Just took the GMAT for the first time. Final score was 720 Q 47, V 41
I studied for about a month and a half before taking the test. I didn't study as much as I would have hoped but felt like it was better to just take the test and see how it went and then asses if I needed to retake.
I started out with the general Kaplan
GMAT book and I took the in book test. The score I got was estimate to correlate to between a 680-700 on a real GMAT. My verbal section on this test was actually a perfect score, my quant not so much. Based on this I decided not to study for the verbal section and focus all my efforts on the Quant section. I knew have only a month or so to study was going to be tight so I figured it was better to focus on my weaknesses.
I realized my biggest problem was just being very very rusty on my math concepts and being very slow on things like multiplication, fractions, division, etc.
I spent about 2 weeks working through that book. I tried to make one flash card for each topic. So I had a card on Primes, a card for Circles, a card for Integers, etc. I kept them with me at all times and updated them and made notes as I learned new things. When working through the practice sets, I pretended these facts were already "in my brain" so I was allowed to pull them out and use the facts on them to solve problems. Ones that I didn't look at a lot get slowly put aside and the ones I was looking at a lot I made sure to carry with me so I could study during my commute etc. Eventually I didn't need to use the cards because I had learned almost everything on them.
Once I had worked through the Kaplan
book I had a pretty good idea of what my weaknesses were and I bought the following books:Kaplan Math WorkbookManhattan GMAT
Word ProblemsManhattan GMAT Number Properties
Official GMAT guide
I worked through the first three books using the same method as above. Once I felt good about my knowledge base, I started working through the offical GMAT guide. Sadly, I ran out of time and only made i through the first 100 problems or so.
I took two practice tests (both from GMAT prep)
1. Took before starting studying: 630 (34 Q, 41 V)
2. Took the week before I took the GMAT: 650 (40Q, 38V)
Clearly, I did much better on the actual GMAT than on the practice tests. I think the Manhattan prep tests are much harder (probably to tell their prep materials).
Anyway, I think had I not practiced with these harder tests I would have done much better for a few reasons:
1. I spent WAYYY to much time working on problems that were much harder than anything I saw on the GMAT
2. Getting a practice score of 650 the week before the GMAT really hurt my confidence and I spent at least a day just feeling sad and not getting much studying done
3. My timing on the actual GMAT was way off. In all my practice tests I always ran out of time, so I learned to just guess on problems if I wasn't close after about 1.5 minutes. This kind of backfired on the actual test and I ended up with about 10 minutes left over which would have been nice to use for some of the questions I skipped.
The actual GMAT went fine. I was hoping for a higher score, but at the same time was thinking I could end up with 650 based on my practice tests. So I was pretty happy with the 720.