test at 8:00am. Same time I intended to take the exam. Want to make sure my brain and mind get into routine. Followed all the normal routine after waking up to simulate test day (drink chai, pray etc). I wore shirt and Jeans.

Observations:

Working on timing is helping. I did not spend more than 2 to 2.5 minutes on any of the problems. (2.5 minutes is a stretch, may be one problem but that was covered up by other problems). I also “Let Go” few questions. Took educated guesses and moved on. Did not stick around to find the answer and defeat them.
The interface was different. I spent some time on tutorial to get acquainted with the tutorial. I am planning on doing the same during real test.

AWA:

Essays were good. I had some issues understanding the argument essay. Took some time to formulate the structure on scratch paper and then just filled in.
Issue essay was good. I had no problems. The thoughts were free flowing and I was done with 5 minutes remaining.

Quant:

I was surprised with this section. Everything seemed to be easy compared to mgmat problems. I kept on thinking that I am doing badly. But apparently I was not. I had 12 questions wrong. But no long strings of wrong questions. I did not see any question which was completely unknown. I knew the concepts behind all. I was clueless on some on how to attack the question. There were a couple of them what needed a different attack. I have not seen these on mgmat.
Number properties was tested in bunches. That worked for me. I think mgmat number properties guide had made me stronger in that section.

Major takeaway for me from this section was,
- Learn to “let it go” by taking educated guesses. This is better than sacrificing the time.
- Going through my refresher notes helped. I did not do this last time. I also did some OG problems on Friday, day before the test. Got me onto groove.

Verbal:

Major improvement in this section. Stacey’s time management advice helped. In earlier test I was getting done with lot of time on clock (5 to 10 minutes). This time around, I was done with only 10 seconds remaining. I paid attention to the answers. Did not rush through them. I got 12 wrong on this section too. But no big chains of wrong answers. Also, RC was a culprit. I was good on SC and CR. I still need to go through study guide of RC. May be that will help.
On this section too, I thought I was getting easy questions. That made me a little anxious, as I thought that I was wrong.

Major take away from this section was,

- Need to have refresher notes for SC. Need to go through the idioms list in the guide, again.
- Keep on improving on CR.
- Get into method of writing for RC.
- Spend time while answering the questions instead of rushing.

It was good experience and good score. It was definitely a confidence booster. I am close to taking a date. I am thinking of cashing in on my confidence (this is usually what works for me). I also think that my score might be inflated because one of the questions on quant was from OG. I had done it before and knew the answer. It wasn’t difficult, but could have taken a minute or so to solve. I have observed same thing on mgmat. Some of the questions on CATs were being discussed in forums. Hence I have stopped going to that part of forums.

Next test will be MGMAT CAT3. I will take it next Saturday. I am planning on giving it in my office or a coffee shop. Change of location and increase in noise. That will test me differently.

Regards


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 Post subject: Re: My GMAT Journey.
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:26 pm 
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ManhattanGMAT Staff


Posts: 7419
Location: San Francisco
Responding to the first of your two last posts:

Okay, so now you know you need to work on that timing. :)

Read this:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... no-thanks/

For the argument essay, you are not supposed to agree or disagree with the argument - this is not like the issue essay. You're supposed to discuss how well-argued you think the argument is. (And there are always flaws, or there wouldn't be much to write!) Read that article above.

Back to timing again. Start doing what the time management article says. Probability is not that common on the test. Know how to do the lower-level ones, but accept that this is an area of weakness and that's fine - just don't waste time on these. (You can get away with this strategy because there's usually only 1 probability question on the entire test.)

Quote:
I had 10 minutes for last 2 questions. I think, I might be rushing through some stuff.


Definitely too fast. That can be just as problematic as running out of time, because when we're rushing, we make MANY more careless mistakes. Have to fix the timing in verbal, too.

Quote:
But most importantly I made new mistakes. That is a good sign because I am not repeating the old ones


Completely agree - this is a GREAT sign. And your score could be even higher if you fix those timing issues, even if you don't learn any more content! :)

Don't give too many tests. From any one test, you can uncover at least 1 to 2 weeks' worth of things to work on. It's not worth taking another test until you actually make substantial progress on those things!

Second post.

Great! :) Did you take this under 100% official conditions, including essays? If so, wow!! (If you skipped essays, took longer breaks, or otherwise gave yourself an artificial advantage, just know that the score might be a bit inflated.)

Yep, see, you started to fix the timing and it paid off. Nice.

If you ever see a question that you already know (while taking a CAT), immediately look at the timer and make yourself sit there for the full length of normal time. Don't give yourself an artificial time advantage by answering more quickly. Also, considering answering incorrectly on purpose. If you're not totally sure you would have gotten it right on your own... get it wrong.

Re: taking the next practice test in a different locale, I really like this idea, but I'd suggest a library if possible. During the real test, you'll only have a limited amount of noise - it's really more like a library than anything else. There will be some movement and some noise, but people will generally try to be quiet, etc. Just like a library.

Good luck!

_________________
Stacey Koprince
Instructor
Director of Online Community
ManhattanGMAT


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 Post subject: Re: My GMAT Journey.
 Post Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:16 am 
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Posts: 12
Thank you Stacey for you reply.

