I finally took my GMAT a couple a days ago. I have been benefited a lot by many other posts on this forum during my study so I thought to write a little about my study plan.Material:OG11OG Verbal
Manhattan SC GuideKaplan 800
A little bit of SC1000. Practice Test Scores:
MGMAT0: 720 (Q47, V42)
MGMAT1: 720 (Q47, V42)
MGMAT2: 740 (Q51, V40)
MGMAT3: 740 (Q51, V40)
MGMAT4: 780 (Q51, V45)
GMATPrep1: 710 (Q50, V35)
GMATPrep1 retake: 770 (Q51, V44)
MGMAT5: 770 (Q51, V44)
GMATPrep2: 740 (Q50, V41)
GMATPrep2 retake: 760 (Q51, V42)
I found Verbal on Kaplan
tests to be way too difficult. The online Manhattan tests come the closest to actual GMAT. I would highly recommend taking as many of MGMAT tests as possible.
As far my study plan goes, I started off with Kaplan
and Princeton Review books. I cleared my basics and did their exercises. After those books, I took the Kaplan
practice tests and did extremely poor (600-650). One thing, I realized that in those early tests that I wasn't getting my timing right.
Next I picked up the Official Guide and Kaplan GMAT 800
. I did these books in a sitting of 1:30 hours with half an hour each for SC, RC and CR. I did 20 Qs of each section in 30 minutes or less. This proved to be amazingly helpful in improving my timing, endurance and concentration.
After finishing GMAT 800
and half of my OG, I took the MGMAT diagnostic test. As expected, I did fairly well in Verbal but I got totally panicked in Quant for some reason. I guess the primary reason of that was not doing any preparation whatsoever in Quant all this while. So, I brushed my Quant concepts before going back to practice tests.
Next was MGMAT practice tests. I think MGMAT tests helped me get my timing right in both Quant and Verbal. But I found MGMAT tests to be a notch below GMATPrep. In my later MGMAT tests, I used to get tough questions (700-800 level) till the middle of section and then all of a sudden, I would get 600-700 level questions for a fairly long time. I used to just sail through those questions and score 740+. The good thing in MGMAT tests is that they tell you the level of each question which gives you a fairly good idea of how you were progressing.
The GMATPrep tests
and real GMAT kept the level of questions pretty tight. I always found level of questions challenging in those tests. My first GMATPrep test was a disaster due to a bad night and some anxiety. It really pulled me down for a couple of days. But after doing the GMATPrep tests
a couple of times, I got a hang of it.
I would HIGHLY recommend taking GMATPrep tests
more than once. I got around 20-30% questions same in the retake exams but they still gave me a great real-exam experience. They are the closest to real exam and more practice you have with them, the better.
One of the mistakes I made was to overlook my Quant section. A week before the exam I realized that but it was a little too late. I reviewed my concepts but there was hardly a question that I could not solve but I kept making those silly mistakes in DS. Being an engineer, I feel a little embarrassed to score one percentile less in Quant than Verbal.
Another mistake was not to participate in GMAT forum as actively as I could. I gained a lot from the participation in the forums during the last 4 weeks. I wish I had started that earlier.
Two weeks before the exam, I got to know about the Manhattan SC guide which was a good find. I think it is the best book on SC basics out there. BTW, SC was my weak point since the beginning but with practice I was able to improve both accuracy and speed. Speed in SC is critical. I would recommend trying to get the speed on SC under 1 minute per question. This will save you valuable time for tough CR and RC questions later. Exam Day
Experience in the test center was pretty pleasant. The folks there were very helpful. I got there almost an hour before my scheduled time and got to start within 20 minutes. If you did not know this already, the section breaks are 10 minutes and not 5 minutes as noted everywhere else. This came as a pleasant surprise to me at the test center.
My AWA sections went pretty smooth. I thought that my second essay was a little tougher but nothing out of the ordinary. Quant was just like GMATPrep. I finished it with 4 minutes remaining on the clock. There were few tricky DS questions but again nothing crazy. I came out of my Quant section very satisfied. I ate my snack, drank some water and went back with full energy.
I found the Verbal a little tougher. Or may be I was a being cautious to not make mistakes. For the first half, I averaged 2 minutes a question. In my practice tests, this used to be time for me to pick up speed, but in real test, things turned out to be a little different. I got a very tough RC and some tricky CR and SC questions. For the next 10 questions, I could not pick up speed and reached Q30 with 10-11 minutes on the clock. Oh boy, I got really scared. Luckily I kept my cool somehow for the next 10 minutes and finished the last 11 questions in under a minute per question. I really feel that I should have tried to pick up speed earlier than the half way mark.
After the test, I was a little nervous and was expecting to see a 740 after the Verbal fiasco. I was very happy to see 760.