Month: March 2016

How do you know how stressed you are?

stress.png“Stress” has become just another word in our day-to-day life. In fact, the modern urban man is becoming accustomed to use the word “stress” for even a minor discomfort or inconvenience. I always used to wonder how to actually define and quantify this term (a few of my close friends know how much stressed I have been in last few years) that had become a invidious bedfellow of mine.

Last night, I was reading this book called Committed (Sequel of Eat Pray Love) by Elizabeth Gilbert) . Committed takes the story ahead from the point where Eat Pray Love had ended- Liz and Felipe are in love and now due to some unforeseeable circumstances, they must marry. This makes Liz to ponder and research on the entire idea and institution of marriage and the book begins with an extremely interesting account of the history and evolution of matrimony. While reading this book I came to know about the  Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), commonly known as Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, named after two psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe who formulated this scale.

To measure stress according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, the number of “Life Change Units” that apply to events in the past year of an individual’s life are added and the final score will give a rough estimate of how stress affects health.

Life event Life change units
Death of a spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Imprisonment 63
Death of a close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Dismissal from work 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Change in health of family member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sexual difficulties 39
Gain a new family member 39
Business readjustment 39
Change in financial state 38
Death of a close friend 37
Change to different line of work 36
Change in frequency of arguments 35
Major mortgage 32
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
Change in responsibilities at work 29
Child leaving home 29
Trouble with in-laws 29
Outstanding personal achievement 28
Spouse starts or stops work 26
Beginning or end school 26
Change in living conditions 25
Revision of personal habits 24
Trouble with boss 23
Change in working hours or conditions 20
Change in residence 20
Change in schools 20
Change in recreation 19
Change in church activities 19
Change in social activities 18
Minor mortgage or loan 17
Change in sleeping habits 16
Change in number of family reunions 15
Change in eating habits 15
Vacation 13
Major Holiday 12
Minor violation of law 11

You can add all the points and the final score can be interpreted as follows:-

11-149-You have only a low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future.

150-299-You have a moderate to high chance of becoming ill in the near future.

300-600-You have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.

Did you notice something weird? Because I did. I have no idea how authentic is this scale, or how accurately it can measure your stress level but a few points did amuse me :-

  1. Divorce comes in the second place, next only to death of your spouse. It means even if you are in a failed marriage and it is in best of your interests to end it, the entire legal and emotional wreckage involved with the procedure called ‘Divorce’ can stress you out to the level of actually falling sick.
  2. Marriage itself has a whooping 50 points to contribute to your stress level. Interesting, isn’t it?
  3. Marital reconciliation is also among the toppers! Ofcourse! Don’t we all know that nothing can be as stressful as going back to the same person to live with, whom you have already considered unbearable for once. *grin*

Calculate your level of stress and have fun!

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How to reduce the cost of your GMAT Preparation.


Let’s get this fact straight. For Indian candidates (specially when you are a fresher or in a low paying job), taking the GMAT is a costly affair. The exam itself costs you 250 USD (around 17,000 INR). Add to it the cost of coaching and mock tests and you end up spending quite a lot.

This post will help you (Indian candidates mostly) to save money while buying various resources to study for the GMAT. I will start with the preparation and then will move to the mock tests. Also, please note that whatever I am putting up is according to my opinion and your decision making should be completely dependent on your aptitude and comfort level in Quantitative and Verbal.

It is a common fact that an Indian GMAT aspirant is quite comfortable in the Quantitative section and his/her main issue is the Verbal section. So spending a huge amount of money on Classroom course is completely not worth (It is my personal opinion. Please use your own discretion while taking any decision)

So what to do? I will tell you.

  1. Enroll for E-Gmat Verbal Online Subscription. . At 199 USD, it is a complete value for money. Along with the course, you also get Scholranium (around 750 questions each in Verbal and Quant as well. Though I would suggest to leave its Quant as it is not at all according to GMAT level.)
    Added to it you get GMAT Club Tests (1500+ Questions, very famous for Quants, not so much for Verbal). GMAT Club tests cost 79 USD if you buy them separately.
    Also they provide a free mock test from So it is a good decision to buy E-Gmat Verbal Online Course. You can also choose to share it among your friends and hence reduce the cost. Or you can ask a friend of yours who has already taken the GMAT and had bought the course to get an extension to the course (The course is valid for only 6 months and can be extended by paying a price which is lesser than the original price).
  2. Those who must need Maths coaching also, can go for Magoosh. Their entire Quant+Verbal course costs only 99 USD, but since I haven’t used it personally I cannot comment about its credibility

How to save money on Books ?