Yes, I did give the GMAT prep exam under 100 % full condition. 2, 8 minute breaks. Ate banana and water in between. No extra time etc.

I did not give any exam this weekend. I spent some time relaxing and working in verbal. It seems that increasing verbal score is important for that 700 barrier. So the focus last week and going into this week is Verbal. Lets see how the next MGMAT cat pans out. I will probably take it on 6th April in a library, if it is open.

Also, I am taking the real test on 18th. Currently I am on a roll and would like to cash in on my confidence.


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 Post subject: Re: My GMAT Journey.
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:43 pm 
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ManhattanGMAT Staff


Posts: 7419
Location: San Francisco
good luck!

_________________
Stacey Koprince
Instructor
Director of Online Community
ManhattanGMAT


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 Post subject: Re: My GMAT Journey.
 Post Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:03 pm 
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Posts: 12
Update from My side :

I am giving GMAT on May 2nd. Work is crazy busy and hence could not make 18th April as planned before.

Did give MGMAT CAT 3 on 6th April. Scored 650. Don't have time to write debrief. But it was crazy. Took it in public library. Kid/Teen time was going on so people and noise every where. Was Crusing through verbal when my wife decided to surprise me. My wife and Kid came and sat in front of me. Got disturbed and started running out of time and went down hill from there.

Hopefull the real GMAT is a little quiter and don't allow family members in. :)

Will keep you guys posted.


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 Post subject: Re: My GMAT Journey.
 Post Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:40 pm 
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ManhattanGMAT Staff


Posts: 7419
Location: San Francisco
lol - yes, I can assure you that your wife (or anyone else!) will not be able to surprise you during the real test. :) Keep us posted!

_________________
Stacey Koprince
Instructor
Director of Online Community
ManhattanGMAT


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 Post subject: Re: My GMAT Journey.
 Post Posted: Sun May 06, 2012 3:29 pm 
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Finally, I gave my GMAT on wednesday (May 2nd). Got 630 (Q 44 and V33). Little bit surprised at Quant score.

Things leading to Test day:

I had my appointment at 8:00 am on the test day. I had practiced most of my mock tests at the same time. I work as an engineer in the manufacturing plant and have to work on shifts. Unfortunately, I was put on night shifts the week before for a week. The night shift runs from 11:00pm to 7:00 am and to top that I was put on swing shift the week of test.The swing shift is 3:00pm to 11:00 pm. In short, my routine and seep schedule was thrown off leading to the test.

Test Day :

Inspite of all the shifts, I woke up fresh the day of test. The center was a minute drive away. Reached there on time. Got doen with all the formalities and started the essays. Essays were easy. Did not had any prblem sinc I had tried essays on all the mock tests.

Quant:

I took the break after awa. By the time I returned, 30 sec had already elapsed in quant section. This is where It went wrong for me in quant. I panicked and may be I got couple of questions in first 10 wrong. I had to guess the first one. It was not difficult, but I think the 30 sec disadvantage was playing on my mind. The quant section seemed easy but the questions were a little different, I think they were experimental. I was suprised that they asked questions like these where you need to know stuff that is not given in the question. Finished the section with 30 seconds to go.

Verbal:

I learnt the break lesson from before. I cut my break short and started the section on time. I was doing godd. Was able to know the type asked on SC and solve it. No issues with RC and CR. I did not get any of those "Indians vs US Govt" court case RCs like the ones in OG. BUT, I was comrimising on time. I had 5 questions left with a minute remaining. Had to guess 4 of them and could not complete the section.

Clicked for the score and got 630. Wasn't happy but not dissapointed either. This score is good for the program I am trying to get into.

Lessons :

- Pay attention to sleep. Make sure You get enough.
- The break might be 8 minutes. But that includes scans going out and going in. All the restroom, drinkks and eating needs to be done in 6 minutes.
- I still think your first questions set the pace to your score. Be careful on those.

Thanks:

- Manhattan books. Their number properties is the best available.
- Stacey Koprince for her guidance on the test.
- Chinese bird for the essay guidance.
- Most importantly, My Wife. Though out my preperation, my wife took care of me and our kid. I could hardly be there but she did an awesome job on that. Also, with 3 weeks remaining, she went through all the OG questions and made 15 sets for me with around 10 to 15 quetions of each tye. These were random sets and helped me in timing.

Best of luck to everyone trying to get a good score on GMAT.


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 Post subject: Re: My GMAT Journey.
 Post Posted: Fri May 11, 2012 3:33 pm 
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ManhattanGMAT Staff


Posts: 7419
Location: San Francisco
Ugh. That's terrible about your work schedule. Yes, that likely really caused problems for you.

I assume the breaks are something like 5 minutes in reality because it can take a while to get into and out of the room.

Note: the early questions don't lock you into a particular scoring range. But your early performance can set a mental pace for you. If you're stressed from the beginning (as you were on quant because of the late start), then that's going to carry through the section and might really hurt you.

That was so nice of your wife to make sets of questions for you! It sounds like she was a very valuable support for you. I know you were hoping for a higher score, but I'm also glad that the score you got will be good for the program that you want. Good luck with applications!

_________________
Stacey Koprince
Instructor
Director of Online Community
ManhattanGMAT


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