Having taken the GMAT four times and being a frequent lurker to the forum (but an infrequent poster), i felt it was my duty to post some suggestions on taking the GMAT.
For some background, I took the GMAT the first time a little over a year ago, and after almost fainting when the moderator didn't let me eat a granola bar during a break (i suffer from low blood sugar), i canceled my first set of scores. GMAC allowed me to take the GMAT again for free a couple weeks later and i got a 640. I took a few month break and got a 660 in April. Then took it one last time in May and got a 750 (44v 49q). Ok, on to the advice:
- If you can afford it, take a class with Manhattan GMAT
. I loved these courses and found them extremely helpful.
- If you can't afford it, buy the Manhattan GMAT books
-- they are really helpful, but for learning more than practicing, so get these books early. I found the SC book especially helpful. the books also include practice problems and exams (worth the cost of the book alone)
- View the Sentence Correction problems like a math problem where you are finding the solution (correct sentence) to the problem at hand (incorrect sentence).
- I agree with many people that you should leave the GMATprep tests
to the end of your studying, but leave enough time to take these exams 5-10 times each. Since it's a CAT exam, you get different problems every time and the questions and format are the exact same as on test day. Also, you can get solutions to any incorrect answers to gmatclub's forum and manhattangmat's forum (even if you aren't registered for a class).
- The Official GMAT books should be your bible. Practice each problem again and again -- especially those that you get wrong at first. I liked to mark the problems in 4 different ways: problems I knew the answer to, those I thought I knew the answer and was right, those I wasn't 100% sure on, and those that I was clueless. This gave me an idea of what i needed to focus on and what to go back to.
- Focus, focus, focus. The first time around, i spent way too much time studying very half assed -- meaning i'd study, but not that hard. i found it more helpful to take my last month before i got my high score to study nonstop than taking many months to not study as hard.
- Don't let yourself get burned out (but you will anyway).
- Lastly, during the exam, don't lose confidence! I can't stress this enough. When I got a 750, i knew i did pretty well on the Quant. However, with 12 questions left on the Verbal, i got a bunch of really short SCs and thought I wasn't doing very well. Since this was the final time I was going to take the GMAT, I told myself to just do the best I could and finish up strong. Little did I know that i would get my high score in Verbal. So in short, you never know!
That's all I can think of. Hopefully this will be of some use to at least one person. Good luck!!!