I took the GMAT a few days ago and scored a 710 (Q-49, V-39). Thanks for anyone on this site that answered a question or helped me. This site helped a lot. I think it is a great thing, and I wouldn't have done as well as I did if it weren't for the great folks that make it happen.
Things I did: First, I am a college Senior taking 16 hours (plus a lab). I knew that my time frame to get this test knocked out, before my working life as a Consultant begins, was closing. Taking this test while I'm still in test mode was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Anyone that has friends or family debating whether to spend 2-3 months being a nerd and studying for the GMAT instead of having fun and living the college lifestyle: urge them to view their life in the bigger picture (if getting an MBA fits in with that picture).
Back to what I actually did. First, I read the Kaplan
generic GMAT book. This got me up to speed on formulas, SC concepts, and just becoming familiar with the overall structure of the test. I took a MGMAT exam after that and scored a 630. After that I began to narrow in on my weaknesses: verbal (specifically SC and RC). For reading comprehension, it took a while for me to master this section because I hate reading. Reading sucks and its boring. But, thankfully, the GMAT doesn't test whether we like reading or not, it tests our logic skills. I began to see the challenge in reading comprehension by paying special attention to transitions, context, and inferences. The best resource to help me was LSAT material (pick any source, my roommate is going to law school, so I borrowed his Kaplan
LSAT books, the source for this doesn't matter as much as just practicing). For SC, I used the MGMAT SC
book to brush up on the key concepts.
As far as idioms, if you are a native english speaker: please trust your logic, the sooner I started doing so and quit second guessing myself, the more effective I became in this area. Again, SC is mostly logic with the exception of some idioms. Modifiers, Verb-Tense, and Parallelism are simply logic games in a grammatical context. Focus more on how you can attack the problem from a logical point of view, and less from a grammatical point of view. Once this idea occurred to me, it changed my perspective, and SC was no longer a problem.
CR was never an issue for me. I always did well in this area. But, after doing several practice tests and questions from MGMAT and the OG, I began to see the patterns that develop with all the difficult CR problems, and I began to answer these questions very quickly. Even if you are strong in this area, I would still recommend practicing so that you can save valuable time for other areas.
Math is my strong suit (as it is for most folks interested in business). I have been blessed to have many great math teachers in my life (not very many good english/language arts teachers unfortunately), so much of the recall in this area wasn't too challenging for me. I highly recommend using the MGMAT Advanced Quant book and the GMAT Club tests
to fine tune your skills and make the real GMAT feel like a cake walk. MGMAT Advanced Quant provides brilliant techniques for how to break down a difficult problem into just a few manageable steps. The MGMAT Advanced Quant and the MGMAT SC
are by far the best books on the market for any GMAT prep. GMAT Club tests
are tough and they're meant to push you. Don't take your scores seriously on them. I scored like a 50% on some of them and wound up with a 49 on Quant. So, just relax and see it as a fun logic puzzle to solve, rather than an intense test that is supposed to reveal your intelligence or something (because they don't).
Take a lot of CATS the week or two leading up to your GMAT test date. I took 3 or 4 MGAMT CATs and a GMAT prep test the week leading up. This helped me get into test mode and pushed me to analyze how I was using my time. This test is all about answering the questions in the allotted time, so focus on that. Do timed problems sets, do some CATs, and check your ego at the door. Don't think that solving every tough math problem will prove you are awesome, it will in fact do just the opposite: it will result in you guessing on four straight problems at the end and underachieving score wise. So, just take a humble approach to the test and guess if you don't know it.
And finally, Success only comes from the paradox of learning from mistakes and not letting those mistakes affect your ability to perform in the present. If you are going to be successful with the GMAT (or anything else in life), you have to be resilient and focus on the next question (or focusing on improving your preparation). There will be things you won't remember or understand, but the real test is what you do to overcome that adversity and focus on the task at hand. If you believe in that and you work hard, you cannot lose.