My GMAT Experience
I scored a 750 (98thpercentile) with only 6 weeks of study so I am just giving my feedback. A little bit about myself, my name is Rajiv and I took my GMAT exam in New Delhi. I scored a 50 in quant (93%), a 41 in verbal (92%), and a 6.0 out of 6 (91%) on my AWA essays*.
I self-studied for 6 weeks while working part-time. I took my first practice exam through GMAT Prep, my next 6 through Manhattan GMAT, and the last one through GMAT Prep again. To be honest, I wouldn’t really recommend taking more tests as 8 tests should be sufficient.
In general, I think to do well it helps to be kind of hyper on the exam. You need to know which method to use depending on the problem. Sometimes direct algebra helps the most while another time plugging in the answer choices or picking numbers will work better. It helps to look at the question from a distance and figure what they are really asking (you can often do this by rephrasing the question). In other words, don’t be too robotic, be sure to Think! Also, when you get a question wrong or when it takes you a long time to answer a question, be sure to master that question and any related concepts.
*I retook the GMAT exam and scored a 760 (Q50, V42) in Rolla, Missouri.
My Opinion on GMAT Resources
The following is my opinion on available GMAT Resources. In general, my advice will probably be most useful for those aiming for a 700+ score.
Official Guide 12thEdition – This book is a must but use this book for practice problems only. The review of math and English is pretty bad (there isn’t even an idiom list for Sentence Corrections) and some of the quant explanations are atrocious.
The Princeton Review – Only good for introducing you to GMAT. Enough with the Joe Bloggs examples that seem copied from other Princeton Review books! Joe Bloggs, who is basically a big idiot, really won’t help you that much on GMAT. Overall, this book isn’t that helpful though it does have a good section on the AWA.
Manhattan GMAT – Probably the best GMAT resource all around. I highly recommend Manhattan GMAT. The people at Manhattan have really produced excellent books. These are probably the most expensive but I think they are worth it. All 8 guides are pretty good and on the back is a code where you get a question bank and get access to 6 GMAT CAT (computer adaptive test) exams. You can also generate assessment reports but don’t over analyze them. I would also recommend their Official Guide Companion as the Official Guide Explanations can be pretty bad. The only faults I find with Manhattan GMAT are that they waste too much paper, they make analyzing your performance a little too complicated, and they are better resources for AWA essays. Note: Manhattan GMAT is different from Manhattan Review.
Most of the above books can be purchased at the Midland bookshop in Aurbindo Market (near Hauz Khas in South Delhi) among other bookshops.
Powerscore Critical Reasoning & Powerscore Sentence Completion – These books are pretty good but I didn’t use them that much as I was already pretty strong in these areas. If you are weak in these areas, you might find these books pretty useful. Note: I could not find any of these books in India.
Kaplan/Veritas/EZ Solutions/Other Sources – Might be good but I didn’t use them.
Writing Skills for the GMAT/GRE – This is a great resource for the AWA. They have sample essays written based on the topics from the Official Guide. I also could not find this book in India.
I would recommend going on www.amazon.com, typing in the name of a book, and reading the reviews to see if the book is right for you. (Obviously user submitted reviews are not flawless and more reviews are better than fewer reviews but overall, amazon reviews are pretty reliable and reading the comments can be insightful).
GMATPrep Software – These are the official GMAT Practice Test available for download. These are good but they are only 2 and there are no explanations. I would take one of these near the beginning of your preparation and one near the end. Also, when you exit, don’t hit “NO” unless you want to erase your test score record. Available Here
Manhattan GMAT – These are really good and have really good questions. I would say that the math on these is slightly harder while the verbal is slightly easier. One reason for the math being harder is that there are no experimental questions on Manhattan GMAT. (i.e. a high scorer would get an occasional easy/medium question every now and then) There are 6 exams with great explanations. You can also see your strength and weaknesses both by accuracy and time.
Other Sources – Didn’t use them so I don’t know.
GMAT Study Strategy
Obviously, you have to do what works best for you! I would not recommend only doing practice questions or exams; be sure to review and master concepts. If you are working and have 6-10 weeks to prepare, then I would recommend taking a practice exam every Saturday/Sunday.
About this website – Home Page
Note the website is here to just share my experiences and give some general pointers. By no means is it comprehensive. As always, I appreciate feedback and if you have comment, study tips, know of other GMAT resources, etc. feel free to use the comment box below or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Best wishes on your GMAT and your future endeavors.