Monday, February 24, 2014

STEP 1 : GMAT - Command and Conquer

GMAT - The first step towards preparing for GMAT is to prepare oneself for a 3-5 month of regular dedication. And before this makes you nervous, let me tell you that NO, its not that difficult. So below are the steps which can help in breaking down the process of getting a 700+ GMAT in approximately 5 months:

1. Prepare Yourself to Prepare for GMAT - Believe me, this is the toughest part in the entire application and admission cycle. Usually, one has a 3 to 10+ years of work experience and the person succumbs to the 'Comfort Zone' around himself (ladies, kindly allow me to use 'himself' to make the content simpler; no offences meant :) ). The Comfort Zone is your worst enemy and it will keep infusing your brain, or your thought process for that matter, with ideas which will discourage you to pick this task. Some instances are - "I may have to go abroad; I might lose interest; I have a personal commitment; I don't have that much time; My current job is not that bad, I can grow here too" etc etc etc...
But remember, the only reason you want to do this course, the only reason you want to break the mould, the only reason you are reading this blog, is because you want to bring a CHANGE in your life. This very feeling of "Lets Do It" indicates that you are a fighter and you won't surrender to any counter thoughts, discouragements from colleagues, lethargy or any other deterrent. You have to believe in yourself and go ahead with this like all serious and successful candidates did at some stage.

2. Great! I am all Pumped Up, How to Start now -  There are two ways to prepare for GMAT. Either join a coaching class or do it yourself. In my personal opinion, I would advice a coaching institute but if you are highly motivated and have a good idea about how to study/practice, then the latter is more suited for you.
Coaching Institute (recommended) - There are many such institutes which guide an individual in preparing for GMAT as well as conduct practice tests. I opted for one such institute. The reason was that I had started with GMAT self-preparations 2-3 times in the past but lost the interest in a month or so. What to study, how to design the schedule etc constantly made me change my plans and eventually I had to quit.
The coaching institutes divide the entire syllabus into modules and then teach the modules as per a 3 months plan. (Yes, you read it right - only 3 months for covering the entire GMAT syllabus).
So if you are very serious about GMAT but a bit unsure about the syllabus or your motivation, do get enrolled for coaching. This costs around Rs. 25,000 for classes and 5-10 tests.
*Disclaimer - I have no intention of making any reader shell out money to any coaching institute. I would suggest you to take a trial class with 2-3 such institutes and then choose the best yourself.
Self Preparation - The best thing about GMAT is that it involves only English and Class X Mathematics. You can buy GMAT preparation books, religiously follow the chapters, do the practice and thats it. There is no rocket science involved, so be it Maths or English  you will not face challenges which only a tutor/mentor can address. But I repeat it, the most important factor is your self-motivation. Before starting Self-Prep, be sure that you are 100% serious and committed to this adventure.

3. The Testing Patterns - These are the fantastic four -
Analytical Writing Assessment – An argument will be provided and in 30 mins, you will have to analyze the argument. Basically, you have to point out the flaws in the argument. You can think of reasons on your own but it should be in context to that is written in the argument.
This section has a separate rating and doesn’t affect the GMAT 800 score.

Integrated Reasoning – There will be around 12 questions related to Graphs, Two-part Analysis, Table analysis etc. Again 30 mins.
This section has a separate rating and doesn’t affect the GMAT 800 score.
Quantitative Section -
The Quantitative section consists of 37 questions which have to be attended in 75 minutes.
Topics such as Algebra, Inequalities, Ratios, Proportions, Simple/Compound Interests, Probability, Permutation Combinations, Time Speed Distance, Work, Geometry etc are covered.
This section, along with Verbal Section, decides the GMAT 800 score

