I have read this forum for a while and have got a lot of useful information. So today, after my first attempt at the GMAT, I want to give back what I can to this wonderful community. It's not a stellar score, but I hope my experience can be useful for some folks out there.Background:
I just graduated from college in New Hampshire in May, got a job in real estate in my hometown Hanoi, Vietnam in mid-September but won't start until January 2013. So I figure I would spend my few months in between studying for the GMAT. Beginning:
I started with Barron and Princeton Review Cracking the GMAT
. Blew through it since the books do not have much substance. I recommend Princeton for anyone who's lazy like me and want to get started on the GMAT quest. Don't worry about Barrons; it was terrible. I switched to OG after and soon identified my weaknesses including CR, RC and Data Sufficiency. Target your weaknesses:
Essay: look for chineseburned AWA template on this forum. It is pure gold.
IR: use GMAT PREP, MGMAT and Kaplan
CAT. Once you prep well for your Quant and familiarize yourself with some CATs, there is no reason to sweat over IR. I read from somewhere (and find this to be true) that it's better to do well on, say, 8 or 10 IR questions than to stretch yourself thin over all 12.
Quant: Yes, Data Sufficiency wasn't my strong suit (probably still not) but overall I find quant to be much more manageable than Verbal. I did not spend much time on Quant, basically just went through OG and used GMAT club tests
Verbal: The best materials for Verbal, in my opnion, are MGMAT SC
, Powerscore CR
Bible, 1000 RC . For SC and CR, follow the books. For RC, read slowly and understand the whole passage instead of reading to understand the structure and skimming the rest to know where the details are.
If you want more difficult stuff, Kaplan 800
is a good source. Its logic is questionable sometimes though because I don't get some of their questions no matter how many times I read the explanation. But again those iffy questions are only a small part of the book.
I spend on average two weeks on each section. Once I move on to the next section, I tried to do 10 questions for each part that I finished prepping for every time I study. For instance, I started with CR, then RC and finally SC. By the time I reached SC, I would answer 10 questions for CR and 10 for SC. The same thing for Quant. It is my way of keeping my mind from forgetting what I studied. Diagnostic tests:
Hult simulation test: 740-770
GMAT PREP 1: 740
MGMAT CAT 1: 720 (IR is good. Math is way tougher than the real GMAT)Kaplan
CAT 1: 720 (IR is good. Verbal is iffy since, as I mentioned earlier, Kaplan
logic is not right sometimes)
GMAT PREP 2: 760 (this is a week before the test and it really got my hopes up)
GMAT PREP 1 retake: 760Test day:
Essay was easy.
I only finished 10/12 IR questions but am quite confident about the 10 that I answered.
The Quant section is way easier than what i'm used to during prep time. I would say it's even easier than the GMAT PREP that I took. Encountered only one probability question. I had like 10 minutes left for the last 3 and finished 3 minutes early.
The Verbal section wasn't too difficult. No boldface question which I dread. My timing, however, was not very good. I had 10 or 12 minutes left for the last 8 questions so i don't think I did well on my last RC passage. For the remaining 5 questions, I had 5 minutes and used the strategy that BB recommended. He says you should devote your time to every other question. So it's better to focus on question # 41, 39 and 37 while guess on 38 and 40 than to focus on 37, 38, 39 and bomb 40 and 41. That way, you can keep your score fluctuate around a high level rather see it plumping after several guesses in a row.
Got a 730. Good effort on the first try although i am a little bummed out since I scored higher during practice.What's next:
Well, I won't apply until probably 2015. I just want to work and make some money now.Question
: My dream school is HBS and GMAT is the only outlet left for me to quantitatively impress the Admission officers. At this moment, I think I will retake it, at least for personal satisfaction because I feel that I can do better. But what is your expert opinion? Should I retake the GMAT to improve my shot at HBS?