Almost all books are available on torrent. Ask your friends. Join the GMAT Avengers group on facebook. Don’t ask publicly on the group as they do not support piracy. And I do not support piracy as well so neither ask me for the links. But with a little bit of networking you will get all the books. Which books you need? Read my GMAT debrief here.

Mahakali Book Centre, Mumbai- Call them on 09920411158/09820665661. They will get you OG + Verbal Review + Quant Review + All 10 Manhattan Strategy guides for an extremely cheap price.

Use download section extensively. There is almost nothing you cannot get there for free. Posting a few official questions downloading link (But see these questions only during revision, once you are done with OG + Verbal Review+ Quant Review and also all the questions from GMATPrep Software, else you will get repeat questions.)


  1. CR-
  2. RC-
  3. SC-

Use Veritas Question Bank. They are free and unlimited!

Use Beatthegmat forum for free questions and explanations

Use Quikr and Olx to search for used books. Or the old book shops at your city (Avenue road for Bangalore Junta is one of the places). You will find something for sure.

Use Prep4GMAT App. I haven’t used it but have heard good things about it from a friend who scored 710. Yes it is for free!

Use GMAT Prep Now( This material is created by Brent- one of the best tutors for GMAT. He is active in both GMATClub and BTG. This is a full course and ABSOLUTELY FREE!! For all

Veritas Prep On Demand App- If you download the app(available in both itunes and play store) you can watch the videos for all the lessons for free. There are total of 12 lessons covering all the sections of GMAT. Once you are done, you can use their free question bank to solve the problems pertaining to a particular chapter

How to save money on Mocks?

  • GMATPrep Resetting :- The two mocks will come for free when you will register at and will download the software (For other 2 mocks you need to pay). Now, do you know that you can get 80% new questions by just resetting the already taken mock test? But make sure that you reset after a gap so that you do not remember the repeat questions (else you will get an improper score). You can keep resetting it again and again till you think that most of the questions you are getting are repeat.
  • PowerPrep :- 

    PowePrep is nothing but the old version of GMATPrep Software. You can download it from here and can get another 2 tests for free. But please use these tests at the very beginning of your preparation (as there is a big overlap between PowerPrep questions and OG, Verbal Review and Quant Review Questions)

  • Veritas :-

    Generally priced at 49 USD, Veritas provide discount at various points of time (for example, currently it is available for 20 USD and when I bought it was available for 15 USD). Keep checking.

  • Manhattan :-

    Buy any original Manhattan strategy guides from Amazon (kindle version) and forward the purchase email from Amazon to This is the cheapest way to buy Manhattan Tests (within 600-700 INR).

  • Free Tests :-

    All test prep companies (Veritas, Manhattan, Princeton, Economist, Platinum GMAT, GMATPill etc) provide one test for free. Use them only for practice. Don’t rely on their scores. No one, I repeat no one can predict your score except the official mocks (i.e GMATPrep)

I hope that this post will prove beneficial to reduce the cost of your preparation.

Use the comment section if you have any more queries, I shall reply to them in due time. Also, Use the FOLLOW button on the left side of the screen so that you get an email whenever I update a new blogpost. Follow me on Quora as I have answered many questions regarding GMAT Preparation there.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about GMAT.


Before I start writing this post, I would want to make it clear that it is being written keeping in mind the needs and aspirations of Indian MBA Aspirants, who generally prepare for the Indian Management Entrance Exams (CAT, XAT etc) and hence have quite a few doubts about the GMAT.

Who conducts the GMAT ?

GMAT is conducted by GMAC. The Graduate Management Admission Council ® (GMAC®) a global non-profit organization comprised of leading graduate business schools around the world. GMAC is the owner and administrator of the GMAT® exam, the first and only standardized test specifically designed for graduate business and management programs.

When can I take GMAT ?

You can book your GMAT dates on any day of the year. Log on to to book your dates.

What sections are there in GMAT?

The GMAT has 4 sections- AWA (Analytical Writing Ability), IR (Integrated Reasoning), Quantitative and Verbal.

