Hello, I'm a long time lurker, first time poster.
I want to start out by saying that I am not shooting for Harvard, not Princeton, not even a day program. I shooting for only one school, the Carlson School of Management (Univ. of Minn.), Evening program. I'm posting to simply share my journey, from a slightly more casual (than some other posters anyhow!) angle. At the same time, it is not my goal to take a "meh test, score 500 yay it'll work", I indeed am trying hard to test well because I'm a fairly competetive person that likes to put 100% into everything, yes even a test for evening school!
I've been working in Finance for 6 years and have strong references, a strong resume, strong work experience, so I'm pretty much set. My initial goal (it has changed, see below) was to hit just 600, because that is about the average for the night program at CSOM.
Here is the "flow" of how I came to where I am now:
In 2002 I purchased the GMAT PR book, thinking I'd go to grad school slightly closer to when I graduated (2001). In looking at my books I also see a 2003 Kaplan
book and a 2006 Kaplan
book. Why I bought all these books....well who knows! Also I see that I joined gmatclub in 2005, so you can see I've been "off and on" in my journey! But now I'm ON!
In January of 2007 I decided, "OK, time to seriously do this!" Well that's what I tell people, really my wife decided that "OK, it's time for you to seriously do this"!!! She is my life-motivator! I had my wife buy me the Orange Book Of DOOM (The Official Guide, v11) while she was at borders one night.
Orange Book of Doom:
I took the OG Diag before I touched anything else. And I realized I was REALLY weak in DS (to my suprise!), weak in SC (not to my suprise) and weak in RC (not to my suprise) and fairly strong in the rest. This is when I decided I better run through Kaplan
I first started with Kaplan
2006 and I just couldn't get into the book. To me, it was too dry, so I switched to the PR book. I realize that many folks here suggest Kaplan
over PR, in book form, but for me I'd rather learn a little less but have fun, which indeed I did. Humor in a test book is key for me.
And the biggest thing I got out of PR is the DS strat. That immediately made it much easier (AD/BCE elimination technique.) I didn't really like their math strat for pre-eliminating so much, especially since I can answer math problems using regular standard algebra quicker than I can eliminate a bunch of answers. I do use substitution a bit, just mainly on the tough problems.
PR Practice Test 1:
I scored a 570 (Q35, V34). PS 80%, DS 70%, SC 70% (how in the...), RC 42% (ding ding, major weakness), CR 80% (stronger than I thought).
I then did all that I could in the PR and Kaplan
, then moved on to the OG and did a whole bunch of practice problems from the first half of the questions.
PR Practice Test 2:
I took my 2nd PR practice test Monday of this week and scored a 630 (Q46, V31). PS 90%, DS 60% (grrrr), SC 70%, RC 50% (GRRRx2), CR 60% (bah!). Large improvement in Quant, a bit of a backslide in Verbal, which is primarily because I love math and practiced them more than all the rest combined. RC is still my weakest area, I'm also a bit concerned with my CR.
This is about where I'm at now. Seeing that I am testing above 600 I'm now shooting for 700. Yeh yeh way overkill for application to an evening program but I just have to beat this stupid test that is invading my life, invading my dreams, invading my space!
At the same time I have a deadline, so I scheduled my test for 4/9. I just can't put it off any longer!
Anyhow, it's been a fun journey and I'll continue to track my progress....from an odd "evening-program-guy-angle."