Gave the test yesterday evening. I have been a regular "listener" of this forum. I must have raised my score by atleast 100 points reading the posts in this forum. I have "listened" to some other forums too. The unique factor is that there havent been any questions/problems (from the sources i used - MGMAT, GMATPrep, 1000 series) for which I didnt get answers on this forum. The search tool is better than that of the other forums.
Brief on my experience.
In general I would categorise three skills levels:
Level A - Good basics in Quant and Verbal. Will get you a score upto 620. I started with Princeton and Kaplan
books. One of them is enough to get you started.
Level B - Solid basics + knowing efficient(fast) ways of solving problems. I believe figuring out efficient ways will help you build your fundamentals. Hence the transition from Good to Solid basics. Depending on the areas where you are able to solve problems fast you will get somewhere between 620 and 690.
- OG-11 is a must. Builds basics but not necessarily the fastest way to get to a solution.
- MGMAT SC
book is a must have. I used this in the last 4 weeks. I should have started with this. My SC score improved drastically because of the MGMAT book
. If I had the time I would have revised the book again. Lot of OG solutions made sense after reading this.
- Use MGMAT CATs and this forum for getting tips on efficient ways to solve problems. MGMAT CATs have great explainations. I did 4 CATs and that improved my score from Q39 to Q48 in MGMAT tests.
- After every CAT, I would identify the areas of issues and then randomly pick problems from this forum and solve them. This method helped me improve in the areas of Number properties, Word Translations and Geometry. Its painful and timeconsuming but worth it.
- I tried Brutal SC but seemed like the answer key is not perfect. It has good practice questions if you have the patience to find the answers from various forums.
- I also used the 1000 series, about 75 questions in DS and PS each, 6 passages in RC ( only the ones that i felt are weak, social passages), 40 CRs.
- In the given time I couldnt stop from getting less than 2-3 mistakes in each of SC, RC and CR. Meaning I would have atleast 7-9 questions incorrect in verbal. Typicall based on the level of questions, these many mistakes will get you to a v36-v39. I never got a v40+ in my GMATPrep. Got a v43 once in MGMATPrep.
Level C - Strong basics + shortest method of solving problems + Minimum silly mistakes. 700+
- I am the king of silly mistakes. I improved a lot with practice tests but i know thats what prevented from getting a 50+ in Maths and a 40+ in verbal
- In Verbal, the silly mistakes were primarily in misreading or misinterpretting the question and/or answer choices. I would consistently do atleast 2-3 of such kind of mistakes. Again practice is the key
My point is that solid basics and shortest method is not enough to get you to 720+ scores. Find a way to kill you silly mistakes: they may be lack of concentration, not enough reading and comprehending speed or overconfidence.
- I learnt this late but doing GMATPrep atleast 3 times helps; meaning 6 CATs. The actual test was similar to GMATPrep CAT. I thought the Quant and Verbal was tougher in MGMAT for the level I was in (690-720). It may not be the case for higher levels. I did GMAT Prep 2 and 4 retakes of Prep 1 and Prep 2 in the last week. I think I raised by score by atleast 30 points diligently doing the CATs and working on explaination.
- Use the CATs to come up with strategies for yourself. For example
- In Quant if i hit a NP or Combination question which takes me more than x min i will skip and move on. Period
- In Verbal, if i am stuck on two choices in SC ( which I always used to) I will run a checklist of 5 checks etc
Practice executing and refining such mental strategies.
- No study for the last 24 hours. Gave the test at 4.30pm. Would recommend to pick a better time if possible. The wait during the day is killing. But no complaints, i am happy with the score
- Be calm and composed. Easier said than done but as already mentioned by lot of alumni, GMAT is a test of nerves. Try not to waste your hardwork to nerves. I was tense, inspite of the fact that I am looking to do an Exec MBA (13 yrs work exp) and I am aware that I dont need the spectacular scores most of the participants in this forum speak about.
- The test centers folks were nice. I took a minute to adjust to the writing pad. Actually took the time alloted for reading instructions to write stuff on the scratch pad to get used to it. Didnt take long.
- Did have issues with coming up with solid example for the Issue question.
- My first Quant question took me like 3 min. Then i went with the flow. I got one complex Combinations question.
- Verbal - I got one extra large RC passage. The SCs were ok. Some of the CRs were really tough but in line with the tougher questions i have seen during my retakes of GMATPrep.
For most of the test I felt like I was seeing similar questions to the ones i saw in GMAT Prep, MGMAT and in this forum.
In summary, i dont think i am one of the smarter folks in this shed. So I had to compensate with hard work. I know the post is a bit incoherent but feel free to ask me specific if interested. Wish you all good luck!!!