GMAT Test Section # of Questions Question Types Timing
Analytical Writing Assessment 1 Topic Analysis of Argument 30 Minutes
Integrated Reasoning 12 Questions Multi-Source Reasoning
Graphics Interpretation
Two-Part Analysis
Table Analysis
30 Minutes
Quantitative 37 Questions Data Sufficiency
Problem Solving
75 Minutes
Verbal 41 Questions Reading Comprehension
Critical Reasoning
Sentence Correction
75 Minutes
Total Exam Time 3hrs, 30 minutes

Please note that AWA and IR sections are graded separately. Your GMAT score (out of 800) is only on the basis of your performance in Quantitative and Verbal Section.

What is the examination fee?
250 US Dollars
How many times can I take GMAT?
You can take GMAT upto 5 times a year. But there must be a gap of 15 days between two successive attempts.
How can I prepare for GMAT? How long will it take? What materials should I use?
I have explained it very clearly in another of my post. Read it here 
Which Indian Colleges accept GMAT score?
Some of the major Indian colleges accepting GMAT score for the normal MBA are :-
Indian School of Business
Great Lakes
MISB Bocconi
For Executive MBAs, all the IIMs accept GMAT score. 
Do I need Work-Ex to take GMAT?
No, you can even take GMAT when you are in final year or before. The score is generally valid for 5 years (though it depends on the college to which you are applying)
How is the level of GMAT compared to that of CAT and XAT ?
Quantitative- Extremely easy
Verbal- It is on the tougher side but can be managed as the pattern is fixed and there is no unpredictability. There are only 3 types of questions- RC, CR and SC.
Integrated Reasoning- Many questions are similar to the DI (Data Interpretation) section in CAT/XAT and this can easily be managed.
I have prepared extensively for CAT/XAT. Can I crack GMAT easily?
Quantitative section- Definitely. Verbal section- Won’t help much.
Hope the post helps. Use the comment section if you have any more queries, I shall reply to them in due time. Also, Use the FOLLOW button on the left side of the screen so that you get an email whenever I update a new blogpost. Follow me on Quora as I have answered many questions regarding GMAT Preparation there.

How to Prepare for AWA section in GMAT


The AWA (Analytical Writing Ability) is an important section in GMAT where you will be provided with a situation/ argument and will be asked to critically analyze the same.

My AWA score is 5.0 (out of 6) so I guess I can tell you how to prepare for this section.
I read two-three templates online just a day before exam to get myself acquainted with AWA. So you actually don’t need to invest much time to this. Here is the format I followed :-
1st Paragraph- Introduction
Identify the argument in this paragraph and mention the points put forward by author to support/refute the argument. Also mention if you find the author’s point valid or not.
2nd and 3rd Paragraph– Explain your own points. For example, if you are refuting the argument, provide two strong points why and based on what reasoning you are doing the same. Be concise and precise. Don’t digress beyond the scope.
4th Paragraph- Suggest ‘Remedies’ in this paragraph. It means, put forward some premises which could have made the author’s argument more valid and sensible.

5th Paragraph- Conclusion. Sum up the entire write-up.

Hope it helps. Use the FOLLOW button on the left side of the screen so that you get an email whenever I update a new blogpost. Also, Follow me on Quora as I have answered many questions regarding GMAT Preparation there.

My GMAT Debrief- 730 (Q50 V39) in 1st attempt

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Date and Center- 3rd January 2016, Kormangala Bangalore
Score- 730 (Q 50, V 39) IR- 1 (was completely clueless here)
Attempt- 1st
Started Preparation during Mid November (exactly during Diwali vacations)
Schools targetting- I got an admit to ISB (Indian School of Business) through EEO (Early Entry Option). I will be joining batch of 2017-18.

I was never consistent while preparing and the major chunk of my studies happened in last 10 days. Neither did I take a single mock in one sitting.


I am not from Maths background so it was always a nightmare for me. Bought Manhattan Strategy Guide and completed all topics. Then got myself GMAT Club Tets, tried 10 questions from 700 level but couldn’t solve a single of them. Decided not to touch those questions. Solved around 100 600 level questions with 70-75% accuracy. Hence, out of 1500+ Questions in GC Tests, 1000 are still lying unsolved.

Did OG 2015 + Quant Review 2015 + OG 2016 + Quant Review 2016 cover to cover. Marked the questions I got wrong and revised a few days before exam. There are 25% new questions in 2016 versions of both the book and many questions which were present in 2015 editions are omitted from 2016 editions. So, it is a good idea to get all 6 books (OG 2015, VR 2015, QR 2015, OG 2016, VR 2016 and QR 2016).
I never solved Quants questions posted in this group as even the sight of them used to give me shivers.


