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GMAT Exam Day Tips - Pacing the GMAT Test , Redbull and Chocolates

Right- it was time to move forward. Time to charm the pants off the evaluators with my essay writing skills. I hadn’t practiced it a lot, and was hoping that my English skills would be good enough to do the trick. Before I took the TOEFL exam, I had started a blog in order to practice my writing skills. No such bravado this time around, probably because I had more work to do during the morning hours at my company. There were a few questions about the value of having an International MBA, and another about cultural diversity and its implications. I ended up finishing the essays five minutes before the allocated time.

Two ten minute breaks are provided during the GMAT exam. One, after the AWA section and one, after the Math section. Going out when fewer people were around, I did my thing, and got back in quickly. Before which, I had downed half a bottle of the RedBull and grabbed a couple of bites of the Cadbury that I’d kept in my backpack.


The Quant section warranted all my attention. The proceedings started off well, with the questions getting progressively harder. That’s always a good indication that you are doing well. It reached a point where I was getting questions I wasn’t sure how to answer. I remember there was a question with a polygon in the picture. I had no idea how to measure the angle or the length. There were some comparisons to be done. I ended up measuring the polygon with my pencil! I got it right apparently; because the next one dealt to me by the system was quite a monster. The main theme with Quant is getting your timing right. You can of course solve the questions if you get like 5 mins or more per problem. The pressure mounts when you have to do it in half or one third of the time. I managed to answer all my questions within the stipulated 75 minutes. However I think I made a few mistakes, during my rush, as it seemed that the questions got a bit easier towards the end.


I was all drained out after the crazy round of quant and math. Time for the next break. The break in between the AWA seemed a bit like taking it easy. This one, however, was really necessary. After going at it for an hour and a half non-stop, math tends to wear you out.


Cold water helped me clear my head. Gulped down the rest of the red bull and finished off the chocolates. The RedBull really helped. It drove me to a hyper animated state, like only a couple of shots of caffeine could. Red Bullah! The chocolate helped to give that warm fuzzy feeling in your tummy, reducing the nervousness a bit. A bar of chocolate should be in your traveling kit, at all times. It's the perfect traveling snack. Now that I had gotten my ‘buzz’ back, I dove headlong into the verbal section. I decided to permit myself to take a little extra time for reading comprehension. They seemed to carry more marks during the tests. Once I had gotten the RCs (about 6 of them) out of the way, sentence correction beckoned. This was where, I got into my stride.
During the analysis of my previous results, I figured out that my first intuition was almost always right. The ones which I had gotten wrong, were the ones for which I had put in too much thought. The main question I asked myself was, what would the GMAT engine expect as an answer- and not – what would I speak in daily life. It worked like a charm, as the questions got progressively tougher. I pride myself on having an adequate knowledge of the English language. However after a while, I was stumped, and resorted to guessing the answers. They all seemed alike. This was however, towards the end of the section. The last couple of questions, I remember, were not quite as hard as the earlier ones.


Before I knew it, an hour and a quarter had passed and it was time to hit the big button.


Please oh please let it be above 680, I prayed…. When the screen flashed 740, I was, in all sense of the word, stunned. For the rest of the session, I had a huge smile plastered upon my face. That was amazing! People, on seeing my elation, thought I had scored 800- well, I guess they had high hopes themselves.

I had stumbled a bit, as suspected, in Quant, ending up with just 85%. In verbal however, my intuition had hit pay dirt. 95 percentile was my score. I had resolutely stopped myself from altering some answers despite the urge to do so.


Part of your preparation for the GMAT, also includes planning for the actual exam day. It’s very important that your focus doesn’t waiver during the four odd hours that you’ll be in the test centre. A couple of Cadbury fruit and nuts and Redbull, along with trust in my intuition went a long way in boosting my score from a drab 680 to a hip 740.

Author : 


Vineeth George Abraham is an International MBA student from MIP, Politecnico di Milano, School of Management 2008/09. He cracked the GMAT with a 740 and received a scholarship from MIP.

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