I have been a spectator in this forum for a while. I read many GMAT debriefs and gained a lot insights from them. I promised myself that I would write a debrief once I finished my GMAT. I know that 700 is not an excellent score and 38 in verbal is mediocre. But considering the fact that I am a non-native and I have never read a book in my life, except the academic stuff, until I started my GMAT preparation, I wanted to share my experience. This is gonna be a long debrief and u can definitely find a lot of SC issues. ResourcesOG 11
&12 – Although the quant part is not representative of the actual GMAT, its the best material for verbal. Save these question for the last part of preparation. Most of the questions(even the toughest) on the actual GMAT will be similar.MGMAT Guides
– Number Properties, Word Translations and Geometry(to some extent) are very good for your quant basics. Like everybody else in the forum, I think MGMAT SC
guide is the best avialable for SC.
Aristotle SC Grail : It s a good book for starters, but for advanced topics you need to shift to MGMAT SC
GMAT PREP SC Document – This document contains about 180 official questions, which are difficult than most materials and the best part, every question is explained in detail by Ron in MGMAT forums. I read explaination for every quesiton in this document. I think my accuracy was around 80% and I learned a lot(more than i did from OG questions) from these questions.
You can download it here: 750-q49-v44-68657.html
LSAT LR(CR) Bible : This is a good book for strategies, far better than MGMAT CR
, which I think is useless. LSAT Official Test PapersLSAT CR
vs. GMAT CR : LSAT material for CR is a very good practice. Compared to 700-800 level GMAT questions, these are not very difficult. But be aware that these questions stay very close to the argument and are heavily based on formal logic. In the GMAT Questions you need to make a lot of commonsense assumptions, so make sure you practice GMAT CR before exam.LSAT RC
vs. GMAT RC : LSAT material for GMAT RC is a complete waste, according to me. First, GMAT has only 3-4 questions per passage, LSAT has like 7-8 questions per passage. Second, the inference questions on the GMAT are much more subtle(at least the most difficult ones) and are significantly different. Third, 75% of the passages are very easy(on an average, only one passage per test paper is difficult), so I think there are other sections on which that time can be spent.
RC 99 : I think the low and medium level passages are enough for GMAT. Its formatting(3-4 questions per passage) and content are good for practice. I think its inference questions go beyond GMAT sphere, so dont worry too much about accuracy.MGMAT Advanced Quant
– It has decent number of tough questions and various strategies to tackle those problems, but I don’t think its essential to your score.
GC Club Tests – I’ve done all of these in my preparation. These are definitely tougher than the real test, but language in real questions is more subtle and much more tricky.Kaplan 800
/Advanced : I think “Kaplan
600” is an apt title for this book. Except for the SC part, this book is useless.
GMAT Write : if you are really worried about your AWA section and wanna check your score, u can purchase this for $30. You get to test your format with the actual scoring algorithm. I think its pretty accurate, I got a 4.5 in its assessment and the same on the actual GMAT.
GMAT Focus Diagnostic: Ill not say that these are very good, but these are official questions with explanations. Do not plan to use these questions to diagnose your performance, it has very poor classifications. My scoring range was 47-51 in three of the tests I took with 2 mistakes in each test. With these scores just before the actual test (2nd attempt) I was expecting a 50, but guess I made some silly mistakes on the test.
GMATclub Math book: I think this a very good collection of almost all the stuff required on the GMAT Quant. There are many small tricks that you would save a lot of time on the exam.
Thursdays with Ron: I watched some videos of these sessions and they are pretty good. They are conceptual and have some useful content. Test ScoresInitial ScoresPrinceton Review
: April, 2009 – 420(Q35, V13) Princeton Review
: Sept, 2009 – 590 I don’t remember the split. Took a break for a year and half.1st Attempt
GMAT Prep v1 #1: 11/07/2011 – 630(Q44,V32)
MGMAT #4: 24/07/2011 – 650(Q44,V35)
MGMAT #5: 31/07/2011 – 620(Q45,V31)
MGMAT #6: 07/08/2011 – 660(Q46,V34)Princeton Review
: 14/08/2011 – 640(Q45,V33) (Only 4 mistakes in Quant)
GMAT Prep v1 #1: 22/08/2011 – 710(Q48,V40)
GMAT Prep v1 #2: 28/08/2011 – 740(Q50,V40)
GMAT Prep v2 #1: 11/09/2011 – 760(Q49,V44) (Inflated – 6-7 Repeats)
GMAT Prep v2 #2: 16/09/2011 – 760(Q50,V42) (Inflated – 6-7 Repeats)ACTUAL GMAT #1: 19/09/2011 – 660(Q44,V38,AWA 4.5)2nd AttemptKAPLAN
CAT1 – 26/09/2011 – 730(Q99%,V95%), I did not get the actual splits.
