I took my test today and got a 710. I'm not thrilled but content I guess. I had some hope of hitting 720+, but the 710 puts me in the ballpark for the top schools which is cool. Here were my thoughts and prep experience....
I studied for about 3 months, very intensely. I have had my own business for a couple of years, but it's been slow lately so I've had time to really study alot. I went through PR, Kaplan
2006, Kaplan 800
, MGMAT, Veritas
(only the probability book), 4GMAT, OG (#11, as well as math and verbal reviews) and a couple other books I think. And, of course, I used the challenges available on this site. Here were my scores on practice tests (note, I studied for about 1-1.5 months before taking any practice tests.... then took all of them in the remaining 1.5-2 months):
PR - 690
PR - 700
PR - 730
GMATPrep - 730
MGMAT - 690
MGMAT - 720 (3 days before exam)
GMATPrep - 760 (note - although I didn't do a reboot, I got a couple of the same questions in this as the other test.... so I thought this was probably equivalent to a 730-740) -- 2 days before exam
MGMAT - 730 (day before exam)
1 - Study for 2-3 months intensely --- don't stretch it out for longer than that.
2 - Use the PR and MGMAT CATs, but not Kaplan
. Very demoralizing to see a 570 if you are really capable of a 710.
3 - Save several practice tests for the few days right before the exam. I did one each day just before the exam to refine my timing.
4 - Visit the test center before test day. I went to the center about 3 weeks ago, and it helped me visualize what the experience would be like.
5 - Use flashcards to write down math problems you get wrong. Doesn't work as well for verbal questions.
6 - Try to proceed with your studying in a balanced way. Don't ignore one subject for many days in a row, because you'll get rusty on it and lose the momentum of the study process. Many of the top schools want to see above an 80th percentile on both sides, so getting a 99th percentile on one doesn't look good if you get a 65th on the other. Try to keep a balance on the studying so that you're adequately prepared for both. Although I was hoping for a 720 or 730, I am glad that my percentiles are relatively balanced.
7 - Do the challenges and stick with them. They will make your head hurt at times, but there is value in the pain. There is redemption in the suffering:)
8 - The OG materials were great -- make sure you ration the use of them though. I would say really concentrate on getting the concepts from the PR and MGMAT materials before you start using the OG stuff. It's very valuable to have those fresh practice questions to use, so don't just blow through them all right at the beginning of your study.
All the best,