as you might see from my entry record I wasn't an active poster, nevertheless I first of all want to thank you guys, as without the in this forum gathered know how it wouldn't have been possible to achieve the score.
Last August I did the GMAT after a preparation of 2 to 3 and scored 570, which at that time was sufficient, as the school I applied to was not requesting more. Nevertheless, after 1 month in the programme I decided that it's not what I want and thus decided to cancel it. The new programme I wanted to apply for required at least 650, but ideally 90%.
Barron's GMAT --> Completely useless
2006 --> good start, good training, but not 1:1 GMAT experience
Crash Course for the GMAT (The princeton review) --> Great! I recommend it to everyone starting his GMAT prepartions, it gives a great overview over the test, the questions and techniques. IT'S A MUST!!
Kaplan GMAT 800
--> Good as soon as you advance with your preparations (ie finalised OG)
Edition --> OG is also a must
Princeton Review 2006 --> used only the CD
on average 570
2nd round on average 620
Princeton Review on average 650 (math is too easy, verbal is realistic)
PPrep 1: 710
PPrep 2: 720
GMAT Prep (i used the trick with deinstallation and downloading and reinstalling it again and thus could take 6 exams with very few repeating questions btw after deinstalling the software you have also to delete the GMATPrep Folder on Drive C that remains)
GMATPrep 1: 690
GMATPrep 2: 710
GMATPrep 3: 710
GMATPrep 4: 730
GMATPrep 5: don't remember
GMATPrep 6: 740
Manhatten GMAT Online Test (Besides the GMATPrep the best GMAT simulation)
MGMAT 1: 630
MGMAT 2: 640
MGMAT 3: 670
GMATClub --> Extremly useful, surf around and look for "bonus material", did a lot of the posted Q and V questions
Private Instructor: took 3 private lessons but was a complete waste of money and time, but I guess this depends on the instructor
Manhatten Online Practice Content: very useful
CR 1000, SC 1000, RC 1000 --> very useful particularly to improve RC, I composed "my own" verbal test by randomly copying 41 questions from CR, SC, RC 1000 so that it resembles the verbal part...important! always practice with time contraint
Lesson learned from the preparation
One of the reasons it took so long was that I was practicing with the wrong material. The first real insight into the GMAT provided the "Crash Course for the GMAT" booklet from the Princeton review. For the first test I used Barron, which was totally unadequate with regards to difficulty level and time constrains. To make it short if I had to start again, I would prepare the test as follows:
1. Crash Course for the GMAT
3. PowerPrep Test (don't get euphoric the test scores are too high)
CAT (don't be to pessimistic now, test scores are really low)
6. Start with CR 1000, SC 1000, RC 1000
7. Kaplan 800
8. MGMAT Online Practice Content
9. MGMAT CAT
For those who have a very limited time schedule Points 3,4,57 and 8 could be also skipped, but it requires a good know how on the matters
AND NOT TO FORGET: Always read and post in the GMATClub Forum!
For the Verbal Part I also intensively studied a list of idioms (see attached) and as already mentioned for RC used the RC 1000
Another VERY IMPORTANT thing is consequent and steady studying: One of the reasons why it took me so long is that I several times interupted my studying for some weeks and was sometimes more sometimes less committed. My advice is: Block out 2 months only for the GMAT, which means at least 3 hours on weekdays and 8 hours on the weekends. Like that you will gain a momentum and believe it or not also some joy studying for the GMAT.
The GMAT TEST
I had an appointment sceduled in April, but then cancelled as I couldn't sleep due to a noisy environment (not because of nervosity). This time it was almost the same, I got a hotel room towards one of the mainstreets of the test center city. After I complained several time that I could not sleep I finally got at 11:30 pm an nicely quiet room and slept like a baby. In the morning I got up at 8 am and started practicing. Then at 10:45 I went back to bed for almost 1 hour, just to relax a bit and gather concentration, I didn't sleep.
I had breakfast but no real lunch. I bought a 1.5 Liter Mineral water, 0.5 Liter Isostar, 3 isostar energy sticks, Dextroenergen and three aples. I used everything except for 2 of the sticks and 2 of the aples.
I got 35 minutes before the scheduled test to the center, ate my apple and my stick, drank a lot and then started the test.
AWA 1 went well, AWA 2 was a difficult topic....so I still don't know what to except.
The math part started easy but then increased rapidly to ultra difficult level (around question 6) and I really did not knew how to solve those problems, as I haven't encountered anything similar before. So I had to semi-solve and semi-guess the solution, which made me very nervous and eventhough the questions got easier I took me until question 24 till I could concentrated fully again. Then the question were the "normal" thing that I encountered during the CATs.
During the break (10 Minutes) I was very unsure whether to cancel my score or not. But I told me to give my best for the verbal and focused on further calming down and gaining my confidence back.
The verbal part went well and was +/- what I was expecting from my preparation.
Looking back I feel that I wasted too much time with the wrong material and the wrong learning strategy. I am sure with the roadmap outlined above and the necessary committment you are able to do the same way (from 570 to 720) within two months.
GOOD LUCK TO ALL YOU GUYS
AND ONCE AGAIN THANKS TO THE FORUM.....YOU ARE GREAT!!!!