Thanks for the kind words from everyone. Thought I'd post a bit about my prep.
First, I am probably one of the least qualified to give any really good advice for those who are weak in certain areas, because I took few, if any, methodical approaches to my studies (like I've noticed others have -- e.g., the (in)famous error log
). I also took a class, which I feel most people I talk to do not do. If you're thinking about it though, I do highly recommend Manhattan GMAT
. Their approach is the best that I've heard of, and although slightly lacking when it comes to the most difficult math (actually, really only probabilities -- I found other resources to study this area), the materials and classes were fantastic. I started with a relatively strong base (got a 650 on my first practice test, although I think the grading was a bit off), but breaking down each part of the exam in a systematic fashion was really helpful. If you have any experience with MGMAT guides
, you'll know that they break out each subject area in pretty good detail; each week we focused on a different area, with corresponding problems from the OG. I think this approach is best because it helps you identify your weak areas pretty well (similar in fashion to an error log
, I knew that I was lacking in my geometry skills at first, but not because of an error log
, but because I did a whole bunch of geometry problems at once). Taking the classes really helped firm up the foundational skills for me.
Once I was done with the basics from the class, I took two tests a weekend for about a month, including:
-Original PowerPrep Software
-GMAT Prep (if you're improving, even a tiny bit, you can retake these tests, and will probably get mostly new questions -- I took each test twice)
-The free online Princeton Review test
-Old paper tests from ETS
I took an informal error log
here, noting what subject area was holding me back (for awhile, this was sentence correction), and then focused on that area during the week. I had been strong in math most of the time, so I didn't spend a lot of time on that besides doing problems, but less focused approach -- tried to do all. Spending time in the GMATClub forums really helped. Posting my own reasoning really helped me solidify my knowledge; as they say, if you can't teach it, you don't know it.
I only took one timed section of AWA, which was scored by an unofficial grader. I did not spend any more time than this really -- composition has been a relative strong suit of mine, and I realized as long as it was above a 5, it mostly doesn't matter for schools.
Hope this helps. Thanks again for all of your help, and wish you all the best in your continued studies.