Let me break this write up into 3 sections –
1 –> The Test
2 –> The Prep
3 –> Personal Observations and Learnings
Part 1 -> The Test
I gave my GMAT test on the 19th. I scored a 760. The break up is as follows –
Quant – 49
Verbal – 45
I gave my test at the Koramangala centre. I was the only person scheduled for the test on that day. I dropped my daughter to school and reached the center at 830 AM (reporting time 9). The proctor was a very friendly chap. He asked me if I wanted to start early (courtesy me being the only test taker). I gladly said yes as I could avoid the hungry period from 1-2 (when facing verbal volleys). I got a nice seat of my choice, the AC setup to my comfort and the complete attention of the proctor. The Essay that I got was a good topic for me. Completed it in 20 mins and took 5 mins rest before submitting it. I dont recollect much about the IR section. There was multisource stimulus that I misread and hence messed up 3 questions. This affected the rest of my IR section. I completed it with 2 mins to spare. I used the two minutes to compose myself. I sipped some apple juice and took a bite of a chocolate bar. I started the quant session. I did not understand the first question and spent about 2 minutes on it. I decided to guess and move ahead. Luckily, this did not affect my morale. The next few questions was straightfoward and I did well. I felt I made a few mistakes in the middle section. The questions (PS) were quite tricky. The last question was a very easy one (sub 600 level). I just hoped it was a experimental question. I completed the quant section with 10 mins to spare. I took the break early and used the entire 8 minutes. I stretched, had some water (too much actually) and the just slept on the floor for 5 mins (power nap, since no one was around I did no care). The Verbal section started. The questions seemed straightforward until about question 30. The last 11 odd questions were insanely tough. The POE method was my only hope. There was no way I could select right answers (even on CR). For some reason this did not affect me. The tougher questions seemed to get the best of me. I diligently applied the POE. I did not even realise that I completed the last question. The score immediately popped up. I was pleasantly surprised to see a 760 and more so to see a Verbal score of 45. The POE method and diligence seemed to have paid off. The proctor congratulated me and handed me the print out.
Now did I mention about the water I drank during the second break. I had to visit the rest room in the middle of my Verbal section. Lost about 5-6 minutes there (sign off, sign in, call proctor). Luckily, I was not pressed for time and completed the verbal section with 8-9 minutes in hand.
Some take aways – Take atleast 10 pens with you. 3 of them gave way in the middle of the test. Drinking water is not essential. I just drank it because every one seemed to recommend it. Have a conversation with the proctor and he will be happy to help you.
Part 2 –> The Prep
I started off in the second week of November with Manhattan guides. While, the material was good, I realized that I need a class room environment to learn things. Hence, I joined crack verbal. I did 6 weeks of Quant + Verbal ( 7 hours/day over weekend ). My first GMAT prep score was 690 (Q49 V35). I diligently did all the homework assignments. I quit my job before starting my prep. I studied about 5-6 hours everyday. I used the following material for Quant – OG, Quant Review, GMAT bible, Sackmann challenger and the advanced docs and the following for Verbal – CV Books, Advanced docs and Quant review. I took my second prep test after finishing my classes and the advanced docs. I got a 750 (Q50 V 40). I booked my GMAT date. Every week after that I gave 1 test (Prep 3 and Prep 4). My Prep 3 score was a 750 (Q49 V42) and Prep 4 score was 780 (Q49 V48). The 780 score was a bit inflated since some questions repeated. I was dissapointed with my Quant scores. However, I had put in my best efforts and could not do more. I made peace with getting 49 in the real test and so it happened. My verbal prep work was going good and I was actually more confident of performing better on the verbal section.
Part 3 –> Personal Observations and learnings –
The following helped me –
1 -> Diligently following POE
2 -> Using the advanced docs wisely (after completing all classes and OG/VR material)
3 -> Relaxing while solving questions
4 -> Application of rules and pattern recognition is more important than definition of the rules.
5 -> Prepathon sessions
6 -> Taking 8 practise tests
7 -> Taking atleast 2 tests at the CV center (out of comfort zone).
The CV verbal classes are really awesome. I dont remember picking up the book and ever reading any rules after Arun’s classes. They were just etched in my mind. I would like to thank Arun, Ashish (for his wonderful quant sessions) and Sai (for constant support) from the prep front. The support team was awesome and never left me complaining about anything.