Took another 4 KAPLAN
CATs - 730, 760, 700, 720.ACTUAL GMAT #2: 04/11/2011 – 700(Q47,V38,AWA 5)MGMAT Tests:
The quant part in these tests is tough and you can learn a lot from these. Unlike these questions, actual GMAT questions hinge a lot more on intricate language and tricks than on difficult calculations and complex methods. Quant problems on these test have been classified beautifully and they’ll help you identify your strongest and weakest parts. Although the verbal part is similar to many GMAT questions, I think its always best to trust the official GMAT questions for verbal. These tests are definitely worth every penny.Princeton Review:
I did start my GMAT with these test, but as I started doing other CATs(especially GMAT PREP) I realized how flawed its algorithm is. I think there is a lack of difficult question in these tests(Quant).KAPLAN Tests:
Supposedly the toughest tests available in the market. This is the only reason I preferred KAPLAN
in my second attempt. The quant part is easy and I never scored less than 51 in these tests. The verbal part is difficult and not representative of the actual test.Quant
I never thought I’d be able to share some on quant, but from my first attempt I learned a lot I’d like to share.
- Don’t write-off “Silly mistakes” as casual and don’t think that you can automatically avoid them on exam. This is a grave issue and you need to deal with it diligently.
- GMAT wants you to think intuitively for some problems, don’t shy away from using your intuition.
- Make sure you know the shortcuts to solve problems. In my 1st attempt I was reluctant to employ them. To solve the problems under 2min u definitely need to know them.
- Re-read the question before you click confirm. On my second attempt, I was saved from 3-4 GMAT traps.
- Often, GMAT tries to complicate the wording and gives us information haphazardly. Try to be organized and methodical in your approach. GMAT expects this.
- Max time spent any problem should not exceed 3-3.5 min. Make sure you move on after that.Verbal
After my first experience with GMAT in 2009, I realized that my main problem in the verbal section was comprehension of text. So I took a break preparing for GMAT and took up the task of reading text. I read books, papers, online stuff etc wherever and whenever I could find time for about an year. I read 30-35 books and i picked some books recommended by bb in GMAT Fiction
thread. I think this helped me a lot in improving my verbal score from 14 to 38.Vocabulary & GRE
I think you need 2 things to comprehend text. First, you need to understand the common sentence structures and should be able to understand which part of the sentence can be ignored in reading text. For this you need to read as much as you can to understand common structures. Second, vocabulary is essential to comprehend some words that GMAT uses. Ill give you an example,
Consider an excerpt from a GMAT RC. "The author asserts that the scientists hypothesis is categorical and that it is finding limited use in application..... ".
If you don’t know what categorical means, you might guess its something that not so good for the scientist’s hypothesis, but categorical actual means clear or explicit. To make matters worse GMAT includes both options in the choices. This is not the actual context but I vaguely remember, so I framed my own sentence. Anyway, if you have ever faced this problem you’ll know what I am talking about.
Here comes the GRE part. I realized that I needed to improve my vocabulary quickly. Some suggested to read text and try to learn any new words I would find, but I found this process tiring and more importantly you wouldn’t want to put your book aside when your reading something interesting and learn words. Also, my vocabulary was so poor that I literally had to look up for meaning at least 3-4 times a page.(as i have already said, I haven’t read a book my entire life, except academic stuff, until I started my GMAT preparation)
So, I prepared for GRE a month and gave my exam. Surprisingly, I got a 1380(Quant780, Verbal600) score in my attempt. In this process I improved my vocabulary significantly. At this moment I have decided that I was ready for GMAT. Without any prior preparation, I gave a GMAT PREP and scored a 630 and more importantly 32 in verbal. SC
- Consider the meaning of the sentence before you analyze grammar. This one post by Ron changed my accuracy immensely. Once you start analyzing with meaning mistakes become apparent. I think Ron’s post will explain better: http://www.beatthegmat.com/companies-in ... tml#367679
- GMAT PREP SC Document, which has some 180 official questions , is the best source. Don’t worry about the repeats you’ll get in your tests. I’ve got like 3-4 questions on GMAT PREP. You can find detailed explanations for these questions on MGMAT forums by Ron.
- Understanding why each question is correct is more important than getting it right, as you already know that you’ll never get the same question in GMAT.CR/RC
- I had no specific strategy to attack CR, just read the argument, understood it well and then answered the question.
- Just stay close to the conclusion and author’s line of reasoning you can eliminate 3 of the 5 choices in 95% of the questions.
- Ok, I’ve tried both. Question before Argument, Kaplan
’s method. Argument before Question, Powerscore’s method. I think for the GMAT, Powerscore’s method is better because GMAT gives a wide variety of question stems and its kinda difficult to typify as strengthen, weaken etc. and because some part of the argument would be given in the question stem in some questions, reading question stem distracted me.
- For RC, I just read the whole passage carefully and answered. There are a lot of strategies in the forum but I was comfortable with mine so didn’t try any of them.AWA
Just follow the Chineseburned template and you’ll get a decent score on your AWA.Test Day :
- SC has changed and many more questions hinge on meaning now. In my first attempt(19 Sept,2011), I felt that SC was easy and I had no issues eliminating wrong choices under a minute, but in my second attempt I spent a lot of time on SC part and questions were definitely based a lot more on meaning.
- Rest was similar to GMATPrep: 4 RCs with 13 questions.. etc
beatthegmat, gmatclub and mgmat forums have been of great help to me. I’d like to thank Ron, whose explanations are just amazing, Bunel, for his insightful explanations, Eric and bb.
If I can get a 700, I believe anyone can get the score. Just follow strategies that work for you and always remember that you can take the test again if your not satisfied with your score.