"To my surprise, I got a 5th RC passage at the fag end of the test, with only 7 mins. left. Even with the time constraint, I could not move away from using the FIRE approach for the RC passage."
GMAT – 710
Colombia Business School

Three months ago, I ascended on the mammoth task of preparing for the GMAT exam. Like most other MBA aspirants, I was armed with a deep rooted conviction to secure a good GMAT score but lacked the know-how to do so. I spent a month and a half on an exhaustive (quite literally) study plan- researching GMAT material and analyzing and practicing various GMAT approaches (Princeton/ Kaplan included). At the end of this stint, I took the GMAT Prep 1 and got a 'scintillating' (as Kalyan would say, at his peak of sarcasm) 560- M 43 V24. It was after this futile attempt and thereof much needed 'reality check' that I came to Kalyan for help.

I had always been strong in Quantitative but Verbal was the monstrous Goliath that I needed to slay. The coaching classes, quite effortlessly, taught me to do just that. The sessions were geared towards building a conceptual understanding of the tested GMAT topics, understanding and implementing strategies (bizarre, is what I thought they were at the time!) and practicing the classic 'Practice, Practice, Practice' approach.

I took tests every fortnight and I saw a marked improvement in scores. My improvement in tackling Reading Comprehension passages, amongst other things, requires special mention. The RC Strategy- FIRE approach (very appropriately tagged, I must say!) made the Verbal section a complete breeze, in every sense of the word. At the end of understanding and repeatedly using the strategy, at the cost of sounding vain, I found it quite impossible to go wrong in any of the RC questions!

D- Day- January 10th, 5:30 pm.

I went to the exam centre with a Red Bull (not quite literally!) and three Cadbury Crackle bars (don't worry, I'm not embarking on the quintessential Bollywood success narrative!) and returned with a smile that (for some insane reason) has still not wiped off from my face.

To begin with, the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section was quite effortless. I blindly followed the templates that were given by Kalyan for both Issue and Argument.

The Quantitative section was slightly trickier than I had anticipated, nevertheless, stayed calm and saw it through. I saw quite a few questions on Number Theory, Profit & Loss and Percentage and a couple on Permutation and Combination. I ran short of time towards the end as I had ended up spending more time that I should have on a particular P&C question. I ended up guessing the last four questions which probably explains the dip in my Quant Score as compared to how I had fared in Practice tests. In retrospect, I think 'staying calm' was my saving grace in this section.

For Verbal, I followed a very simple strategy (again imbibed from one of the many Kalyan 'gyan' sessions). I first assessed the difficulty of a question, if I felt the scope extended beyond what I knew; I simply skipped it (got a head start by skipping the 2nd and 3rd questions). This ensured I did not waste valuable time on a couple of Sentence Corrections and Critical Reasonings that could have been experimental or that I would have got wrong in any case. I devoted additional time to RC passages and ensured that I was confident about the answers I was giving. To my surprise, I got a 5th RC passage at the fag end of the test, with only 7 mins left. Even with the time constraint, I could not move away from using the FIRE approach for the RC passage (suffering from compulsive obsessive disorder had nothing to do with it just kidding!)

Contemplated on whether to Cancel or Report Scores. Decided to go for it. Prayed And Prayed. Hoped for a 650 Got a 710 M 47 V 42.

I have just one word (actually, more than one) of advice for future GMAT test takers, having been (??) there and done that…focus, keep your calm, have faith in and practice Kalyan's techniques (although they might seem logically bizarre at first, they are winning strategies, truly) and give the test experience your all. And believe me, if I can do it, so can anyone. Good Luck!

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