My GMAT Debrief (Condensed Edition)

710 (Q50, V36)success_kid-other

For my full debrief, head over to GMATClub
http://gmatclub.com/forum/710-q50-v36-phew-i-m-done-with-the-gmat-probably-150067.html#p1205394

Preparation

I generally studied every night after work for 1-2 hours depending on tiredness and 2-3 hours a day on the weekends. I always mixed the question types up e.g. 10 PS + 10 DS or 10 RC, 10 CR and 10 SC. I also incorporated the CATs into my routine on the weekends.

Test Day

I got to the test centre in good time, sat in a cafe before to have a coffee and eat something (making sure I followed my routine). The sign-in process for the exam was fine. I went to the bathroom before the exam just to work out where it was for my breaks.

AWA – Everything was basically the same as GMATPrep. Use the Chineseburned template!
IR – I had quite a few multi-source questions and multi-part questions but I still managed to complete it. The key though is don’t use up too much stamina before Quant.
Quant – This felt on par with GMATPrep. When I took my CATs, I found that MGMAT was really heavy on time consuming calculations. I felt rushed in those CATs whereas for GMATPrep, I almost always had time left because a lot of the questions (especially DS) were theory based. In the test itself, I was ahead of schedule, so I solved the last 7-8 really leisurely (over 2mins each), making sure I was 100% correct.
Verbal – I have to say, this is the section I could have done better on. Questions wise, they were of a similar standard to GMATPrep. However between questions 25-35 I felt really hungry and I lost concentration. I managed to recover for the last few questions but unfortunately the damage was done.

When I finished and got my score, I was pretty happy but knew that I did well on Q but was below average on V.

Study materials used

Kaplan Premier
OG13
MGMAT Sentence Correction
Powerscore CR Bible
GMATClub

Top 5 takeaways from the experience

1. Too many cooks spoil the broth – There are many tactics and strategies on the GMAT but the key is to find methods that works for you.  What works for somebody else may not work for you.
2. Get the basics right – You really need to have a complete understanding before you can efficiently tackle the questions.
3. Practice makes perfect – Take full length CATS and go through the whole process of AWA, IR, Q, V like you would for the actual exam. Don’t skip AWA or IR just because it may not be as important.
4. Practice your test routine
5. Be weary of CATs and don’t get disheartened – Looking back, it was obvious that MGMAT Quant is harder than the real thing. Therefore use the CATs as a tool to find out where you are weak and need to review the basics. They may not be really indicative of your final score. The closest thing you get will be GMATPrep.

Final Word

Thanks for reading through all of the above! I know it was extremely detailed but hopefully it will be of help to someone. I put the word “probably” in the title because while I exceeded my expectations on Quant, I know I could have done better on Verbal. However I did tell myself before the exam that anything above 700, I won’t retake and I am going to stick to it. I don’t really want to be one of those guys who fixate on the GMAT endlessly. The only scenario where I might retake would be if I bomb out with my applications this year and I get feedback that my GMAT score is holding me back.

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