Thanks to all you wonderful people on the forum. Even though i did not post much over here i did look at posts regularly.
Special Thanks to Pelihu for patiently answering all my queries in his debrief.
Hereâ€™s my Story:TEST EXPERIENCE:Quant:
Overall nothing unexpected even though I had never seen any question before. The difficulty level was similar to GMAT Prep with similar concepts being tested. There was a uniform mixture on all topics, a lot of emphasis on number theory, but there was nothing from Probability/Combinations.
Was very disappointed with my performance in quant, since I always thought getting a perfect score would be no problem here Made a calculation mistake in the 3rd question and got that one wrong. Realized my mistake as soon as I looked into the scratch pad after clicking confirm. Thereafter I lost my cool since the first 5 questions is quant are very very important. I think I made another mistake around the 14th question .And even though after that I got most questions correct, 51 was pretty much ruled out. Verbal
I was confident in verbal because my I had never scored below 45 in any GMAT prep that I took. I made a crucial mistake while managing my time;I finished 13 minutes early ! I think because of the disastrous quant section I was hurrying through the verbal section. I donâ€™t usually look at the time. But during the end I realized, to my horror, that I had 24 minutes left for last 6 questions! So please manage your time very carefully.
Anyway the test content was pretty much on expected lines. I would say that the SCâ€™s were very easy, easier compared to those in the GMATPrep.All the wrong choices were clear and could be eliminated easily. Towards the middle there were a couple of more involved SCs but they were still manageable in under a minute and a half.
The CRâ€™s were slightly harder and longer than those in GMATPrep. CR is my strong point so I did not bother too much here.
The biggest disconnect w.r.t prep material IMO was in the RCâ€™s.
In GMAT prep I had observed that atleast 2 of the 4 RCâ€™s would be very simple. In the real test, however, only the first RC was easy.Special note on GMATPrep S/W:
Please practice extensively on this software. I canâ€™t emphasize more on how similar it is to the real thing. Itâ€™s not for nothing that people end up with almost the same score in the real test as they do in the GMAT Prep. In fact I too got a 770,770, 780 and 790 in the 4 GMAT Preps that I gave.(Last 2 had repetitions)
Itâ€™s not only the interface, even the questions in the real test look to be testing very similar concepts to those in GMATprep. Furthermore you can analyze you score trends in GMATprep and deduce the importance or the lack thereof of the first few questions in each section. And because there are no experimental section in the GMATPrep the difficulty level is straightforward from easy to hard.PREPARATION SOURCES/STRATEGY:Quant:Sources:
OG, Manhattan CATs and GMATPrep.
After the official materials I would say stuff from ManhattanReview is the closest to the real thing. I refer to the Manhattan CATs and to the challenge problem archive.Recently they have added 6 newComputer Adaptive tests. However,please be careful since some of the questions in the Manhattan CATs were much harder and longer than those in the actual test.
GMATPrep again is a very good resource.It has a huge question bank. You can take the test 3-4 times with very few repeats.
Another thing I feel is that to excel in the quant in the GMAT you do not need to be from a tech background or a math expert who has done stuff like Advanced calculus.
Almost all of the questions in the GMAT can be solved intuitively or by thinking methodically. You are almost never required to memorize an arcane formula and apply it.
The only ability that you need to have is to be able to count . Most of the harder GMAT questions have some trick such as: DS question-Two equations with 2 variables, however, after solving the equation become a single equation with 2 variables,rendering the question unsolvable. Most of these patterns become obvious and intuitive once you do sufficient practice.
Also the Challenges here have been recommended by most people . So while i did not try them myself , i think they should be great to get a perfect score in the quant.Verbal
Refer to only Official stuff from Test-makers. Stay away from Kaplan
, Princeton and the like. After the OG the best prep sources are SC, CR and RC docs. Manhattan Verbal is only good for SC.
For most of the non-native speakers, like me, a significant proportion of the prep time goes in the preparation of verbal. Mastering verbal on the GMAT takes time and practice. As you work more the inherent patterns in the questions began to reveal themselves. I always believe in quality instead of quantity. If you spend an hr doing a test, spend two hours analyzing it. Understand why other options are wrong and why the right answer choice is correct. Remember there is ONLY ONE correct choice. The right answer is always clear and Unambiguous. Even the hardest GMAT questions that you encounter will have only one clear winner; the wrong answer choices, even though close, will have fundamental flaws that renders them incorrect. The testmakers do have some common ways of creating incorrect answer choices. The onus is on you to discern the pattern and apply it to other questions.SCSources:
OG, SC, Manhattan Online Question bank and Manhattan CATs.
