Just wanted to share my experience with you all. I did not use the gmatclub much because I discovered it a little late during my prep. But I did come across some very good discussions on Quant (thanks to HongHu and others) and some inspiring mails on gmat test experiences, which helped me quite a bit.
My background - I have a Bachelors from IITM, an MSEE and 9 years of work-ex. I plan to apply to part-time MBA programs (Berkeley for one).
My prep - I studied hard for 3 months, since I was out of touch with writing exams for nearly 10 years now. I used PR and Kaplan
, but on a friend's advice, used the OG to prepare for the last 3 weeks. I believe the OG is the best representative of the actual GMAT test. PR and Kaplan
Math were slightly easier, while PR verbal was pretty much similar, and Kaplan verbal
was nowhere close.
My scores in practice tests :
PR - 720,760,720 (took 3 on-line ones)
- 680, 620, 640
Gmat prep - 710, 750
Gmat prep repeats - 770,770,780
Actual - 770
Before the test, I took 3 days off from work and took gmat prep test 2 on Wednesday, repeats of Gmat test1 and 2 on Thurs and Fri, and took the actual exam on Saturday. I believe this is a good strategy to follow, since the actual test was exactly similar in difficulty levels to the Gmat prep ones. I did the AWA part for two of the Gmat prep tests to simulate the actual experience. I believe including the AWA will be better since the one hour spent on it does affect the concentration during the verbal session.
My actual test experience :
Slept kind of ok the previous night, though not enough. Watched a college football game to take my mind off. Test was at 12:15, but reached the center at 11:15, started the test around 12 noon.
Test center and the test setup were both very good. The test center people were very helpful. The writing pad is quite ok. It has 10 pages and I never used most of it.
I spent only 45 minutes on the AWA, because I wanted to conserve my energies for the next sections. (I will know in a week if this was a right strategy!). I took a break (breaks are 10 mins) had a chocolate and some Gatorade, came back to attack Quant.
I somehow goofed up the first question and spent 5 mins on it. It was easy, but I guess I was just tensed. I got it right, but was rattled. After a couple of questions, I told myself to calm down, and focus. The Math part was really easier than the toughest Gmatprep test ones, and I eventually could finish the section with 10 mins to spare. I took another break and started verbal.
Verbal was exactly similar to OG and Gmatprep. I am very thankful that I spent a lot of time practicing with OG. My CR and SC were bad to begin with, and the OG really helped me here. The verbal part went very smoothly, and I could finish some 15 mins ahead of time.
When I saw the score, I was very happy. 3 months of hard work paid off very well. Now it's time to app.
My advice to people :
1. Use OG and Gmat prep as much as you can.
2. Use PR if you want to, don't use Kaplan
to judge your performance.
3. Take it cool during the actual test, it is NOT going to be any more difficult than the Gmat prep ones.
Finally, my thanks to the Gmatclub guys (HongHu,Praet and others). You have a great site where people can learn a lot. I am amazed that you find the time to post patient replies to the many queries you get. Hats off to you all!