Let me get straight to the point – Here`s my GMAT debrief
Background : India
Bachelors in Civil Engineering (2011)
Work-ex - 5 years.
After struggling with GMAT for more than a year (studying on and off), one thing that I have realized is that more than anything else, GMAT is a test of your mental strength and patience. Managing work and GMAT studies simultaneously is not an easy task. Time and again, you will feel bogged down but you have to keep motivating yourself and never lose hope. Sooner or later, your hard work will reap benefits.
Consider the Official Guide (and OG Review) to be your Bible. Make sure you solve each and every question for Quant as well as Verbal. Rather than just solving the questions, it is extremely important to review all your mistakes and carefully read all the explanations given. The explanations given by Ron, Stacey, Buunel (for quant) and other GMAT experts on various GMAT forums like Manhattan, GMATXCHANGE, GMATCLUB, BEAT-THE-GMAT are simply stupendous and immensely helped me in learning the “correct” way of arriving at “correct” answers. All you need to do is google the question ... YES it`s as simple as that!
One of the mistakes I committed, when I gave GMAT for the first time was that I did not give any mock tests prior to the exam. As a result, I was not able to pace my exam and fell short of time in both Quant and Verbal. Maintaining your composure during the exam is essential. If you panic, you will surely commit blunders in the exam. Secondly, I had this notion that the level of questions in GMAT won`t go beyond OG level. But after giving the GMAT once, I realized that solving “tough (700+ level)” questions from a variety of sources was also critical for scoring a high score (a lot of people believe the OG is enough, so this is more of a personal choice… Do what you think is best for you!)
After taking the GMAT once and scoring a measly 660 (Q – 47, V – 34), I was disheartened and so exhausted that I did not touch GMAT study material for almost two months (yeah that was another mistake that I did !!). This coupled with job-related work pressure thwarted my GMAT plans and I ultimately lost crucial time. In the second phase of my GMAT preparation, I connected with many like-minded people on social media groups such as GMAT Avengers on Facebook and a couple of Whatsapp groups, and this helped me restart my preparation for GMAT. Another advantage of solving questions from these social media groups is that you get to answer questions from a variety of sources and decipher numerous shortcuts to solve “tricky” questions. This time I tried solving questions from Manhattan and Veritas preparatory books and purchased their test series as well. My accuracy level in both quant and verbal was increasingly steadily. Besides, I used up a lot of free resources available on the net - a free 7 day trail of EmpowerGMAT, a free SC course of CrackVerbal, free Jamboree India webinars and a lot more. Keep accessing the GMATCLUB forums for such offers. They will prove to be immensely beneficial.
Make sure you are regularly taking mock tests because you need to build stamina for taking a long and stressful 240 minute exam. In the final leg of my preparation, I purchased the highly acclaimed GMATCLUB Tests for Quant and solved all the GMATPREP Questions for Verbal (which I downloaded from CrackVerbal – for free ). Even though I was scoring 710-720 in my GMATPREP mocks, I fell short by 20 in the GMAT and scored 690 (elated nonetheless). In the end, it all comes down to how you manage your nerves in the exam and that can make a difference of 20-30 points. May be, that is one important quality management schools look for in prospective students – how you keep cool and perform in stressful situations.