This is the part in the verbal where you can improve the most. At the beginning it appears to be most intimidating however with time it seems to be the easiest and most predictable.I think 2 extremely potent weapons for tackling this section are: OG and the SC doc. I highly recommend in-depth perusal of all the explanations of sentences given in the OG. In fact the explanations for the SC alone are reason enough to buy the OG 11th edition. Along with the verbal review, the OG 11
has close to 260 questions explained in depth. In all these questions almost all rules that are tested in the SC are explained by the testmakers. The explanations are amazing to say the least.
Once you understand these rules it becomes a simple matter of applying them. Curiously SC just becomes like mathematics after a pt. You just have to know the rules and apply them. And as you practice more your brain gets better and faster at identifying patterns in the sentences.
Once finished with the OG. Itâ€™s a good idea to look at the SC doc. You can then practice on applying all the rules that you learnt while working on the OG and also increase your speed and accuracy. Be sure to keep an error log
. Record the time, progress and accuracy rate diligently. For questions that you do not understand or for which you do not agree with the OA please search on sentencecorrection.com. Almost all the SCâ€™s in the SC doc are discussed there.
Manhattan SCâ€™s: The SC questions in Manhattan Online question bank as well as their Online CATâ€™s are very good. These questions are very representative. In fact they are harder than the real thing. However the explanations are superb and would help strengthen the concepts.
I would also recommend looking a grammar text/grammar websites in case you are not able to understand a particular grammar point in the OG or if you need more details about a concept. I used the following and was easily able to get most of my doubts cleared:
ON-LINE GRAMMAR RESOURCES
All the content in one place with very good exercises.
A simplified guide to grammar. You can start from here for basic concepts which you do not understand.
â€“ The most comprehensive grammar website on the internet.
The following are some of the topics most tested on GMAT SC's:
Verbals(Participles,Infinitives and Gerunds); Sentence Fragments,run ons and comma splices ; Sub-ordinate relative clauses; Relative pronouns; Absolute phrases, Participle Phrases and Appositives; Parallelism for the following elements - series, coordinating conjunctions, comparisons and correlative conjunctions. In Particular parallelism across correlative conjunctions( both..and, not only...but also, neither...nor etc) is heavily tested.
Make sure that you know all these grammatical concepts by referring to the above grammar links for theory and the OG for examples.CR:Sources
: OG, CR and LSAT Official Tests.
Most of my preparation of CR was from working on LSAT material. I do agree that the LSAT material is harder than anything you will ever encounter in the GMAT. And also GMAT CR is just a subset of LSAT LR. There are many question types which appear in the LSAT but will never do so on the GMAT. All these facts notwithstanding, LSAT CRâ€™s are still a valuable source for practice. It does require a lot of effort to go through some of these questions simply because they are hard. In the beginning you might answer only 60-70% of the questions in a section correctly but after some time you should be able to reach a 85%+ accuracy rate. The reward for this practice is that after you have done so the GMAT CRâ€™s start to appear extremely simple. In fact the answers will start to strike immediately as soon as you finish reading the argument in GMAT.
For official LSAT tests I would recommend either one of the books: 10 More actual official LSAT tests or the Next 10 LSAT tests. Both books are published by law services.RC:Sources:
OG, RC doc and LSAT Official Tests.
For some reason RC is neglected by most testakers. I would say RCâ€™s are extremely important to your overall score and time-management in the test. Consider the proportion of time slice that you allocate to an RC in a verbal CAT. Also consider what a dense passage with tricky questions can do to your confidence and time management in the middle of the test.
A practice of reading reputed publications such as the Economist
and WSJ obviously helps in RC but is not necessary. Heavy practice is required to increase accuracy and speed. The RC doc is a good source.
Again I would recommend the LSAT Official Prep material here. The advice for the CR applies here too. As expected the LSAT passages are denser and longer than those in GMAT. The difficulty stems from the fact that many of these passages are based on excessively rhetorical content such as humanities or philosophy. But working on these passages will force you to become better at remembering stuff that you read and also youâ€™ll also become much better at elimination of wrong answers since the LSAT answer choices will all be very close.
If you do well in Verbal on the GMAT be prepared for tricky RC inference questions with generic question stems similar to the following:
"Which of the following best describes the role of the 2nd paragraph as a whole in the passage"
"The scholars mentioned in the highlighted text would most probably agree with which of the following"
"The author most likely holds which of the following opinion about the sociological historical studies of women"
" The common theory proposed by the scholars would be most analogous to which of the following"
â€œ Which of the following if true would most weaken the claim made by the scientists in the last paragraphâ€