I've been following this forum for a while now and have learned a lot from it so I thought I would give back by sharing some of my experiences.
I first started my studies about 4 months ago - my original plan was to do Kaplan Premiere
to brush up on fundamentals, then go straight to the OG problems (OG plus supplemental guides).
I studied half-assedly for a month, finished Kaplan premiere
, and found that I still had a lot of difficulty with the OG problems. My rude awakening came when I attempted a free MGMAT CAT and scored a 630. Given that my goal was 700+, I knew I needed to revamp my approach.
I then enrolled in MGMAT's live course, and that was the turning point for me. I read all of 8 of the books, did all the "homework" and attended all the classes. In addition to the Live/Online courses, MGMAT provides 8 books, the 3 OG's, online labs, 6 CATS, endless question banks, timer, official gmat notepad/pen
among other resources.
If you don't have time time to read all 8 books, I highly recommend the MGMAT number properties
, MGMAT word translations
, MGMAT equations/VICS
and MGMAT sentence correction
books. If you're not in a rush to write (I was in a huge rush and had to write less than 2 weeks after the course ended), and are strapped for cash, and have the discipline to self-study, then I would recommend just buying the 8 books and going at your own pace. The course itself does not add a ton of value beyond what's in the books, but it provides structure and discipline.
Because I didn't have a month or more to practice after the course ends (like most people who take the course do), I started doing a practice CAT every weekend a month and a half before the exam. As a result, my scores were understated because I hadn't learned all the material yet, but it was important for me to get a "feel" for the test and get my timing down - something I struggled with immensely at first.
I can not stress enough how important it is to manage your timing. Being able to identify within the first 30 seconds whether you are "comfortable" with a question and whether it is worth investing extra time is of extreme importance, and I honestly think that learning how to effectively "manage timing" on the test will contribute exponentially more to your final score than those extra few weeks of studying material.
One thing I would note is that I personally found the MGMAT practice CATS to be much more difficult than the real thing, especially in quant. On my second CAT, I scored 640 on MGMAT and then the next weekend I scored 690 on GMATPREP. Go figure. When it was time to write the test, I was scoring 700 in both mgmat and gmatprep, typically 45-47 in quant and 40-41 in verbal.
On the actual test, I managed to score 720, but what was most surprising was that I somehow managed a 49 in quant and a 38 in verbal! Totally the opposite of what I was expecting. I felt I got royally screwed on the verbal due to some really tough reading comp passages with several global inference questions thrown in for good measure. I probably got lucky on the math side however, so I'll take it!
Anyway, that was my experience for what it's worth... I hope some of you took something away from it.