By writing this debrief, I can hopefully inspire many of you to continue to work towards beating the GMAT.
560 (32Q 35V) GMAT P 1 6/18/2012
650 (40Q 38V) MGMAT1 7/11/2012
650 (43Q 36V) MGMAT 2 7/29/2012
620 (40Q 38V) MGMAT 3 8/19/2012
620 (42Q 34V) GMAT P 1 Re 8/23/2012
720 (44Q 45V) MGMAT 4 9/1/2012
700 (49Q 37V) GMAT 9/8/2012
I started studying 3 months ago and I have always had the goal of hitting a 700 target score. Keep in mind that I held this goal even after scoring a 560 on my initial diagnostic exam. If you set a goal and work hard toward achieving it, then it probably will be achieved.
Beginning (0-1 month):
I started studying 3 months ago, spending around 2-4 hours studying on a daily basis. My approach was stupid and ineffective. I basically just did practice problems from the previous edition's OG and hoped that my poor score was due to a lack of familiarity as opposed to a lack of knowledge. Since I increased my score after 3 weeks, I decided to continue doing what I was doing. I took another practice test a week later and had the same score, so I decided to study the MGMAT books
Middle (1-2 months):
I focused heavily on the MGMAT quant books. I don't think I even really looked at any of the verbal books during this month. Geometry and algebra were pretty easy for me (I was a high school geometry and algebra teacher), but the number properties book gave me a lot of trouble. Going into test day, I actually was pretty sure my weakness in number properties was going to doom me. I would suggest that you really getting this book down because it seemed like my official GMAT contained tons of problems from this book. I don't remember many geometry problems (2-4). Despite all my studying, my practice test scores actually decreased!? Needless to say, I was freaking out.
End (2-3 months):
I was still studying 2-3 hours a day despite moving to another country (dedication is important). I finally picked up the verbal books and was merely trying to increase my score into the 85-95 percentile range. I honestly don't really think many of the MGMAT verbal books helped me. I think its more important to read proper writing for sentence correction and read scholarly articles for reading comprehension. For logic, I think practicing logic problems is the best help. The MGMAT books
made the argumentation section harder and more complicated than it actually was. If I followed the advice of the MGMAT books
for the logic section, I probably would have run out of time.
You may have seen my test scores and thought to yourself... "How the hell did he jump from 620 to 720 in one week". Honestly, I'm not exactly sure what the answer is. One thing I decided to do was to review my material, thinking that perhaps I had forgotten some of the quant material from 0-1 month. Also, I did practice problems from verbal and quant and made sure I understood why I got answers wrong. Perhaps most importantly, during this particular week, I tested and studied with little to no distractions. I made a significant effort to really focus on each and every problem. When I got a 720 on my practice test, I was flabbergasted. Naturally, I immediately decided to schedule my test during the following Saturday. I think that it's really important that you're confident going into the actual test. I think confidence is underrated, and I probably would not have scored 700 if I had not scored 720 a week before my exam. By breaking the 700 mark, I basically proved to myself that I could reach my target score, and I almost never thought about my 620 score from two weeks ago.
Even if your practice tests are discouraging, continue to find ways for self improvement and never give up.