[Edit - AWA score added; some updates to Math, RC and AWA sections]
Scored a 740 (97 percentile) 5.5 AWA on my GMAT earlier today. While this is a good score, I'm not sure if it'll do for some of the top 10 colleges that I'm looking to apply (given my competitive applicant pool)
Most of my preparation was over the last 4-5 weeks, though I've been lurking around this forum for a few months now. Hats off to everyone who has contributed so much to this forum. Special thanks to walker and maratikus -- check out some of their quant posts -- their insight into some of the harder math problems is brilliant.Resources usedOG11
, MGMAT SC
guide, GMATClub math challengesPractice scores
GMATPrep1 (1) 670 (no prep - sometime in march - breakdown probably around Q48, V34?)
MGMAT CAT1 700 (Q49, V36)
MGMAT CAT2 710 (Q48, V39)
MGMAT CAT3 720 (Q50, V37)
MGMAT CAT4 720 (Q51, V37)
MGMAT CAT5 730 (Q50, V39)Kaplan
Free Online CAT 700 (Q: 35/37; V: 33/41)
GMATPrep1 (2) 740 (Q49, V41)
GMATPrep2 (1) 730 (Q50, V38)
GMATPrep2 (2) 760 (Q50, V42)
GMATPrep1 (3) 760 (Q50, V41)Actual GMAT 740 (Q50, V40, AWA 5.5)GMAT Club challenges
)Test Correct Total % Correct Percentile
m01 29 37 78.4% 84.3%
m02 36 37 97.3% 100.0%
m03 34 37 91.9% 97.0%
m04 29 37 78.4% 77.6%
m05 31 37 83.8% 94.7%
m06 29 36 80.6% 89.7%
m07 31 37 83.8% 90.5%
m08 28 37 75.7% 86.4%Math
I didn't spend a lot of time preparing for Math. Most of my practise was through CATs and GmatClub math challenges
. On D-Day, once the quant section was over, I knew I was hitting a 50 or 51. I found it to be much easier than GMATPrep.
I highly recommend the GMATClub challenges
. Along with GMATPrep, this is very representative of harder questions on the GMAT. The challenges' questions test your basics to the core, and often combine multiple concepts (difficulty level around 49-51 on the real test). The authors have also done an excellent job of explaining solutions succinctly.
On the other hand, the math in MGMAT CATs is not representative at all. Their answer explanations are good though -- so definitely read them.
I feel a good portion of the math questions in OG11
are in the 600-700 bucket. The ones towards the end are definitely a notch harder.
For a list of in-scope topics, refer OG11
. Only got 1 problem on combinations, so wouldn't recommend spending a lot of time on it. Number theory, however, is a must. This includes problems around prime numbers, inequalities, mean/median (IMO the most important topics), fractions (for instance, understand properties of x, x^2, x^3 etc for positive and negative fractions). Also understand the concept of slopes (as well as x and y intercepts) and triangles in geometry.VerbalSC
-- It doesn't get any better than Manhattan GMAT
's SC guide. Read this a few times over. Also solve all questions from their online question bank, and be sure to read and understand solutions for the ones you missed. I find their explanations to be very well written. For all difficult OG11
questions (last 50 or so), read their solutions and understand them thoroughly.RC
-- Most questions fall under 2 buckets -- "According to the passage" and "Inferred". The former generally states things directly from the passage. Be sure not to fall for GMAC's common traps (quoting something VERY similar, or "half truths", from the passge). "Inferred" questions require a greater understanding of the passage. Scan the passage for the overall meaning, and paraphrase each paragraph. While reading, look to answer basic questions around the tone of the passage (whether the author is mildly skeptical, supportive, critical, neutral etc), the logical structure of the passage (contrasting multiple viewpoints vs providing supporting arguments for a single viewpoint) etc.CR
-- Understand the different question types (weaken, strengthen, draw a conclusion etc). Also read up definitions on the different constituents of CR - assumption, consideration, inference, conclusion, premise, evidence etc. These are especially helpful for boldface questions. If you're weak in this section, I would recommend the PowerScore logical reasoning bible. A lot of people swear by it.AWA
-- Bookmark awa templates by Chineseburned at 1-t64327
. Write out the outline during the tutorial. Spend about 5 minutes thinking through your key points. Treat the argument essay like an elaborate CR problem where you have to come up with potential answers. Approach it from different perspectives ("how can I break this argument?") and consolidate your responses in a draft using the AWA template. Random Tips
1) If you're starting out, read all explanations from OG11
-- including those for wrong choices.
2) Process of elimination is critical, especially for harder questions
3) If you're a foreign national, don't forget to take your passport to the center.
is good for verbal, and just about decent for math.
5) I had also heard a lot about kaplan800
so decided to check it out. Definitely good, but didn't blow me away. Scanned through it and thought their CR strategies were decent. Some of their SC problems were good too. A lot of people find their math review section helpful - so check that out.
6) Timing strategy - I like to divide the exam into 5 segments of 15 minutes each. Consequently in verbal, I look to complete 8 questions every 15 minutes (75 -> 60 -> 45 -> 30 -> 15 -> 0). In math its roundabout the same. There may be a little trade-off due to large RC passages, but after a while, its best to re-adjust and move on rather than getting stuck on a particular question. I finished Math with about 10 minutes remaining and Verbal with about 4 (and I am rather slow on verbal)
7) Do both GMATPreps at least twice. This is absolutely the closest to the real thing.
Well, that's about it. Will be glad to answer questions.
My GMAT debrief