I'd like to briefly share my gmat experience. I studied for about 2 months full time (with almost no other tests or exams). I'm Italian but I've always spoken a pretty good english, I'm used to reading english books and magazines (something that eventually would prove as great competitive advantage), my quant skills were decent.
First I took a gmat prep as a diagnostic, I scored a poor 600 and that was the starting point of my journey. I spent a few weeks going through the quant theory and practising quant on OG, then another week going through the verbal and practicing on the OG and then one whole month refining strategies in both quant and verbal and taking full lenght tests.
Advice based on my study plan.
BOOKS AND RESOURCES.KAPLAN PREMIER
This general strategy book is decent in quant but really really poor in the verbal, specially in sentence correction. It's ok if you want to prepare the gmat in 2 weeks but if you want to go beyond basic theory and few guessing techniques you should go for something else. The best feature of this book are the cd with 4 complete CATs.
MANHATTAN STRATEGY GUIDES: ARITHMETICS, EIVS, WORD PROBLEMS AND SENTENCE CORRECTION.
Mahattan guides are not perfect and the exercises do not match perfectly what you will find on the gmat (neither harder nor easier, just a bit different) but these guides are by far the best deal. You start to be serious, to learn some rules and useful techniques that can save you a lot of time (time is money on the gmat) and to solve exercises in the right way. You can find a lot of resources on gmat club too, here i recall a few.
GMAT CLUB MATH BOOK
definitely great, a little bit too long in the geometry and circles part but definitely useful in arithmetics, you learn some very useful techniques that I haven't found elsewhere.
MIXTURE PROBLEMS MADE EASY
(you can search this post): simple, intuitive, great technique that can save you minutes in annoying mixtures.
WORD PROBLEMS MADE EASY
1) Translating the English to Math
2) 'Work' Problems Made Easy
3) 'Distance/Speed/Time' Word Problems Made Easy
search for these three, they're great debriefs of word problems.
I also used the MANHATTAN TUTORIALS and the MANHATTAN FLASHCARDS, BOTH VERY USEFUL AND FREE.
For critical reasoning if you have chance go for POWERSCORE CRITICAL REASONING
. You can find nice debriefs of the rules for CR and SC on the gmatclub download area.
MGMAT 1 690
MGMAT 2 710
MGMAT 3 740
MGMAT 5 690KAPLAN
1 (CD) 590
KNEWTON FREE 650 (questions too easy and definitely a strange scoring)veritas
GMAT PREP 1 AND 2 710GMAT CLUB TESTS
: a little bit too hard but very useful..
REAL TEST 730 47Q, 42V
Use gmat prep a lot, I think it's a bit easier than the real test but it helps. Search on the web every question you can't unserstand, there are tons of posts. Mgmat is not bad, it's a bit too hard in the quant but not bad. Kaplan
are nice tests but scoring is awkward.
I wrote the 2 awa following the guide of chineseburned in this site. I did not put a strong effort in the AWA and i used the remaining time to write in every page of the booklet a small chart in which i wrote the how much time should I have left every 5 questions. It helped me a lot.
I guessed few questions and I checked to remain on time. Quant was pretty hard, the questions were a bit tricky, not difficult but tricky. Verbal was almost as expected except for the first 7 tricky questions. No bolfaces or stuff like that.
Gmat is not a Greek history exam, you should be fresh and quick, do not study too long right before the exam and be relaxed (as much as you can). Don't be afraid of guessing 2 or three questions but check carefully time.
Use an error log
in which you copy the questions you missed in the OG and in the tests and review it frequently.
One last remark: unless you aim at a very very very high score do not spend too much time and effort on potentially impossible questions like extremely hard combinatorics. They make you feel stupid and In the exam there's a very very low chance of seeing one of them. Make sure instead of understanding very well the assumptions underlying the various techniques so that you can figure out the right technique when faced with every kind of problem.
Thanks a lot GMAT CLUB, you provided me qith a lot of useful stuff for cracking the gmat