Monday, May 02, 2005


I Discovered...(Part I of III)

This blog (and its sequel) will address the mistakes that I made and the lessons that I learnt from 'em. I would really like for the 2005 admitted students to pitch in their 2c worth in the comments section. Hopefully, future applicants will find these tidbits useful when they apply. This post is split into three parts:

I. GMAT Prep
II. Application Process
III. Interview Process

I. GMAT Prep

I discovered that the GMAT tests your mental and physical stamina as much as it does your mental aptitude .

I discovered that it is better to be just-confident and over prepared rather than
over-confident and under prepared.

There are plenty of resources available online. But I discovered that the following sites were immensely helpful (in no particular order):

There are plenty of books that one can possibly read. But, I discovered that the questions that most closely resemble those in the actual test are those available in the OG (Official Guide). Make sure you thoroughly understand the concepts in the OG before you embark on other books.

At the beginning, it was really uncomfortable for me to take the CAT (Computer Adaptive Test). I discovered that it took me a while to adjust to taking notes (or drawing geometrical figures) while looking at the screen.

One of the most useful tools that I discovered during my prep was the use of the error table, which goes:
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |...
A.| | | | | | | | | | |...
B.| | | | | | | | | | |...
C.| | | | | | | | | | |...
D.| | | | | | | | | | |...
E.| | | | | | | | | | |...

and the optimal use of the scratch paper.

Thanks to a friend, SP, I discovered that it is as important to solve the last few questions accurately as it is to solve the first few. The theory behind this is that most people spend too much time in the middle section (which is probably infested with tough experimental questions) which in turn leaves very little time for the last few. So, if you think a question in the middle section (14-25)is really tough, you may be better off taking a good guess and moving on...(this is the method I followed).

I discovered that most schools consider only the best score for admission. Essentially, it really does not matter whether you take the GMAT once or 100 times. But remember, schools discourage applicants from taking the exam more than 4 times, just because it may be stressful for the examinee.

Before I took the GMAT, I was only vaguely clear as to which schools I might be
applying to. Only at the end of the test, I discovered that there is an option of sending the score to 5 schools of my choice. I wish I had known which schools I was really gonna apply to cos that would have saved me a bunch of money (each additional score report costed me $29). I think it might be a good idea to send the score reports to some of your primary and one of your backup schools.

I DISCOVERED that the kaplan practice tests are terrible indicators of how well you will perform in the actual gmat. It frustrated me that I constantly got 590 or less. Therefore, do not take your low scores in the kaplan preptest seriously -instead, focus on why you answered the problems incorrectly! and what you should have done differently!
I discovered that it really pays off to just chill the day before the test. You wanna be super-fresh the day of the test. Captain Zatack ready for attack? ;)
I discovered, even if you screw up the GMAT, you can still kick-ass at some great schools by keeping your CHIN UP and rocking the essays!!
I discovered that you should study, and study hard (I used a combination of Kaplan, Princeton Review and the Official Guide), prepare, relax the night before, don't stress too much whilst you're doing the exam, if you score within the 80% range of your target schools, forget about it, and focus on the other parts of the app! Don't, and I repeat, DON'T post on the b-week forums asking if you should retake with a score of 750!
All great tips! I discovered that too much cramming doesn't necessarily equal results. This was a first for me. Start early, and do so at a semi-leisurely pace (2 hrs every other day or so). I also discovered, like you, that the OG is the only book that is truly helpful. Use a stopwatch and an error log with this book.
You talked abt GMAT Prep
How abt application Process
and Interview Process?

I am working on the next one. hopefully this weekend I will have something.

I discovered that I could do much better if I set my ego aside.

I also discovered that I could go over my game plan in my head and sketch a quick outline for the AWA before I clicked the GO button on the test.
I agree with what you all have said. Awesome contributions guys!
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