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What is GMAT® exam?(Graduate Management Admission Test)
What is MBA (Master of Business Administration)?
My Experiences with GMAT : The GMAT Experience!!, My GMAT Story
How to Beat the GMAT in 2 months : Best GMAT Preparation Guide : Part I, Best GMAT Preparation Guide : Part II, Gear Up!!
Books you will need to crack GMAT: Guide to Buy Best GMAT Books and Preparation Software
How to Improve Your Quantitative Ability (Maths)? : Problem Solving (PS), Data Sufficiency (DS)
How to Improve In Sentence Correction (Verbal Ability SC) ?: SC 1, SC 2, SC 3
How to Improve In Critical Reasoning (Verbal Ability CR) ?: CR 1, CR 2
How to Improve In Reading Comprehension (Verbal Ability RC) ?: RC 1, RC 2, RC 3
How to take GMAT Tests : Test Strategies
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The GMAT Experience!!

Okay, so you're frustrated with your job...you often think about your college days...and how everyone else has landed up in nice univs or high paying jobs...while you're still browsing Monster.com!! And you think that this Java coffee is a bit too bitter for your taste and you need to move ahead...

You then decide to take GMAT. Considering your below average work-ex, you reckon that only a gooooood performance can bail you out. I decided to dedicate this post to all the future Gmatters. I'm sure anyone reading this would not want to move ahead without knowing my performance. :-)

I took it on 30th Oct '06 and got a 770!! Quant-50, VA-45, AWA-5.

Okay so you might be asking, "Why even bother to read this post? There's so much on the web already!!" You are quite right. I, myself had to prepare taking help mostly from the forums and blogs, and I encourage you to do so. But what I would like to add here is that the worst enemy for you is the "confusion" which surrounds the GMAT preparation. And this confusion can only get worse by looking at so much information lying out there. So my mantra is to keep it simple :-)

Let's start...why this confusion. The reason being many, the ones I can think of are :

  1. How to start??
  2. Which books to follow :-?
  3. Too much material (yes!! that's not a good thing sometimes)
  4. What to expect on the D-day?

Guyz I feel that the best way to start something is to make a quick plan...a layout which has weekly targets. I would try and make a rough plan which will enable you to make your own. But before that a little introduction of mine would help you understand and relate to this post much better.

I am currently working in IBM India (Pune to be exact). I did my B.Tech from IIT Delhi...rest of the story is more or less told in the first few lines. To sum it up...before starting my prep I had a good level in Quant, as is expected from an IITian. In my verbal portion I was quite comfortable with the RC(Reading Comprehension) portion. But CR(Critical Reasoning) and SC(Sentence Correction) were a total mess at first. Keeping these points I think we are ready to move ahead.

Know the GMAT!!

First things first...What is it? Its a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), i.e., to say that it adapts itself to your performance. You can get plenty of info on this. I would recommend you to visit the official GMAT site. In short as you keep on getting the questions right, it will throw tougher questions at you, till the time you won't be able to solve the next tougher question, but are able to solve the next lower level.

Before I recommend you to take a diagnostic test, I would like you to spend not more than two days on researching the question types, reading about the test and familiarizing yourself with the GMAT.

Time for a check-up!!

When you are comfortable with the GMAT jargon : CAT, SC, CR, VA, DS, AWA, blah blah blah... its time to test yourself. Do not be afraid of taking a diagnostic. The biggest mistake you can make is not take a diagnostic and channel your efforts in the wrong direction.

There are many diagnostic tests available but I would suggest you to download the official GMAT prep Software and take the test. There are two reasons for taking the GMAT prep test :

  1. It's standard...so you can compare your scores with other guys.
  2. The other thing is that it's an exact copy of the actual GMAT test which you would see on the test day (obviously I am talking about the looks of the application and not the questions :-D)
  3. Make sure you have read all the instructions carefully, as you would certainly not want to waste time on reading instructions that day!! Be prepared...that's the key to success in GMAT.

Shock Therapy??

Ohh!! So you didn't do well in the diagnostic?? You expected something better, didn't you?? You thought the questions were easy and you were gliding through but still ended up getting a not so good score!! That happens...let me tell you why!! GMAT is adaptive...remember?? You were not doing well, and that's why you were getting easier questions :-D

Never mind...you will do much much better in the actual test if you start it from today!! Okay so you want to know how much?? Let's say around 100 more than the actual score...assuming that you took it without preparation. Even if you preapred a bit before taking it, but it was your first test...you can easily hope to score 60 more. I took it after some preparation, but nevertheless it was my first test and I got a 710. After a month of preparation I took the second test on the same CD, and I got a 740. I finally got a 770 on the actual test. Let's not get into the score analysis thing right now. We'll come to that later, when I will give you the list of all my test scores to compare.

Medication Time :-)

It was an eye-opener...right?? It was for me!! Typically one would find that most of the mistakes in Quant section were silly mistakes. Especially the DS section. Most of the time one got mixed up with the two statements. Or the confusion between Yes/No type questions. Yeah it's tricky and that's why you need to work on your quant as much you need to work on the verbal section. Keep one thing in mind here...mistakes in quant cost you more...a score of 50 puts you in the 95%le slot. While even a score of 45 in the verbal section (as with me) puts you right in the 98%le slot. So one should ideally aim for an 100% accuracy in the quant section...and believe me thats doable.

As for the verbal section...SC is very tricky...and I dare say... the easiest. You need to know all the rules and you will see your accuracy climbing up to around 80% in no time. And remember...unlike CR & RC questions, SC questions takes up the least amount of time. We will take up each section one-by-one...but before that an important message!!

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