I just wanted to thank everyone on this site. I've been spending a lot of time here in the past couple of months and finally did my GMAT today. I got an awesome 760 (Q49, V44). My first language is not english (spanish), so I never imagined I could do so well in the verbal section, it was amazing for me. It's been quite an experience and I wanted to let you know some tips that may be useful. It's my way of giving something in return to the site.
1) Study, Study, Study
I did both practice exams from GmatPrep, they are really similar to what you find in the exam. I also did 5 exams from 800score that proved to be very useful, the verbal section is a lot like the one you will find in the real Gmat and I would say the math section is a bit harder in some areas (geometry). Kaplan
tests are extremely hard, you will get around 60 points less than what you'll get on the actual Gmat.
I'm an engineer, so my foundations in math were pretty strong. I found the official Gmat guide to be really easy. The best part for studying math was doing the 8 challenge sets from Jeff Sackman
. It gives you a lot of problems with answers and you can practice a lot. I also did all the problems from gmatpill that had a low percentage of persons who answered correctly.
The verbal part is a bit tricky. I recommend reading english books apart from gmat study books. You will get used to idioms and improve your reading comprehension and critical reasoning. Logic is important in Critical reasoning. I'm not sure if this is good, but try to answer the question in your mind before you read the options. In this way, you will have an example of what you are looking for in the options. For example: it they ask you what statement strengthens the argument, think of a way you would use to strengthen it. It will help you have an idea of the type of statement you will be looking for when you read the options.
For sentence correction, Gmatpill is also a good place to practice. I did the sets of 100 brutal sentence corrections found on this site. I also did a guide I found here of 100 Critical Reading questions that proved to be quite useful I didn't waste time doing reading comprehension questions because I thought that working on critical reading was about the same without the trouble of reading pretty long paragraphs. I spent around 2/3 of the last month studying time practicing and improving verbal
2) Things that trick you:
a) While in Math read the questions well! Stop when it says a number is odd, even, positive and consider the implications this information has for the questions. Always stop when you see a <,> sign. There are cases in which the answer you have is equal to a given number and you get tricked into choosing an answer when it states that the answer must be greater or less than a number, not equal.
b) If a question seems too easy try to look for ways in which you can be tricked. You are quite possibly falling for a trap. In one or 2 questions I was about to go to the next question, but then spotted a silly mistake. Silly mistakes are avoidable and very costly. Don't do them.
3) You will never know if you are doing good or bad by the questions given.
By the middle of math I was getting pretty easy questions and I thought that I was doing poorly. This is not necessarily the case. The Gmat tests several topics and you can be given questions in topics you are good at and find easy. Eventually you will be given series of hard or easy questions. My advise here is too treat every question independently. Each question has an answer and has nothing to do with the question that went after or before. Clear your mind after each one and never look back. Once a question is over, it's over.
4) Take the breaks. You need to breath. Your mind needs to wander away for a couple of minutes.
5) When you finish the quantitative section, think something like Great!, now I have only 41 questions to go and verbal is my best part (Even though it may not be). Thinking positive helps you do the exam in a lighter mood.
6) Finally, I think it is easier to improve in verbal than in the quantitative section. A 49 in math won't take you anywhere, whereas a 44 in Verbal will put you in a very high percentile. So I would advise to spend a lot of time improving verbal once you think you have a good quantitative foundation.
7) You can do it! If a venezuelan engineer manages to get a 44 in verbal, you can do it too!
I think that's about it, didn't want to write a long post. Good luck to all of you in the test.