My GMAT Journey & Some Useful GMAT Prep Resources

Watch out this space as I add more details about my GMAT Journey.

For now the end results from my official GMAT score card
Verbal                     41 / 92%
Quantitative               50 / 93%
Total                      750 / 98% 
Analytical Writing         6.0 / 90%

GMAT Format

First and foremost be comfortable with the the format of GMAT. Its a computer adaptive test, so one has to be comfortable with very basic computer operations like using mouse, cutting and pasting text etc. But believe me it should not pose a problem to even a non techie GMAT Taker.

The following table gives the breakdown about what all makes up GMAT exam (Source GMAC website).

Free GMAT adaptive tests & prep resources

For those who are embarking on  GMAT Journey, taking a GMAT diagnostic can be a good starting point. Here are some free GMAT adaptive tests and resources available on the web

Resources & Books I used for my GMAT Preparation

I had taken CAT 2007 and had scored 98.3 percentile. For those who don't know about CAT (common admission test), it is an all India level entrance exam to get admission into prestigious management institutes in India. Its counted among the toughest exams in the world and the standard is very high.

My CAT Preparation was extensive which ran for around 1.5 years. That made my quant fundamentals very strong. So for GMAT, I decided to study by myself and decided to concentrate on verbal section (I got trumped in verbal section of CAT). So I studied the following books.
  • GMAT Official Guide 11th Edition
    This is the GMAT Bible and one should complete it fully and also revise it before the exam.

  • T.I.M.E material for CAT (Quant)
    I totally relied on my CAT preparation material given by TIME institute for my quant preparations. As I had already studied those materials, I was very comfortable studying them again.

  • GMAT 800 - Kaplan
    This book contains some super tough questions (I did only verbal) which will prepare you for scores higher than 700. But you should take this book for studying only after getting strength in the fundamentals.

  • Princeton Review
  • Kaplan Lesson Book
    The above 2, I just did once for some more practice.

  • Manhattan SC Guide
    Sentence Correction makes a major chunk of verbal section. The most effective way to tackle these questions is to understand the common and most tested types of errors and prepare a framework to solve them.
    Manhattan SC was very helpful for me in preparing that framework/check list of errors against which I solved the SC questions and it was super effective for me.
    Make the best use of OG question matrix given at the end of MH SC guide.

  • Freakonomics - the CR guide
    OK I am not kidding so no need to get freaked out about this unusual candidate in the list of GMAT Preparation books. Few lines about Freakonomics

    The book is a collection of economic articles written by Levitt, an expert who has already gained a reputation in academia for applying economic theory to diverse subjects not usually covered by "traditional" economists; he does, however, accept the standard neoclassical microeconomic model of rational utility-maximization. In Freakonomics, Levitt and Dubner argue that economics is, at root, the study of incentives.
    I liked reading this book though I don't really accept everything written in this book. But this gives you a new way of thinking about every aspect of real world. That new improved thinking is what helped me attack the Critical Reasoning questions in GMAT. Knowing the basics of Logic can also help a lot (Finally one thing I learned in my engineering came to use !! )

Good online Resources for preparation
Test Day Tips 
  • Make sure you get a good sleep well the night before. It ensures that you are fresh and ready for the D Day
  • Familiarize yourself with the test center and the location. Make sure you don't waste your time searching for the test center on test day
  • Make sure you have everything you need ready the night before. This includes:
    • Valid photo ID (Passport if taking in India). Details here.
    • The list of the schools you want to send your scores to.
    • Authorization voucher (if you made your appointment by mail)
  • Go early to the test center and finish the identification procedure
  • Don't need to carry paper, pencil and etc as everything is provided by the test center.
  • You can eat/drink something during breaks.While you will not be able to eat them during the exam, you will be stuck there for about 4 hours, so you will need to keep your energy up by eating during breaks.
Few good posts about the test day.