Hi guys- long time lurker here. First, I would like to thank this fantastic community for all the posts and replies- this was probably my best resource for the exam. Also if the formatting is off, I would like to apologize for it and also apologies for the wall of text.
Long story short, I took my GMAT three weeks ago and I received my official score card a couple of days back:Total: 750, Q:50, V:41, IR: 8/8, AWA: 6.0
I was expecting to cross the 760 mark, but this score suits me just fine Background:
I am currently working in Finance, as a Business Analyst. The role has its good days and its bad days and times available per day can vary wildly.
Education-wise, I hold a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. Study plan:
I studied on and off for a few months, before I registered for the GMAT. Only then did I become serious about it- so please book your GMAT date first and then look to tackle the questions. I studied for two and a half months and put in around 10 hours a week on average, but again I put in more hours at the end of the study period. I also took most of my tests towards the end of my study period- the more exam practice you have, the better it is for the real thing. Strategy and scores:
I took a Kaplan
test in the very beginning to see how I fared: the story was not good, I scored a 630 (Can't remember the splits well, but it leaned heavily towards the quant side). This gave me a good reference point and also allowed me to build my strategy. The books I later bought are:
1) Manhattan SC
guide that I borrowed from my friend- never did the tests from Manhattan, but took the free one online
2) Kaplan Premier
2011 edition for the 6 tests that go along with it
3) PowerScore critical reasoning
4) LSAT question papers from 10 Actual, Official LSAT tests. These were very good for CR.
5) GMAT Prep software
6) I found "The Commentaries.." by Julius Caesar
(Please don't laugh) to be fantastic- it's free on youtube- please search for commentaries; it uses a lot of relative pronouns and there are many examples of parallel sentences. The commentaries themselves are very gripping.
7) The GMATPrep compilations for SC and CR, available on the gmatclub fora- used these after I did the tests.
8) Platinum Gmat test.
9) MOST IMPORTANT BOOK: The OG: Use this book well- try to understand what the sentence says and then use the principles outlined by the SC, should you have to..
I did not buy anything extra for quant because I found Bunuel's posts and attachments to be more than sufficient. Quant was also something I was not very concerned with, as I felt it was not very difficult. For the verbal, I found that my initial strategy of trying to work with the rules as outlined in the SC books were not working for me. I ended up listening to e-books (I listed the major one above) and it helped my verbal scores greatly. I am not saying that the SC books/guides are bad- far from it, but it may not work for everyone. Try working with what works best for you and do not follow what works for others. I made this change after my horrendous performance in verbal for my first GMAT.
Tips: -if you are a non-native speaker, please try picking up sentence structure early on in your study period for sentence correction- it will help immensely on the test
-Please use the tests as a template for what you may face in the real thing
- For Quant, Bunuel's posts are gold dust- please scrutinize them well if you have trouble with quant
- Please don't only focus on 700+ questions- to get there you must be good with the intermediate 600-700 level questions- get those in order
the test scores themselves:
1) Free Kaplan
test ( a long time ago and I do not remember the splits): 630
2) Kaptest 1: 710 (51, 37)
3) Kaptest 2: 730 (54, 37)
4) Kaptest 3: 720 (53, 36)
Studied and listened for some time did not do tests;
5) Kaptest 4: 770 (54, 49)- Did not do the 2 linear tests
6) GMAT Prep1: 760 (50, 42)
7) GMAT Prep2: 760 (50, 44)
8) Manhattan GMAT
free test: 780 (51, 45) (knew 2-3 questions here before and hence the inflated score)
9) Princeton review
free test: 740 (51, 40)The GMAT:
Keep calm- have an energy source with you for the breaks (bananas or some sugar source). Drink water but don't have too much- it causes unpleasant situations while writing the test and that can disturb your concentration. Use the GMAT's strategy against the test: It starts of with average level questions- try solving them as quickly and accurately as you can and you will be left with more time to solve tougher questions when you get them. For verbal, I kept 40 minutes for the last twenty questions. Quant is a lot tougher than on any of the tests. I faced a lot of coordinate geometry and probability questions on the real thing. Keep a track of time during the breaks- it runs out rather quickly.
AWA: For this, I believe there is a thread on gmatclub which received good reviews. I used whatever strategies I would use on a CR and applied it here to write an essay; 10 minutes to think of points, 18 to write the body and 2 to proof read.
IR: Keep calm- the section is not too bad- even if you make a few mistakes (as I did), you can get the highest score. The material from OG should be enough here (probably a bit too much imho).
If you do have any queries, please post or PM me.