The GMAT Experience

I decided to get a MBA degree somewhere around the middle of May. I took the first Princeton GMAT Diagnostic Test on 16th May, and scored a pathetic 580 on it. However, since I had decided to go down the MBA path, I went ahead and booked my GMAT on June 10 for August 6th, which was the closest available date to the 2 month time required to prepare for it.

I knew from the diagnostic test that I sucked at the verbal, and was rusty at quant. Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning were the toughest.

The preparations began slowly in June. I was swamped with work in office and also had no habit of sitting down to ghot. I was doing mostly 30-40 min sessions some 3-4 times every week. The first round was a quick review of the Official Guide, 11th Edition. Its a great companion for GMAT. All kinds of questions are reviwed with multiple examples. A must do (and redo) for all GMAT aspirants as mentioned here and here.

Anyways, after the first round of OG, took a test from the GMATPrep software and scored a decent 680. This was the mid of July. After a quick trip to Hyd, and some time wasted at office, I was back at prep. This time it was practice using the Kaplan Comprehensive Program. Another GMATPrep Test and scored a good 720. I knew I was doing better and then started focussing on the rough edges. I was already hitting 48-50 on the quant and regularly doing 35+ on the verbal.

Next came the Kaplan GMAT 800. This nearly shattered all the confidence and I felt like a noob!! So bad I was at it that I almost gave up all hope.  However, some friends wisely advised that this was not the easiest of the tests and I should not give in to despair. I now entered the last week before the actual day and started working on OG GMAT Verbal Review. I must confess that this was the wisest decision ever made by me. And all credit goes to Dharmesh for this. I was able to up my scoring on the verbal part and reached 40 a couple of times.

The last 5 days before the actual date were spent taking additional tests. I scored 690 and 710 on two Kaplan tests and 750 on a Princeton Review test. I also did some general sentence correction exercises (thanks to Akanksha and GTalk for that.)

Finally, the I flew to Kolkata on August 5th and spent the night at my brothers place. I woke up early the next day and started for my test centre a couple of hours before the scheduled time of 10AM. Since the test center was not open yet, I spent the time at the Haldiram shop opposite the center drinking iced tea. When the center opened I went there and waited for the test to start, doing some Sudoku (and failing miserable at it.)

The test started after the standard photo and passport check. A novelty was the finger print scan. Anyways, sailed through the AWA essays. Took a break and started the Quant. The first question totally stumped me and I spent a good 5 minutes on it. I started off very slowly and did only about 10 questions in the first 25 mins. However, I was very careful and did well on it. The next set of questions were easier and I strolled through them and completed the section with around 7-8 mins of spare. Took a quick break and started the verbal section. First question was easy. But right next up was the RC. Damn it!! Ate up a lot of time and again I took a lot of time in the first 8-10 questions. I upped my speed after that and was able to complete the section with some time to spare. Went through the formalities then till it came to the point where I could submit or cancel. The last leg of the quant was too damn easy and for once I thought that I had screwed up and might have cancelled. However, I thought better and submitted the test. After some agonizing wait the score showed up and they were so good that I nearly fell off my seat.

Verbal – 50, Quant – 42, Total – 760. AWA (reported later) – 5.5

I think that the last week before the test was crucial and taking all those tests at the same time as the original test helped me quite a lot. First, it gave me the patience to sit down for those long hours. And second, it conditioned my brain to function effectively during that part of the day. Thanks to a lot of people – Akanksha, Misra, Bansal, Ankur, and all you great bloggers (Necromonger in particular).

So that was the GMAT Story. Now to choosing the schools and writing essays.






9 responses to “The GMAT Experience”

  1. Rahul Avatar

    Awesome man!! Congrats!! And you actually hit 710 on Kaplan.. wow!!! I never made it past 690! I wonder if we can dream of getting into the same school.. that’d be fun! 😀

  2. Goyal Avatar

    Keeping the fingers crossed. I should finalize my app list by end of next week. And yeah, another couple of years together at school would be “pure awesomeness”.

  3. Goyal Avatar


    Now you know the reason for the long absence from the quizzes. Will you guys still consider me for the Tees though 😉

  4. Rhiannon Avatar

    Congrats!! 🙂

    How are you doing? I am sure you would have even started applying for the colleges…ATB,

    and thanks your advice was worth it! 😉

  5. Goyal Avatar


    Haven’t even shortlisted the schools yet lady!! Should get that done first 🙂 Thanks for the wishes.

  6. Anant Avatar

    Hey dude. U write good, in fact one gets caught into reading your material to the end. Ever thought of writing a book? I can guess that if you would write a Chetan Bhagat types, it will have good chances of success (with some refining though). But, then I am sure, you might not follow a preset style.

  7. Goyal Avatar

    @Anant – Thanks man.

    As for Chetan Bhagat, I think I lost all respect for him after “One Night at the Call Center”. FPS was special because it reminded you of your days in college, and went on to become a hit.

    And for me writing – lets see.. With my experience at the BSchool essays, I am not too sure about it 😉

  8. PAVAN Avatar

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