Its been some time since I took the GMAT. Don't even know how helpful could the review be especially since only a few days are remaining for the format change. Couldnt get myself to actually penning down my experience due to sheer boredom. But I realise that I should and hence so here it goes.
I always knew that I was quite strong in Maths as against in Verbal, especially the kind of Verbal and grammar that GMAT looks to test. And hence a majority of my preparation time was devoted towards learning the tricks and trades of GMAT Verbal.BEFORE THE TESTThe Preparation Time
I used to have a fairly hectic schedule at work and so majority of my preparation was done over weekends and public holidays. I scheduled my GMAT 3 months from my start date which roughly gave me around 30 odd full days and a few days here and there after work. On each of the 30 odd days I decided to put in around 8 odd hours of focused study. Dont think I could have put in more hrs as after a while the course material does start getting to you (atleast used to happen for me). As I mentioned earlier, a large majority of the preparation time was skewed in favour of learning Verbal.The Material ReferredVerbal
Manhattan guides for SC, RC and CR. The SC guide with the various rules was the best! Just read through the RC and CR guide and used them primarily for additional examples rather than the rules as for these two sections, I was guided more by instinct. Completely avoided the advanced section comprising of the extra difficulty questions (towards the latter half of each guide).OG 12
: By far the most awesome guide ever. Brilliant explanations and accurate level questions.QuantOG 12
: Found the questions to be quite basic and easy for anyone who is reasonably comfortable with math. Hence was looking for something more challenging especially since I knew that the Adaptive Programme could throw a few hard ones my way.
Manhattan guides: Good for Number properties - pays to know a few tricks as it saves a lot of time and is very helpful in DS questions. Also good for co-ordinate geometry and geometry. I also did the advanced section as it satisfied my requirement of the extra difficulty questions.Method
For Verbal, what helped me a lot was making a few notes of the most common mistakes that I used to make. I carefully noted down key rules for SC especially the ones that tend to get tested again and again like the Singular Nouns, Collective Nouns, Countable vs Non-countable nouns etc etc. I also made a list of the most common idioms and phrases as knowing them well can help to spot mistakes immediately. What also works for GMAT SC is the usage of elimination as it leaves lesser options to be worried about.
For the RC, I liked the idea of skimming through every paragraph and summararising the gist of each paragraph through a headline. Helped me to form a brain map of what info lies where.
For the CR, the strategy of reading the question first helped. As i was able to read the CR passage from that perspective and kept asking myself the question.
For Quant, I made notes of the Number Properties in my last minute revision guide. It really helped. I also noted down formulae of Area, Volume and the likes for the Geometry questions. For co-ordinate geometry, it pays to note down rules and formulae for slopes, parallel lines, perpendicular lines etc.
Permutation, Combination and Probability Questions have typically troubled me. No matter how much I practice them, I am on most occasions unsure about the result. So I did practice a lot but eventually left it to luck.
For the AWA, I referred to the AWA guide by chineseburned. The template is awesome and sufficient. What one needs to work on is getting the logic in place and of-course typing. But I would not take too much stress on this.Practice Tests
I started with GMAT Prep I to know where I stood and determine my weak areas. What I wanted to do religiously after each test was to thoroughly analyse each and every question, right or wrong. I wasnt worried that such analysis would leave me with less time for more tests...as the idea is to not repeat mistakes.
With subsequent practice and learning, I then started taking the MGMAT tests. Observation: Verbal is probably easier than GMAT. Quant however although not difficult is certainly more calculation intensive which takes time and hence gives the impression of being difficult. I found the scoring model to be quite lenient though, which I think made up for the lost time and probably lost questions.
I ended my preparation by taking the GMAT Prep II test, 3 days before my actual GMAT. I thing the GMAT Prep Tests give you the most accurate idea of where your final score would be. I scored a 750 in GMAT Prep II and ended up with a 740 with almost identical splits.
As far as the AWA section goes, I avoided taking it for the first 4 tests. However for the last 4, I wrote the 2 essays as part of the test in-order to prepare myself for long periods of concentration. TIPS FOR D-DAY
Reach early. The extra 15 mins of sleep wont matter. The resulting panic certainly will. I recommend that you familiarise yourself with the route to the centre beforehand so that you have an idea of the traffic and rough time taken. Also budget for time taken to find parking etc etc.
Dont forget your Passport! They will throw you out. And no amount of begging or pleading works. One poor soul in my batch had to suffer this.
Carry something that gives instant energy. Different foodstuffs work for different people. Bananas worked for me and I ensured that I had one in every interval including one before the test.
Have a light breakfast. But surely do have something.
Be calm during the test. Dont fall into the trap of guessing the level of the question so as to know how you did in the previous question etc. Take each question as a new one. Keep the focus.
Be ready with 5 schools that you would want to send your GMAT score to. Its free. Sending scores later is quite expensive.
Rest...be confident...you will do well. All the best!