during my preparation I read several topics in this forum and I found some quite helpful.
Especially for motivation purposes.
Its good to know that those "500-750 in 4 weeks" stories are exceptions and most of us just need to work their (I mean: his or her, damn GMAT...) butt off to get an acceptable score
But let's start at the beginning.
I'm a non-native speaker with an engineering background and started with an 530, Q40 V22 in the very first practice test (MGMAT). My total preparation time was ~3 month. Whereas I started slowly and added 2,5 intense weeks at the end (full time, sacrificed my vacations).
- Manhattan GMAT
. 10 books filled with very useful tips and short-cuts. Probably the best books on the market. I strongly recommend those books to everyone who targets 700+!
- GMAT official guides. Best practice books! !!!Need to have!!!
I ordered all 3 issues (GMAT Review, Verbal and Quant Review). Intense material that gives you a good feeling for the real test. In combination with the Manhattan OG Archer you can easily analyses your weaknesses. I went through the 13th edition of the gmat review twice and repeated the last 20-30 questions (most difficult ones) of each section in the verbal and quant book.
New GMAT Premier 2013. Forget about it... I found it quite disturbing and not worth the time! The explanations are poor and the questions seem to not really fit into the picture I got from the GMAT as a whole.... Maybe the Kaplan 800
is better, but I wouldn't go for it again.
- Powerscore SC
Bible. Since I'm not a native speaker I had huge troubles with SC! From all questions in the official guides I got maybe 50-60% right. RC and CR I hit 80-90%. SC was always a guessing for me. The SC Bible helped a lot!
Many many useful questions, good strategies, and well structured. Maybe for someone with less difficulties as me in SC this book might not be necessary, but if you are struggling with SC... This is the book you should consider to buy!
Online / Software Tools:
- MGMAT. OG Archer is genius! The online practice tests are good. Whereas the Quant part is a little bit tougher than the real deal. But that can also motivate to work harder
. The online tests were better than expected! Especially the CR question! I don't know if you can purchase only the online part of the book, but that would definitely be worth it. They did a really good job on the verbal part and practicing with two different tools, will help you to broaden your skills. It might happen that you get to accustom to one practice test concept and adapt your timing to much to fit this concept. A concept that might not be as similar to the actual test as you might think...
One more thing: IR is also very well done!
- GMAT official test. They are for free and come as closest to the real test as possible. So you can only win
Download the software but safe the tests for the last week! I bought the additional 400 questions as well. Unfortunately I did not have the time to complete all of them. But can't harm and if you wanne safe some bucks... Imagine you get accepted... Then those 30-50 dollars will look ridiculous...
Here my history:
03/02/13 MGMAT 530 Q40 V22
07/28/13 MGMAT 700 Q46 V40
08/02/13 MGMAT 690 Q46 V38
700 Q50 V38 IR6
08/06/13 Official GMAT Prep 660 (SHOCKING!!!)
720 Q51 V38
08/09/13 Official GMAT Prep 720
08/11/13 Official GMAT TEST 720 Q47 V42
You can see that my Quant scores on the MGMAT where consistently lower than on Kaplan
In the end I kind of messed it up with Quant, I run out of time... and probably got the last 3-5 questions wrong.
My biggest problem during test taking was the paper!
Who de fk thought about plastic coated paper and those non-permanent markers??? I was half way through the test, run out of paper and then somehow no one was there to get me a new block, so I tried to erase everything and reused the old block...
BIG MISTAKE! I lost more time than I would by leaving my seat and just getting a new one!
But anyways, I felt not comfortable to write on this kind of paper. I like to write down my thoughts, make quick sketches, etc...
Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to get one of those blocks and work with it from the beginning.
Anyways, now its over!
At first glance I was thinking of retaking the test, because a 70% in Quant and a 96% in Verbal might not be seen as a "balanced score" but I decided to point out my engineering background just a little bit more on my application... Something like: I always try to be strong in areas beyond my study field and focus on my weaknesses... That might work...
But I'm open to other comments
I want to apply at Sloan (dream), Judge Cambridge, and Said Oxford. Do you think its an asset / advantage to take the Toefl?
I studied one year abroad in the UK, graduated from there (Double Degree program), wrote my thesis diploma in English (in Middle America), and worked for about one year abroad in various countries as project engineer.
There is the possibility to waive the toefl thingy, but would help to take it?
Thank you very much for providing this forum. As mentioned earlier, its good to know that one is not alone.
Furthermore I would like to thank Mr. Sandy Kreisberg. He looked over my resume and gave me some tips and encourage me to apply to sloan. Thanks a lot for that.
Hope I could help some lost strangers... 700+ is a lot of work, but not out of reach (for no body)!
Good Luck! The key is consistent preparation!!!