My history with the GMAT started in july 2004 when I decided to go to biz school, I took a local prep course that took 4 months and took the GMAT first time in december 2004 with a 670 (Q49 V32) score. I decided to try once again in january but got 660 (Q49 V31). I used Kaplan
, Princeton Review and the course material for my studies, I made several GMAT mocks at first scoring from 600 to 680, but at the las month I was consistently scoring from 700 to 740. I know that 670 was not bad but I could have done better.
In feb 2005 my company made an offer that I could not turn down so I decided to postpone the MBA goal. But this year I decided that it was time to go for B-school and to retake the GMAT.
As I knew the test time control, in My Opinion one of the most important factor for the GMAT, wouldn't be an issue, I needed to focus on my weakest part: THE VERBAL!
So as English is not my mother tongue I decided first to take the IELTS and the TOEFL so that I would increase my skills. Took the IELTS and made 7.5 and then a 109 on the TOEFL iBT.
From May, I started at a rather unusual path to study for the GMAT. I marked the test for August to impose myself my deadline.MAY:
With the Kaplan
, Princeton Review and the OG, I started with the Q part just to remember and to practice the Data Sufficiency which in my opinion is the key point for a good Q score. Why to start with the Q if I am “good” at it? Well I thought that by letting the V for the end it would be fresh in my mind at the test date. Took some practice tests doing only the Q part. I was always scoring from 48 to 51.JUNE:
I Started the Verbal preparation. I Bought the Manhattan Gmat Sentence Correction
book and took some practice tests to see where I was by that time: from 30 to 36. Then I realized that I needed to do something if I really wanted to improve the V score. I started thinking about taking a prep course, or to buy more books, eventually my decision was to buy the Veritas
on Demand specially to get their books: more material to study.JULY:
Here things started to go wrong: I work with trading and as markets started to go crazy, I wasn’t able to study when I got home. I was so stressed and with plenty of things to do that I didn’t have patience to study. It was an awful Gmat month. I took one ARCO GMAT and scored 640 Q47 V31 and a Powerprep in which I scored 710 Q50 V36. I decided not to take ARCO’s practices again.AUGUST:
At the first week (2 weeks before my appointment) I took a Veritas Prep
practice test and scored 650 Q49 V32 and Started to get worried. The financial markets went crazy, I was over working and I had vacations planned just after my GMAT appointment. I decided to postpone 1 month the appointment and to take one week vacation before the test just to tackle the GMAT. Went to my vacations in August and “cooled down my brain” that was extremely good for me as with the batteries recharged I could really study hard. I was still re-reading the Manhattan SC book over and over. SEPTEMBER:
I took the week and focused only on the V part, I decided to take 2 times the GMAT prep some days before my appointment. I did every single exercise of the OG (both the “original” and the Verbal workout) starting with only SC, then CR and finally the RC. I took the GMAT Prep 4 days before my appointment and scored 730 Q50 V38 some of the questions were in the OG. Then 3 days before I took the second test and scored 740 Q50 V40 without OG questions (at least I did no noticed). The last 2 days I made more exercises focusing SC and CR. I just studied one day before for the AWA, not much worried with that as I had 5 before.THE TEST:
I started the GMAT a little nervous, but managed to develop the flaws/assumptions of the argument. Then the analysis of an Issue went ok. I took the 10min break. During the Q part I knew I was doing well, but at the middle of the test one hard question made me lost around 5 min (stupid I know, I should have guessed), so I started to increase the pace. At the end I had 7 questions and 10 minutes to go. I managed to answer all of them but had the sensation that I did badly. As I thought that I wouldn’t get a 48 on the Q section I relaxed and perhaps that was a decisive factor for the V part. At the V part I decided to tackle the first 15 question at a lower pace and later speed up, well my friends it worked, however, at the end I had 10 questions with 14 min it was a very fast race.
During a fraction of a second I thought of canceling the score, really. The GMAT is the worst test ever, it gave me the sensation that I sucked big time, then when the score came I even threw my arms to the air, is that inappropriate behavior, hahaha?TIPS:
Everyone has its own pace and methods of study, find your own. I wouldn’t suggest anyone’s taking mine. I am not sure if the Veritas
on demand was really necessary, though plenty of TIPS and strategies were helpful, but with my score I really do not care.
Stick to the OG material and the Gmat Prep and Powerprep they are almost the same you will find on the Real GMAT. Kaplan
: too hard, Princeton review: too easy, ARCO: crap very badly designed, Veritas prep
: too hard.
Time control and confidence are your most useful weapons against the GMAT: you depend on both.Costs:
Books and courses (since 2004): around $1700
GMAT: around $1000
A 760 score: Priceless
That’s the way I did. Now next phase: applications!