Preparation:I did not take any online or instructor led courses and relied mainly on MGMAT books
and GMAT Club
. I prepared for a total of 9 weeks (I subscribed to the Question a day email on GMATClub and would do the 2 questions that come in the email every day). The first 3 weeks of my prep were a JOKE. I barely spent like an hour a day and was just warming up. At the end of these 3 weeks I took my first MGMAT and was surprised to see a 730. I saw a verbal score of 45 and I was quite sure this was a fluke. I never saw this number again, EVER. The next 2 weeks were spent identifying my weak spots - every section in verbal needed effort but RC was the worst. I cannot read long passages and hence my RC skills NEVER improved. My target score was 770 so I was not sure if I should be happy on seeing the 750 (also there were many things that went wrong on exam day and that kept me far from my target score). Anyways, I am not retaking this exam to prove a point or something. So I am done and I am happy to be done.
Books Used:MGMAT SC
was a good reference, My SC skills improved after going through this one. It has a ton of information which was difficult for me to digest given the amount of time I was spending on prep. PowerScore CR
was a GREAT BOOK and it totally improved my accuracy with CR questions.I also used some of the MGMAT math books and enjoyed those. My quant skills were pretty good to begin with but I did pick up some key points here and there from these books. Again given the time I had, I mostly did the exercises to identify gaps and close on those.
Sample exams:Took all 6 MGMAT exams, 2 GMATPrep and 3 Kaplan
. Every Sat and one weekday went in taking exam - I enjoyed this more than sitting and going through the books. The Kaplan
exams are very easy and not worth taking if you are score above 700 in MGMAT. The quants section in MGMAT is way more difficult than the actual exam, but the verbal section is quite comparable. I scored 770 on both the GMAT prep exams (now you see why I was a little disappointed on seeing 750) and my MGMAT scores were 730, 660, 680, 720, 740 and 780 (780 was 5 days before the actual exam
Exam Day: I screwed up and ate something that did not sit well with me and spent both breaks throwing up. Sitting through the two essays was a feat in itself since I was feeling very very sick. I came in late by 2 mins for the quants but still finished it on time. During the second break, I came on time but then the person who had to check me in was talking to someone inside the exam room and when he checked me in, he typed the wrong password 4 times! started the verbal 3 full minutes late and could not read the last 2 questions
. The person told me he will call and see if I can get extra 2 mins but nothing happenned. Big lesson: Finish you breaks 1-2 mins before and come wait since they check people in individually and this and other lame things could cause delays. These are factors you cannot control so be prepared. I think I was able to do decently despite these issues since I was very calm (just before going into the exam my husband said I can always write it again and this is just a trial
and that helped) and decided to get it over with.
Key Points to Consider:
1. Complete all questions in OG (in all sections) and review the tough ones before you take the GMAT. The questions on the GMAT are quite similar to the ones in OG
2. Write the essays during the practice tests as this will help you gauge your energy level after each section
3. Practice your nutrition plan - this is important, I screwed this up and was lost time on exam day (see exam day exp for more details)
4. Stay calm during the entire exam and take 2-3 second micro breaks if you feel like you are reading something (esp in the Verbal section) and are not able to digest a single word
5. When taking practice exams, make sure your breaks are 8 mins. I used to chat with my husband and take 15 minute breaks and was not used to the shorter time
6. 4-5 sample exams are sufficient and you need to review your mistakes right after the exam so the questions are still fresh in your mind
7. Some of Ron's videos were useful to me (I did the ones on RC and a couple on CR) - some of his lectures use the GMATPrep questions and this means there is a chance that when you take the GMATPrep you might see familiar questions. Watch these on days when your brain is a little slow. He is very good and will explain everything in great detail.
8. The GMAT club debriefs are extremely useful. They kept me motivated and pointed me to some very useful resources (ex: PowerScore CR
and Ron's videos)
9. Try to enjoy the prep process, it will help you do well on the exam
Sorry about the long debrief. I got so much out of the debriefs on this forum and wanted to share my experience. Now that I am done with the exam, I need to start thinking about the next steps (which will make the exam looks like it was a breeze).