Verbal Section -
The Verbal section consists of 41 questions which have to be attended in 75 minutes.
Basically these questions are classified into
a.       Passages – there are approx 4 passages each with 3-4 questions. So the total # of such questions is 14-16
b.      Critical Reasoning – these are around 12-14 in number.
c.       Sentence Correction – these are 12-14 in number as well.
Out of these, Passages and Critical Reasoning can be IMPROVED only by practice and there is no other way to approach these questions.
Sentence Correction questions, on the other hand, are something that can be worked upon, understood and improved. Such questions are solved at three levels – Grammar, Meaning and Preference (in decreasing order of importance).
This section, along with Quant Section, decides the GMAT 800 score

So yes, the test is 30 +30 + 75 + 75  = 210 minutes = 03:30 Hours + Two breaks of 8 mins each

Material for Preparation – Well, the Official Guide is a must to have. There isn’t any theory shared in this book but the questions mentioned give a very good idea of the kind of questions one can face in GMAT.
For theory, there are 2-3 well known brands like Manhattan, Kaplan, Princeton etc. I used Manhattan but  I would recommend it only for Verbal. For Quant, one can refer Kaplan or Princeton.

4. Schedule Designing – Welcome to the World of Management
Designing an efficient schedule for GMAT preparation is a MUST else you would lose the interest in 2-3 weeks.
Here is what I recommend –
3 months of theory, understanding concepts, practicing questions as per the topic +
1 month of Question solving +
1 month of attending full practice tests

The 3 months period:
For Quant – There are about 11-12 main topics, so in 3 months (1 topic per week), this should be ready.
For Verbal –
a.       Passages – One should try to solve 2-3 Passages on a daily basis to get the speed
b.      Critical Reasoning – 10 Critical Reasoning questions, 2-3 times a week to get the speed and know-how.
c.       Sentence Correction – Most of the 3 months for theory/concepts understanding must be focused towards SC. There are 10-11 concepts like Subject-Verb Agreement, Tenses, Parallelism etc which one should understand and learn to implement. 11 concepts, one concept per week (with ample practice) – so in 11 weeks, this should be completely prepared.
Try to devote 2 hours every day and plan Quant and Verbal on alternate days.

Questions Solving – This one month should be used to solve each and every question of your study material (provided by the Coaching Institute or self purchased). Initially, try to focus on the mistakes you did while solving questions, note them down and work upon them to understand the concept. In the latter part of the month, try to solve questions on a times scaled – for Quant, try to solve 30 Qs in 60 mins while for Verbal, try to solve 35 Qs in the same time. Make sure that you cover all topics in Quant during this month. For Verbal, make sure that you mix Qs.

Practice Test – It might happen that after 4 months, you might feel that you have forgotten some topic and might want to devote more time for it. Well, get ready to be surprised – DON’T DO IT.
The reason I am saying this is because you will never have that feeling of complete satisfaction. Spending more time on anything else except practice tests at this stage will reap no fruits.
Rather regular practice will help you come across more questions and also increase your speed, leading to better scores.
There are about 15 free tests available on the net. Make sure to give them in one sitting (at least the Quant and Verbal part).
Also, it is very important to learn and improvise upon the wrong answers without which, this exercise won’t be of much relevance.
Aim for scores above 700 as IIMs/ISB etc prefer students in 700+ range.
So GMAT is done... Wow THAT WAS EASY!!!
Hmmm, we will move to next step now - "Profile Preparation - Extra curriculars, Letters of Recommendations etc" but give me some time y'all :)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Wow, it's has realized me "Let's do what you desire to".
    It gives a clear vision and direction on how to thoroughly prepare oneself for GMAT. More important, it speaks an easy approach. Thumps up for your write-up.
    I think I must recommend this to other aspirants around me.

  3. Nice and informative blog. Amazing writing skills you have. Can you provide me address of some business schools nearby Jaipur.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks for the kind comments.
      Sorry I would not be able to help you with that. I know of these schools, which use GMAT scores for admission - IIMA, B, C, L, XLRI (Jamshedpur), ISB (Hyderabad and Mohali) and SP Jain (Mumbai)

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  5. Hey, can you suggest me something about MBA. Actually I’m going to do one-year MBA course and don’t have much idea about its benefits. Is it my wise decision? Please suggest me with good advice.