Got E-Gmat Verbal Online subscription. Its SC is amazing (but you still need to be thorough with OG). I didn’t find anything spectacular in its CR. Didn’t touch its RC (neither the lessons nor the questions). After finishing started with its Scholaranium (700+ Questions). Did around 150 questions from SC (82% accuracy) and 80-100 questions from CR (72% accuracy). Got bored and didn’t attempt the rest of the questions (So, 60-70% of my Scholaranium is left unsolved as well). As already mentioned, didn’t attempt its RC.

CR– I also tried to do CR from CR Powerscore Bible. Couldn’t solve many questions and gave up in the mid. CR was always frustrating for me. In the end, I decided to stick only with OGs and VRs (both 2015 and 2016 editions). Also did a few (around 60 ) questions from Gmat Prep Question Document downloaded from GmatClub three days before exam.

SC– Re-revised all questions from OG 2015, 16 and VR 2015,16 2-3 days before exam. Was confident as accuracy in these questions was 90% (and had done well in E-Gmat SCs as well).

RC– I had only attempted 5-6 RCs (all from OGs) before the actual exam. Comprehension was never an issue as I have been a voracious reader (My Goodreads analytics show that I have read 43 books in 2015 and 12,500 pages in total). Even last night before the exam, I read one short story by Alice Munroe.

Mocks- Princeton 1- 630, Princeton 2- 650, Gmat Prep 1- 700 (got a few questions which I had already solved before in Verbal) , Veritas- 650, Gmat Prep 2- 620 (10 days before the exam). Didn’t bother to look for the solution of questions I did wrong as I was too frustrated and had almost given up (But had to take the exam anyway as I had booked the dates during the beginning of preparation itself). Never took any mocks after that and decided to build upon what I already knew.

Exam Day

I had screwed up my sleep pattern during the last days (took 10 days off, used to study at night and sleep during the day time). As expected, couldn’t sleep for a single second last night. Kept revising SCs from OG and solved a few easy Quant questions (I had always known that I won’t be able to solve tough quants, hence I focussed on getting the easy ones correct no matter what). Reached near the center two hours ago, sat in CCD which is just in front of the centre. Had coffee and a sandwich. Just before entering the centre, popped up a Modafinil 200 mg (Google what it is) with a can of Red Bull and smoked an iceburst (to keep myself alert).

AWA- Had never practiced this before but wasn’t of much issue. Took 10 minutes to frame my answer and wrote it down in 15 minutes. Revised for grammatical/spelling errors in last 5 minutes.

IR- Solved a few, randomly answered rest of them. I found it too tough. Also, I had never attempted this section in any of the mocks.

Quants- EXTREMELY EASY is the word. I would say it was easier than OGs . Confidently solved 9 out of first 10 correctly (guessed 1). Next questions were easy as well. And I used to get to know by the first look of the question that whether I will be able to solve or not. Hence, randomly guessed 3-4 questions without wasting any time on them. Even then, I missed the last question as time was up (yeah I am that slow in Maths). I got sh** scared thinking about the heavy penalty for leaving a question unanswered. Calmed myself down during the break and ate a chocolate.

Verbal– SC was tricky but easy if you have been a consistent reader and are thorough with basics. Had questions on Comparisons, Rhetorical Construction, Idioms, Use of Present Perfect Tense and so on.

CR as expected was too tough (for me atleast). Infact wasn’t even able to understand the question stem of two CRs. I guessed them randomly and made smart guesses for others. While I was confident of getting most SCs correct, I was hardly sure of 2-3 CRs in total.

RC- 2 short + 2 long. The last one was 4- 5 paragraphs long and was extremely difficult to comprehend (was based on finance and economics). Couldn’t get the gist but tried to eliminate wrong answers somehow.

Couldn’t believe when it showed 730 on the screen (Q 50, V 39 and a dismal IR 1 ).

Key Takeaways :-

1. Official Questions are god (specially in Verbal). Do not digress much.
2. In Quants know which question you can’t solve, make a smart guess and move on without wasting time.
3. Mock scores may suggest what you are going to get in the actual exam, but this is not a rule (who knows it better than me ) Don’t stop studying till the last day.
4. Instead of solving tough questions, focus more on making sure you don’t get the easy ones wrong.
5. Make SC your strength. Why? 1st reason- You can easily master it. 2nd reason- It’s the least time taking type of question in Verbal.
6. Never stop reading.

Disclaimer- Above strategies worked for me but there are many people in this group who have scored much more than me, so its better to have their opinion as well.

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