OK guys here is the briefing I promised. But first let me thank you all (yezz, kevincan, haas_mba, uvs mba, paddyboy, etc.) for your posts that have been crucial in my prep. If my future mba classmates end up being even remotely as awesome and helpful as people on this forum, getting an MBA and a lot out of it will be a given.
Mid July I started gathering study materials. I bought, via amazon.com, the following:
2003 with CD
-PR 2003 with CD
and OG 9th edition
Since all the books were outdated and used, I got them for a fraction of a price Iâ€™d pay at a bookstore. The questions donâ€™t really change from year to year so I suggest others who donâ€™t want to waste any more $$ on this test do the same.
My real prep started in mid August so I guess I had about 6 weeks to prepare. 2 weeks before the test I also rented from a local library Barronâ€™s 13th ed. I believe. This book did not have a CD nor a score estimator (but who cares about that, Kaplan
and PR had score estimators that are nowhere close to the real thing so might as well not have it). However, SC was my weakness and I found Barrons SC and RC to be closer to the actual test than any other book out there (except OG I suppose).
It is great way to ease into the test mode. It helped me calm my nerves. I did not prepare for this section and I don't know how I did yet so there is not much I can say about it.
I thought I would do better than I did but what can I do about it nowâ€¦. It felt as if I was taking a GMATPrep test. The level of difficulty was the same as GMATprep. I actually got stuck on the 2nd question â€“ geometry, and spent almost 5 minutes on it (!!!) I thought I would blow the whole test if I did not move on so I decided to guess. Then I reread the question and realized it was not nearly as difficult as I thought the first time I read it. So take my advice, if a question seems impossible, chances are you read it wrong so sit back and read again before wasting forever on it. I was so frustrated but I moved on and I did catch up with time so I even had about 2 minutes left at the end of the section. Number properties was the most frequent question type Iâ€™d say so make sure you do plenty of those problems. GMATClub is a great source. I know that I got a bunch wrong, probably all of them being DS but I canâ€™t say that anything was sticking out as particularly challenging. So people donâ€™t stress too much over quant, do GMATPrep and check out GMATClub posts and youâ€™ll be fine assuming you have a decent quant background. At the end, I am convinced that a great performance on quant will not help much with the overall score anyway because there are so many math gurus out there.
This was the focus of most of my studying. I am not a native speaker so SC was kicking my #@$ when I started studying but with practice I finally started to figure out what it was all about. OG and Barrons book I mentioned were the most helpful. The actual test was just like GMATprep. RC was ok, 1 pretty long and 3, I think, not so long. No science passages, thank god. CR was easy. SC was also just like GMATPrep. Not too bad. No bold face Qs
Also, if anyone is worried about the erasable boards that they will give you at the etst center: DONâ€™T BE WORRIED. They are really easy to use and they give you enough pages that I finished the whole test : essays, Q and V section without having to erase anything.
Iâ€™m on my lunch break so I have to get back to work but if anyone has any questions please donâ€™t hesitate to ask.
Also as far as the scores go, GMAT Prep is the only thing that came even close to predicting accurately my actual score. I got 720 the first time I took it (about 2 weeks before the test) and 740 the 2nd time I took it (5 days before the test). I got 780 when I took it the third time but there were some repeats there so I donâ€™t count it.