Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Random Update - 3 weeks into preps

After 3 weeks of prep, yesterday i took a Practice test. I took the 6th MGMAT practice test and scored a 700 (Q49 V35). I was actually surprised with my quant score as the questions were very tough. After the test i realized that questions 2 to 12 were all 700-800 level questions and managed a hit rate of 8/12. Pretty cool, isn't it. But I was actually stuck on some questions and took a long time to crack them. Verbal was not bad so to speak. But CR questions were really ambiguous. I thought some of them didn't make any sense, may be i need some more practice.

With that good score to motivate my spirits i'm moving on to the 4th week of preparation. This is the final week of review according to my plan. I have lots to complete this week - Manhattan word translation guide, Kaplan Verbal Work book and the EZ solutions book. From next week on my practice drill starts, so i got to finish up with the studying part this week.

P.S. The long week end was amazing. A good relief from all the preps. saturday i went to a water park to cool my heels and Sunday i had lots of fun bowling and playing 8-ball with my friends.

Friday, May 22, 2009

INSEAD's Second life Info. session

I'm so sleepy right now that i might type in what i'm currently dreaming!! I woke up today at 3a.m. to attend INSEAD's online information session. The session was preceded my a Master class and was scheduled at 9am GMT+1!!! That meant i had to wake up at 3am to catch the session.

Nevertheless, the session was extremely useful. Apart from the general information about INSEAD (which you can find on the school's brochure) there was an elaborate Q&A session. I had a chance to clear many of my questions. One thing that they kept saying was "Dont worry too much about your GMAT. As long as your score are over the 70th percentile on both Q and V, you are good." Thats really a good news especially coming from the admissions staff. They also provided statistics of their class of '09 placements. I wonder how come the recession never affected INSEAD!!! hmmm.

So overall it was worth waking up that early. Oh and for ppl who are not familiar with "second life" its like a virtual world where you create an 'avatar' and you can roam around the second-life-world. It allows you to teleport to various places from Harvard University to the streets of Japan, virtually ofcourse.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

GMAT classes - if you are on a budget!!!

Disclaimer: This post is not meant as any form of advertising for the services mentioned in the post. It is based truly on my own views from my personal experience. You may take it as a suggestion from a friend.

Some times it doesn't work your way. Sometimes you might need a little outside help, and thats why we, while preparing for the GMAT, read blogs, post questions, discuss in online forums or hire a tutor or join a coaching class. But for me this is not possible. I am on a strict budget and I cannot hire any services. All i spend is on books. Then i found the GMATFix Live online classes. I have attended 4 classes and found them to be very useful. Some tricks and tips that are not in the prep-books could come from a class and a trained veteran in test taking. Patrick, who conducted these classes, was one such trained veteran. One of the things that i like about the Live classes was the overall 'NO BS' feel that came from the classes. The classes are pretty straight forward - Some tips and take aways, followed by some examples to get you familiar with the concept and then straight on to GMAT questions from the Official Guide. Where one can (as i normally do) bombard Patrick with all the questions and get his reasoning and thereby understand the topic. I really liked that.

Pretty good for a class isn't it. But thats not the best part. The best part is that 5 of his 16 (i believe) classes are free and the other classes are $19.99. I obviously have signed up for all of his free classes and after being through 4 of them i think i'm going to sign up for some of his paid ones too!!

So if you want to get some outside help and if you dont have the big bucks, and if you want to cut the philosophy of GMAT test taking and need straight-to-the-point help on topics, then you should check out this. http://www.gmatfix.com/

Oh talking about that i gotta go and catch up with my number properties. So till then if you have any questions hit me with it. I'll be here!! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Quant week begins.

Last week, was the Verbal review week. I went through the Kaplan Verbal workbook and the Kaplan Premier program book last week and did some practice routine from the OG12 book and the Kaplan practice set. Although I'm definitely not done with my verbal prep I have done some good work in enhancing my verbal skills. I'm planning to go back to verbal review during week 3 (next week).

As the title indicates this week is going to be the Quant Review week. I've started off with the Manhattan Guide for number properties, followed by the MGMAT guide for Word problems during the next few days. Planning to practice question sets of 37 from the official guide. My "Muscle building routine" would be my practice from the EZ solutions advanced math workbook.

