Score increase: 640 (GMATPrep) to a 760 (official)
Time spent: 6 months, 240 hours
Materials used: Magoosh, Official Guide (OG), OG Quant and Verbal
Key takeaways: follow the Magoosh study plan, make studying for the GMAT a priority, read explanations of all practice questions that you do
Here’s my breakdown: IR – 8 Quant – 49 Verbal – 44
This subreddit helped me a lot in the beginning in terms of choosing which resources to use for my studying, so I thought I’d write this post to return the favor.
Resources I used: Manhattan books (mainly for access to the online exams), Magoosh Premium account, NOVA Math book, LSAT 10 Practice Tests, GMAT Prep, OG (and Verbal/Quant books)
My practice tests (and dates): GMAT Prep #1 (1/19): 640 MGMAT #1 (3/20): 670 MGMAT #2 (4/2): 690 MGMAT #3 (4/30): 720 MGMAT #4 (5/8): 730 MGMAT #5 (5/15): 700 MGMAT #6 (5/22): 740 GMAT Prep (6/4): 760 (Got the exact same breakdown as the real thing!)
I pretty much followed religiously the Magoosh 3-month study plan for advanced students. I would highly recommend this plan if you can afford the three months needed and are looking to get a high score. (Link: http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/3-month-gmat-study-schedule-for-advanced-students/)
I would say the most useful resource was Magoosh. Their boatload of questions with explanations was immensely helpful. I found it very useful to listen to (or read) the explanations of any question I got right OR wrong. It helped me to learn more how questions for the GMAT are formulated. To supplement this, I made flashcards for every question I got wrong and reviewed the next day/week.
The Magoosh 3-month study plan is set up so you take all the 6 Manhattan online tests once a week for six weeks, and then take the two GMAT Prep tests to complete your studying. I did it a little differently, taking the first GMAT Prep first as a diagnostic. In any case, I absolutely see the merit of taking all the Manhattan tests first and finishing up with the GMAT Prep tests. The MGMAT tests – especially the Quant section – are unequivocally harder than the real thing. I started dreading taking the exam so much after a few of their tests that I pushed back my test date a few weeks. Then, I took the second GMAT Prep test and did better than I imagined! And taking the real test today, these two tests (the second GMAT Prep exam and the actual exam) were super similar in level of difficulty and types of questions. I really think it’s because the MGMAT were so tough that I felt more comfortable taking the real exam. For baseball people: It’s kinda like using a donut in batting practice, you start swinging without it and you feel like Willie Mays. Such a nerdy analogy, I’m sorry.
In conclusion, my best bit of advice is this: if you want to get a great score, studying for the GMAT has to be a core component of your life. Sure, you can go out a couple nights a week if you’re into that – actually, I would advise you to take Friday/Saturday nights off and do something fun. But on most nights, you really need to devote 2-3 hours to studying. Download a few GMAT apps on your phone, work on idioms while taking a shit at work (not kidding). And, if you want to take a vacation during your study months, sure, go ahead (I took 2, in fact), but get right back into the groove when you return.
Happy to answer any questions! I had a lot of ups and downs studying, but I’m glad the hard work paid off. Don’t get too frustrated, and best of luck!
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