Itâ€™s a relief to be done with GMAT. It really is. For much of past 3 months, my life has been turned upside down with GMAT preparation taking precedence over so many other things. So glad to put it behind me.
First of all, some background info. Iâ€™m older than many of you here, with college 8 years behind me. Even though I went to a name school, my undergraduate grades were average at best, if not downright mediocre. So there is an added sense of urgency to excel on GMAT to make it up. I donâ€™t quite have the luxury to wait some more years, I figure if I want to do my MBA, itâ€™s now or never. Truth be told, I had started thinking seriously about MBA 3 or 4 years ago, but the usual mix of workload and laziness got in the way. I had picked up Kaplan
â€™s 2002 and worked through many lessons (both on the books and on the CD-rom) but I never worked up the momentum to actual get into the test mode and to actually take the GMAT. I also bought the OG 10th
edition, which ended up gathering dust for a good part of past 3 years with most sections untouched.
Fast forward to 2005, I started preparing in mid-Feb. It took me over another month to finish all the questions in the OG. I also worked through Gmat Advantage with Prof Dave (book + CD), which I feel is written more for the middle-achievers as the questions are very mundane and not so challenging. Itâ€™s a good book though for somebody who has time and who is real rusty with basics, as this books explain the solutions and strategies in detail.
Then towards mid-March, I started scouting out some websites for GMAT info and preparation tips. Here are some links I have found helpful:
http://www.ascenteducation.com/india-mb ... 2002.shtml
http://www.gmatclub.com/content/courses ... ations.php
Initially, I kept shuttling between ScoreTop (http://www.scoretop.com/forum//default.asp
) and the GMAT Club. Soon I realized the GMAT Club has a much deeper reserve of talent and goodwill. Some people are just amazingly clever and smart ! Basically, for the past two months, I have used the Math and Verbal forums here extensively. Almost every morning, I would log in to the site and read a few posts here and there and work through the posted problems whenever time permitted. I obtained a lot of GMAT/GRE/LSAT verbals (SC, CR and RC) which doanloaded from other websites and began to work through them on a daily basis. As only OAâ€™s but no OEâ€™s were given, I then posted most of the questions I did wrong/didnâ€™t fully understand. As you can see from the number of (mostly) CRâ€™s I posted on the verbal forum
, I got a lot of them wrong !!
After finishing the OG, I noted all the ones I got wrong and decided to set them aside to re-test those after having studied other sources so I wouldnâ€™t have remembered/memorized the OAâ€™s and render the exercise pointless.
By late May, I felt that I had pretty much everything under my belt. And took the free full-length practice test on the Princeton Reviewâ€™s website. I scored 740 (Q50/V43) and felt confident, though I had the feeling that the quantitative part was not hard enough. After studying some more, I took CAT Test 1 on the Kaplan
CD and PANICKED !! The math was so hard/tricky that I had to skip and guess quite a few questions. The verbal wasnâ€™t easy either. I ended up getting a 650. I realized that I had time management issues. Fearing that I was getting over-confident and needing some computer-based practice, I shelled out $149 for Kaplan
â€™s online Qbank (http://www.kaptest.com/repository/templ ... qbank.html
) There are exactly 1,001 questions in the Qbank among Q/V sections and you can program the number of questions and difficulty level for each practice under a strictly-timed condition. I found this feature to be its single best asset as it conditions me to the actual testing mode. Not only that, they only give you an average of 1.2 min per question, so you are pressured to sharpen both speed and accuracy, two crucial attributes for high GMAT scores. I would program 10-30 question on each practice. In the beginning, I was regularly scoring only 60-70% because I often ran out of time. Towards the end, I was hitting between 80-90%. What I also liked about Qbank is that it explains each question choice in great detail. For example, each RC passage is followed with a â€œRoad Mapâ€