Pls pardon me if i am very haphazzard in this post. i will mix my thoughts, advice and experience. So pls bear with me.
Am a CS Engineering major from one of the top schools in india. MS in comp science from a top 5 school in the US. I now work for a Fortune 500 company. This was my first (and only
) attempt at the G-Dog.
2.5 months. 0-2 hrs a day during weekdays, and around 24 hours over sat-sun. All tests on Sat and Sun. I did take a week off last week, to concentrate on the dawg.
With an engineering background, Math was not a problem.... so i thought. I was over confi on math. But the first challenge i took, i flunked it in grandeur. Hence, i thought i should take math more seriously. I would highly recommend challenges to anyone. I had to take some challenges to stimulate my math neurons in the brain. It just taught me to be vigilant and watchful in math. I am still disappointed why i could not make a 51. But, I dont think i want to crib with a 750. I spent 4 hrs in barnes and nobles. Referred all the highschool math, and made sure i covered all the basics.
Well, as any non native speaker, this was a huge hurdle. I found GMAT club to be a great resource for this. Plus all the books and practice, practice practice. There is no shortcut... at least none for me.
Manhattan GMAT SC
A plethora of audio books to get good quotes for AWA (used them on my drive to work)
620 - 640 in Kaplan
(You should really take it to give yourself good fire)
730 - 770 in Princeton
710, 740, 770 in Gmat Prep
670 - 710 in Manhattan gmat
770 in Powerprep (this is really easy. i did not bother taking the 2nd one. it felt like a joke)
The Exam date Story
I had scheduled an appointment for Sept 2nd. I spent quality time on Gmat club debating on gerunds with U2lover and Dahiya
. Until About 15 days before the test, i was on schedule with all my tests. But a huge management change took place in my org, and I got a little promotion, and along with it came tonnne of responsibilities. There was no way i could push thru the last 15 days of my prep without affecting my professional career. I struggle for 2 days for a decision, and my wife convinced me i should postpone the date. Hence, i took up Oct 23rd and told my manager that i would take a week off arround that time. I got my prof work to good momentum, and kept a slow and steady pace on my preps. Could not really keep up to frequent postings, but was regularly reading the posts after Aug. And of course, U2lover stopped around that time as well, and i missed the heated debates i had with her
Test time: Monday 2 PM.
Well, the day kinda started for me one day before. As any important day in life, i did not sleep the night. I was too excited and jumpy and tensed. Did not allow my wife to sleep as well. Caught about 2 hrs of sleep around 4-6. Got out of my bed around 10. Had a heavy lunch around 11. (I had been training my body for a week to have lunch at 11, and no bathrooms between 2-6). Since i did not have enuf sleep, i drank a couple of red bulls to give me some strength. I wanted to be careful not to have anything after 12 coz it would push me to the bathroom during the test. So eating and drinking stopped by 12 Noon.
My lovely wife came home to drop me to the center. I had visited the center 2 days back, so had no difficulty finding it. Enjoyed the 30 mile drive on the passenger seat. Hugged my wife and stepped into the center to tame or get tamed. The proctor was very friendly (although a little incompetent. He forgot his password once during my exam, which costed my 15 seconds and obviously my calmness). Since there was a spot, i started the exam around 1:15.
Requested 2 pens, earplugs. Checked my pens. I hated teh board. the stupid pen keeps drying out. But the good thing is, it happens for everyone. So dont let that bother you. Wore layers of clothes. Removed just enough clothes so i was comfy. Selected my schools, said a small prayer, and started the test.
AWA was great. 2 nice topics. Please take AWA as an exercise to warm you into the test. Do not freak out on it, rather enjoy it (try to). I liked AWA since it just made me comfy with the environment, the computer etc etc.
I quoted Freakonomics, Fountain Head, Bhagwad geeta. Boy i had one hell of a time!
Took a break. Had half a banana. Had very little water and visited the rest room. I hung a stopwatch around my neck, so i dont go overtime.
Try to keep your pace. Keep a mental map of time vs question milestones. I had one. I just kept meeting them. I had sufficient time to double check my answers. However, the test became really tough towards the last 10 questions. I had 20 mins to solve them. Usually quite sufficient. But the standard of these questions were real good. I got some Perm Combs, Probability, all towards the end.
The other half banana + a cereal bar. (I tried redbull during one of my practice tests, but it pushed me to the bathroom during verbal. i hated that. So no caffene in the break. just a sip of water)
Got some very good standard SCs. Thankfully no RCs on Minority etc. Although i hate RCs, I am ok with reading science passages. Luckily i got a majority of science passages. SCs and CRs were quite tough. The last 10 mins were horrible. Lack of sleep started to show its effects. I felt dizzy and had a tough time concentrating.
One advice i would give to ppl is, take AWA during your practice tests. It makes such a huge difference! You will find yrslf score 4-5 points lower in verbal wehen you take AWA. You have to overcome that.
On the whole, make sure you question every rule you find. SC is all about concepts. It is more or less like Math. You master the rules, you win. CR is all about practice. Take notes while studying. Time each and every question you attempt. Make sure you average less than 2 mins on every CR/SC question. And yeah, as U2lover says, keep Manhattan GMAT SC
guide by your bed (dont let your wife know
Pls feel free to ask any questions. I will be more than willing to share my thoughts.