I am finally done with the GMAT forever, got a 740 (Q48, V42) yesterday.
I took my first GMAT in Oct'10, and scored a 700 (Q49, V37). I was very happy with my score at that point of time, as I had prepared on and off for only a month and a half. I had a travelling job at that time, and I studied in hotel rooms, carrying the OG everywhere. Coz of some developments on the career front, I decided to delay my applications for a year or two. After the initial euphoria of hitting the 700 had gone down, and I started doing my research on the schools, I realized my score was actually below average for the top 10. I was in one place now, and my score was getting close to two years old, I decided to give the GMAT a second shot.
I started my prep in december last year. I would recommend anyone trying to improve their scores to refer to this: http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-i-upgraded-my-700-to-a-770-q50-v44-82149.html
This is one of the best detailed retake strategies. I assembled my prep material, buying used books off Amazon.
1. The OG
2. Jeff Sackman
, Total GMAT Math
3. Manhattan Sentence correction
(this I bought new to get their tests).
4. Powerscore Critical reasoning
's Total GMAT Math
is probably one of the most thorough quant book for the GMAT. It starts from simple things like mental math, approximations moving onto the more the advanced topics. Simple topics like fractions, approximations etc look easy, but I still did all the exercises just to get a rhythm going. I was doing math after more than year's time. One of the best things about this book, it intermixes problem solving and data sufficiency questions in every topic's practice set. So I did not end up classifying them as different categories.
Sentence correction was my weakest section. In my first GMAT, I had done my SC based on how each answer option sounded to my ears, if I spoke them aloud. Most of the time, I could narrow the answer down to two options, but then I would be stuck. This time I did my prep from the Manhattan's SC book. It is recommended by this forum, and it really improved my SC skills. My verbal score improvement was primarily due to this book.
I was comfortable in RC and Critical Reasoning, so focused mainly on the OG for practice.
AWA, I just went through this: http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html
My practice test scores, were a bit strange. This is the sequence, in which I gave them. Kaplan
Free Online Test: 750 (Q 84th percentile, V 99th percentile)
MGMAT1 : 700 (Q 48, V 37)
MGMAT2 : 720 (Q 47, V 41)
MGMAT3 : 680 (Q 46, V 37)
GMATPrep 1 : 740 (Q 49, V 41)
GMATPrep 2 730 (Q 49, V 40)
I took the GMAT date, based on my GMATPrep scores. My first GMAT, I had a 680 and 700 in the preps, and got a 700 on the actual one. And as it turned out, 730 and 740 on preps, with 740 on actual GMAT this time
I got an appt date, 10 days from my last practice test, and did not try anymore tests. Last few days I only focused on the OG. I had marked the questions which I had got wrong previously, and went through them again.Test Drama
My appt was at 4 PM yesterday. I am not a morning person, and the nearest test centre is a 1 hour drive from my place.
The testing rooms are always at a much lower temperature, than regular air conditioning. Was prepared this time, last time I was in a flimsy t-shirt.
I was 6-7 questions into the quant section, and all the computers in the room tripped. My initial thought was, its all gone, will be a restart. The folks at the testing centre assured us, the test will resume from the same place, with the exact time remaining, once they restarted the computers. A girl sitting next to me giving the GMAT too, started crying when this happened. The test resumed at the same spot, but my rhythm was broken, and it took some time to get back in it. I dont know what would have happened if my system had tripped during the AWA section. I am sure I would have lost all that I had typed, with only the rest of the time remaining on the clock.
Anyways, since I got a 740, I can look back it this and brush it off. I would have blamed everything on the centre, probably contacted GMAC, if my score had been off.