780, proof that lurking on the gmatclub forums is quite beneficial.
background: BS in computer engineering (stronger in math than verbal)
practice test history in chronological order:
(did OG practice in this time frame)
770 GMATPrep test 1
cd test 2
cd test 3
710 princeton review cd test 1
780 powerprep test 1
780 powerprep test 2
770 GMATPrep test 2
1)I first read the 800 kaplan
book. It was a good introduction to the GMAT test and some basics on strategy and approach.
2)Got OG 10th
edition. This was great. I first debated whether I should do these problems as it will skew my powerprep and gmatprep scores. But after being very frustrated with kaplan
/PR ambiguities decided to practice OG problems instead. This took up about 2 months of my prep time.
3)In the last month, I just focused on doing full passes of practices tests to build stamina and to gain some feel over timing. Notice that I only did 3 of the 4 kaplan
tests on the cd, and only 1 of the 4 princeton review tests. I also redid some of the sentence correction (my weakest point) in OG.
These are just how I feel about the practice material etc, please don't take as fact:
1) you should only practice gmatprep/powerprep towards the end. I think doing kaplan
/PR tests actually messes you up towards the end. They contain ambiguous questions and basically don't give the right feel. And to me, feel is very important. I've always felt that by practicing you are rewiring your brain to do something better. If u practice on the wrong things it will actually harm rather than benefit. (i also bought the 800score .com practice tests, I thought they were even worse so didn't end up finishing any)
2) OG(official guide) is great. If you didn't learn this fact from reading the gmatclub forums, well ... you have serious problems with reading comprehension. Practicing OG wires your brain correcly. You get a very accurate feel and you really get into the 'groove' of what the test makers are looking for.
3) If you have a lot of trouble with sentence correction (i was getting about half right on SC when I started studying), looking up the grammar related websites stickied in the verbal forums before embarking on mass practice is very helpful.
4) timing is very important. but paradoxically, you want to not have to think about timing during the real test. to do this, u need to get a good feel through doing practice tests.
5) on math problems, always take 2 seconds (yes thats all it takes) to check if you are answering the right question (area vs perimeter, meter vs centimeter etc), and also check if you ignored fractions, negative numbers, or 0 or 1 in your thinking (especially on data sufficiency). I found doing this cuts down on careless mistakes drastically. (also makes u feel safer and more confident) its a good habit!
6) on data sufficiency i ALWAYS rephrase the question. (eg. is x > y? get rephrased to is x > y or x <= y?) This prevents a lot of confusion for me. Because sometimes I get into solving the wrong question. By rephrasing it's very clear.
Test day tips:
1) bring your passport! (yes, saw several people turned away today as I waited in the lobby because they were not citizens and didn't bring passport)
2) eat light, but make sure to eat something. 4 hours of thinking drains a lot of blood glucose.
3) take the breaks to calm down and focus on the next section.
4) don't think about if the questions are getting harder or easier. In retrospect, I think I was getting some relatively easy questions in math towards the end.
5) test your marker (the pen) to see if it works before going in.
Thanks and good luck.