I received my undergraduate degree in Engineering back in 2007. I've worked for a global technology services provider since then. I am a bit natural when it comes to mathematics. However, I was not strong with verbal, specially with Sentence correction part.
GMAT Score - Jun 2013: 770 (Q51, V42) , Yet to receive AWA and IR Score.Study Material
1. Manhattan Sentence Correction
Guide 5th edition
2. Official Guide 12
3. GMAT Prep V 2.2 with Question Pack 1
4. Verbal Review for Official Guide
5. Power Score GMAT CR Bible
1. Official Guide 12
2. Manhattan Advanced GMAT Quant
Strategy Guide 5th Edition
AWA & IR :
1. Manhattan GMAT
Essay and IR Strategy Guide
2. OG 13
Test Resources and Scores :
1. GMAT prep V 2.2 -- 750 - 760
2. Manhattan GMAT
CAT I , II , III -- 620 - 700 - 740
3. GMAT Club Free Test for Quant/Verbal ( Q 51 , V 40 )
4. GMAT Write 1 & 2Preparation Details :
Though I had bought OG 12
2-3 years back and had taken the diagnostic test, I started my preparation seriously around two months back by going through some free Verbal materials and practice questions online and reviewing GMAT Math from GMAT Prep software . I also practiced free questions available on GMAT prep software. Then, I took my first GMAT prep test and got 750 Score ( don't remember the breakup and I had to format my computer).
After a good start, I planned to build concepts in Verbal and started studying Manhattan SC book and Power Score Bible. Manhattan SC is a must read for any GMAT taker !!
Regarding power Score Bible, it is a good book to build concepts in CR and learn the structured thought process to solve a CR question and improve your accuracy. For the RC, I had started reading newspaper articles carefully and taking note of the words whose meaning I didn't understand .
I now decided to take Manhattan CAT-I, and received a shocking 620 Score ( Q 38, V 36 )! I did horribly on Quants as compared to my expectation; I ran out of time and had to guess last five questions. It was a reality check for me and I decided to devote some time to Quants.
After doing a fair judgement of my own Quant Skills, I concluded that I had a strong concept base and needed a bit more practice. So, I went through Manhattan Advanced GMAT Quant
Strategy Guide, reading it thoroughly and solving all the practice questions with approximately 2 min/question. It had some really good questions relevant to GMAT and helped me to be prepared for the toughest questioned that GMAT could offer in the actual test . However, this book is specially designed for those who are already doing decent in Math. For anybody scoring 45 and above in GMAT prep Quant , I would strongly suggest going through this book as it can strengthen your chances for a 51 Score. This book offers more than what you'll ever need for GMAT. Also, if you are already scoring 48 and above, it is possible to achieve a 51 with lesser effort than needed to improve your verbal score by that many points. In summary, strengthen your strengths even further to become a master, just because you can do so. After reviewing MGMAT SC
and Power Score CR
once more, I took MGMAT CAT - III and got a 740 ( Q48 , V 43 ). As I had gathered the information by then that MGMAT Quant score is a bit lower than GMAT Score while MGMAT Verbal Score is a bit inflated, I estimated my GMAT Score to be around Q50-51, V 40.
I had not practiced most of OG questions so far, as I had saved them for the last week before the actual test. With around 10 days in hand, I started practicing OG 12
Quants and Verbal questions. I timed my practice to get the feel of my pace and kept a list of the questions I answered wrong. Then, I took 2nd GMAT prep Test and score 760 (Q 50, V42). Though I was happy with Verbal , I expected to score 51 in Quants, as questions were not really that tough to solve. I found that most of the questions I answered wrong in Quants were a bit tricky and deceptively easy looking and I didn't pay as much attention to them as they deserved. So , I decided to be more vigilant in Quants to avoid such traps.Though I was able to figure out by myself the correct solutions to most of the Quants questions I answered wrong, I used Manhattan GMAT
Forums for reviewing toughest SC questions (courtesy to Google).
Then, I solved the SC and CR questions from OG 13
and practiced IR questions. I was relieved to find IR questions in OG 13
to be easier than those in GMAT prep tests. For AWA section, I wrote down some of the essays by myself, and re-wrote them after analyzing the first draft. I reviewed MGMAT IR and Essay Guide, some of the advice was helpful ( sentence length, essay length etc. ). Then, I practiced essays on GMAT Write , which helped me better understand what actually works for GMAT. More on that later when I get my Essay Score
Overall, I estimate that I spent around 250-300 hours preparing for GMAT, excluding time invested on building my vocabulary and reading articles in newspapers.The Day before GMAT
Though I had planned not to study much, I ended up working on AWA for couple of hours. I reviewed my tally for questions I answered wrong in SC section of OG/GMAT prep. I wanted to get an 8 hour sleep, but I was a bit excited for next day, so could hardly sleep 6 hours. The D Day
I Got up early at 5 am, test center was 1.5 hours away. Had a light breakfast, bread and milk (Don't
go hungry). I didn't want to hurry at the last minute and ended up arriving an hour earlier. Couldn't stop myself reviewing MGMAT SC
once again. Listened to some soothing songs on the way, remembered my God ( It does help guys! ). Drank some Red Bull to shake me out of sleep and ate some chocolate to make me feel good.
AWA was no surprise, but I finished it hardly on time and moved on to IR. I think the best way to go for IR is to keep your pace and answer fast without getting stuck on one question. Don't try to be a perfectionist, just do your best and move on.
I took the much needed break after IR, ate some chocolate and drank some water. Quants was easy; I think there was one question which took more than 2-3 minutes. My strategy was to keep the timer hidden to keep myself away from getting distracted, keep checking time after every 3-4 questions and adjust pace accordingly. I had enough time to solve these questions and I made full use of 75 minutes. Advice : Don't keep judging your performance by the level of questions you face, just do your best. However, if you still think that a question is actually much easier than you expect it to be, double check the answer more carefully and move on to the next question.While doing so, keep a check on time .
Verbal was tougher than Quants for me. After the careful study of really good books more than once, my reaction to the questions was more intuitive- I just didn't have enough time to apply the strategies suggested by those well written books. However, I do believe that those books helped me improve my intuition. I didn't realize how those 75 minutes passed by. One of the strategies which helped me to save some time was to make a table of options A to E for Verbal questions so that i could eliminate those answers which were easy to label as wrong. I didn't use this strategy for all the questions, but for the tougher ones.
I will leave my post at this point without drawing any further conclusions, as I think that you are the one to decide what suits the best to you. Make sure you enjoy the whole process and take it as a learning experience. Also, I would like to express my humble gratitude to GMAT Club for helping me at all the phases of my preparation. For those of you who are yet to take or retake the GMAT, I wish you best of luck and sincerely hope that you enjoy the journey of GMAT.