I'm finally done! Hallelujah! I did my best below to provide some useful comments as many others have before me. I don't have much that's new to add, but, since everyone's experience is a little different, I wanted to record mine. See my earlier post describing my initial experience taking the exam.
BS in Computer Science from Drexel University
13 years in Medical IT
15 years as a Painting Contractor
The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 10th edition â€“ I donâ€™t know how I ended up with the 10th rather than the 11th edition since I purchased the book recently. I echo the sentiments expressed by others that is the single most essential document you can have to prepare for the GMAT.
Prep Number Properties, Sentence Corrections, Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning, Geometry booklets - Manhattan's approach of providing relevant and detailed background information with references to applicable problems in the OG is excellent. The graphics of their booklets is also of high quality, making them easier to use and understand. I particularly recommend the Sentence Corrections and Number Properties booklets.
Petersonâ€™s The Insiderâ€™s Guide to the GMAT CAT â€“ A soup to nuts treatment of the GMAT, it is the best of its class, superior in the quality and depth of information it provides to that provided by competitive offerings from Kaplan
and Princeton Review.
Full Set of Veritas
documentation provided with their course (which I took before my initial GMAT attempt) â€“ Material provided is good and in depth, but I prefer the Manhattan booklets.
Princeton Reviewâ€™s Cracking the GMAT
GMAT 2006 Edition, Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook
â€“ These books are decent enough but not as good as Petersonâ€™s guide.
ARCO GRE/GMAT Math Review â€“ donâ€™t bother; too easy.
Question collections 1.2 and 2 from GMATClub â€“ These problems are, for the most part, harder than what you will face on the GMAT.
Introduction to Logic by Harry Gensler â€“ This is an interesting book but I donâ€™t think it helped me much on Critical Reasoning problems.
Grammatically CORRECT by Anne Stilman â€“ This is an excellent reference that is in depth but not overly long. The Grammar section of the book was very helpful.
After reflecting on my first GMAT attempt, I decided that the areas I could improve were: Word Problems, Inequalities and Number Properties problems on the Quantitative section and Sentence Corrections on Verbal. Also, I had not used the OG at all during preparation for the initial attempt. Considering these thoughts my strategy for the second test was as follows:
- Improve my knowledge of English grammar and logic using in-depth reference materials
- Perform the problems from the Sentence Corrections, Critical Reasoning, Data Sufficiency and Problem Solving sections of the OG under time constraints
- Take several additional practice tests prior to the GMAT
I started my preparations several months before taking the GMAT following the guidelines I describe above. I did all the Sentence Correction, most of the Critical Reasoning, all the Data Sufficiency and most of the Problem Solving problems from the OG. I gave myself 40 minutes to do sets of 20 problems. In general, this was not easy for me but I was able to do it. I had the greatest difficulty with the Sentence Correction problems above 220 in the OG. I kept a record of the problems I got wrong and used this record for subsequent review. On the harder problems I reviewed the answers whether I got the problem right or wrong. This is time consuming but is very helpful. One thing to stress, as others have, is the necessity to do large numbers of problems under time constraints. I found this particularly important for the quantitative section, as I tended to spend too much time on a single problem. This type of training really pays off during the test as you are cooler mentally and have a better feel for when to give up on a problem and guess. Getting ready for the GMAT is a bit like training for an athletic competition; it is necessary to adhere to a certain regimen to attain the best results.
In general, I prepared more rigorously for the quantitative section of the test. However, this did not lead too much improvement on the second test (47 to 48). Is this because I reached the limits of my abilities or because I needed to prepare differently? Itâ€™s hard to say but I think I would expand the scope of my quantitative preparation by performing sets of more difficult problems from various sources e.g. GMAT Club Challenge problems, Kaplan
sample tests. There were too many problems on the GMAT that I didnâ€™t immediately know how to attack. On the other hand, I improved dramatically on the verbal section of the test. Why? Certainly, the quality of the reference materials I was using improved. The additional studying I did was also helpful. In general, Iâ€™d say that I just find the verbal easier because you can frequently eliminate obviously wrong answers. This is not the case on quantitative which always requires that you understand how to do the problem at hand
GMAT CAT1 â€“ 590
GMAT CAT2 â€“ 600
Power Prep Test 1 - 740
During the test, I was stressed but still cooler than during my initial attempt. That said, I did not feel that I had performed exceptionally and was shocked to see my score come up on the screen. Looking back, Iâ€™d say that my verbal performance on my first go-round was somewhat atypical. As I mentioned, I always found quantitative harder. Also, I would note that the Kaplan
practice tests can be killers and obviously are not accurate predictors of how you will fare on the real GMAT. I have seen other posts that state swings of over 100 points from Kaplan
to GMAT. As a final word, I would like to say that the GMAT Club has been very helpful to me. I enjoy the sense of camaraderie and shared purpose so evident on this site. Best of luck to all. Now, it's time to start working on my MBA application essays. Take care.