I took my GMAT this week on Monday(May 16th 2010) and I scored pretty well. I scored a 740(Q-51 V-38). I coached with GMAT Toppers for 2 about months. After the classes, I had been preparing for about a month and a half before I took the test. Ill give some detail about my approach and study methods in this post.
[EDIT] This is just in. I have scored a 5.5 on my AWA.
I spent a lot of my prep time going through the two official guides that I had (OG 10
and OG 12
). I followed the OG initially for all the sections in Verbal - RC, SC and CR.
With respect to Sentence correction, in addition to solving the questions in the official guides, I tried solving questions that were posted on Manhattan forums, gmatclub, and also solved about 300 - 350 questions from the 1000SC document.
With respect to CR, I had done only the questions from the official guide. I would regret not doing additional questions from other sources. Probably, I wish I had studied from sources like PowerScore or the Manhattan CR
For RC too, I had prepared only from the official guides(there are some RC passages that are repeated in OG 10
The quant sectin was never much of a problem for me and GMAT Quant is comparatively easy in terms of the topics covered. However, there are lots of questions that test your method of reaching the answers and specifically for improving this skill, I worked on a couple of documents that I foraged from GMAT club. There are a couple of documents that have really good, difficult questions[700+ DS questions, 700 + PS Questions].
I had spent the last week specifically devoted to taking MGMAT tests. Here are my scores
MGMAT1 - 710
MGMAT2 - 730
MGMAT3 - 750
MGMAT4 - 730
MGMAT5 - 750
GMATPrep1 - 760
GMATPrep2 - 740
From these tests I figures out that I would probably get somewhere around the 730 - 750(though i have a silent dissatisfactory feeling that I could have probably scored a 750)
* More diligent study:
I have the feeling that had I started preparing diligently earlier(I had a one month gap in between my preparation due to work), the preparation would have been less chaotic. So choose the way you want to plan your work. Make a schedule and stick to it.
* Getting all the prep material first:
I cant emphasize enough about this. It is important that you choose your sources of study before you start preparing. You cant afford to find out that the source that you are currently reading from is not very extensive 3 weeks into your preparation. Its a waste of time for you to order it at that point in time. GET ALL YOUR STUFF SET UP before you dive in to your study regime. This is infact a software principle[dependency injection] and will save valuable time and energy during preparation.
* Dont start taking tests until you have mastered the concepts:
This is another region where I found myself dilly-dallying between learning and taking tests. I wish I had been more focused during the lerning phase. It would have saved a lot of time for me and it would have improved confidence while taking the tests too.
* Spend the last two weeks taking tests and read the reports that MGMAT tests generate. These will help you locate the bottlenecks in your performance.
Ideally, these are the timing guidelines -
Quant questions - 2 minutes / quetion
SC - 1 minute / question
CR - 2 min / question
RC - 8 - 10 mins/ passage(usually 3 questions)
The question of time:
Regarding timing for the actual test, you are not allowed to carry a watch to the exam. So, keeping track of the time is a tricky issue. You will be tempted to look at the time on the screen after every question. But this will only lead to further anxiety and more time wasted. Instead - train yourself to look at the watch only 7 times during the Math exam.
65 mins --- 5 questons done
55 mins --- 10 questons done
45 mins --- 15 questons done
35 mins --- 20 questons done
25 mins --- 25 questons done
15 mins --- 30 questons done
5 mins --- 35 questons done
For the verbal test follow the above guidelines for each of the verbal types.
Thats all the wisdom I have right now. I hope reading this would equip you to better prepare for your exam.