I have been lurking on these forums for about a month now and after receiving my official scores this week I decided to create my first post. I took the GMAT on June 23 and was fortunate to receive a 700 (47Q 40V) with a 8 in IR and 5.0 AWA (a 5's good enough right?). I had prepped for about 2 months, beginning at the end of April.
If you don't feel like reading the entire debrief below, here's a cliff notes version: don't freak out over IR, buy manhattan, practice a lot, kaplan
tests are hard.A little bit of background (not that anyone cares):
24 year old male from Hawaii (hence the HI in HImba88). Graduated from a small liberal arts university in 2010 and been working for approx. 1.75 years. Not planning on applying to schools for at least a couple more years.Prep:
As stated previously, I spent 2 months preparing for the gmat (one month in a kaplan class
, one month independent study). Throughout the two months my practice test scores were as follows:Kaplan
CAT 1 - 580Kaplan
CAT 2 - 590Kaplan
CAT 3 - 590Kaplan
CAT 4 - 610Kaplan
CAT 5 - 600Kaplan
CAT 6 - 610Kaplan
CAT 7 - 620Kaplan
CAT 8 - 650Kaplan
CAT 9 - 620
MGMAT 1 - 690 (Q45 V38)
MGMAT 2 - 700 (Q47 V38)
MGMAT 3 (day before test) - 740 (Q46 V45)
Real GMAT - 700 (47Q V40)Kaplan
: I enrolled in the two-days a week Kaplan
on site class primarily due to the fact that I wanted to take an on-site class and it was the only one available in Hawaii. I thought the in class material was useful, but basic. I personally didn't think the class/guides went into as much detail as the manhattan guides did. The practice tests on the other hand were ridiculously difficult. Came across some crazy permutation/combination problems that I didn't think were representative of the actual test.Manhattan
: I feel like a parrot repeating what everyone else has said. The manhattan guides are awesome (I only bought the quant). I decided against purchasing the verbal guides after skimming through them at a bookstore (don't judge me for being cheap) and finding they were similar to the kaplan
stuff. I thought the practice tests were closer in difficulty to the actual test compared to the kaplan
: I bought the two separate quant and verbal guides. Just used them as extra practice problems (the answer explanations aren't the greatest).IR:
I originally scheduled my test for June 2nd to avoid the new IR section. However, after taking a few practice tests with the IR section, I decided to reschedule. This decision gave me more time to prepare and avoid writing another essay (I hate writing). Basically, just practice these problems and you'll be fine. I found the actual GMAT problems to be easier and less time consuming than the MGMAT and kaplan
I found that the best schedule for me was to do practice problems before work and after work. I completed the CATs on weekends and printed out any extraordinarily hard problems to work on during the week. I'm sure this isn't the best method of doing things, but this is what worked easiest for me. I would also like to add that I had lots of issues with timing. For most of the practice tests I took, I would end up guessing the last 10 or so quant problems since I took too long doing the earlier ones. Point of this is: check your ego, don't be hard-headed. Like Kenny Rogers says, "you gotta know when to hold em, known when to fold em." I learned to skip problems that I knew I wouldn't be able to solve within a reasonable amount of time. I finally started to finish the quant section within the time constraints (an accomplishment for me).
My apologies for the long disorganized blabber I'm posting. I don't think I'm in any position to be offering advice to anyone but if there are any questions about my experience, please reply to this post and I'll be glad to answer them. Good luck to anyone who hasn't taken the test yet.
PS: I've decided to re-take the GMAT for two reasons: 1) I am in no rush to apply to schools and 2) I still feel shaky in certain areas and I believe I can get a higher score if I solidify those areas.