I just took my GMATs this morning, and wanted to share my experience. This forum was incredibly helpful for me, so I want to ‘pay it forward’ (even though I hate that expression and thought the movie was silly).
Study Plan (6 weeks to test date)
When I first set out to study for the GMATs, I was shooting to apply Round 1 for all of my schools. As such, I adjusted my study plan accordingly. I used the Manhattan GMAT
Self-Study Guide (purchased from mgmat for $480) and followed their curriculum. This approach was hugely beneficial for me. This Study Plan came with a detailed day-by-day study guide—which chapters to read each day, which problems to do each day—which kept me on track. The plan is designed for 9 weeks of study. I condensed it down to 6 weeks. What this meant was that I would do two days worth of studying for each day. On top of working a 9-5 job. On weekends, I was logging in 6 hours each day (to make up any of the problems I didn’t get to during the week). (And in case you were wondering, yes, I wasn’t much fun to be around this last month. And yes, I ate crappy food all the time. )
I’d like to backtrack for a moment and say that once I got my MGMAT materials, I took an initial MGMAT CAT exam to see how I’d do. At this point, I was only vaguely familiar with the GMAT content, and just needed to know where I stood. I scored a 580—I am horrible at math.
Anyways, one of the nice things about the MGMAT Self Study approach is that throughout the 9 (or 6 weeks), you end up doing most of the OG problems in the book. And, included an OG tracker in Excel, so I was able to track my answers, timing, and get a detailed analysis of my weak spots. It really broke it down for me—I can’t say enough about how helpful it is.
So, here's how I did on my MGMAT CAT exams
CAT Exam 1: 580 (before I started the curriculum)
CAT Exam 2: 600 (3 weeks into the curriculum)
CAT Exam 3: 650 (5 weeks into the curriculum)
(1.5 weeks to test date)
Since I had finished the MGMAT curriculum, I used the 1.5 weeks to go over material that really confused me. Combinatorics and Statistics were still confusing to me, so I did extra problems on these. I also read a lot, just to get my reading comprehension up a bit more. Could I have done more this last week and a half? Probably. Especially since I spent 4 days in Las Vegas (losing money) during this time. But! To give myself props, I did bring my OG book with me, and a list of OG problems and studied there for about 3 hours a day. Cuz really, who has the money to gamble the entire time you’re in Vegas? I (apparently) don’t.
(Day before test date)
Looking through my OG tracker, I knew I had to work on timing during the test. One of the online labs that’s included in the MGMAT curriculum walks you through targeted timing strategies for each section, and it was very helpful. I fell behind during the Quant this morning, and knew it, so I was able to make a few educated guesses and catch back up. Without knowing the timing breakdown, I’m not sure I would have had the mental capacity to keep track of the recommended 2 minutes/question for Quant and 90 seconds/question for SC.
I also reviewed a few more key concepts and went to bed super early.
(Day of testing)
Thanks to this forum, I knew I should pack some mind-snacks for the day of. So, if you’re a coffee/caffeine addict like me, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have a Red Bull or something in your locker. My poison was the Starbucks Double Shot espresso drink. I drank one during the ride to the test center and kept another one in the locker. During the breaks, I would drink some for a pick me up.
I’m not sure where I read this, but I also knew to use the breaks as an opportunity to get a new notepad, instead of waiting for my notepad to fill up during the exam. This saved a lot of anxiety for me, since waiting for a new notepad during a section could be time consuming.
Before I knew it, the GMAT was over and I was doing a silent prayer before I hit ‘report scores.’ I closed my eyes, put my head down on the table… and when I looked back up, I saw that I got a 700.
I feel pretty good about my score. I’ve read the re-taking the GMAT conversation, and understand that I’ve got a pretty good score. But, as a runner—I’m always trying to set PR for myself. Awful, yes? I know at this point, I should really focus on my applications and make sure I’m representing myself well for Round 2. Right? RIGHT?!