Here is my GMAT story:
1) 3/18/2010 - 540 V25 Q39
2) 12/4/2010 - 550 V23 Q43
3) 1/7/2011 - 700 V38 Q48
Prep material used:
Prep Course and practice exams
Official practice exams
11/2010-12/2010:Manhattan Prep books
- RC, SC, Geometry, Number Properties, Eq Ineq & Vics
Powerscore - CROG Verbal
OG (burgundy & yellow)
Manhattan practice exams - took 6 exams 2 times each
Official practice exams 2
During the exams:
1) Exam - Went in feeling okay about the material, but wasn't performing too well on the practice exams.
Takeaway - I should have spent more time understanding why I got practice questions right & wrong, and spent more time and money on resources that taught foundational knowledge. Kaplan
was a good crash course, but didn't offer the sold foundation necessary to work through the problems, but it made the exam seem like more of a guessing game rather than an actual exam.
2) Exam - I felt much more confident about the materials, even though certain topics such as probability, permutations, and the other combinatorics questions were still weak areas for me. I paid more attention to my time management, but ended up having a little too much time (4-5 minutes on the last question) for the verbal section, which probably meant I rushed and didn't really pay attention to a lot of the questions, which was evident in my lower Verbal score.
Takeaway - Don't over stress time management or other little things such as thinking about the perfect snack to eat during my breaks and timing it perfectly.(I know, weird)
3) Exam - I decided to take it a 3rd time asap, since the material was still fresh in my mind. The funny thing was, I didn't stress out during the 4 weeks between the 2nd and 3rd tests. I actually took a 1 1/2 week break after the 2nd test, and only really reviewed a few things during the 3rd week, and took just 2 practice exams (official gmat software) the week right before the test. During the test I paid attention to the time, but remembered that I paid too much attention to the time on the 2nd exam, so I tried not to stress too much about time management.
Takeaway - Give yourself plenty of time to prep, and really understand the materials. Manhattan books
and Powerscore CR
, and OG were the most helpful for me. Time management is crucial, it helped me a ton in the 2nd and 3rd exams, but don't overemphasize time to the point where you rush through and aren't paying attention to what the questions are asking.
1) Understand the basic principles being tested (don't take the exam if you feel weak in the core areas that are tested)
2) Give yourself plenty of time to allow the material to sink in (sometimes taking a few days off during studying can be helpful - if possible)
3) Take practice exams (Manhattan to start with and official gmat software is a must)
4) Time management (use a timer on this forum, or other tools to keep you on track during practice exams)
Although my score isn't the highest, it's a solid score, and more importantly it's a huge jump from my first two. Also, it made me realize that this is just an exam, and that with time and the right tools, you should be able to get a great score. My GMAT goal started from a 720, to a 700, 690, 650, then just something in the low to mid 600's, dropping to the low 600's after seeing my first 2 scores. It hurt my confidence level, but miraculously, I got a 700.
I really don't want to ever take this test again, but it did cross my mind, especially considering how high so many average scores are for many schools. I'm happy for now, and it's time to figure out which schools to apply to and whether to apply last round or 1st round in the fall.
Thanks GMAT forum.