Here is my $0.02 on my GMAT experience
I wanted to share my exam experience with all of you. First off, this site has been incredibly helpful in my preparation efforts for the GMAT. Thanks to all those who have been involved in its creation and content.
I spent 8 weeks preparing for the GMAT. My study plan was as follows:
Week 1-3 - Worked through Kaplan
2004 and PR 2004 GMAT books. I did all the sections and many of the paper based practice tests. I worked on getting the basics down.
I was between projects at work so I was able to work these books full-time.
Week 4-8 - To boost my verbal I picked up the Kaplan Verbal
book. I think it was pretty helpful for me on SC (my weak area). I also picked up the OG and I was able to work through every single problem in the OG. I would get home from work around 6:30, eat and go to work on the OG. I would work on the OG until about 10. This is a hard schedule but well worth it (IMO).
I also reviewed an old Kaplan
GMAT book ('01) during this time and the Kaplan
GMAT books from the class (got these from a friend). I picked up the Arco AWA book. I would read a couple of the essays in the Arco book at night before I went to bed.
- The stress of the exam was really starting to wear on me the last week. The day before I tried to relax as much as possible. I went to the gym, watched TV, etc.
AWA - Nothing shocking here. Every time I did a practice test I did the AWA. I think the most important thing here is you need to get your stamina up. Do not underestimate the energy it takes to do well on the GMAT.
Break - I was surprised to see that the test does not automatically start after the 5 min it is up. I thought it would work like the PP and start automatically.
Quan - I was very careful on the first 10-15 questions. I had couple of simple probability questions. A couple of Venn problems as well. I was weak on Venn's then I did a searchfor "Venn" in the Quan forum and read an excellent post by stoylar. Ever since then Venn has been straight forward. I got one tough geometry problem, but the rest were very workable. I spent a good amount of time looking at the probability questions in the Quan Forum as well.
Verbal - I was getting pretty nervous in the Verbal section. My timing was off since I spent more time on the first 10 questions then usual. As a result I ended up rushing in the middle and the end of the section. Fortunately, I was able to complete the section with a minute to spare.
Since Verbal did not go as planned, I was really unsure about my score. I raced thru the post exam questions (gender, GPA, etc.) and was pleasantly surprised about the outcome.
PP- 650 (took this very early on), 740 (day before GMAT).
- 570, 590, 590
PR - 573, 773, 623 (BTW I think the PR software stinks. It would crash, repeat RC sections. Only use it if you lots of time)
- I borrowed the books from the Kaplan Class
from a friend who paid $$$$ for it. Much of the Verbal content is EXACTLY the same as the Kaplan Verbal
book. The info in the Quan was nothing new either. The other thing that was surprising to me was that the Kaplan
people did not tell my friend about the OG and PP. In my opinion unless you think you will benefit from instructor lead courses and a regimented study plan I would save your money and skip the Kaplan class
OG - If you have been reading this forum you will hear the same message over and over. The OG is the BEST preparation for the GMAT
. ETS does not allow anyone else to use real GMAT questions in their prep material. As a consequence, folks like Kaplan
and PR have to write their own simulated GMAT questions. Needless to say, some are better then others but nothing compares to the real thing.
After working thru the OG and I went back and reviewed the answer to every question I got wrong. I wanted to be sure that I understood every concept that ETS was including. Think about it, the strength of the GMAT is the supposed correlation between your GMAT score and your chances of success at BSchool. As a result, they cannot change the content of the test very much (year to year). What they do to keep the test fresh is to test the SAME
concepts in new and different ways. If you focus on the concepts you will be prepared for whatever you will see on test day.
Good luck to everyone with their applications! Feel free to reply if you would like me to clarify anything I talked about above.