This is my first post here, but I have been browsing through the forum for several months. I found the debriefs extremely helpful in my preparation and decided I could contribute, by sharing my experience.
My result: 740 (Q48, V44), AWA 5.0Background:
I am a final year undergraduate student in a British university, come from Eastern Europe, and have done several internships in investment banking. I am not applying for any MBA programmes, but rather for an MSc in Finance.
This was my first attempt and I spent about two months preparing for the exam. However, after studying for about 6 weeks, and in the final part of my preparation, I had to postpone the test, as something rather unexpected came up. I resumed my preparation three months later and did about 3 weeks of constant reading before the exam. As you can see from my test results, my performance in the beginning was pretty dismal, which, i guess, was more motivating than disappointing. I had 760 as my target score, and I think whatever your initial level, setting a challenging goal always helps.
The general advice I can give you is not to underestimate the test. People are different, but I can hardly imagine someone getting more than 700 with just a week of practice. Furthermore, it might sound stupid and quite obvious, but concentration is the most important thing about this test. Test Scores
GMAT PowerPrep (before any studying): 490
GMATPrep 1(before any studying): 540
GMATPrep 2 (6 weeks into prep): 710 (Q47, V41)
GMATPrep 1 (after the 3month break): 700 (Q47, V40)
GMATPrep 2 (1 week before the exam): 750 (Q47, V46)
GMATPrep 1 (1 week before the exam): 760 (Q50, V44)
Also did the Manhattan and the gmatclub tests
twice (which I strongly recommend). The manhattan quant is really good, it’s more difficult than the exam. I think gmatclub tests
are really good as well. I guess that is how I managed to get my score from 700 to 740. The first time I went through the tests I tried to solve the question without keeping track of time; the second was to improve my speed and timekeeping. Books
The OG 11Manhattan Number PropertiesManhattan SCManhattan CRKaplan Math WorkbookQuant
I started my preparation by reading through the Manhattan NP book, and then moved to the math workbook. The Kaplan
book is quite useful to get to grips with the basic concepts, however it is rather basic. In the beginning my quant was at the 35-36 level, at the end I got several 50s on gmatprep and MGMAT. After I got an idea about the theory I went through all the math questions in the OG and then moved to the verbal prep. I think, as the quant section is quite easy to keep up to date, it might be a good idea to do about 30 questions each day, while preparing for the verbal. I think the most useful part of my preparation was all the online tests I did, in the three weeks before the exam. I was often wondering how can I improve my score from 700 to 750-760, and I think the key is doing a lot of tests. Verbal
I am not a native speaker, but I really enjoyed doing CR and RC, and was quite good at these. My problem was the SC part, the Manhattan book helped a lot, but I was still making about 4-5 mistakes in SC, 1 in CR and 1 in RC. I think my problem was that I didn’t feel like learning, by heart, the endless list of idioms.
The key to CR is to define the conclusion of the argument and the premises on which it’s built. Also, I found taking short notes really helpful. Regarding RC, I think it’s a good idea to paraphrase the passage (or the separate paragraphs), before reading the questions. While reading the text, I also try to answer the question “What is the attitude of the author, towards…”.AWA
I did almost no preparation for that part. Just looked at the sample answers at the back of the OG, on the day before the test, and tried to think about a sample structure for the two essays. Programme
I spent several days reading through debriefs and tried to create an optimal programme, based on the experience of people who got about 760. This is how I structured my preparation
3 weeks: Quant theory and the OG
3 weeks: Verbal – MGMAT SC
and RC guides, the OG
3 weeks: Tests – gmatclub, MGMAT and GMATPrep - 3 quant tests and 1 verbal a day
During the last two weeks I realized that my verbal level is quite constant, my score ranging from 42 to 44, so I decided to concentrate on the quant section. I got 48 at the exam, but I feel like I lost concentration at a certain point, and could have done at least 49.
Excuse my for the long and rambling message, and let me know if you have any questions.