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It was in the month of October 2007, when we (I and my wife, Madhu) first seriously thought of GMAT. We were not really sure whether going for an MBA will really add any value to us at this stage, considering that both of us are MBAs from IISWBM, Kolkata, with more than 5 years of experience and are doing reasonably well in our careers.

We thought of visiting some of the Coaching centers helping in preparing for GMAT and discuss whether it is a good idea and also in the process identify the center where we want to take our classes.

     

We visited Princeton Review, Edstar, C-Square, Jumboree and a few more and decided on C-Square. I am not 100% sure, why we choose C-Square, it was perhaps based on good feedbacks about Kalyan in blogs, our discussion with Rashmi and largely based on our instincts.

My diagnostic test score was 620 (42, 36), which made me feel confident. Our classes started from November 3rd 2007 and continued till around first week of January 2008. My score in the second mock test – Dec last week- was 630 (46, 30), which was very disappointing. I realized that unlike the first test, which I took without any pressure or targets, the second time I wanted to do very well and as a result, perhaps was thinking more about the score than the questions.

I had originally taken test appointment for 29th Jan, but met with an accident in Jan beginning and was on rest till the end of Jan. I rescheduled my test for 20th Feb. Since I just had 20 days to prepare, I could only complete PS, DS (10th & 11th OG), CR and RC (11th OG) and could not manage SC till just 2-3 days before the test. Hence I just completed revision of the SC rules and practiced around 50 odd questions from 11th OG. In between I took 3 tests, scores were 710 (49, 39), 720 (50, 37) and 720 (49, 38). In all the 5 exams that I had taken by this time, I had managed to complete both the sections on an average 7-8 mins before time. I used to skip (finish in less than 35-40 seconds) a few quant questions and almost all SC questions. I was reasonably happy with my scores as I was getting these scores before practicing SC and by skipping a few questions. I was a bit nervous before the test but was confident of getting at least a 700 in the test.

Before the test, I told myself that I have been consistently getting 710-720; time has not been a problem, if I try doing all the questions including SC properly, and I might end up getting a score close to 750.

And that is where I went wrong….

On the exam day, I did not skipping questions in Quant, and consequently felt that the level of questions was far tougher than mock tests, was just able to finish on time, and had to really hurry in the last 3-4 questions. In the break I told myself that may be I was doing really well and hence was getting a lot of tough questions, I thought I might end up getting a 51 in Quant. In verbal also, for the first time I tried to attempt all SC questions properly, ended up having left with only 10 mins in hand with 10 questions left including one passage. Could not do the last few questions well. The final Score was 680 (49, 32). I was really disappointed. Went to meet Kalyan the same day, realized that I went wrong by experimenting with my way of taking test in the actual test rather than trying out things in mock tests, went wrong in not skipping tough questions and there by exhausting myself by the time I had completed quant, focusing on SC rather than RC and CR in verbal. Though, I felt a little better after meeting Kalyan as I realized than 680 is not that bad a score but I was sure that I could do better than that. The very next day, took the next appointment for 24th March.

During this one month, I did not get enough time to study as I had lot of pending office travel to be completed, which I had compromised on due to health grounds. I just revised everything during the last 3- 4 days. Also took 3 mock tests during this month. The score were 690 (49, 33), 710 (49, 38) and 760 (50, 42). The only difference when I got 760 was that, unlike earlier, when if I was getting stuck between 2 options in a RC question and it was taking time to eliminate one, I used to choose one and move on, this time I was giving that extra 30 seconds to eliminate 4 options before moving on.

On the test day, I decided I will skip any quant question taking me more than 2.5 mins and would not give more than 45 seconds to any SC question. I was able to implement this. While, taking the test, I was feeling that may be I am not doing too well, as I was skipping quite a few questions (almost 5-6) in quant and the level of questions seemed easier than the last test. In Verbal, I did all SC questions very fast, Skipped 2 CR questions as I was not able to solve them within 2.5 mins. However, was able to do all 4 RC passages as per Kalyan's FIRE approach. The final score was 730 (50, 38). It was a relief to see the final score. I am slightly disappointed with my AWA score – 4.5 against 5.0, which I got in the first test.

 

If I have to summarize the key strategies, it would be as under:

1) Limit both practice and knowledge to what ever is taught in the class and 10th/11th OG.
2) Skip Quant Questions, which you are unable to solve, max in 2.5 mins.
3) MUST implement FIRE approach to solve RC passages.
4) Not more than 40 seconds for SC questions.
5) Do not treat this test like any other test where you score more my studying more and attempting all questions and answering all of them correctly. Here it is not necessary to answer all questions correctly to get a good score. Learn to skip, that will definitely help.
6) Finally, do not aim to get an 800; in other words, do not try to get all answers correct.

Before I end, I would like to thank Kalyan for his training and support. Also I am grateful to Rashmi and all batch mates. And considering all the negativity around, I would like to reiterate that this score would not have been possible without kalyan & his team.


Navneet Baheti
 
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