Guest Post: My journey from a 620 to a 710 on the GMAT

Today’s guest post comes from Abhyudaya Rana, who scored 710 on his second GMAT attempt with the help of Prep4GMAT app as well as other resources. 

Hello guys! Like everyone else, I have my own GMAT story. Before I embark on that journey, let me brief you about my background.

I graduated from from Bits Pilani (Tolani, Pune Campus) with a BS in Nautical Technology. I have 3+ years of work experience as a merchant navy officer. I have handled crude oil tankers of more than 100,000 metric tons deadweight, carrying millions of barrels of crude oil. I was/am perfectly happy with my job as it gave me opportunities to earn A LOT more than friends of my age and explore various foreign lands.

However, I realized this is the best age in which I can grow further as a person and acquire further education without the burden of a spouse. I came in contact with a friend who had recently given GMAT exam and he told me about his experience. I always had an interest in logistics/operations. I was in the core operations of ships, but we were so-called pawns rather in the big supply chain. I wanted to broaden my horizons and wanted to shoulder more responsibility.

Come July 2013, I decided to give the GMAT a shot. I had a solid Quant background and decent English knowledge. So I decided to give it a go in August. I didn’t realize the blunder I was making! I studied hurriedly through the meager 20-25 days I had and Verbal section of GMAT really shook me. All the answers seemed correct and I scored around 600 in the mock test. Come the big day, I scored a 620, far lower than I had hoped.

I was dejected, because I felt the test went FANTASTIC! Little did I know the test is so adaptive that you feel comfortable in the test and feel as though you’re nailing it. A few friends told me a 620 with 25 days of studying was not bad, and I said that I would take it again.

As much as I loved shipping, the desire to broaden my horizons was still immense. I decided to give the GMAT another go in April 2014. As far as study materials are concerned, here are my recommendations:

  • Manhattan Sentence Correction Guide 5th edition – the best material in my opinion for development of verbal skills. I used to do a few chapters from the guide and searched the sentence correction questions related to those topics from online forums such as gmatclub.com and beatthegmat.com.
  • GMAT Verbal Review – This official book from the GMAC is the best practice one can get for the verbal section, especially to improve RC accuracy.
  • GMAT Official Guide 2015 edition – this book needs to be done at least twice for both Quant and Verbal. Immensely helpful.
  • GmatClub.com – this website helped a lot for Quant questions especially with an active member base and in-house experts.
  • Mock tests – I started with mock tests a month and a half prior to my GMAT date. MANHATTAN and GMAT Prep mock tests are the best out there. I gave 6 Manhattan mocks and 4 GMAT prep mock tests.
  • Prep4GMAT app – They say all good things come in small packages! Well, it’s so true for this app. I bumped into this while searching for GMAT apps online and I didn’t need to look beyond once I started with this app. It is the BEST on-the-go application for GMAT. Whether I was in a train or a bus, or even in the bathroom (yes, GMAT gets into your head so much that you don’t just leave studying anywhere) this application was the real thing. A free app with the quality of questions it presented was something that I was impressed with. The app presents a real time score and as you keep performing well in the mini quizzes, your score improves (or falls) after each exercise. Quant lessons in the app helped me with formulae and shortcuts that studying from various sources didn’t. I am grateful to this app without a doubt.

My practice scores were as follows:

Manhattan: 670, 710, 710, 710, 710, 740

GMAT Prep: 690, 710, 720, 730.

As you can see the mock tests were close to my original score. Giving these tests gave me a lot of confidence and belief. A word of advice- start the mock tests when you feel you are 80% prepared.

D-Day – September 18, 2014

I did not sleep particularly well; slept just for just 4 hours from 3 am to 7 am, more out of excitement than anxiety. I was really up for it! The test started at 9 am. I had prepared for just 20 minutes for AWA because I was confident I knew I could write well. AWA went well.

I was worse at IR. I had been scoring 3-4 out of 8 in all the mock tests, so I had gone ill-prepared for that. Little did I know that with focused answering I was going to score a perfect 8 in it.

The first Quant question really threw me off (perhaps due to a sluggish mind due to lack of sleep) and I spent 5 minutes solving it. I rushed through the remaining Quant section and finished 8 minutes in advance.

Verbal went well, but again my sluggish mind wasn’t letting me think very clearly in the Critical Reading section.

When I was asked whether I wanted the unofficial score, I was tense as I felt I had not done enough to cross the 700 barrier. I clicked “submit.”

IR8 Q50 V36 710 (92%ile) popped up on the screen, and I was the most relieved man in the world. I punched the air in jubilation and was appropriately reprimanded by the test proctor. I came out of the testing center, met my anxiously waiting friends and partied all night.

It was a battle won for me, a sweet revenge taken from the GMAT.

Now I am in midst of applications to schools and realize that GMAT was just half the battle done. With the essays and SOPs, a lot of work is still to be done. So I will advise people reading this to get done with your GMAT as soon as possible and focus on applications more as it’s a time-consuming process.

If you would like to share your GMAT experience with other Prep4GMAT users, please contact us at info@ltgexam.com for more information.