Online resources for GMAT prep

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I started my GMAT verbal prep with Princeton Review's Grammar Smart. I spent 4 days on it and got the mathematics of grammar cleared. Yes, I call GMAT grammar as mathematics, or more specifically logic, since there are standard rules for the same. If you take care of all the rules, you don't have to worry about GMAT verbal, especially the Sentence Correction section, that many people fear. There is no need to remember, or even learn what is a pronoun, a subjunctive clause, etc. You get all the rules stated in a simple logic manner. I jumped directly to Sentence Correction since last time this was my weakest area. Beginning next week, I'll start attacking other sections with equal attention to each.

Sometimes while in office, when I get some free time, I feel like spending some time on practicing quant or some random questions just to keep my practice live. At that time, some online resources come in hand and in my opinion, are the best. There are other well-compiled resources too that focus on GMAT Preparation strategy and other tips. Not in any particular order:

1. Gmat prep strategy: Clear Admit Wiki I have always been a fan of ClearAdmit. I am even following their blog on a regular basis through their feed. Well, their wiki is another source of awesome user-generated, or rather contributed content. The above particular page showcases GMAT experiences of some people. Some of them have written an excellent debrief about GMAT prep. People have shared tips on how to use the reference material and their strategies to study for GMAT. After reading a lot people's experiences, I am intrigued that is Manhattan SC guide really that helpful? Maybe I should go ahead and buy.

PS: I still don't why I am not featured in their Fridays from the Frontline series... ClearAdmit, are you listening?

2. Gmatclub Forums. Here you will find a very proactive community of people contributing heavily towards Gmat Preparation. Although as of now I am using it to take part in discussions involving GMAT questions, I'll later use it for my B-school research too. There's a lot of info in there. As of now I'll primarily use it for:
a. Gmat Prep strategy. There are forums dedicated to GMAT Strategy discussions. There are a lot of similar forums you will find on the internet. But the one thing that attracts me to Gmatclub forums is that they are strictly no non-sense. People are experienced and contribute a lot of value.
b. Gmat Verbal and Math Prep - As I mentioned earlier, threads are dedicated to Verbal and Quant preparation. You do get questions to practice , but since these are interactive forums you gain a lot from the discussions and learn new tips from forum members.

3. Beat the GMAT. It's again a collection of advices and a forum for GMAT and B-school admission related discussions. Just a different pool of people. It says it is a collaborative effort of ManhattanGMAT and StacyBlackman Consulting. Both of them are established brand names now.

4. Test Magic Forums. Excellent GMAT Forums. Gmat Club forums focus mostly on GMAT preparation, usually discussing one question per thread, the test magic forums are more generalized. They relate around other discussions involving GMAT, tips and advices, etc. Go check out.

Weekend is here. Time to spend 6 hours per day on GMAT. Over to the books.

4 Reasons Why I Decided to write GMAT again

After a lot of introspection, I decided to write GMAT again. I have registered for the test and have given myself 2.5 months for preparation. I feel that should be sufficient given that I have already written GMAT once. Since I HAVE to do an MBA this year, I do not want to leave any stone unturned and want to be well prepared.

It is not that I have a very low GMAT score for now that I have decided to take a shot again. I had scored a decent 710, well above average of many top schools. There a couple of reasons for doing so:

1. Too old GMAT score. My current GMAT score is more than 3 years old. Many friends have told me that if it is still valid (GMAT score is valid for 5 years), why do I need to write it again. My argument is, GMAT is indicative of an applicant's academic abilities. A decent score 3 years ago does not indicate the person's current abilities. So this might turn off B-schools. A fresh score would be an accurate reflection.

2. Compensate for average acads. My undergraduate acads are nice but not the kind I would boast of. To compensate for that I need a good enough GMAT score that I won't have to explain.

3. Skewed score. My previous score is a little, ok ok, a lot skewed where I score 51 in quant and early thirties in verbal. I'm not sure how B-school adcoms perceive it. But I personally am not happy with it. So this is an attempt to level the scores.

4. Want to be above the average, all things being equal. I am, from a not-so-typical IT background (read Indian/IT/male). I have a lot of things to differentiate myself, but on the GMAT front, I am well below my sample space. Most of the candidates whom I'll be compared to would have scored more than me. I want to be in the upper half. In the worst case, if they have to choose between person X and me, all other things being equal (I know, I know...), they should choose me based on a higher GMAT score.

Am I over confident? I don't think so, I just explained the reasons for me to take another shot at GMAT.

Where do I start
1. The first test of GMAT Prep, the software provided by, to assess my current standing. I heard quant has become tougher after Pearson has taken over GMAT administration. Let's see.
2. Book, to start with, I'll go with Princeton Review's Grammar Smart. I really liked that book, that it helped me clear my concepts and was an immense help in the Sentence Correction Section. Basically, the approach that was followed in that book, made Sentence Correcction feel like mathematics. there are pre-defined rules, you just have to follow those.
3. Then I'll think of picking other books, like Prince Review, Kaplan or OG - The Official Guide to GMAT.

A note for my readers:
I am very keen on buying the OG for GMAT Verbal. I am looking for reviews on htat book if someone has used it. Is it worth spending money on? Or if there is any other recommendation for verbal specifically, please do recommend, I'll be grateful.

Why was I not selected at ISB

So I am at ISB finally. I always wanted to come here and I have, but not as a student. My wife is a current ISB student and I moved to the campus along with her. Well, both of us applied together and wished both would study together, but it did not happen. But anyways, I have not been wasting time. It was not much of an inconvenience moving here as I was already working in Hyderabad, so just moved out of the house to the ISB provided studio apartment. Anyhow before I get my feedback from ISB, I contemplated what could I have done better to improve my chances of admission here. Rather, what I should have avoided that might have ruined my chances. As I list the reasons, these also specify the lessons I learnt and should be followed by every re-applicant:

Photo by better not bitter

  • Apply in R1. I should have applied in R1. If I am a re-applicant, I genuinely show my interest in the program only if I apply early.
  • Grab every opportunity to sell yourself, show more passion. I should have been more focussed on selling myself during the interview. For example, when the interviewer asked the last question, "Is there anything else you want to add?", he was literally giving me an option to sell myself and talk about anything I liked. But that was a blackout time, I could not think of anything and moved on. When I was out of the interview room, I could count at least 10 things that I could have said. So guys, now you know how to be better prepared. :)
  • Show more maturity and a better fit. As I am a re-applicant, I was supposed to write an additional essay that talks about what has changed since I last applied. A lot was changed. It is two years since I last applied. And you know what I wrote... I mentioned the facts, I talked about the new job, new location, the purpose of my job change, and all. But I never told them what I learnt in these two years, how and if I am more mature now, what perspective have I gained. These are the things that would define me and that's what a B-school wants to know.

It has been three weeks now since I moved to ISB as a 'spouse' and all this time, I have seen life at ISB more closely that made me more motivated to apply again. I always knew that I want to do an MBA, but I'm never applying passionately. This time, I'll apply to more than 1 school to improve my chances of doing an MBA. Since my score is more than 3 years old now, it makes more sense for me to retake GMAT. I have scheduled my GMAT for mid-June and now starting my preparation.