I just took the GMAT on 9/3. First, I would like to thank those that have taken the time to post their questions/experiences here and administrators of this website. It has been very helpful to me in preparing for the test. I haven't posted before, but want to share my experience.
Quant - I really thought this section was pretty straightforward. I didn't run into any early really difficult questions like some people on this site have asked about. I had 1 probability and 1 combination question - neither of which was that difficult. There weren't really any new types of questions that I didn't run into in the OG, although one question had a ridiculous amount of information before all the information that was truly necessary to work the problem. I started writing it all down, then thought to myself I should read the rest of the question. I read it, and it probably took me a couple of minutes to figure out that I didn't need all the junk info at the beginning of the question. I did see my toughest questions in the middle of the test, and was somewhat behind on time at that point, but the easy ones made up for it and i caught back up with no problem. I did see a problem towards the end that was directly from the OG(sure helps with the time crunch!)
Verbal - This section was tougher than I had expected. I had hoped to do better - in the practice tests I had scored in the low 40's. I did see a new question type - where there were 2-3 sentences, then a part of a sentence, and you have to choose what response logically completes the last sentence. I don't know if they were experimental or not though. My first 2 reading comp. passages were fine, but the last one, at almost the end of the test, was 80 lines - which was pretty tough. Other than that, everything here was pretty straightforward. Personally, I felt that the logic and sentence corrections were tougher than in the OG. Usually, in the OG, I could get it down to 2 questions, and then would find an obvious difference that made the correct answer stand out. On the test, I could get it down to two choices, but the obvious one rarely stood out to me.
My Preparation - I have actually taken the GMAT before - a year ago I scored a 640. That score was not good enough for what I wanted to do, so I basically studied from early July. I did take a class given by Veritas
Test Prep - I did like their coursework (most of which is taken from the OG), but I would also add that I really think the biggest value add in a class is the instructor. My instructor was very good - especially in the areas I was weakest (SC). I was also fortunate to have an advanced class - in that we didn't have to spend much time learning how to factor, etc but could spend a lot more time working problems, and learning how to approach some of the tougher problems.
I did buy PR, Kaplan
, and used the CAT tests provided with my class (they gave us the ARCO disks and the PP tests), and also bought the tests available from ETS. I do believe the just released tests do include problems that are not in the OG.
Here is how my practice tests went:
PR - 710, 710, 630(i was having a bad day!)
Kap - 570, 620
ARCO - 2 tests, both predicted scores in high 600's
PP - 690, 750
ETS tests (I don't remember the numbers, and I didn't take them all) - 770, 770, 750(I had seen no previous questions on this one)
As most others have said, the OG is the bible. If you know all of this, there are only so many new things they can introduce to the test in a short period of time, so know this material in your sleep. If you need to learn how to do basic algebra and geometry, Kaplan
is probably the best, then move to the OG - I found some of the OG explanations would skip several steps of sometimes complex algebraic manipulation in its explanations of the tougher questions.
On SC (which I was having trouble with) - what i did initially was, while working problems in the OG, to write down why each answer choice was incorrect, and this narrowed it down for me. Then, I would look at the OG explanation, and compare my notes to its explanation.
With the tougher quant questions (I had trouble with mixture and rate problems initially) - just work a ton of them from the OG, and work it like a chemstry problem, and work towards your desired answer (whether it is in m/hour, hours etc). I also did not read problems carefully enough initially.
I don't have a math/science background (finance undergrad), and I know there are a lot of people a lot smarter than me taking this test, so I think I'm proof that it can be done with enough time, effort, and focused studying.
Best of luck to all!!