I have been a passive participant on this site for the last few weeks but because I found it helpful to read about others' experiences, I wanted to post mine too.
I took the test yesterday, Aug 2nd. As the subject line states, I got a 47Q (79%), 49V (99%) for a combined score of 760 (99%).
I was thrilled with the score! The 47Q was slightly lower than I was hoping for, but the verbal was much higher than I expected it to be, so overall, I'm very, very happy.
My practice test results were as follows (I took a bunch of them, lol): Kaplan
Free Diagnostic- 42Q, 44V - 680
Princeton Review Free Diagnostic- 45Q, 43V - 720
MGMAT CAT #1- 45Q, 41V - 710
MGMAT CAT #2- 48Q, 39V - 710
MGMAT CAT #3- 48Q, 44V - 750
MGMAT CAT #4- 48Q, 37V - 700
MGMAT CAT #5- 49Q, 42V - 740
MGMAT CAT #6- 49Q, 45V - 760
GMATPREP #1- 48Q, 38V - 700
GMATPREP #1 retake- 49Q, 42V - 750
GMATPREP #2- 49Q, 41V - 730
GMATPREP #2 retake- 49Q, 47V – 770
I’ll try to give some tips / pointers based on my experience:
-Don’t study, or study minimally, on the final day before your exam- this really helped me calm down mentally! I was getting stressed out as the test day approached, but I took my mind off of the GMAT the day before the test, which I think was very beneficial.
-Bring ample snacks and drinks with you for the breaks. I brought two cans of coke and 2 granola bars with me, and thus had tons of energy for the verbal section!
-Take only Gmat Prep as your last 2 practice tests- Mgmat’s Cats are very good, but as so many others have said, Gmat Prep is the only highly representative model. In addition to taking both GmatPrep exams in your last week of studying, I also found it helpful to review all questions in the OG, Quant, and Verbal Review. The more you focus on official questions at the end of your studying, the better- again, at least in my experience…
-For the Quant section, timing is key. I felt good about the 1st half of the Quant, but took far too much time on the 1st 10 questions. I had read on this site that the Mgmat’s Cats are very tough for Quant, so I gave myself 85 rather than 75 minutes to complete the Mgmat Quant sections. This was definitely a mistake- keep strictly to 75 minutes, even on Mgmat Quant, and you have the pacing down perfectly (even if your score suffers a bit at first on the practice tests).
-For the verbal, which was definitely my strong suit, I had a developed a strategy that ended up working very well. During my studying, I used the Mgmat SC
book to review all of the grammar rules tested on the GMAT. I typed out a condensed summary of all the rules, printed them off, and studied them nearly every day. I then went through all of the official SC questions (in the OG and V-Review books), and made a log with all of the questions I got wrong. In the final days before my test, I did all of the official SC’s one more time, and by the time the test rolled around, I could do all of the SC’s in 30 seconds or less. Having become quick on the SC’s, I had lots of extra time to spend on the CR and RC questions, which was the key to my verbal score. Of the 4 RC passages on my exam, 3 were long. Had I taken more than 30 seconds each on the SCs, I would have had difficulty performing well on the RC questions. Same for the CR questions- having the extra time to read the questions twice was essential (again, at least in my experience!). Thus, to summarize, my recommendation for verbal strategy is as follows: drill all SC-related rules into your head, and use the extra time you will buy yourself by doing the SCs quickly to carefully pick apart the RC passages and CR questions.
-One final verbal note: I found the Mgmat strategy of taking notes while reading the RC passages very helpful. I would recommend that you try it out on a few practice tests and see how you do. The strategy might not be for everyone, but it greatly increased my RC hit-rate.
-Final tip: relax!!! The test is definitely important and I’m glad to have performed well, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Keeping this perspective in my mind made my test-day stress level considerably lower than it would have been otherwise!
Good luck to all of you, and thanks for all of you help!