I gave my GMAT today and scored a 720 (Q-49 V-39).
I have used this form extensively in my preparation and I am very thankful to all who have posted their experiences, those advises really helped me to achieve this score. I know this is not a great score but I am satisfied given the amount of time and effort I had put in.
Though I have been silent till now, I will try to be more active here and help out people in any way I can.
Test Experience: My test went almost as I had expected it to be. I felt that difficulty of the test was the same as Gmatprep. Some of the quant questions i thought were too easy. (I am a lil surprised for not getting 50). Verbal was same as the software. Some the CR towards the end were really monstrous. SC i felt was easy (which is usually not the case). I got 4 RC passages, 3 small and one big. They were of average difficulty. Nothing really came up which I wud say surprised me.
Books i used: OG12
, Manhattan SC, Powerscore CR
, Verbal OG
(though I had bought others too, I found these most useful for me)
I spent 70% of my preparation time on SC, 15% on CR and 15% on all others. When I started, I was around 650 and was doing fine in quant. Verbal was pulling my score down significantly. Then I bought Manhattan SC and I must tell you for any one who is weak in SC, this book is a must. I did use some other random grammar books to study tenses.
In CR, my hit ratio was bad in weakening, assumption and conclusion questions. (Manhattan tests are really good as they help you identify what really are your weak areas). Powerscore CR
really helped me understand the argument structure and then attack the question. I would say I found it to be better than Manhattan CR
book. (personal opinion)
For RC, I tried different things but then I realized that no single strategy works for me. For bigger passages, I did not read the whole thing just understood the passage structure and then referred back to find answers, for smaller passages I read the whole thing first and then answered.
I did not spend much time on quant preparation. The only areas where i really sat down to study were geometry and co-ordinate geometry.
Practice tests: I used Gmatprep, powerprep and Manhattan.
Gmatprep1 - 720
Gmatprep2 - 720
Manhattan - 650 - 750
Powerprep1 - 740
Powerprep2 - 770
My suggestions wud be to use powerprep test as the diagnostic test cause it contains questions from OG and doing after you have done OG really defeats the purpose. Even in Gmatprep you wud find some questions from OG (thankfully i did not remember the answer when I took them). Manhattan tests are more difficult than actual GMAT. Also i feel some of the RC and CR are really difficult and have answers which are debatable. Quant I feel is also more difficult than actual GMAT. But overall I wud say great set of tests to identify your weak areas.
Though I had bought books in July 09, I was very irregular with my studies. Some weekends I did put in a lot of effort, others went by with lil studies. Didn really study much on weekdays. In between there were few vacations and periods of very heavy work load at office. All in all I wud say I studied in patches till Jan. This month I did studied on all weekends except one. Took a leave from office for 25th so that I can have 4 continuous free days before exam. However, cudn study much yesterday. (happens to me every time before any exam).
What I understood: If I can get 720 anyone can. The number of concepts tested here are limited and therefore more you practice the better you get. I wud say keep doing the type of questions you really find difficult till the time you find the logic behind it. GMAT is not difficult you just need to give it time (which can vary person to person). And finally there are no single set of rules or methods to crack GMAT, one has to find what suits him or her.