This week's schedule:

Number Properties - 2 days
Word translation - 2 days
Relevant exercises - everyday
Practice set - 37 questions from OG12 on Thurs & Fri
Practice Test on Sunday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Good Day, yestesterday.

So now that i have all the tools for prep in my box, i have started off with the Kaplan book. One thing that I liked was their strategy for RC. It works!!! I tried to use their strategy and the outcome was a 100% strike rate!!! So yesterday i started my practice drill with the OG-12. Did 41 questions from the 3 verbal sections and got all of them correct. Thats actually the first time that I have got that kind of a result. But I still reviewed all the answers.

Plan for the rest of the week:
1. Do a set of 20 questions from Kaplan on SC + review (Today)
2. Do a set of 5 passages from RC + review (Today)
3. Another practice drill on Verbal - 41 questions + review (Friday)
4. Take a Kaplan CAT on Sunday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

GMAT Retake scheduled!!!

I just scheduled my date with the GMAT!!! I'm taking it on the 19th of June at the same center. The difference is that I got a 10:30am slot, which would be so much better than my previous 8am slot. This means i can sleep for an extra two and half hours - wow!!

I have come up with a strategy to review and strengthen my foundations on various topics. It looks like a 5 week boot-camp with rigorous training and practice. I hope this time I'll be in a better shape to face the beast!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Going back to Basics - A few new tools for retake.

So after my unsatisfactory performance in the GMAT, I've decided to bounce back with a new strategy. There were a few areas where i was not 100% fluent and this resulted in some serious time wastage during the test.

Problem 1: Although Quant is my strong hold, I find that word problems and number properties are my weakest links. I need to rebuild my foundation on these topics to a point where i dont have to sit at think of a way to approach them during the test. I need that "Ahha" feeling whenever i see those problems in the test.
Solution - Topic specific preparation and for this i have bought the Manhattan GMAT strategy guides for Number properties and Word Translation.
Preparation length - 2 weeks

Problem 2: I nail those easy problems but a tough one can mislead me. So i need sufficient practice of those toughies..
Solution: EZ Solutions Advanced Math Workbook. I have read many good reviews about this book for tough quant questions. One of them read "After finishing this book, OG11 was a walk in the park"
Preparation length: Throught the preparation period

Problem 3: I easily fall into traps of the tough SC questions - Questions where the entire sentence is underlined, or questions where there are multiple modifiers, multiple clauses etc. I get confused.
Solution: A second review of the Manhattan Gmat's SC guide.
Preparation length: 2 weeks

Problem 4: Inconsistent performance in RC.
Solution: Practice passages from OG-11 and OG-Verbal review, and read The NY Times everyday.
Preparation length: Everyday throughout the preparation period.

So as i mentioned, I need to go back to my basics and built my foundation. Although officially my prep. has already started, my study time table would start from 5/7/09. I haven't booked my test date yet but i've decided to do it next week after deciding on how long i need to prepare this time.

Monday, May 4, 2009

My GMAT journey continues.....

Oh boy what a weekend it was!!! LAst saturday i took my GMAT and score a 640 (76 percentile) with Quant 44 (70 percentile) and Verbal 34 (69th percentile). Needless to say, i'm a bit disappointed with the score, but since i cant change the past, I've decided to tame my future and hence I'm planning to re-take it in a month or a month and a half.

But the most difficult part of retaking is that i have absolutely no idea how to change my prep or how to improve. Planning to take a couple of days to come up with a plan B that would improve my score the next time. But there is one thing that i know to improve my score. By being healthy!!! I was actually coughing my lungs out at the test center!!!

Ah anyways, I would appreciate any input from my peers at the blogosphere!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

22 hours left!!!

It all comes down to this!!! 3 months of hardwork and stress, and now the beast is right around the corner!!. I have 22 hours left before i face it. Yesterday I took off from work and did a rehearsal of the test - woke up at 6am, took a shower, had a light breakfast and started a practice test. I took the second GMATPrep test that i had saved. I finished with a 670 (Q48 and V35). I felt that i was comfortable during the test, but some careless mistakes took away some points. I hope to do better tomorrow. Some of my mentors from BTG told me to walk in the test center feeling like a superstar. Thats what i'm gonna do tomorrow. :) A superstar yeah!!

Would post my experience after my test. Wish me luck.