I've not been quite a contributor here (yet). I took the GMAT last week and got a 680. While I do realize that by no means is it a shabby score, I'm not too impressed either. I was getting 700+ in all the mock tests I took and was really hoping to beat the 750 mark. Anyways...
My study strategy the first time around:
1) Went through all of Kaplan Premier
2) Went through all the OG's (the Orange book and the Quant/Verbal books)
3) Started with the Kaplan 800
but never finished it.
4) Re-did all the problems I thought were hard/wrong.
5) Gave 6 mock tests (5 from GMAT prep and 1 from MGMAT)
I also used the Manhattan SC book to work on my SC.
I spent ~6 months (from start to finish) studying and spent the last 3 months (May/June/July) really studying
- I was pretty confident I'd do well. I had done well on the mock tests. However, I messed up somewhere on my Quants and ended up with just 30 seconds and four questions to go (reading the forums I think this is a very common mistake people make). Needless to say, I just clicked through so I'd not lose any more points. The questions I got on the Quant were moderate to hard.
- Verbal seemed easy but I ended up with a V37. I was tad disappointed.
Since then I've been trying to analyze what went wrong and see what I can do to improve.
- Improve my quant timing.
- Improve my basic math skills
- I am in the habit of solving each and every DS problem until I am certain of the answer. I need to learn to gauge when enough is enough.
- Lastly, I got the feeling that my math concepts are still rusty. I'm going to have to dig deeper into refreshing them. Maybe actually get a high school level book? I found this book on the net : http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/download.aspx
Verbal: Things that could have gone wrong:
- I screwed up the SC - more than I think I did. I thought I was picking the right answers but could have picked the wrong ones? Since I do not have any issue with timing on the verbal section, I should write the reason why I reject each SC answer. Then check if my answer matches that in the OG. Of course, I dont need to do so in the real exam.
- I've not come up with a "formula" for tackling SC questions. Should I spend time learning (to a point of cramming so its in my head) the grammar concepts from the Manhattan SC book? Or maybe the key is to slow down, understand each sentence (extract the meaning) and then pick an answer.
- CR/RC: Maybe do the LSAT CR and RC questions to get tougher questions. That way the GMAT may seem easier. I've read that many people have tried this strategy successfully. Even if I can get most of the CR/RC right and as many SC's as I can right, this could boost my Verbal score.
From the top of my head I'm thinking of using the following for Round 2:
- OG (just the last 50-75 questions for each section that were tough)
- Kaplan 800
- Redo Manhattan GMAT
. But slowly.
- GMAT Hacks (http://www.gmathacks.com
): I've read on a few forums (beatthegmat.com) that the gmat math bible has great explanations. Has anyone used this? Would you recommend this?
- MGMAT tests. Their quant is surely tougher and more wordier. Might be a good exercise for the brain.
I'd really appreciate your feedback on how I can spend the next 6-10 weeks and prepare well.