This is my first post on this board. I used it extensively over the past 2 months but I've never participated. I found the material here helpful and would like to thank the entire community for valuable posts and inputs.
In order to give back a little, I wanted to share my experience and prep, hopefully this will help out others in the future preping for the GMAT.
I'll start at the end, I finished with:
My exam was scheduled for 1:00PM Oct 13 2005. I decided for me it was best to schedule the exam for the afternoon. It gave me an opportunity to sleep in, relax and take my time to get to the exam center. A lot of people on this board say that the quantitative material in the study guides are much easier and not representative of what you should expect on the GMAT test. However, I do not believe this to be true. I believe the latter questions in the OG guides and the Kaplan
guide are very close to the difficulty level you should expect to see on the test. I will stress one point that is make sure you understand the concepts and can manipulate them well otherwise you will have a difficult time on the test. Don't expect the same questions as what you see in the OG guide, therefore make sure you can manipulate the concepts efficiently.
I'm a 30 year old male, from Canada, educated in Canada, undergradaute degree in Engineering and a Master's Degree in Engineering. Currently working in the engineering field designing control systems. Mathematics is my strength while my verbal skills are nothing to write home about.
As prep material I used the following GMAT Prep guides:
Princetion Review 2005
Mastering the GMAT (Arco Gold) 2005
OG 11th Edition
I work full time which meant I needed to study after work and on weekends. This normally meant about 3 hours of studying each night Monday to Thursday after work, Friday off (everyone needs to relax), 5 hours of studying each day on Saturday and Sunday. I started studying in the middle of July, so about 3 months before my exam. Also, I took the entire week off prior to the exam to give me time to go over anything that bothered me. The day before the exam I did very little studying, I figured I spent three months on this stuff a few more hours were not going to help.
At the beginning of my studying I made a schedule alternating nights between studying verbal and quant, with 1 practice exam a week. A month before the exam I scheduled 2 practice exams a week. Between Kaplan
, PR, Arco, GMATPrep and PowerPrep there are about 18 exams or so which you can use so there's plenty of practice tests you can use to make sure you practice properly pacing yourself.
I think creating a schedule allows a person to properly balance his/her studying between verbal, quantative and practice pacing oneself. Even if you feel that you're strong in an area you should practice it to get a feel for what sort of questions and material GMAT likes to throw at you and to make sure you have the concepts at the tip of your brain. I didn't bother practicing the AWA section, in fact all I did to practice for this was write 2 practice essays a couple of days before the test. The topics on the test are straight forward and not worth losing sleep over. Back to the schedule idea, I recommend creating a study schedule to ensure you remain on pace cover all material fairly.
On my schedule I blocked off the last week to look over my error log
. I felt by the final week there was no point in trying to learn anything new, instead I would use that time to review my error log
and focus on my weaknesses. This really helped since it forced me to hammer home the concepts that were causing me the largest grief.
I used a lot of material to study from, however the only sources that are necessary are the OG guides. The 10th edition is required because it has so much material from real GMAT tests so it gives you a real good idea of what to expect. I would only get the 11th edition as additional material to the 10th, because the 11th edition has many repeat questions from the 10th edition. Kaplan
, PR and Arco are good to just get additional practice material however they are not representative of what you will see on the GMAT, this is especially true in the verbal section. The official GMAT writers are very good and the questions are very clear, tricky but clear. Therefore, use OG and PowerPrep to get a good feel for what to expect on the GMAT and use the other sources as a way to pratice pacing yourself and additional practice material if you need it.
Listed below are my pracitce scores using the different study guides but I wouldn't put to much worth in these. I wouldn't try to correlate Kaplan
, PR or Arco to what you should expect on the GMAT. I think this board is evidence of that as anyone could see, the practice scores and actual GMAT scores are all over the board for many of the people that have posted here. I only include it here because people usually like to use it as a scale.