It has been five days, and I am still not convinced whether to be happy for a good percentile score and think that I am still not able to cross that mental "Indian" barrier of 750. I scored a 730 on my GMAT. If I were from . . . Genovia (Yes, there is a country named Genovia) or if I had been working closely with the PM to get the nuclear deal done, I would have applied to HBS with 730. Clean sweep.

But alas! I hail from India, and of course, by chance, I am an engineer, not in IT though. 730 is a crime man!!! Below 750, you are a piece of crap. Anyway, surprisingly people have been congratulating me for my "great" score.

But then, there are positives. This is my second attempt at GMAT. My previous attempt was 3 years ago when I scored a 710. There are some valid reasons I retook the GMAT. I did show an improvement here. 20 points up. This Thursday, I came back from the test centre and was analyzing my performance/improvement. Since it is a fact that overall GMAT scores are on a rise, my 710, 3 years ago would have been a 680 today. So it is a considerable improvement. I am writing a debrief on my GMAT prep. There are a lot of things that GMAT prep teaches you. Discipline is one of them.

So all in all, it was good. No use thinking "If I could have...". Now I am free. All set to attack the apps.

Thanks to Adekku, Starwalker and Goneguru for their wishes for my exam. A late thanks though. Was busy partying after my GMAT. ;)

The GMAT-II Day Tomorrow

Well, I have 25 hours left from now when I will write my GMAT (Thursday 5:30 PM IST). The situation this weekend was bad. I decided to write another Manhattan Test on Saturday and I scored 660. I was drowned. I was doomed. I was shocked. But then I convinced myself by thinking that it's the Manhattan tests and they are considered difficult. But my brain did not accept this defeat. My target was well above 700 and I cannot settle for less than that in a practice test, and that too just 4 days before the actual test.

I let it go.

I waited for 4 hours. Had dinner, watched some time and decided to write another practice test. Challenge Manhattan head-on. It was 11 pm and I started my practice test. And phew, this time, with a little more concentration, I managed 700 (93%ile). I was satisfied. I could sleep. This weekend was good.

The next I decided to give the final practice shot. And write the GMAT-Prep 2. I was in a jolly mood. Well, come on, it's the "easy" GMAT. "Just yesterday I challenged Manhattan and won". Be casual - was the mood. AND THAT KILLED ME. I scored a 650 on GMAT Prep - 2.

Man!!!! This was a test where mostly everyone scored near their actual GMAT score. My dreams were shattered at that moment and I was feeling low. "I don't mind a 680,or a 690. But with a previous 710, a 680 would be bad... very bad." Anyhow, I let it go and forgot about GMAT the rest of the day.

Monday came and I picked up my books and my notes. Went over all the SC notes from Manhattan SC guide. Other pointers that I had written down. Practiced the last 20 CR's from OG, and I thought I am ready for another challenge.

GMAT - 1 day to go. I woke up early. I decided to go to office a little late and go for a date wth another Manhattan test. This time, I decided to be serious, no jokes. And I scored a 730, a morale booster I sincerely needed. Now I'm not taking another practice test to risk my motivation. I am just sitting idle. Tomorrow is the day and I have to maintain my cool. My RC accuracy is under control. OG Practice did the trick.

Well, let's see how it goes.

How Do I Improve my Reading Comprehension

I really suck at Reading Comprehension section of the GMAT. After compiling all the tests and practice questions that I have done, my average accuracy for RC comes to 50-60% which is very bad. My CR and SC accuracy is close to 80% and I'm confident that with a little practice, I can stretch those. But I am clueless about RC and I really hate that section.

Friends, readers, please help me. I'm really worried now that my GMAT date is approaching... 17th July. And I cannot stay with an accuracy as pathetic as 60%.

Is practice the only way out?
Aren't there any tricks or strategies like there are in SC and CR sections?

Any suggestions or comments are most welcome.

The Magic Book of Sentence Correction

I might be over exaggerating, but I saw a dramatic improvement in my Sentence Correction accuracy after using Manhattan SC Guide.

After reading a lot of appreciation for the book in a lot of blogs, I went ahead and bought the book. I liked the approach they followed to tackle each and every type of SC problem. Frankly speaking, I am really bad at memorizing grammar rules. This explained my weak accuracy at SC (close to 60%). I wanted someone to tell me: Look! Here a phrase is separated by a comma, look for the misplaced modifier. Eureka!!!

Simplistic yet Impactful Approach

In my opinion, the best way to tackle GMAT Grammar is to approach it as pure logic. Forget language, tell me the rule. Manhattan SC guide does exactly that. I will give you an example. I think you will agree. The most probable rule where we are stumped is when a combination of tenses appears on the test. Couple it with the IF clause, the test taker is doomed. In this book, they have simplified it to an extent that they have made a table mapping the IF clause with the THEN clause, presenting cases for all the tenses. I went ahead and memorized it and I did see a difference.

Practice Questions

They do not have any SC question to practice. Rather, for each category of problems, they have basic questions to identify the error and correct it. Practicing these helps you identify the type of problem that can appear and what the remedy is. But I really wished they had some practice SC questions in the book.

Deadly Combination

If you plan to buy Manhattan SC Guide, take my word and buy it along with the Official Guide, 11th ed. With each category's chapter, they have identified questions frm the OG to practice. So you study a type each day, and practice 10-20 questions related to that type, obviously the questions ranging from easy to difficult. By picking up one category every day, I was able to finish the OG's SC section in nearly a week's time, with, guess what, 85% accuracy. I hope it stays that way.

Bonus Tests

Guess what!!! You buy the book and you get 6 Practice Online tests for free. Not a bad deal for $17.

Well, believe me, I am not being paid my Manhattan for this, although it looks like a sales pitch. I am really amazed by my performance improvement after going through the book and I really wanted to share this experience with you all. Really, if you are worried about Sentence Correction, go ahead and buy these two books:
Now the next section to tackle is the Reading Comprehension. I really suck at that. Thanks to Neo2000, I learnt that the average GMAT for us Indians is 730!!! Phew!!! I don't want RC to screw my score.