750 – 48Q 45V
I’ve waited quite some time to write this debrief. I took the GMAT back in 2012.
It is important to understand what you are up against. What the averages are for the programs you are interested in, and how the rest of your profile generally positions you. In my case, I had a lower UG GPA, so I was specifically looking to counter that with a high GMAT.
Just make sure you aren’t delusional. That goes two ways. A great score isn’t going to solve all your problems, if you have significant other problems, for the top programs. And a low score doesn’t mean the end of the world if you have an otherwise competitive profile and are going for mid range programs.
Another detail regarding the competition and this is the percentile weight, or difference between, the quant and verbal sections. You can do insanely well on the GMAT by having a high verbal and a mediocre quant, but not the other around. And the other way around is how it often applies to non-native English speakers. They rock the quant, but that is almost expected. And they suck at verbal (sorry). So know where you stack up, and spefically where you stack up against your demographic. And know what programs are looking for (ie for many top programs a high overall but skewed score is problematic). That being said – always take full advantage of your strengths. For Americans, don’t neglect studying verbal.
Ok, regarding the exam. And preparation. Its been a long time but I will tell you I took the exam before, in 2011, and got a 660. What was the difference? Well, the first time around, I took the MGMAT course, in person. But basically all I did was show up for class. Then before the exam I took a week off from work and crammed hardcore. Little sleep. I ended up doing pretty well, actually. But failed to finish either section, and was way off with my caffeine intake/other parameters.
The second time around, I took the timing aspect much more seriously. Most importantly, I had a few months in between jobs in which I didn’t study GMAT full time, but did study approx half time. I also made sure to RELAX MY BRAIN the day before the test. Almost no studying! I did practice a few problems right before the test. But the day before, I relaxed. The week before, I did max myself out (except slept as normally as possible).
Plus, I invested in some more resources beyond MGMAT, some of which aren’t often stated on these forums…
First of all, bibles and 1000 databases, this and that pill or review company, isn’t the real deal, IMO. They seem to help many people, but IMO, the best is to stick to the real source. Official GMAT questions. REAL OFFICIAL GMAT QUESTIONS! This means that Knewton, MGMAT, and other sources I used – their actual questions are least indicative of how I did.
Of course, there are only so many OG questions and Powerprep packs. But EXHAUST THOSE. And BUY THE ADDITIONAL GMAC POWERPREP Questions!
Why? A few reasons. 1) There are only so many 700+ level questions in the OG. You need to be accustomed to those, intimate with those, and yes dominate those. The additional practice prep questions give you lots of hard questions. 2) You run out of the GPREP diagnostic and start getting repeat questions pretty quick. 3) It is not that expensive 4) And this is super insider type info: GMAT questions used to be written by a company called Pearson VUE. Now, they are written by GMAC. OG 13
has about half and half. The further you go back, to OG 12
, 11, 10… (and I did) the more Pearson Vue Qs you get.
Again, since the real source is paramount, try and focus on GMAC new-type questions most. The new powerprep packs are all those questions.
Finally, on resources note, shout out to QUANTUM GMAT. When I took the GMAT, the new powerprep practice questions were just released and there were few sources of solutions for them (I’m talking about quant here), and we all know the official explanations are borderline useless. Quantum GMAT was worth it and I highly recommend.
Now, the more exciting/unique part of this debrief – ----------------
My performance based tips:
Find out how you perform optimally! I have an oral fixation (yes, it sounds dirty but its also a real thing), and since you can’t chew gum or anything else in the exam, I chewed the %$#* out of the pen cap. Yes, I did. In fact, I did for my practice tests. I am proud of this and think it is my singular most important tip. I know I am not alone in this. Do it!
I am going to cut this short and add more, if what I have said so far is useful. On a final note, sorry for the rambling/unedited nature of this debrief. It does however indicate that you don’t have to be on top of your grammar game always to crush it on the GMAT.
When you study, look forward to the times you know the grammar rules but choose not to follow them because you don’t care, because you are done with the GMAT (but you certainly may/will use them in other situations, which is why it is worth it).