I wrote the GMAT exam last week and my results are in:
Verbal: 47 (99th Percentile)
Quant: 50 (95th Percentile)
Total: 770/800 (99th Percentile)
Writing Assesment: 5.5/6
Now onto my own experience.
I used the following material to study:
* GMAC software: I took both the tests and took one test twice. The questions are not static so you will have a different test each time (till it finally runs out of questions).
* Official Guides 11th Edition - Quantitative(green), Verbal(purple) and the Verbal+Quant books (orange). These are indispensible. Purchase the books and complete them. If you are short on time these are the only books you should use. I went through the Sentence Correction sections twice. I kept track of the difficult Quant problems and did them again before the exam.
2007 Premier Edition + CD: Questions are harder than the actual GMAT. Verbal is tough and Reading Comprehension is really difficult. I scored 630, 650, 640 on the tests on the CD.
* Manhattan Sentence Correction
book: The Manhattan books
on other topics were not as helpful.
* Google and GMAT forums: I didn't use a grammar text, if I had a question I googled it or asked it at a forum. I learnt a lot by answering questions at forums too.
Used but not recommended:
* Kaplan 800
: Questions are difficult but I didn't see much value in using this book.
* Tata McGraw Hill: I read some quant basics from here and then did a test. It wasn't really necessary.
I started with a Diagnostic test from the GMAC Software. I scored a 720 but I felt the score was incorrect because I had answered quite a few questions wrong. I later realized that this was because of a number of factors - some aren't scored and difficulty level increases as you get questions right, some questions weigh more.
Next I went onto the Manhattan Sentence correction
book. Unlike the GRE, the GMAT follows patterns. You don't need to be proficient in English to do well. Most SC questions can be broken down into a few categories. The trick is to identify the problem and this book will help you do so.
After this I got into solving questions from the Kaplan
and the Official Guide(OG) books. As I mentioned above, Kaplan
is a lot harder than the usual GMAT so solve this for practice to improve your speed but refrain from using this when you get close to the exam. The Official Guides are the most IMPORTANT.
I used a small diary to keep track of some grammar quirks, the more challenging Quant problems and the weird sentence correction sentences I came across.
I practiced actual tests using the Kaplan
CD and the GMAC software. I tried to take a test every week but it wasn't always possible. The day before the test, I took a test from the GMAC software again. Its very important to simulate the actual test experience as many times as possible before taking the actual test.
For the writing assessment, I used the Official Guide again. There are two sample essays in the Orange book and it lists all the writing topics used. I wrote around 4 Argument essays and 4 Issue essays. I started with this a week before the test and was not too confident about this when I appeared for the test. I should have done this earlier. I used the introduction and conclusion from the essays in the OG book for all my essays. Don't reinvent the wheel!
I spent close to 3 months studying for it but it was only the second month that I was really serious. I couldn't spend too much time in the last month since I had some issues at work that I was trying to figure out. I took the date pretty late and only after my cousin insisted. In retrospect, I would have focussed more on the test I had taken the date earlier. The important point here is that its important for your preparation to peak just before you take the test.
Test Date: The test center is 50 miles away from where I live and my test was at 8:00am so I work up pretty early to beat traffic and get there early. The center was quiet, they gave me a pair of ear plugs to eliminate noise. My Argument essay went well but my Issue essay did not. I took too much time to answer it and I didn't get time to proofread the essay. A little upset, I started the Quant section. IMPORTANT: You have to use an erasable clipboard that you write on with a sketchpen for scratch work. I didn't know this before hand and I had a VERY difficult time. On the page, I couldn't tell the difference between my 7's and 4's while doing my calculations. If you can, please purchase the erasable sheet and marker for practice before the test. As I progressed through the quant, the questions started to get difficult and the erasable sheet didn't help. There was a point of time when I almost decided that I had answered too many incorrect and that I should cancel my score. I'm glad I didn't . The Verbal section on the other hand was much better.
Thats about all I can remember about my preparation right now. If I do remember something else I will update this post. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I will respond.
The next step is to decide which MBA program to apply to, whom to ask for recommendations etc. Right now I'm looking for ways to improve my application.
I'll be spending a lot of time on this forum. Guys, give me some feedback, here's my profile:
Years of Experience: 3+ (Worked in India for 2 years and then took up an offer to work in the US for the same company)
Profession: Engineer at a Systems Company (I've been with this company since I graduated)
* Undergraduate: Computer Engineering at an IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) (my GPA is average at best).
* I've started to take weekend MBA classes at a public university. I plan to complete a Certificate Program in Management before I apply for my MBA.
Extra Curricular Activities:
* I was involved in a few activities in college - Music and Dramatics Society, organizer for a few Technical events, etc
* At work I'm involved with some volunteer activities and organizing some technical events.