The average GMAT at XLRI Jamshedpur’s GMP general management program got a boost when Narendran Santhanam got his application to their 1 year MBA program accepted.
He sent in this blog post at 3:51 AM, so you can imagine the kind of workload he’s dealing with as he nears the end of an eventful year. If you’ve been going bananas trying to find out the ingredients that go into a high GMAT score, as Chef Naren’s GMAT diet recommendation includes exactly that – bananas!
How I scored 770 on the GMAT test
by Narendran Santhanam
There comes a time in almost everyone’s professional life when one feels he/she has reached a plateau. No more mountains to conquer, and the job becomes less challenging and more monotonous.
And that’s when we start thinking about a change – either a change in the role, a change in the organization or a complete career overhaul.
Such changes can be achieved with or without an extra academic qualification, but the additional knowledge gained with an extra degree just makes the change much more smoother and justifiable.
An MBA is one of the most preferred options as the additional qualification, and that’s what I planned to do after working for almost 6 years in one of the leading IT companies in India.
I joined the General Management Programme (GMP), which is the 1-year full time residential flagship programme at XLRI, Jamshedpur offered for professionals with more than 5 years of work experience.
I started my GMAT exam prep in the month of July and I had my exam scheduled in December. I used to prepare everyday for CAT too, so I didn’t have to prepare separately for the PS questions in the Quant section of GMAT. I paid extra attention to verbal questions and spent a lot of time reviewing my answers and why I went wrong.
On the day of the GMAT exam
I knew it’s going to be mentally exhausting and so to regain energy I had taken bananas with me to eat in the breaks between the sections. One of my friends took RedBull – actually a great idea!
My final GMAT score:
770 (Q50 V45), AWA 4.5
The first time I enquired about GMAT with my friends, I was informed that it was way too easy compared with CAT and other MBA entrance exams in India. It didn’t take me too long to find out that they were as misinformed about GMAT as are some people who think Sachin Tendulkar is not a match winner (Yeah, I’m a huge fan).
Sure, GMAT math does not require as good a mathematical ability as does CAT, but it is far more than just numbers. The structure of the exam and its duration demand a very high level of concentration and mental endurance.
Once I decided about my GMAT attempt, I had to decide whether or not to join a coaching centre for the same. After a lot of contemplation and consultation, I decided to join a coaching centre.
I was pretty good at math (I was practising for CAT as well), but my confidence was shattered when I attempted some of the data sufficiency questions as they were really tricky.
Needless to say, the verbal section was all the trickier, as the answers are highly subjective. One needs to practice a lot in order to achieve a high level of accuracy in the verbal sections (especially RC).
In the quantitative section, any mistakes in PS (Problem Solving) questions are unforgivable. They are the easiest of the lot, and can be solved fairly quickly once you have a good amount of practice.
The DS (Data Sufficiency) questions need more attention and time because one can be so confident of the answer and yet go drastically wrong. DS questions require very strong fundamental understanding, so make sure you have your concepts right.
In the verbal section, make sure you are very clear about your grammar concepts because SC (Sentence Correction) questions are the only “non-subjective” type questions in the Verbal Section.
So it’s easier to get the answer spot on in these questions than it is in RC (Reading Comprehension) and CR (Critical Reasoning) questions.
As far as RC is concerned, I normally read the full passage and then proceed to the question since it is easier to answer questions about the tone of the passage, intent of the author etc.
For CR questions, while practising, in addition to looking at why the right option is right, one needs to see why the wrong answers are wrong. This helped me to a great extent in using the elimination technique to arrive at the right answer.
Although this is true for the entire verbal section, it is especially true for CR questions.
The big question is, what material does one need to refer? The coaching institute did provide me with a good amount of training material, but is that good enough?
I want to stress the importance of the depth of the preparation rather than of the breadth. Do not commit the mistake of collecting too much material for your preparation – you’ll almost always end up not being able to complete going through every bit of it.
Simply because there’s just too much of it available on the Internet. DO NOT go on a frenzy of downloading each and every PDF you can find online. But make sure you work on all the problems in the Official Guide (you cannot NOT do the OG).
The last month of preparation should be the most intensive, and one should start attempting the GMATPrep tests in this period and should try to improve the score consistently.
I realized during my GMAT preparation that GMAT may not be as easy as I had assumed it to be. Now that I have written the GMAT, it just seems all the more true.
Naren’s photographic memory is matched only by his photography skills. Check out his photoblog. If you want to know whether mixing Redbull with bananas can backfire, Naren sir is here to take your queries. I’m also hoping he wouldn’t mind the occasional question on XLRI GMP and GMAT.
Try this short Free GMAT practice test now.
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– GMAT 790 scorer relied on self-study
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