I just read the post of cloudz9 and I guess there is just something in the air today...
I took the GMAT today and got 770 (Q 51, V 42). No words to express my joy
. If you expect to see profound tips below, save your time and go to the advanced math forum
I am another happy member, who has benefitted immensely from GMATClub.com. There are lots of brilliant people participating in the forums, so there is much to be learned. HongHu, Paul, ranga41, riteshgupta1, ajb, richardj, Himalaya, Priti, I feel that your input in the forums aided me the most. You guys are giants!! Good luck to those of you, who still haven't taken the test. Good look to everyone else for that matter...
Special thanks to the founders for making it all possible (This is like a freaking Oscar speech).
I started in the first week of July. I used the following prep tools (in order of magnitude of perceived benefits):
2005 CD - Taught me many of the basics. It's excellent for learning most of the tested math concepts and also for developing speed. I think the verbal is crap in terms of comparability with real test. I found the RCs and CRs particularly useless.
2. OG 10th
ed. (verbal only) - This will give you the best idea of what you may encounter on the test. I found the questions on the test slightly harder than the average question in the OG. It's probably because of the stress... I didn't do the math stuff, because I didn't have time.
- Need I say anything at all? Lots of good questions and lots of smart people answering them. The practice questions in the forums are just the tip of the iceberg - just consider the contributions of Hjort to this site (btw Hjort, you should know that you are also a giant!). Active reading of the forums - about 3 weeks; active participation - about 1 week. I have done a single Challenge - the questions were excellent and I recommend the archives to anyone, who wants to hone their math skills.
4. Princeton 2004 CD - Well, let's give some credit to those guys too. I already don't remember the content, so I can't really compare the tests to the real thing. The math was of average difficulty. Most of you know that the verbal part is buggy and questions reappear in the different tests.
Prep Test Scores
Week 1 - I only did Princeton stuff. I got 730 on my first full test, but the score was tainted.
Week 2 / PowerPrep 1 / Q48 / V41 / 730 - done before OG
Week 2 / PowerPrep 2 / Q49 / V40 / 720 - the next day
Week 5 / Kaplan
CAT 1 / Q41 / V31 / 600 - this one really took me by surprise
Week 6 / Kaplan
CAT 2 / Q50 / V38 / 700
Week 6 / Kaplan
CAT 3 / Q50 / V35 / 640
Week 8 / Kaplan
Free Online / Q47 / V43 / 760
Week 9 / GMATPrep 1 / Q49 / V45 / 760
Week 9 / Kaplan
CAT 4 / Q50 / V36 / 650
Week 9 / GMATPrep 2 / Q51 / V48 / 780
Week 9 / The GMAT / Q51 / V42 / 770
I did three full tests (with essays) in the three days preceeding the exam. This is not typical of most test takers, but my intention was to turn the real exam into just another prep session. This kinda helped me to fight the stress and I guess it worked out fine in a strange way. Use this approach at your own risk.
I hate essay writing. I was never good at it and I never will be. My first topic was not a very prolific one, so I did what I could. I'll be happy to get anything above 3.5 on the AWA section.
I can recall 4 questions, whose answers I wasn't sure about. I got 2 hard probability questions in my first 4 questions and I was thinking that I am headed straight towards a 50% hit rate. Judging from my score, I either got those right somehow, or they were experimentals. I got a couple of coordinate geometry questions, but they were ok. There weren't too many straightforward questions on my exam - usually the problems involved quite a bit of reading, so I wrote everything on paper to avoid any stupid mistakes. When I was done, the probability questions haunted me, so I expected a 48/49 score.
I feel that the CRs were harder than those in the OG. Most of them lacked clear premises and conclusions. I got 2 bold-faced questions, which I didn't find particularly hard. Most of the SCs had paralellism issues - those are my favorites, because they are the easiest. I got 4 readings - the only extreme one was a 90-liner with only 3 questions to it. What kind of sick joke is that?! Heck, I even had to scroll down to read all the answer choices to the first question! I made up the lost time with SCs.
I am now pretty sure that the most important thing on the exam is to keep your focus. Pay attention to what the questions are asking and don't fret about guessed answers. As lond as your mind is clear, the solutions to the math problems will come to you, and you will be able to spot all the important words in the verbal section.
My emotions are starting to settle down now. After all, the hardest part of the app process, selling my scores and resume, is yet to come.
YEAH!!! Good luck to everyone!!