I have always abhorred standardized tests. When I realized I would have to actually study for the GMAT to apply to MSc Finance programs, I was not happy to say the least. From my initial research, I ended up getting all the Manhattan Prep books for learning the material and decided to self-study. The Manhattan Prep books, with the OG books, led me to get a 620. I was happy with my Quant score (I started from way lower), but my Verbal score disappointed me mainly because I thought I had a decent grasp on the material.
I was aiming for at least a 650 or above so I knew I would have to take the GMAT again. Since I had gone through everything I could on my own, the idea of a class or course started to sound better. I was looking for two things in a course, cost and quality. After some research, I decided to sign-up for EMPOWERgmat for $85 for the first month through a promo. I also picked up the Official CAT 3&4 pack for a discounted price through them.
EMPOWERgmat as a course focuses on strategy more than textbook style material teaching. It is my opinion that while knowing the material is important, strategy plays a HUGE part in doing well on the GMAT. The course taught me things about the test that I would have never found out on my own. For Quant, the best advice the course gave me is to dump the really difficult questions. I straight-up axed at least 3 questions on the Quant because I knew even if I would get them correct, it would take up 3 mins or more. Not only did this give me more time on the rest of the gettable questions, but also allowed me to actually finish the questions at the end of the section with sufficient time.
The Verbal section is where the strategy and technique I learned really pulled through. I honestly think the SC, RC, and CR modules in the course taught me more than the books considered as the best for this section. The way you do questions in the Verbal section almost becomes tactical and leaves you feeling that you actually selected the correct answer. The video lessons are great and the instructors are fantastic.
This is advice for people looking to retake this exam. If you have been focusing solely on the learning the material and have not found success, it is time to focus on strategy. I was offered a 70 point guarantee over my initial 620 and I got a 690!