Boy...I am glad that I'm finally done with the GMAT. It has been a long and hard path and to see it coming to an end, it almost draws an ironic feeling within me, knowing that I have to part with it. For those of you who just want the numbers, I took my first prep with Princeton Review
around April of 2009 and scored a 560; my prepping then started and I wrote my first official GMAT on 4/17/2010, coming out with 660 (Q44, V37). Knowing that I could've done better, I signed up and showed up for my second official GMAT today (5/22/10) and I came out with a score of 700 (Q49, V35).
Prepbooks that I have (notice: I didn't type prepbooks that I used):OG 11
, 12, and quant/verbal OG
12MGMAT SCPowerscore verbal bible
(I did not find helpful)
Past paper tests/set
After scoring just a 560 (I forgot the breakdown, but verbal was beyond horrible) on Princeton Review
, I know I have much work to do if my goal is to make it to a top business school in the nation. I analyzed what my weak points are and have identified that SC is probably my weakest point at that point. I practiced through the MGMAT SC
book religiously, practicing with the OG as MGMAT SC
suggested. I have to say: after reading through MGMAT SC
, I felt like I can really take on all of the different SCs there can be. After that, I started practicing with the rest of the OG materials, including RC and CR. After I was done with OG 11
, I went to the past paper tests. The tests, much like the type of questions you’ll find here at GMATClub, pretty help gauge at all the different types of verbal questions there can be. It was after about a good month of critical reasoning that the “eureka” lightbulb lit up on the CR questions for me. All of a sudden I can get most of the CR right. For RC, there’s really not much that I did, except that practice is really the key. All of these were done in a range of numerous months (prepping started about May of 2009 until March of 2010). Feeling ready for the actual GMAT, I went in for the actual test, only to find out that I got KILLED by the quant section. Through all these months, I did not put any time on the math section. Since math has always been the better section for me, I thought it would be an easy section, and boy, was I wrong! With just a Q44 on my first attempt, I had to re-take it to regain my confidence for math. I immediately scheduled for another GMAT appearing a month later and I dedicated this month to just math. I must have done over 1000 questions on both DS and PS. I really felt like I learned how to check numbers in quant, numbers such as decimals, fractions, and negatives. Today, I finished my exam and ended up with 700 (Q49, V35). Though I know I could’ve probably got a higher score (who doesn’t think that after the test?), I’m completely content with my score and am not going to show again for the GMAT.
I took several different routes to this GMAT than what people would recommend. My takeaways are my own personal opinion and do not represent the views of any professional GMAT-prep company:
1. Even if you’re genuinely good at math, do not underestimate the real-life time pressure for the actual test. (That’s how I got screwed up first time)
2. I took a ton of practice tests, though my last several ones have been re-takes and scores are inflated. I find that practice tests really build up that endurance that you would normally not have. (I did not do the essays with the practice tests until the last one)
3. GMATPrep is a must. GMATPrep resembles exactly what you’ll see on the actual test – blue screen, buttons, timers, etc. It really helps test-taker feel as if they’ve seen it before. Plus, isn’t it nicer to know where the buttons are on the test rather than searching for it? GMATPrep can be downloaded from http://www.mba.com
and it uses the official algorithm to calculate your score.
4. OGs are also a must. OGs are official questions published by the GMAC and you can’t get any more accurate than the type of questions you’ll encounter on the test. Practice these and treat the book as your most precious GMAT resource.
5. MGMAT CATs are a great source of practice. Though the math section is (most definitely) tougher than the real tests, it helps you understand the type of hard questions there can be. If you’re not scoring as high in math on MGMAT as you are on GMATPrep, I wouldn’t be too concerned unless the differences are too significant (more than a difference of 5 is pretty big, I think)
6. Try to get your hands on as many free CAT as you can. Most prep companies offer at least one free test. However, keep in mind that this one free test may be a tad bit harder since it’s great to advertise to the test-taker that “oh hey, you didn’t do as well as you think you would have; join our class today!” This is my take on free CATs.
7. Good practice really makes a difference! For every question that I get right, I make sure that I tried to understand the concept behind it. Obviously, for every question that I get wrong, I make sure that I understand why I got it wrong. Of course, after doing so many questions, it’s merely impossible to keep track (even with an error log
), but you should understand and remember the basic concepts, such as number properties and parallelism.
8. I am not a big fan of error logs because it bogs me down. I know that many would disagree with me, but this is just my take on error log
. If you do like error log
, there are some great ones here at GMATClub.
9. I attempted at GMATClub’s tests on quant after my first GMAT take. Do not be alarmed if your percentiles are extremely low; treat these tests as a good practice for yourself. The quant section really tests you to look out for tricks. The verbal tests are a bit too easy in comparison to the actual test.
That’s all I can think of right now. I hope for those of you who have not yet endure the official 4-hour test that you end up with a score that you’ll love. I know mine’s not the best out there, but I love it~
If you have any question, let me know and I'll post back.
P.S. I'm definitely not the best standardized test taker out there (trust me on that). I have my below average SAT scores to prove that. But I am a firm believer that if you put your heart at and to it, you'll see the result at the end of the tunnel.