Just getting back from my GMAT test, and I'm glad to report that I'm finally done with it: 750 . Just thought I'd post here my impressions on the two sources of CAT practicing I used for my gmat preparation: manhattan vs kaplan
I started studying, very slowly, in february - just to get used to the test. I took my first Manhattan CAT back then, and scored a 710: (48 Quant, 39 Verbal). From this initial analysis I set my two main goals:
1. raise, and maintain QUANT at 50+
2. raise verbal to around 41-42. Reduce oscillations
The problem with verbal was that, even on OG questions, I would oscillate too much. I took a few more Manhattan CATs and the resulting variability of my verbal scores bugged me, and so reducing oscillation was a major goal (and a hard one, might I add).
I practiced daily questions here at the gmatclub, and found that it worked very well for quant. Bunuel's posts are killer even for those who are very confident in quants, and they really help you go that extra mile towards 50+. However, even with the daily questions, the slow start was not able to reduce my oscillations in verbal.
I decided to take 2 weeks off work, and concentrate on my verbals. I read through the manhattan verbal books entirely. One thing that really helped me was doing the proposed GMAT OG
exercises immediately after reading each chapter. It was a great way to really understand important concepts, and how they usually come up on gmat questions.
During this more intense period of preparation, I took the 5 Kaplan
CAT tests, and the two official GMAT Prep ones.
Here are my impressions:
Manhattan: QUANTs were generally harder than the real deal. I would generally sweat to make the 75 minute mark for the whole 37 questions. I believe this to be, however, a great thing. It really trains you well in terms of time management, and that can be very useful for the real test. I would say the VERBAL portion of Manhattan GMAT
is perfectly in line with the real GMAT. The IR section is waayyyy harder than the real thing. I never, not even once, finished the 12 questions in Manhattan IR, and today, in the actual GMAT, I finished with 3 minutes to spare. Kaplan
: QUANTs - After taking all 6 manhattan CATs, you'll find that Kaplan
's quants are a looooot easier. This can give you the impression that the quant callibration on Kaplans are not that great. However, after taking the GMAT prep and the actual GMAT, I would say Kaplan
's Quant CATs are closer to the real deal than Manhattan's (perhaps, just a bit easier than the real thing). It's important to keep in mind, that I almost always finished Kaplan
's quants with 5 minutes to spare - something that did not happen in the real gmat. VERBAL - For the first 2-3 Kaplan
CATs, verbals was incredibly challenging. I had a really hard time finishing the 41 questions in the 75 minutes - again, like Manhattan's quants, this can be viewed as a good thing! In these first CATs, RC section was definetly over the top, with incredibly challenging texts. I was crossing my fingers to not come across texts like those in the real thing (luckily, I did not). The last 2 CATs are definetly more in line with the real thing.
GMAT Prep: Hands down, the best predictor of your score, and the best proxy of the level of GMAT Questions.
My scores on CATs:
Real GMAT: 750 (Quant: 51, Verbal: 40)
cat 1: 710 (initial slow period of prep)
cat 2: 720 (initial slow period of prep)
cat 3: 730 (initial slow period of prep)
cat 4: 720 (initial slow period of prep)
cat 5: 720 (initial slow period of prep)
cat 6: 780Kaplan
cat 1: 760
cat 2: 760
cat 3: 760
cat 4: 730
cat 6: 760
cat 1: 740
cat 2: 740
Hope this post can be a help to anyone in the future!