So I just took the GMAT and got 740 (Q49, V41, IR8). I'm quite pleased, just disappointed with the quant score and think I could have done better. However I am not too worried about that part of my score as I already have a graduate degree in mathematics.
Overall, my self-study plan was as follows: Study OG in December, took end of December and all of January off, and in Feb use Kaplan
and MGMAT resources doing as many full practice tests as I could (including essay and IR). On weekends in Feb I did up to 6 or 7h of practice tests each day. Roughly 100h of study total. Also, I kept a careful list of questions I got wrong, and made sure I made a second attempt for ALL of them in the last week before my test.
I scored as follows on the diagnostic tests:
GMATPrep 1: 680Kaplan
CAT 1: 720Kaplan
CAT 2: 720
MGMAT CAT 1: 690
MGMAT CAT 2: 700
My IR was always terrible on the Kaplan
and MGMAT tests -- usually a 4, and I found the official IR to be easier. As for the tests, the official verbal was easier than both Kaplan
and MGMAT, and the official quant was about on par with MGMAT and harder than Kaplan
. If I had to pick only one, MGMAT is definitely the way to go: the 9 guide books are a great way to study.
One very minor point for IR that made it easier vs. Kaplan
: on the official test I could use the keyboard to type numbers into the calculator, whereas the diagnostic tests I had to click the buttons with a mouse. Using the keyboard to do this saves a good 30s to 1min30s on the IR, which is a LOT of time for IR. Also, I had a question involving interest rates, but the official calculator did not have scientific functions so I had to estimate when answering a question.
If I had to adjust my strategy and make recommendations, it would be to study Kaplan
and MGMAT first, and then move on to OG and GMATPrep. The OG and GMATPrep is a really the best resource to study leading up to the test. Overall, I would keep the study period to < 3 months, because I suspect you will likely start to forget what you learned if it was over 3 months ago. Second, I think the break in the middle of my studying is a good thing to do, since it reduced stress and gave the first bit of my studying time to simmer in my brain before I went back to it. Finally, the list of questions you have gotten wrong while studying is a MUST: you will improve if you make this list, understand why you got the question wrong, and take a second attempt at the problem.