I studied for the GMAT extensively and concentratedly over 5 months (after taking classes) and also used a scientific approach toward the end involving analyzing strength/weaknesses and optimization of time.
Month 1(November,2011 ):
OG 10th Edition- Completed all questions in Quant & Verbal.
Reviewed wrong Q/A after every 10 days and maintained a log.
Month 2 (December 2012) :
Week 1/2 Completed OG 12th Edition. Maintained a log similarly and reviewed wrong question/answers religiously.
Read and practised Manhattan Sentence Correction Guide.
Week 3/4 Did practice tests. GMAT Prep, MGMAT 1,2,3 and 4 Princeton, 3 Kaplan tests (scores written below)
Took the GMAT on 28th December. Unfortunately there was a huge mishap. My markers were off ill writing quality and disrupted my Quant section; they had to replace at least 15-20 markers. I was devastated after all my prep. Nevertheless I fought for my right as I never got an equal opportunity/chance to adequately perform. After due consideration, Pearson Vue sympathized with my situation and waived my test, marking it as a Testing Irregularity(T) and granted me a re-take free of cost.
I never saw my score as I chose NOT to 'Report My Score' after the Test Attempt and eventually GMAC and Pearson agreed to mark it as 'T' in my score report. I took a new date of March 6th, due to some NGO volunteering commitments I had.
Month 3 (January):
After being devastated for about a week, I picked myself up to embark on getting the GMAT score I deserve.
Took a break for sometime and was busy volunteering for an NGO and trying to get my mind off things. I also consciously did more things for fun like tennis and gumming, that would enable me to recharge my batteries. I practiced questions on an ad-hoc basis but nothing very serious since my test was 2 months away and I had already prepped. I also got the MGMAT Scratch pad and marker to practice and used that for all practice/test from this point on. (The marker and scratch pad had been an element of uncertainty the first time around)
Month 4:(February 2012):
I continued giving practice tests. Also started using MGMAT Strategy Guides on an ad-hoc basis. I got hold of PowerScore CR Bible and used Manhattan SC Guide as a reference point. I drilled down on test performance and started keeping a log sheet of my overall scores, section raw scores and my mistakes.
Month 5( March, 2012):
Since I was supposed to take the GMAT on March 6th I had exhausted all these tests by 2nd March. However, the last few days before the test I had severe anxiety problems arising mostly out of the mishap that happened in my previous attempt along with timing issues in my last 2-3 MGMAT tests. I was barely able to complete the Quant Section in MGMAT and almost always had to rush through the last 5 questions or so. This compounded my fear that I may not do well despite my MGMAT scores that were in the 670-710 range. Keeping this in mind, I decided to postpone my test on the eve of my exam to March 30th, with a conscious decision that I would focus on fine tuning my prep (by focussing on my timing issues) that could help calm my nerves and possibly reduce the level of anxiety I would feel while doing a Test. I did not want to take the GMAT without leaving any stone unturned.
Last 3 weeks (March 2012) :
I spent a few days strategizing, making a strength/weakness matrix using the raw data from MGMAT Student Center of Test Performance(Right & Fast, Right & Slow, Wrong & Fast, Wrong & Slow etc). I identified these areas (in terms of Content Area & Question type) and over the next 3 weeks began exclusively focussing on them(along with timing) to hone my strengths and learn content in my weaker areas or to know where to cut my losses.(I could share my drill-down my analysis with you if you require). I then revised these problem areas using MGMAT Strategy Guides. I figured if I did this I would have a better chance of being more confident and calm and thus ensuring I could cross 700 or otherwise, reach my optimum score. To be honest though I ended up spending a lot more time on Quant than Verbal. I did not do too many tests in the last two weeks, since I had already done most of them and did not want to over saturate myself. Just one GMAT Prep repeat, a Veritas test prep, and 2 Kaplan Tests.
My test scores of GMAT Prep and MGMAT are as under under official test conditions:
GMAT Prep 1: :660 (Q48,V34)
GMAT Prep 2(20/12/2011) :670 (Q47,V36)
MGMAT 1 (15/12/11) :620 (Q41, V34)
MGMAT 2 (23/12/2011) :710 (Q44, V42)
MGMAT 3 (26/12/2011) :660 (Q44, V36)
Break in studying
MGMAT 4 (27/02/2012) :700 (Q47, V38)
MGMAT 5 (01/03/2012) :680 (Q47, V36)
MGMAT 6 (02/03/2012) :690 (Q43, V40)
GMAT Prep 1(Repeat) :700 (Forgot to write down the breakup)
Veritas GMAT Prep (27/03/2012) :670 (Q47, V34)
30th March: D day came. Went through the AWA section with ease.
Found the quant easy and was able to keep to time without getting nervous/ anxious and was thus able to keep my confidence while feeling I'm doing well. Started to get fatigued in the Verbal section but ensured that I make an educated guess and move on if I did not know the answer to a question, keeping in mind SC Rules and PowerScore Critical Reasoning mental frameworks. Was able to finish verbal after guessing the last odd question.
Score screen flashed by.
Official GMAT Score: 640 (Q49,V27) AWA 6.0
I was thrilled with my Quant breakup but shocked to see how my Verbal could plummet to such a low. Statistically speaking, I had not ever got a Verbal score less than 34.
Could you please help me figure out what went wrong in the test. Was it pure fatigue and exhaustion that allowed my performance to slip to this level or could their be genuine gaps in my verbal content that were not being reflected in my mock test scores. Like I said, I did spend a lot less time on Verbal in the last 3 weeks of March before the test, devoting much more time to Quant.
Any insight would be really appreciated. I have really toiled in the last 5 months and its taken me time to come to terms with my score but I want to do everything I can do get a 700+ score and maximize my chances of attending a top B- School. I am eager to do what it takes.
Please do help, Manhattan Staff. I would be super grateful to you all.