I feel that I need to share this story with the public, both to boost the confidence of pessimistic test-takers and to advocate for the Kaplan
method. On March 1st of this year, I scored a 550 on Kaplan
's diagnostic GMAT test, although I had guessed on a majority of the quant questions and sentence corrections. I enrolled in a one-month, nine session Kaplan
GMAT prep course, and scheduled my GMAT test (albeit unrealistically) for April 7. It met twice a week for 2.5 hours. As I am still enrolled in full-time school, it was difficult to find time to do the Kaplan
homework. However, the skills learned in the classroom itself were extremely helpful, and would help me in April. On March 30th, I scored a 600 on another prep test.
I took the week off of work, and luckily had a study week for school, from April 2-April 6. For the first three days, I focused exclusively on the quant section of the test. I used Kaplan
's seemingly limitless supply of quant practice questions, while focusing on the methods taught in the classroom (how to analyze questions, how to eliminate impossible answers, plus the basic math skills), and scored a 700 on April 4th on the mbacom GMATprep test. However, I received an e-mail from MBAcom the next day informing me that there was a bug in their software, and grades were being scored incorrectly. Imagine the look on my face, and the damage to my confidence.
That day, I focused exclusively on the verbal section. Based on advice from my Kaplan
tutor, I dedicated most of my time to Sentence Correction, as it is weighted slightly higher than Critical Reasoning or Reading Comp. On the last day of studying, April 6th, I practiced a few Argument/Issue essays using the Kaplan
structure, as they advise not to work on your weaknesses prior to the test (still being quant). The second mbacom GMATprep test scored a 690.
On test day, I followed the Kaplan
method to a "T". On tough quant questions that I knew I was incapable of accurately solving, I quickly eliminated impossible choices, and re-evaluated the question. On sentence corrections, I used Kaplan
's method of looking for specific functions of grammar. Ultimately I scored a 750 (Q47, V47).
There is no doubt that some element of luck was involved, but using strategies can improve that luck ten-fold. Knowing what to look for can improve your chances more so than memorizing quant formulas or English idioms. I would highly recommend the Kaplan
method for many reasons, as well as focusing your time on your weaknesses as much as possible, while giving less time to your strengths. This may go without saying, but take it for what you will. I had one dedicated week to study, and without these strategies, I would be lost. Best regards and good (strategic) luck!