So as many of you who have taken the GMAT can attest to, these forums are priceless in regards to applying the best strategies to studying and taking the GMAT. I'm not sure how much I can really add that would be useful, but as helpful as all of the posts have been I promised myself that I would post. First, let me say that I don't overly excel in Quant. I'm good on financial concepts and decent in math, but I got a 720 on my math SAT, so we're not talking genius level here. I preface with that because in all of my prep I never got above a 48 in Quant, and had pretty much resigned myself to that score, so not really sure where the 51 came from, but I'll take it. My verbal ended up lower then my practices, but that's because I ran short on time the last few questions, probably from being worn out be the test and seeing the finish line. The quant score made up for that though.
I studied for slightly under a month, and run my own company which is a full time job. I think time wise a month is probably about right, and waiting too much longer you risk burning yourself out.
Here is the advice I have for those of you who are good but not great at test taking, and speak English as a first language.
-As far as study materials, get one of the other books (Princeton, Kaplan
, use online forums, etc) for strategies, but don't use these as much for practice problems
-For practice problems, use the real GMAT questions. They tend to have certain trends and similar types of tricks, and if you do enough you'll start to see a pattern
-The more you practice, the better you get at telling when you're getting to difficult problems. Once you get to a problem that's above your head, and you know that you're there, there's a strategy I recommend applying. First, if there's an intuitive answer that you got easily on a problem that should be a hard problem, that's not the answer. Typically on hard problems, especially on Data Sufficiency, you can narrow it down to 2 or 3 answers. Again, the easy intuitive answer is not the answer! Maybe the second part of the DS which looks like Greek actually is also correct, or maybe with the help of that second one you can now get an answer, but typically after eliminating the intuitive answer, you're left with 1 or 2 choices. If the problem's over your head, take your best guess and move on. I've found that working in this fashion you get the majority of these harder questions right. Additionally, you'll find that you'll finish the Quant with time to spare, so you don't risk running out of time.
-This test is all about performing under pressure and adapting to situations. Obviously you need to know the material, but if you don't feel comfortable adapting if your timing changes, then you're going to get crushed by this test.
-Don't spend much time on the essays. If you can write an essay, maybe spend a few hours going over a template for each question, but don't waste your time writing essays when it's not going to improve your score much, and nobody cares, especially for English speakers.
-While I didn't take one, I keep hearing don't waste your money on those review classes. They're geared towards the masses, who average 500 on this test, not people shooting for over 700. At least attempt it first before you blow a grand or more and waste your time.
- I guess that's about it. Best of luck studying for the test, and I am very excited to dump these damn GMAT books in the trash.