Saturday, May 30, 2009

GMAT Prep: From 640 To 730 in less than 20 days

My blog is named GMAT Beeline after the phrase make a beeline for, which means to go directly towards. The origin of the phrase is described well at The Phrase Finder site, Let me rephrase the origin from this site.

The phrase derives from the behaviour of bees. When a forager bee finds a source of nectar it returns to the hive and communicates its location to the other bees, using a display called the Waggle Dance. The other bees are then able to fly directly to the source of the nectar, i.e. 'make a beeline' for it.

Similarly, I am going to try and draw a beeline for GMAT preparation. I took my GMAT twice. The first time I took my GMAT on April 13, 2009. I scored a dismal 640 with 46 in Quants and 33 in Verbal. I scored 5.5 on my AWA. I call it a dismal performance because I knew that I could do better than that. Much better than that! I had not felt so bad after I had scored 1980 in GRE on October 12, 1996 because I had scored 800 in Quants. My break up back then was Quants 800, Analytical 700 and Verbal 480. But the GMAT result was extremely disappointing.

I attended a Chicago-Booth online chat session on April 21, 2009 and learnt that they are looking for 690+ in GMAT. My heart sank. On May 1, 2009, I went to the Chicago-Booth to attend an Open House session. I came back extremely motivated. I started thinking about taking the GMAT again. As I live in Michigan, I was considering Ross School of Business, Ann Arbor and Booth School of Business, Chicago. I contacted the admissions office of both schools before deciding to take the GMAT again. Here is a critical reasoning question for you guys. Why did Shashi contact the admission office before taking the GMAT again?
a) He wanted to know if the B-schools prefer candidates taking GMAT multiple times.
b) He wanted to know if B-Schools prefer candidates don't waste their time and money by taking GMAT mutliple times.
c) It is customory to let B-schools know that you are taking GMAT multiple times.
d) He wanted to know if B-school would consider the high score or the average as he was wondering what if he scores less on his second attempt than what he scored on his first attempt.
e) At this point every one knows the answer and this option is not needed.

You can notice that my confidence had gone so down that I was wondering what if I take the GMAT again and score less than 640. Both, Chicago and Michigan told me that they would consider my high score and not average. I deliberated for a few more days and on May 06, 2009 I decided to appear GMAT once again. I started preparaing again. I learnt from my mistakes. We will go into the details of my first time preparation and my second time preparation in my coming blogs. I appeared GMAT again on May 26, 2009. The AWA section was a breeze. I took my 10 minutes break and came out to the locker room and had half of the protein bar. I kept the remaining half for the next break. I went in the examination room for the next round. It was time for Quants. During the Quants my pen ran out. I tried the other pen. The other pen ran out too. I waived the pen in the air. The administrator came with a new pen, gave it to me and left. This one was not working either. Now, I was getting frustrated and afraid. I waived the pen again. The administrator came and gave me another one and this time took the three away. This one worked fine. By this time I may have lost like a minute or a minute and a half. More so, my concentration had all shaken up. I kept calm and continued. I guess I messed up the permutation-combination problem I was working on. I finished the Quants and took my next break. I came to the locker room for the remaining half of my protein bar. I was thinking about my Quants section. I just shook my head and decided to focus on the upcoming verbal section. I went in the examination for the last round, the verbal section. Once I am done with this section, I am done. I started working meticulously at the verbal section as I felt more pressured due to the mishap in my Quants section. I still managed to keep my cool. I finished the verbal section without any more mishaps. Now, I was on the screen that was asking me if I want to report my scores or cancel my scores. I had the usual 10 minutes to decide. I prayed to Lord Ganesha, selected to report my scores and clicked next. My heart was beating so fast and loud that maybe others in the examination room could hear it. The next screen took a few seconds to come up. I looked at the screen. 730! I jumped up with joy. My determination and hard work had paid off. My break up is Quants 48, and Verbal 42. My total score is 730 with a 96 percentile. I am still waiting for my official scores to know my AWA. In my next blog, I will discuss my first preparation and what I feel went wrong.

The purpose of this blog is to share my experience and help my fellow GMATers with their GMAT preparation. This blog is for those who scored low because of the mistakes we do when preparing and taking the exam and not because we deserved that score. This blog should also guide those who have not yet taken the GMAT. I would be very happy if this blog can help you guys achieve the 700+ score that you are looking for. The MBA dream at the top Business schools around the world. Thank you for reading this blog. I truly hope that this blog helps you.