I though rather than posting my preparation story I would compile a list of the books and softwares I used. The first 10 are roughly in chronological order. The number in parathesis is a how I rate them on a scale of 1-4 (4 being highly recommended). I have also listed pros and cons of each (IMO). Since verbal was my weak area, my feedback would be somewhat skewed.
1) PR Cracking the Gmat
+ Good book to start. Nice strategies.
- few questions, way easier than actual exam
Higher Score for the GMAT (4):
+ ~50 questions per type, level of difficulty
- some RC/CR questions seem delibrately confusing and their answers and not well explained
3) OG 10e/Powerprep Tests (4+):
+ verbal is very close to the real exam, lots of questions, SCs are a must do.
- quant is much easier than gmat, SC not well explained
I have heard OG11e has much better explanations but didn't get a chance to look at it.
Grammar Power/PR Grammar Smart (3, if verbal is your weak area): Both are pretty much the same. Pick any.
+ explains basic of grammar,
- few practice questions, not written specifically for GMAT SC.
CD (3): Would be good if you can do all sections and CATs.
+ lots of difficult questions, timed, builds stamina
- super long RCs. RC sections give you 25 min to do 18 questions which is absurd, some CR and RC explanations were unconving, scores are usually ~100 less than the actual exam
6) Kaplan Verbal
Review (3 if you are weak in verbal)
+ lots of challenging practice questions. I think ~50-60 per type.
- quite a bit of overlap with CD, explanations are not very good
7) PR Verbal Workout
- very few problems to work on, nothing really unique about it
8) Manhattan SC
+ good consolidated review of SC strategies
- no multiple choice practice questions, i think it's overpriced
9) GMATprep (4+): If I have time to do PP or Gmatprep, I would do latter.
+ closest to the real exam, minimal overlap with OG, i think it's the best predictor of your score.
- no explanations
10) PR online CAT (4):
+ close to the real problems, answers are very well explained, even the wrong choices are explained why they are wrong.
- nothing really negative about these
11) Baron's (1):
+ SC and CR theory are worth a quick look
- questions seem quite different from GMAT so I didnt spend much time on them
12) Arco's (0):
- i only studied some CR and SC sections. many questions didn't make any sense to me. so I just gave up on this.
13) 1000 SC/CR/RC (2): I could only do about first 200 of each. I would have liked to spend more time on it
+ very good collection of questions
- no explanations, once in a while OA appeared wrong to me.
14) GMAT Forums (4+): again, I wish I had more time to spend on these.
+ the questions and discussions are awesome. this is the only place where you can get feedback on your approach to problems, unless of course you are enrolled in a classroom course. I really value that people take out time not only to post questions and answers but also to help each other understand.
- it's somewhat time consuming, i wish there was a better to track which questions I have already attempted and which ones have OA/OE posted.
**** My practice Cat score (again in choronological order) ****
CD Diag: 740
PP1 770 (after 1/2 of OG)
PP2 800 (after OG
PR Online1: 760
PR Online2: 770
PR Online3: 760
PR Online4: 770