[Summary at bottom]
So I just walked out of the exam center about an hour ago… and I got 760! My goal was to get a score in the 99th percentile, with a hard cutoff at 740 (anything below that, I would retake). I’m happy to report that I was able to hit my goal!
Here’s a brief breakdown of my study plan:
OG GMAT Review
Kaplan GMAT 800
Manhattan GMAT IR & Essay
Manhattan GMAT Number Properties
Manhattan GMAT Word Problems
Manhattan GMAT Critical Reasoning
Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction
Studying in general was quite difficult because of my full-time work. As a result, I had to devote the entirety of my weekends to studying. There were tons of events and parties going on, and I just had to say no!
8 weeks out – I was mostly just dicking around, doing a few practice problems here or there from the OG review. Wasn’t really taking it too seriously though, my plan was to fully immerse myself in the last 3-4 weeks leading up to the exam, so that my mind would be wired the right way.
6 weeks out – Started reviewing the Kaplan 800. In hindsight, this wasn’t the best strategy, as the Kaplan doesn’t go very in depth into the particular areas that the GMAT will test you on. Rather, it was more like a “guide” to the trickier questions and traps that you might find on the GMAT.
5 weeks out – Did a MGMAT CAT (no IR) and got only 680 (Q46/V37). That was a bit of a reality check, and kind of made me snap out of it and go into full cram mode. I started with Number Properties and Word Problems, as my Q score just wasn’t good enough (needed a minimum of 49 or 50).
4 weeks out – Started going through a TON of practice questions of all kind. I went through the entire OG, and kept an error log of what I did wrong, and would review those areas.
3 weeks out – Started going through sentence correction, as that was apparently a particularly weak area of mine. Went through the entire MGMAT SC book, and then went on the online question bank and did all of those.
2 weeks out – Did another MGMAT CAT (with IR): 710 (Q47/V40). Still not good enough! One thing I didn’t do was go through an in-depth analysis of my CAT performance. So i used the MGMAT CAT analysis tools, and was able to pinpoint some of my weak areas, and worked hard on those. I also went through the Kaplan 800 book another time, and managed to perform much better on the practice questions this time around. Based on my trial run of the IR in the CAT, I knew that I could do them fairly easily, and could score above a 6, so I didn’t spend any time studying that.
1 week out – I did a few more question banks, and really dug deep in the Critical Reasoning area, as those questions were the ones really hindering my performance. After an intensive study session, I did one more CAT: 740 (Q47/V45). Success! I was finally getting a V score that I was happy with. My Q unfortunately still needed some work. So I reviewed some flash cards and really drilled them into my head
Day before – I did some basic review of some of my weaker areas, and reviewed some sticky concepts. Then I took the last half of the day off to just relax and unwind. I didn’t want to fry my brain the day before the exam
Score increase: 680 (Manhattan) to a 760 (official)
Time spent: 8 weeks, many hours
Materials: Official Guide (OG) to the GMAT, Manhattan Prep materials, Kaplan 800
Key takeaways: do many practice questions, repeat incorrect practice questions, learn grammar rules for SC
If you’re looking for high-quality, effective GMAT tutoring, check out Trevor Klee, Tutor. 750 GMAT score, 5 star ratings on Google and Yelp. Tutoring can be done online or in Boston.