Friday, October 1, 2010
My GMAT study in 4th gear
So for all the folks who are only familiar with auto-transmission, let me first mention that there are 5 gear positions in car running on manual-transmission, or something known familiarly as the "Stick shift". While going on the 4th gear doesn't seem like a lot, yet the fact that this is my second time studying for the GMAT and the fact that the last time I gave my GMAT test at the center, I drove to the center in a cervical collar, makes this a good gear for me.
Studying for the GMAT the first time around had meant I spent hours on my laptop, with little concern for ergonomics. I've been constantly working for the past 10 yrs on a PC at my workplace, so why did the GMAT study hurt me bad enough to cause tingling numbness in my left arm, headaches and neck aches was beyond me. The orthopedic and the physiotherapy did little to alleviate my pain and I was sore that my GMAT study (in the fifth gear at the time of the first incidence of the pain) was all going to waste. Nevertheless, gave it anyway and landed with a 660.
After coping with the illness for over 4 months, later discovering the awesome techniques of Yoga and Pranayam, and a lot of time attention to healing and practicing yoga for over 2 months, I picked up the GMAT Official guide again (for the nth time!) a couple of weeks ago. I'm glad to say I've survived 3 weeks with constant use of my laptop (this type hooked to a external keyboard and mouse, with my laptop kept at a elevation = Great ergonomics) in perfect health. Still practicing the yoga though, which is now part of my life.
What I've discovered in the 4th gear is, after solving the OG, the OG Verbal and Quant guide, I still wanted more practice to solve more questions and some interactivity. I found two fun things to do.
1) Participate on forums - I'm checking and posting on the BeatTheGmat.com forums morning and evening. I have great buddies who keep posting good questions. With the timer that BTG has so thoughtfully placed on top of each post, I can time myself on each question posted. Members on the forum constantly debate and question, and I have gained an understanding of the little nuances I never noticed before. I encourage anyone studying for the GMAT to get into those forums and share questions, give opinions, etc. Its a useful tool to study, ofcourse don't expect people to teach you - you have to do your homework and self study.
2) Grockit - Games people play, eh? This is a nice create-your-own-game-to-play with GMAT question types that you can choose and play it against others in the same virtual room. You can even schedule them as you please so others can sign in for it in advance. Unfortunately the free membership limits you to only 10 questions per day in a group study. So now I'm debating if I should buy the grockit standard membership (at 79$ post 20% BTG discount - Doesn't sound like a lot until you do the dollar conversion) which gives me full access to over 100 hours of practice with 1200 questions in the bank to choose from and 5 full length CATs. The only thing holding me back is no reviews on the CATs and doubts on their score calibration software, since again - no reviews found !
I've bought the MGMAT CATs, so that $40 gone already. Hopefully the MGMAT CATs don't bring my morale down since their scores tend to be a downer!
Today I tried the Veritas prep, and compared with the 620 in my last take 4 months ago, I clinched a 710 today. Veritas gave my GMAT total score as 680, but I re-checked that Q45 and V42 round to a 710 total score. So I'm pumped !!!
I'm leaving a good picture at the top, as a reminder to everyone to be safe while on their laptops. You do not want to be using our grandma's cervical collar, believe me!