Please find attached my notes regarding my experience with my first try at the GMAT. It is a long file, read at your leisure; I hope at least some of you will find something valuable from my experience.
GMAT Date (first attempt): March 12, 2010. Score – 740 (Q-50, V-40), Overall 97th Percentile.Preparation:
Total Time - 5 months
(Start Up – 2 months, average 2-3 hrs per day)
(Extensive – 3 months, average 3- 4 hrs per week day, 6-7 hrs per weekend day)
Methodology (in brief)
1. Month 1-2 - First Time Review of OG 11
& Princeton Review GMAT Guide (all problems completed once)
2. Month 2-3 - Second Time Review of OG 11
and searching for Test Preparation Courses
3. Month 3-4 – Enrolled in Veritas
Full Length 42 Hours Prep Course and registered for the GMAT
4. Month 4-5 – Completed all problems in Veritas
Workbooks, checked OG 11
for trouble problems, practiced new problems from OG 12
, reviewed Princeton Review in brief, read through the Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible
, completed some sample Sentence Corrections from 1000SC and of course took about 15 Practice CATs.
Detailed Preparation Steps:A) Materials used OG 11
& OG 12
(new problems only), this was THE MOST important reference throughout the process and this fact was proved in my actual GMAT Test. Veritas Prep
Course – the classroom instructions were very useful and worked pretty well for me as I am not that comfortable with Online instructions yet !! (I had to drive 1.5 hrs each way after work, 2 days a week to take this course !!). Also, the workbooks had plenty of problems for practice. Quick footnote: some of their problems were quite odd and their answers were not that acceptable.
Princeton Review Cracking the GMAT
Guide – this book is good as an additional reference, but do not follow this to learn strategies. The major part of this book shows you tricks to solve problems on the GMAT, rather than teaching you the necessary skills. I reviewed this book just for the additional practice problems.Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible
– this book is indeed worth reading. If someone has problems with CR, this is probably the best (among OG, Princeton etc). It has limited examples, but the explanations of the different types of questions on the GMAT are very detailed and thorough. If you have just started or are in the middle stage of your prep, please have at least one read through this book. I started late with this book, so could not retain much, but still took some notes and did most of the example problems.Manhattan Review
SC Guide – if you do not want to go through an entire High School Grammar book to learn the rules of SC, this book is the best bet. This book is very concise, highlighting the most frequently tested concepts of GMAT grammar and supporting with relevant examples. Also, at the end of the guide, it has a final suggestion section, that is very good, almost like a flashcard. What is even better is that this guide is free to download from MR website.B) Additional Resources
GMAT Communities such as Beatthegmat and Gmatclub are great resources for discussing general strategies or specific problems. Although I had hard time to get answers to my queries on Beatthegmat sometimes (being a new user I guess !!), the overall experience was pretty good. In fact, I came to know about the Powerscore CR
Bible from the Beatthegmat community. I also referred to the GMAT Flashcards posted there. Moreover, the essay templates that helped me a lot were also taken from this same community.