When I started studying for the GMAT, I thought I could approach it the same way I did with the SAT- no expensive, lengthy courses, just straight up focused studying with a few guidebooks. I sat down with the GMAC official guides, the Princeton Review and a Manhattan GMAT
guidebook for 3 months. From a free Kaplan
test (one of the timed paper ones you take in the center), I knew my weakness would be the quant section. My last math course was multivariable calculus freshmen year of college, so the GMAT math seemed elementary but I had forgotten more than I realized. Alongside studying the guidebooks, I took the free online, official MBA tests and purchased practice tests from Manhattan GMAT
. I soon realized though that I was rather lost and could not come up a standard approach to any of the questions. Still, I thought I could do it on my own with some sort of combo of tricks from the books. My scores gradually improved on the practice tests with my the last one before my test being a 720 (target was 700+).
The day of my first test though I had a horrible experience- from the timing to adaptive nature of the questions, I had no confidence in my answers and kept thinking about whether the question in front of me was harder or easier, telling me if I got the last one right or wrong. I ended up with a 590 (V 35, Q 36). I felt awful and had no idea what to do.
That's when I decided to ask a friend about her tutor. She had taken a Manhattan GMAT
course and scored around the same the first time, but after tutoring, she was able to achieve a 700+ score. Even though it's pricey and quite an investment, I have to say going with Jeff at Target Test Prep was the best decision I ever made. Over the course of 5 months and my very busy work schedule (I started having to travel a lot), Jeff was not only my GMAT tutor but also part-life coach and therapist when it came to the GMAT. He helped me overcome my anxiety and uneasiness towards the GMAT material and format. I'm not going to say this is going to work for everyone, but the approach of mastering Target Test Prep's prep material worked extremely well for me. Jeff and later on Neil for a few sessions were very patient in working to accomodate my schedule to teach me the Target Test Prep book through Skype sessions. Maybe it was the book or their method of tutoring, but either way, I didn't have to use any tricks or shortcuts to master the test. Instead, the tutoring allowed me to calmly approach each question with sureness. I really like how Target Test Prep's book broke down each topic and provided sample questions and answers. For me, it wasn't about doing the practice questions. Rather, I just memorized the question types and the book's approach to each. In the end, I took my second test during my work's busiest season and managed to pull off a 710 (V 40, M 48). With all this, this is just my experience and not everyone needs this much hand-holding, but if you're at your wits end and can afford it, I suggest trying out one-on-one tutoring with Target Test Prep.