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Mike Takes the GMAT!

On Wednesday, September 26, 2012, I will be taking the GMAT.  Don’t worry!  I am not planning to leave Magoosh to attend business school.  Rather, I am taking the test as a way of gathering information on both the test itself and on the test-taking experience, so as to provide even better service to the Magoosh customers.

In this article, I’ll just highlight a few of the things for which I’ll be looking.


Integrated Reasoning

This will be my first time sitting for a live IR section.  I am curious to see the breakdown by question types (MSR, TA, GI, and 2PA).  I know time will be precious on that part: each of the 12 IR “questions” has multiple sub-question parts, and I only have 30 minutes for the whole schmiel, so I will be looking for time-saving tricks I can use in gathering information from graphs and tables.  Although a calculator is available, I will probably use it sparingly if at all.



In SC, I’ll be looking for multiple splits among the answer choices.  For CR, I will be looking for common CR question types.  For the RC, I will make an outline, remembering the strategy: map, don’t memorize!  I am curious to see what exotic vocabulary may be used, and what the range of topics is on the sentences and passages.



On DS, I will be looking for ways to answer to the sufficiency question without having to do a full numerical calculation.  Throughout the math section, I will be looking for shortcuts (e.g. estimation) that allow me to answer without having to do a long complicated calculation.  I am curious about how many data-based questions I will see, given that the IR section is designed for data-based questions.


Head Space

Perhaps most important will be to go into the exam in the right “head space” – awake and energized, but not stressed or anxious.  I will have to get a solid night’s sleep not only the night before, but for a few nights before.  I will eat a good dinner the previous night, and a good solid breakfast that morning.  I will use my breaks for stretching, and I will try to remember to continue deep breathing even during the test itself.


Any comments?  Advice you’d like to give me?  Things for which you’d like me to scope out the GMAT?  Comment below and let me know!


About the Author

Mike McGarry is a Content Developer for Magoosh with over 20 years of teaching experience and a BS in Physics and an MA in Religion, both from Harvard. He enjoys hitting foosballs into orbit, and despite having no obvious cranial deficiency, he insists on rooting for the NY Mets. Follow him on Google+!

19 Responses to Mike Takes the GMAT!

  1. GMAT Club September 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    And…. how did it go? :-)

    • Mike
      Mike September 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      Not bad — a full report will follow in my upcoming blog, in a day or two.

  2. Sai September 26, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    All the best Mike .I am sure you will rock the test .Waiting for your review about the test .

    • Mike
      Mike September 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      Thank you.
      Mike :-)

  3. GMAT Club September 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Good Luck Mike!

    Very eagerly awaiting your report on the GMAT…. I can’t imagine what the pressure has to be for someone like you to take the GMAT :-)

    Good Luck!

    • Mike
      Mike September 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      Thank you kindly.
      Mike :-)

  4. Jaga September 24, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    Hi Mike. Two days until your exam. I wish you good luck and looking forward to hearing some wonderful tips.


    • Mike
      Mike September 24, 2012 at 9:12 am #

      Thank you very much! I will certainly let you know.
      Mike :-)

  5. Voodoo Child September 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Best wishes Mike! I want to see the average GMAT score of the entire population go up after your test. :) I am sure that you will brutally kill the GMAT.

    Voodoo Child

    • Mike
      Mike September 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

      Thank you very much.
      Mike :-)

  6. Souvik September 23, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Best of luck Mike
    Hope you ace the test!

    • Mike
      Mike September 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

      Thank you very much!
      Mike :-)

  7. Eraj September 21, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Looking forward to hear about your experience Mike and of course, very curious about your score)). We are all looking forward for your debrief afterwards, especially on your approach of tackling Verbal section. Anyways, wish you good luck Sir!

    • Mike
      Mike September 21, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

      Thank you for your kind words.
      Mike :-)

  8. Avinash D'Souza September 20, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    I’ll be taking the test on the same date! Good luck to the both of us…

    Maybe just a bit more for me… :-D

    • Mike
      Mike September 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

      Yes, many wishes of good luck to you! Thank you for your kind words.
      Mike :-)

  9. BEtty September 19, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Hovv do I keep track of this pos and your comments

    Can you please let us knovv..

    1) RC
    2) SC patterns
    3) Math have the questions got tougher


    • Mike
      Mike September 20, 2012 at 10:15 am #

      Dear BEtty: I can report on general features (how long was the RC, what kinds of grammar patterns were important), but of course, legally, I cannot report on exact content. Also, keep in mind: since the GMAT is CAT, it makes no sense to ask, “Did the Math get tougher?” — the difficulty of questions anyone sees on the Quant section depend very much on how many they are getting right in the first place. See:
      Mike :-)

    • Margarette
      Margarette September 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

      Hi, Betty

      For keeping track of any new comments on this post, be sure to check the “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” box under the green “Submit Comment” button when you leave a comment.

      I hope that helps! :)


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