I thought I could post a detailed experience last weekend but couldnâ€™t due to travel. Finally, got some spare time today. here it goesâ€¦ (be prepared, its quite lengthy. Scroll down to the very end if you are just looking for pointers and materials used etc. skipping the rest of the mumbo-jumbo)
I had started to prepare quite sometime back. But did not buckle down and put in a concentrated effort until this April. However, the on-and-off preparation did help me in picking up some tricks and a lot of study material.
I had picked up some gmat books way back in 2004. I was on vacation in India and I did go thru the books(Kaplan
04, PR verbal 04) and thought it was not a big deal and I could take it when I really wanted to do an mba (big mistakeâ€¦) note : have a target date in mind. It is very easy to work with a moving target but the objective would be lost.
After that I never really did anything until April 05. So one fine weekend I brushed up the question types and familiarized with the exam format and decided to take an exam. I took the Kaplan
CAT and scored 500 (25q,25v). It was a rude awakening. I knew then that I had a long way to go and a tough road ahead. Thatâ€™s when I started scourging the net for pointers. I stumbled upon gmatclub. I did not participate much but I used to read the experiences and the various tips and techniques. I decided to get the manhattan SC book and OG 10th
edition (11th edition was not out then and I was planning at that time to take the gmat under ETS). Then due to work pressure I had hardly did anything until October. But I used to go thru the forums for a few questions here and there. try to understand the logic discussed or grammar rule etc., For the most part it made sense when I read them but I would forget them soon and would be starting all over again. note : if you are not committed, you might as well not do anything. Always study when you really want to. No point spending endless hrs without learning something new.
I still did not have a date in mind but decided to work toward completing it while ETS was still conducting the exam. I still had not gone through OG. I had briefly went through Manhattan SC but did not work the different types with OG. I took the first powerprep exam. I scored 650(46q,34v). Well some progress I thought, but I wanted a 700+ score. So I decided to sign-up for the exam as soon as I crossed 700 in my practice. I think this is a good strategy but u need to put some effort and try and achieve the target. I, on the other hand, came up with all kinds of excuses not to do so.
I did some analysis on the pp1 exam and figured out for quants, if I study all the concepts I should be able to get 48+ but verbal needed some help badly. RC was ok (I think I had 1 or 2 wrong in that exam) but CR and SC needed some work.
note : Identify your weaknesses early in the game.
I decided to work on CR first. I started with the forums. Tried to do as much CRs as possible during lunch at work and whenever I found some time. Until this point my strategy for attacking CR was intuition. Though I had a 60% success rate, it was not good enough. Then I came across a few documents on the internet which helped me understand the structure of an argument and how to break them into pieces. I also read some links on logical fallacies etc. That really helped me understand CR and I was getting 85+% success rate. I practiced 100+ questions using LSAT. It improved my timing and my success rate jumped to 90%.
note : Attack the weaknesses one at a time.
Satisfied with my CR level, I then started working on SC. Again I started with the forums and worked my way through the 1000SC document. I would search for every question in the forum and study the understand the concepts. At this point I started maintaining an excel sheet with the notes. I now realize that this is the first thing I should have done.
Note : Maintain a document with â€œyourâ€