Sorry about the delay in the debrief:
Background on my language skills as I find this somewhat relevant:
English is my second language but I came to the US when I was 8. My grammar was actually the part I had to focus on the most (sentence correction).
To summarize: Q 49 is 89th percentile and V 47 is 99th percentile
I ordered the Princeton Review online course. It kinda holds your hand through the fundamentals, step-by-step, which was a nice thing. But if you want anything over a 650, the PR online material alone will not do it. In fact, I would not really encourage anyone scoring in the mid-600s already to use this material. However, the material did help me with the sentence correction because the information is well-presented. It was effective because sentence correction was by far the weakest subsection of my score.
is seriously where it's at if you need/want a 700+.
I used their 6 GMAT exams and took them all once and then repeated the math sections 2 more times. I took care to note all the sentence correction mistakes I made and memorized the rules corresponding to each. The I purchased the "challenge questions" for math which are basically at a level that is slightly beyond what I was seeing on my actual exam. I was amazed with the Manhattan material I purchased as I invested under $100 for this material which was what I spent most of my time on! If you want a 700+ and have the dough, I would go for the Manhattan GMAT
material all the way (and no, I have absolutely no affiliations with Manhattan... I really believe this was where the bulk of my score improvement came from).
I also got that big orange "The Official Guide" GMAT book from the Princeton Review course (but you can purchase this anywhere). I did all the questions from it. I found these questions to be the closest to what I saw on the actual exam. BUT... I feel one really should work on materials harder than one would see on the actual exam to be adequately prepared.
My score for Q is only 89th percentile so I am by no means an expert in math. I had to work fairly hard to finish the Q part of the exam in time. Not once did I finish the Manhattan GMAT
math on time (but I do tend to get stubborn and get stuck on a particular question for 5 minutes). I was scoring in the low 700s on the Manhattan exam material.
I think I do have some insight into the Verbal section. I suspect that people who speak English as a second language had similar issues as I did with grammar and reading comprehension. I have always found the critical reasoning to be fairly simple as it is more logic than anything else.
The main thing about reading comprehension is to spend some time really understanding the passage. I know most courses tell you to skim and refer back to the passage. There are also strategies that suggest you don't actually need to understand the passage in order to answer the questions. Personally, I have found myself wasting time re-reading if I do not understand it the first time around. I actually backtrack and re-read the paragraph immediately if I do not quite understand it so that I can follow the logical flow of the passage. My reasoning is that if you do not understand any part of the passage, you will not be able to answer the "purpose of the passage" and "organization of the passage" or "tone of the passage" etc, type of "general" questions.
Finally, I downloaded (from http://www.mba.com
) the exam software and did these two exams a couple of days before the actual exam. Ok, I lied, I ended up procrastinating and taking the second one at 3am a day before the actual exam. I would not really suggest doing the same unless you have your exam scheduled in the afternoon.
Any more questions about the exam? Just post and I'll reply.