This past week I attended the final two Veritas Prep Classes - Class 13 (AWA) and 14 (Advanced Word Problems and Quant Review).
AWA was surprisingly useful. The AWA is more an opportunity to conserve energy than an opportunity to shine (since the scores don't really matter and since a good structure for both essays can basically be memorised).
Advanced Word Problems was a bit of a waste of time as we just sat around doing a few questions, and no new material was presented. No old concepts were really encapsulated, either.
These two classes took about 6 hours.
On top of this, in the past week, I completed the On Demand video and homework for Class 12 (Combinatorics & Prob). This was delightfully easier than anticipated. Took about 5 hours.
Weird (and wonderful) result for 4th practice CAT
Earlier today, I tried my 4th practice CAT. This time I used "GMATLife", which is apparently a test designed and written by Veritas. I noticed that a couple of the Verbal questions were from the Veritas Prep iPhone app.
Process and thinking
- Took pretty much the full 30 minutes for each of the AWAs. Although these aren't scored, I am trying to simulate the exam day environment / mental strain.
- Before the Quant section, I drank a glass of water, had a cigarette, and ate a piece of chocolate. I didn't face any Geometry questions or Combinatorics/Probability questions, which was worrying. I thought the questions were quite easy, and was getting dismayed that I was getting the "easy" questions because I wasn't doing well. I finished with about 5 minutes to spare. A lot of my methods to solve were quite crude - ie, I didn't solve the "pure" way but instead reasoned my way to the answer. Plenty of rate questions and a lot of DS where I had to conceptualise the "trick".
- Before the Verbal section, I pretty much repeated the same process as above. This section was difficult as I was again pretty tired by the time I got into it. Finished with about 20 minutes to spare - clearly I went too fast!
- I was expecting high 600s but was blown away when the score returned "700". However, it was a very weird result - I scored 51Q and 37V. Weird because 51Q is well beyond my wildest dreams (it is the highest scaled score possible - 99th percentile) and 37V (81st percentile) is very disappointing.
- I am not a quantitatively minded person. I am much more comfortable doing verbal. However, I have been slightly more complacent with my verbal preparation.
- I only got 3 incorrect in the Quant section - the 2nd question (stupid mistake), the 6th question (calculation error) and the 12th question (which I'll outline below). I have a hard time accepting this 51Q, especially given that I didn't face any Geometry or Combinatorics/Probability.
- I have slipped in critical reasoning. I got 11 incorrect in Verbal (6CR and 5SC). I always knew that I had to work on SC - I haven't even done the On Demand videos or homework. However, in my last CAT, I got every CR question correct.
- I don't count this one as being representative - in a real GMAT CAT, I would have scored less in Quant and more in Verbal.
- Still, there's now no need to fear quant - it is conquerable.
- Do not be complacent on perceived strengths - they can quickly become a crutch.
- I am ready to book the real CAT.
Still remaining on my to do list are:
- Class 6 (Geometry): Homework.
- Class 8 (Data Sufficiency): On Demand video + homework.
- Class 14 (Advanced Word Problems and Quant Review): On Demand video + homework.
- Class 5 (Sentence Correction 1): On Demand video + homework.
- Class 9 (Sentence Correction 2): On Demand video + homework.
- Class 13 (AWA) On Demand video. There's no homework for this.
I figure it will take about 30 hours to do all of the above. My plan is to do about 15 hours per week, so I should be done in 2 weeks.
Running tally to date:
- 95 hours of prep work (including going through materials, doing practice questions, attending class, and checking answers and mistakes; does NOT include taking practice CAT exams) since 3 January 2011.
- 4 CAT exams.
- 620 (40Q/35V), 05.01.11 [GMATSim1]
- 610 (33Q/41V), 12.01.11 [800Score1]
- 660 (42Q/40V), 29.01.11 [GMATPrep1]
- 700 (51Q/37V), 26.02.11 [GMATLife1].