First, I just want to say this site has been a great help to making a decent/great GMAT score, I have been lurking on this site for the past week and took the GMAT this morning (last thing I do this year). I just got a 620(Q44/V31)....after just ONE week of studying!!!!! I am freaking happy as can be because I was just aiming for a 550(all I needed to look decent to MS Accountancy program, I am in a 5 year undergrad + grad program).
On Wednesday Morning, I took the first GMAT Prep exam and got a 540(Q36 V27), all I in the past 2 days was look through the information in the program like the simplest review of topics. I was not too happy with this because I really struggled to get that score because a lot of it was process of elimination.
I crammed like crazy I did a few practice questions from the OG(Original Guide) 12th edition on mostly Problem Solving/Data Sufficiency(Use the AD/BCE method-highly effective) but I didn't focus on the Verbal so much. Then over and over again I heard the Manhattan Guide was good so I got a copy and took notes/did problems on the Numbers Property Guide/Reading Comp Guide and skimmed thoroughly the rest spend all day Thursday doing both OG/Manhattan Guide.
On Friday, day before the real thing, I reviewed a little and then took the Free Manhattan exam and got a 560 (Q38/V29) not really an improvment because I lost track of time on IR/Quant. I spend 15 minutes on one problem in IR and rushed through the last 10 questions on Quant, and Verbal I just rushed overall which was worse because although a native speaker it wasn't my strongest subject(as you can probably tell by my poor grammar in this post). I went back and looked at what I got wrong and focused on reducing the percentage of each section i got wrong. For example on Reading Comp I got 6 out of 12 wrong so I reviewed it. It was now 10pm I was just getting started to review Sentence Correction, the exhaustion was getting to me.
Finally on Saturday , I took the exam fearing the worst. At one point I wonder if there was story on this site from someone going from a 360 and doubling to a 720. But when I got to the last page, there it was a freaking 620!!?!?!? I was so shocked and excited, i may have bothered the person next to me.
What's Next/What I Found to Work
I know I want to get my MBA later in life so I want to break the 700 barrier so I will definitely stay and use the site alot. Probably the relevant to you more than all the previous stuff is what I learned. If you can try and study more than 1 week, I really had no other choice. If you can't I wish the best of luck. Go through the Manhattan Guide as thoroughly as possible focusing on areas you need improvement on.
There are 5 sections overall (in my opinion) you should focus on Integrated Reasoning [IR], Problem Solving [PS], Data Sufficiency [DS], Critical Reasoning [CR], Reading Comprehension [RC], and Sentence Completion [SC]. The AWA I just followed Chineseburned outline. Take a GMAT Prep or CAT of choice, and focus on what you are doing wrong, no point in congratulating yourself on what you already know. Of the questions you got wrong divide by the total number of questions of that type and work on bringing down that percentage. Other note, it's better if you answer the question than spending time focusing on it. On IR don't be afraid to move on you have 2.5 minutes per question and a few ask multiple things within it. On PS, no cure like learning the material. My focus was on properties esp the usefulness of the prime factorization box. DS as mentioned before use the AD/BCE method(if statement 1 is sufficient it can be either A or D, else B,C, or E). Also be sure to evaluate each statement separately that was a problem for me. On CR I used a lot of process of elimination. RC I took a "scholar approach",reading passage thoroughly for understanding, for the first 2-3 passages then I was forced into just hunting for answers. Take quick notes and it does not have to be reference able. I will refrain from speaking on SC because it is not my strongest subject.
Thanks for reading! Hope this helps.