Sunday, August 28, 2005


Based on my GMAT experience, here are some tips

Preparation time – This varies from person to person. If you can spend lot of time on preparation then 2 months should be sufficient. Else 3-4 months should suffice. It’s a good idea to start earlier and have look at the questions, lessons and GMAT structure and gradually pick up steam to reach your peak on the GMAT day.

Material- OG is a must combined with either Kaplan or Princeton. You can use the lessons and strategies from Kaplan and practice OG questions. I used Kaplan and the lessons were really helpful

By section

Quantitative – The quantitative skills tested on GMAT are pretty basic. Most of the Math required is already taught in school curriculum and requires simple formulas. Solve each question and then look at the answers. Books do recommend you to use elimination and other techniques to save time. However, I think anyone from India or engineering background should be able to solve each and every problem with time to spare. If you are reasonably good in Math, only place you can lose points is data sufficiency. Sometimes you see a question, assume something and jump to conclusion. You can go wrong there. For example there might be 2 linear equations and you have been asked if to find value of one variable. It might seem that you can use both equations to get a unique solution but if you look carefully, both equations might reduce to similar forms.

If you not that strong quantitatively, start your preparation early and read all reference material on math once or twice then practice lots of questions from OG. Lessons are not as important as Math reference if you slightly weaker in this section. If you get your basics right you can easily do well in this section.

Verbal – I had a notion that your verbal score is totally based on verbal skills that you have developed over the years and it is not possible to improve it significantly. By the time I wrote GMAT I knew this was not the case. GMAT verbal follows specific patterns and answers are arrived at following certain rules. Of course your score depends on your verbal abilities but you can improve them significantly. That’s where I missed out.

First thing is to make sure that you take the lessons for each of the 3 sub-sections. Kaplan lessons are great. Take them more than once till you remember all the points mentioned on the lessons.

Sentence correction – From lessons you will find that there are only few variations of grammatical mistakes tested on the GMAT. Lessons takes you through each of them and there tells you how to spot them. Keep that in mind and apply them without exception while practicing questions. Make sure to practice enough, such that spotting errors comes naturally. Finding the correct answer from here on should not be difficult.

Reading Comprehension – Again, lessons help a lot. When you read that passage make sure to think critically and question ‘so what’s the point, what does the author want to convey’ this way you would understand what the author is trying to Imply and get the context and scope. Most RC questions on GMAT are based on these. Also for some questions, wrong answer choice might look more in scope and context of the actual passage i.e. by directly referring material in the passage. If you question these choices by ‘Is this really what author wanted to convey?” you can find flaws in these choices.

Critical reasoning – For this read the question before the text so that you know what you are looking for. You need to concentrate hard and spend some time on these questions.

Overall, the 3 most important factors that determine your final score are – Focus, hard work and self-belief.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

TOEFL - Done!

I completed my TOEFL a short while back and as expected it was pretty simple. The writing section (Essay) is yet to be evaluated so my tentative scores are in the range 240-297. I hope I get 290+. It will help offset my GMAT verbal to some extent. I am still awaiting my AWA scores from GMAT hoping I get a decent score there as well.

I was looking forward to a relaxed evening when I happened to check the voice message on my cell to learn that there was package for me from India to be delivered by carrier (sorry can't name) and they have the wrong address. This is definitely the transcript package that they are talking about and I can't afford it being misplaced. They left me a voice message but apparently the tracking number was incorrect. I have been on phone last hour or so trying to find the package. Looks like I’ll have to call home and get additional information.

Coming to the Application essays front, I just had a look at Kellogg essays and am beginning to understand what my fellow bloggers mean by 'Essays are the toughest part'. There are 3 mandatory and 3 optional essays for Kellogg and I am not sure which ones to write and what to put in them. I have a pretty good idea about the 'why MBA', 'why now', 'career goals' part. Others, I'll have to give some thought. I have mailed two of my favorite bloggers (Students, not Applicants) for some advice (you know who you are).

Next few weeks should be interesting.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Thank you

Thank you all for your support, encouragement, suggestions and comments. All of you have been very forthcoming in responding to my queries. Some of you have been visiting my blog regularly and offering comments and suggestions that have proved so useful. I am convinced that I wouldn’t have made it to 700 without your help. So Thank you ALL!!

Even though I am a bit disappointed, and evidently my disappointment was quite visible through my previous blog post, I am not going to write GMAT again for this year’s application process. 700 is a good score and I know that. Things didn’t work as well as I had planned and I’ll try my best to work around that.

My TOEFL is on 24th and I have just started my preparations. I have also started reading ‘How to get into Top MBA programs’ by Richard Montauk. Seems like a good book and is also highly recommended. Let’s see how things go.

I hope that I can be of some help for others too, so if you have a question that you think I can answer, feel free to mail me. My mail id is on the left column.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Its done!!

Wrote GMAT today and got 700 :-) or :-(

Quant SS -50 , %ile - 95
Verbal SS- 34, %ile - 72
Total SS - 700, %ile - 93

I don't know if its a good score but right I am not to happy about it. Verbal score is a bit too low for my liking. I know that this is close to or greater than the median range for schools I am applying to, but that’s just not sufficient. I thought I could gain an advantage through GMAT and most Indians do get 730+. I am angry about the fact that couple of weeks back I realized what I need to do to get my verbal on track, had a plan but didn’t execute it completely. If I had, I am sure I would have been looking at 730-740 now.
My AWA essays were not great either. I haven't got a score yet so can't really say how that affects the situation. My first essay was decent but the second one was crap. I'd probably be embarrassed to read it again.
Right now I feel like throwing my laptop for the balcony!!! But then I wouldn't be able to complete this post. (Also, I know I can’t do that so let me just throw this cushion to the other end of the room. There it goes; thank god I didn’t break anything!)

I am writing TOEFL on the 24th and hope a good score there can in someway counter a poor GMAT verbal.

Feel like I lost an opportunity and in today’s world if you do that, you get left behind.

Whatever!!!, GMATs done and its time to party again, I am outta here>>>

Sunday, August 07, 2005

One Week to go

Yes my GMAT is next week - saturday the 13th and I am getting a bit anxious.

I have prepared reasonably well and there has been no lack in effort or commitment, time - perhaps. All said and done I am confident that I can do well. I am looking for a 700+ score which would put me in the a good position for all schools I am applying to.

I haven't been upto much the past one month and looking forward to getting this over with. Yesterday, I even checked out my test center. Its close to my place. I am taking off work on the 12th just to get mentally prepared and focussed.

Last 2 pratice tests I managed 640, which is good considering the fact that they seemed really tough. Most Kaplan tests are. Verbal has improved but not at the rate I wanted it to.

okay gotta go will post the score next week.....

Time has come to close your eyes and still the wind and rain.

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