I want to start off by saying thanks to all of the posters on this site and especially Bunuel!
I took the GMAT a few weeks ago and just received my official score report...770 (Q49, V47), IR 7/8, AWA 6
I have to say I'm very pleased - I was prepping for at least a 750, so I definitely met my goal
Background and study plan
I'll start off by giving a bit of background of myself and my study plan. I work a pretty packed consulting gig, so I could only really study on the weekends. I studied on-and-off for about 6 months. Some months, I would only get a couple of hours in per week...but near the end, I was putting in around 10-15 hours a week.Tip
- I highly recommend consolidating your study schedule and pushing really hard to keep it to under 6 months (3 months is probably ideal). I felt completely worn out by the end because it had been dragging on for so long. I made myself a schedule to take the test by the end of August. But, I got nervous, second guessed myself, and pushed it out by a couple of months. I think I should have just taken it in August. I was worried because I hadn't taken all of the practice tests (MGMAT and GMATPrep), and I didn't want to go into the test under-prepared. Either way, if you think you're ready, just take it (don't suffer an extra two months like I did).
Now...onto the practice tests
3/24/12 - MGMAT 660 (Q36, Q45)
7/14/12 - MGMAT 710 (Q43, V44)
8/11/12 - MGMAT 740 (Q47, V44)
8/26/12 - GMATPrep 760 (Q50, V44) ...after this test, I felt really good about quant, but I was still worried that I wouldn't be able to replicate it on the real thing. I'd been running out of time every single test on Manhattan tests...imo, the real quant was somewhere in between Manhattan and GMATPrep. I think it was definitely a bit harder than GMATPrep.
9/9/12 - MGMAT 750 (Q48, V45)
9/29/12 - MGMAT 740 (Q47, V45)
10/1/12 - MGMAT 700 (Q45, V40)
...I had used up all of the hard verbal questions, and I was thrown a bunch of easy 600 level ones at the end. I missed a couple and it tanked my verbal score. Nevertheless, with test day around the corner, I wasn't feeling so good.
10/6/12 - GMATPrep 770 (Q50, V47)Real thing
- 770 (Q49, V47)
I was a little rushed at the end of quant and guessed on a couple. I never did get my pacing down completely. Congrats to those who can rip through the quant with no problem. I'm lucky in that I finish verbal with a lot of extra time. This was especially good during the real test because I extended my break by 3 minutes. I came back a minute late, and then for some reason, the reader wouldn't pick up my palm.Tip
- Be careful with your breaks - if it takes an extra 2 minutes to get signed back into the room - that comes right off of your time.
I used the Manhattan series almost exclusively for all subjects except for CR, for which I bought the CR Bible. I had the OG12
on hand too, although I can't say I used it much. Oh, and I also took some of the GMAT club tests
-- while definitely tougher than the real thing, they were a little demoralizing (so, I only took a few).
If you're looking to get ~80%ile on the quant, I would go with the Manhattan books
. However, I will say that I felt like they took me to the 48-49 range and that additional materials were necessary to break 50. MGMAT focused less on those weird "what are they talking about???" questions (you know the ones) that threw me off on the real test. Also, I felt that the MGMAT guides
were a bit weak in geometry. Overall though - very satisfied with the set. I went through them twice...once as a refresher, and the second time as a more in-depth review. I did all of the OG12
problems once. Having taken the test, I wish I had paid more attention to the OG. I had read that the OG questions were too easy, etc, but I think in some ways they were a little more representative of the real GMAT for those "weird" or "off-base" questions.
I read through the MGMAT guides
. I'm not sure they helped much because I had been getting around 44-45 on verbal from the beginning. The only thing I really focused on were idioms (do not ignore idioms). However, I think I gained a few extra points by getting more CR questions correct. I had been missing 3-4 each practice test, and I think I got that down to only missing a 1 or 2 by the end. It just clicked at some point. Just practice CR, and you'll get better at it. Also, the CR bible helped. It really breaks down each type of question, so you know how to attack each one. IMO, the language in the question stems is not completely intuitive, so make sure you know what the question is asking before jumping into the answer choices. I made this mistake in the beginning.
My rant about IR
I did all of the practice questions available. As you all know, there really aren't that many. Either way, on GMATPrep, I was getting almost all of them correct (same with supplemental OG13 questions). MGMAT IR was owning me, but I figured they were way harder than the real thing. Plus, I look at graphs/tables/excel sheets all day at work, so I figured how bad could it be? Let me just say, bad. I know my score was fine (7/8 is currently 83%...who knows how that will change), but it really threw me. I was still in essay-mode, and I just didn't switch state-of-minds quickly enough. I got a few questions in which I couldn't decide between two answers....and I went back and forth on these for way too long. I got really panicked, and I started to rush through the questions without reading the passages because I thought I didn't have time. I would not recommend doing this - there's almost no way you can answer multi-part questions without knowing what the passage is about! I have no idea how I pulled off a 7/8 because I'm pretty sure I got about half of them right. I didn't even answer the last question. Also - don't expect normal topics. They were all over the place. Do I wish I prepared more for this section? No way. I probably put in 2 hours total. But, I wish I had kept my cool better...you just need to stay focused and not waste too much time on any one question. My only advice is -- if you think you bombed it, don't let it affect quant. Shake it off and hope for the best. Also, I'll be really interested to see how this is used in applications. I couldn't imagine it's a very good predictor given the high variability of the questions.
Feel free to post questions or PM me!
Good luck to all. Just stay focused, and you can do it.