Well what a journey. Perhaps I put more effort than was required. But oh well. I scored a little less than I anticipated, but I would not be a stickler. I am reasonably happy with my score.
I have gained a lot from these forums, so why not give something back. some details about my preparation. Please bear in mind, the debrief is just the way I prepared (made some mistakes on the way) and may not apply to you. Just to give you some back ground about me, I am non native English engineer. Prep Courses
As soon as I decided to go for GMAT, I wanted to sign up for a prep class. Knewton seemed like a good option. It gave me a good start but all in all was a disappointment. So I would recommend checking your requirements before signing up with Knewton. They do offer 50 points money back guarantee, but then its material did not help me much, and I still figured out to score more than 50 points more than its diagnostic. In short, 50 points money might be useless to you, if you have decided to put every effort to score more than that.
Lets start section wise. I will try to stick to the kind of questions I got in GMAT without violating my Confidentiality with GMAC. Quantitative:
First of all, I want to start off by saying OG for Quant section are pretty much useless. Regarding the GMAT and your demeanor
The questions now are very different in actual GMAT. They are much more trickier (please not I did not say they are difficult). To me difficult problems are the ones that involve lot of calculations or require multiple steps to ultimately arrive at the correct answer, but GMAT problems are not so.
I took GMAT twice. The first time, I was nervous and kept anticipating a probability question, since they are considered the hardest. When it was not showing up, I kept getting more and more nervous. I am very sure I made significant number of mistakes because of my nervousness. I got this notion of probability question by reading one of the other posts in this forum. When you are in middle of the exam, do not think about what you read in the forums and the kind of question you should get to score high. Every exam is going to be different. The two times I took, the second time looked completely different from the first (of course I scored only 670 the first time). But both the times, I did not get one probability question
. During the exam, no matter what happens do not lose heart. The first time, I got extremely nervous and lost all hopes of getting good score within the first 20 questions of quant. But then I went on to score 48, which I did not anticipate at all (at least since the way I thought I did in the quant section).Preperation:
I strongly recommend sticking to Manhattan GMAT
's strategy guides. Learn even the smallest possible strategy. Think every different way you can twist a concept. Do not just study and try to remember, understand the concept. I tried to employ this strategy, and it helped a lot. In fact, one of the question was exactly one of my twists.
MGMAT strategy guide is as far as I would go with MGMAT. Their questions for quant section are extremely tough, wordy and calculation intensive. But try to solve as many problems as you can. Use GMATPrep to get as many questions as you can. I must have attempted GMAT Prep at least 20 times. The GMAT club questions are excellent quality and are very much in line with tough GMAT problems (may be little more tougher).Verbal:
The tougher problems in the OG are more representative of the problems from GMAT. My weakest section was SC. I pretty much used the MGMAT SC
guide and CR Bible. Although, a lot of people are big fans of 1000 SC, I think they are pretty much useless. The questions are not even close to actual GMAT, if you want to score anything more than 650. MGMAT's questions are good but are too easy. In short, MGMAT's quant is tough and verbal is easy.
So for the SC section, I used the 200 or so questions from the GMATprep document floating around in this forum and analyzed the hell out of them. For every question, I checked the MGMAT's forum to see what the comments were. Trust me, you will gain a lot from this than solving 1000 SC questions. I cannot emphasize more on this, DO NOT and DO NOT just look for right answer, ALWAYS look for what is wrong with incorrect answers. You will learn a lot from this exercise.
Couple of comments about RC, practice as many essays as possible under timed conditions. But, your accuracy of picking the right answer can be increased significantly by doing only one thing. When you read the passage always keep authors point of view. Even if you do not understand entire statement. Always, keep authors point of view in mind. This is easier said than done. But just this plain statement at least doubled my accuracy.
Critical reasoning, this was my forte in verbal. I rarely get CR questions wrong. So I did not put much effort into this section.Regarding verbal Section of GMAT:
The section was much tougher than I ever faced in any of the exams. The SC questions were on the tough side of GMATprep questions. In RC, I got THREE long passages, with four questions, and one short. But fortunately the questions were like CR questions. In CR, I got at least 8 or 9 assumption questions. In the middle of verbal section, the question got so tough that I just guessed on couple just to bring the difficult down. Such an approach was a bad idea because I was left with some time in the end. I could have scored more. OH WELL
Anyways, this is my story. Good luck.