I will not make this post long by outlining my journey rather I’ll share some tips which I think will benefit my peers here. Before I do that, I must the members here who have inspired and guided me and many others on this forum. God Bless you guys!
It’s been more than 1.5 years since I came across this forum and though I started my preparation only 4 months ago, I think that this forum was instrumental as now and then I’d keep visiting the forum for my diet of inspiration and wisdom. Anyway, here are my thoughts for what they are worth
- Always start with a Diagnostic test before you prepare : I think this is very important. When you have a diagnostic score, you have a benchmark from where you can take your preparation forward otherwise you will have no way of knowing how much progress you have made. I started with a 680(V-34, Q-48) so needed to work on Verbal more.
- Study Material : Verbal: Before I started studying, I rated myself in each of the three verbal areas based on my performance on diagnostic tests. These were the scores I had given to me. SC-4/10, CR-8/10 RC- 6/10 SENTENCE CORRECTION was really a bummer for me. The day-to-day English which we use is a bit different from what is tested on the GMAT. For example, for a long time I couldn’t digest the fact that “considered as” could be an incorrect idiom on the GMAT. Also it isn’t very rare(or rather is very common) for us to say “He’s the person that helped me” which is wrong on the GMAT. So learning the rules is important. For SC, nothing beats Aristotle SC Grail and Manhattan SC. Combine them with OG13 SC and you should be all set.
CRITICAL REASONING: For CR, CR Grail was golden. CR though came quite intuitively to me and in fact, I loved doing CR questions as they were fun. Just practiced questions and learnt the strategies to tackle various question types.
READING COMPREHENSION: For RC, I was neither very good nor not very bad. Doing well on RC is all about having the patience to read a passage and be interested in it. It’s about developing mental stamina which I developed through practice. In all, I did around 55-60 passages in groups of 3-5 passages in a day from OG13 passages and Aristotle RC Grail. I never used the note taking method suggested my some test prep companies because it just diverted my attention from the passage.
I rated myself a 8/10 on Quant after the diagnostic test. All I needed was practice. I personally think that as good as it is for Verbal, OG13 disappoints bigtime on Quant. Only the last 50 questions in OG13 were good . The first 3/4th of the questions were too easy and unless you’re not sailing in the 400-600 zone on the GMAT, you will not see them on the actual test. Manhattangmat’s Advanced Quant Guide is a great book I think.
After finishing this book and OG, I practiced questions from Aristotle PS Booster and DS Boosters which i think gave me the much needed practice.
- Study Time- 4 months is more than sufficient. Initially, I had planned for 3 months but since I wanted to do well I thought it’s better to wait for a month more and then take the exam
- Practice Tests- I used only two sources- ManhattanGMAT tests and GMATPREP tests for practicing. I highly recommend taking the GMATPREPs twice. Do not get disheartened by the difficulty level of the MGMAT Quant sections; you will not see that difficult questions on the GMAT. However, I think that I gained a lot from analyzing such questions as you tend to build your concepts well.
- Integrated Reasoning- Did not bother too much about this after most of the schools announced formally that they will ignore the IR scores this season. Maybe they’ll consider it next year but I’m no way waiting for another year to apply to schools. It want to be entering an MBA program by Fall 2013. So instead of spending a lot of time on IR, I spent more time on Verbal and Quant. 6.Test day- Irrespective of what scores you have been getting on your practice exams, you will feel the pressure on the actual test. I tried taking the burden of performing off from my shoulders and I think this made a lot of difference. I thought to myself that my only focus will be to enjoy doing the questions as they appear on screen. GMAT is not anyway the end of life.
- Luck - More often than not,we humans tend to attribute our success to ourselves-and forget to thank our luck. Though I got a 750, I may well have gotten a 700-710. So I must thank God for blessing with the fruits of my hardwork.
I think that it’s time to grab a beer and take a much needed vacation. Finally, it’s also the time when I’ll reveal to my colleagues and boss in my office about my MBA plans. I, firstly, wanted to get a good score and then tell them about my plan instead of doing it the other way round.
Will be around for a while to take any questions. All the best to you all