I was hoping to do this debrief as a 700 club member, but today was just not my day.
Background: Afro-Am. male, BS Elec. Engineering, Shooting for top ten B-schools
My first attempt was back in 12/2007 and I got a 550. I don't remember the split, but that was when I was a novice and thought that I could score well without studying. After that reality check, I decided putting off the GMAT until I was ready to commit to it.
Fast Forward 2010:
It took me a long time to get in the mood to study. I was confused about where to start and a long came GMAT club. I lurked around for a while and picked up strategies from several successful club members and formulated my plan.
8 Manhattan GMAT books
Official GMAT guide 12
Princeton math and verbal booksPowerscore Critical Reasoning BibleGMAT club tests
I started with the princeton math and verbal books, which were good about giving me an idea of what to expect and some basic strategies to answer the most common type of questions.
The Manhattan gmat books
were by far the best in terms of study material. I studied approx. 2-3 hrs. a day during the work week, and about 7-8 hours a day over the weekend. I studied for about about 3 months before I was ready to take this exam again. I alternated between verbal and math on each study day as to not get rusty on any particular subject. I don't have the breakdowns of all the practice exams, but I started with a 560 at the beginning and ended with roughly 720-730 average over the last few practice exams. I exclusively tested with Manhattan gmat
and gmat prep exams. I tried Kaplan
and princeton review and felt like their practice exams weren't indicative of my potential score. I was only able to get through half of the GMAT club tests
and wish I could have got through more of them.
Based on my practice scores I expected 40-42 on verbal and 46-48 on the math. Test Day came around and I didn't do as well as I expected to. I scored a 680 (q:46 v:38). I figured at the time that the morning exam is what made me score on the lower range of my potential. I opted to take it again a month later and low and behold, I screwed up the date of my appointment and showed up the day after. Just my luck. I decided to not take this damn GMAT ever again, until a year later of course.
The reason for my retake today, I'm shooting for top ten schools and have a low gpa. The one learning point from my exam today is that if you know you are going to retake the exam, do it while the material is still fresh in your mind. I waited a whole year and had to start with some of the basics again.
Study material: Manhattan books
(skimmed)Kaplan800GMAT Club tests
SlingFox's quant, SC, RC, and CR notes
Bang Bang CR Guide
I studied for about a month, 2 weeks to get the swagger back, and another 2 weeks to get to the 700+ level. SlingFox has some really great notes that are really good for those who have the foundation and want to look over the key points across all sections.
Practice ExamsManhattan Gmat
750 q48 v 45
GMAT Prep1: 640 q46 v33 (not sure what happened here)Manhattan GMAT
680 q46 v35
GMAT Prep2: 710 q42 v40
My scores were all over the place and I'm not sure why that was.
Test Day: I opted for the 4pm exam this time around.
I had a lot of trouble sleeping the night before. In fact, it was so bad that I actually had a dream about studying for the GMAT! I spent the whole day just relaxing and opted not to review any material because I had a headache and believed it was the result of possibly over studying.
The end result was a 690 q49 v35. The most disappointing aspect was the low verbal score. I honestly expected a 40, but quickly knew that wasn't going to happen when I got hit early with some tough CR questions and must have stumbled on some of the SCs because that didn't seem to get any harder as I progressed through the exam.
Two Key learning points for anyone reading this, don't get distracted by the difficulty level of the questions you are answering and keep an error log
. I didn't keep an error log
and I'm afraid that that would have pointed out some obvious verbal weaknesses. I'm done with the GMAT, but if anyone has specific questions, I can try to help out.