I'm finally done with the GMAT with a 710 (48Q, 40V). Here's the history and the strategy I adopted.
After scoring borderline 690s and a crushing 650 last year, I was feeling quite dejected and my life was in a downward spiral. I dealt with negative thoughts. Every single day. May be, I'm not good enough. What if I never cross the 700 mark? All this was until I discovered Ron Purewal and the free Manhattan GMAT "Thursdays with Ron" sessions conducted by Ron Purewal.
Suddenly, the GMAT became an interesting game. Ron is the best teacher I've had. After you listen to him explaining a concept, you will never forget it. He just takes 6 to 8 slides to explain a topic over the course of a 90 minute session. But the way he does it is fascinating. Even if he was teaching the most boring subject in the world, he would find a way to make it interesting. His attitude towards the GMAT is simply awesome!
Here's my GMAT strategy:
- I started my preparation from March 1st, 2012. For Quant, I used the following MGMAT Strategy guides: MGMAT Number Properties, MGMAT FDPs, MGMAT Inequalities, MGMAT Geometry and MGMAT Word Translations. For Verbal, I used the PowerScore CR Bible and MGMAT Sentence Correction guide. For practice, I used the OG-12 and OG review for quant and verbal.
- The way I did this: I would read a chapter in the MGMAT guide and do the relevant problems in the OG-12 and OG Quant or Verbal Review for that chapter. Using an excel sheet that classifies OG problems by topics, I focused on the questions, chapter-wise.
- When I made mistakes in the OG questions, I searched the explanation on the GMAT Club forums and Beat the GMAT forums. The GMAT Club Legend, Bunuel, with his patience and crystal clear explanations, was prompt in replying and clearing my doubts. To understand algebraic approaches, I referred to Bunuel's posts.
- When I didn't want to do algebraic methods and wanted to follow shortcuts such as number plugging, I looked up the explanations posted by GMATGuruNY and Anurag@Gurome on the Beat the GMAT forums. These explanations were incredibly easy to follow.
- On a side-note, Manhattan GMAT is not supposed to post OG questions, as the GMAC has explicitly asked them not to. If a guy like Ron explained all the problems in the OG, GMAC would be out of business.
- I mainly listened to the FREE Manhattan GMAT study hall sessions "Thursdays with Ron". I'm a die-hard fan of Ron Purewal now. For me, the Timing considerations on the GMAT and backup methods sessions were CRUCIAL in breaking the 80th percentile in quant . I went through all the quant study hall sessions and all sessions for RC and CR. I had about 10 sessions remaining in SC, which I had to reluctantly omit because there was no time.
- I took 2 GMAT Preps and one Manhattan GMAT test during these four weeks. I used the Manhattan GMAT forums to understand the GMAT Prep errors. GMAT Prep questions are allowed on the Manhattan GMAT. I scored 750 on GMAT Prep 1 and 720 on the MGMAT test and a 700 on GMAT Prep 2.
- I used to alternate between Quant and Verbal. When I was tired of doing quant questions from the OG, I would read a chapter from MGMAT SC and do the OG SC questions, or read a chapter from the Powerscore CR bible.
- I also made time to do one LSAT CR section a day. These were really hard for me. But I finished the verbal section 41 minutes ahead of time and I believe that my extensive practice using these super hard LSAT tests is one of the reasons.
- I did not do LSAT RC. I found that I promptly fell asleep if I read any of those passages. So used my judgment here and skipped them.
- Watch one session of Thursdays with Ron every day. Take snapshots of the class and put it into a word doc for later review. Try to complete all sessions, starting from the timing considerations and backup methods sessions and move on to sessions on your weak areas.
- Do one LSAT CR section every day. Review your errors the same day. One LSAT CR section has about 25 questions.
- Work on 2 quant chapters and the relevant OG questions every day. Search the GMAT Club or Beat the GMAT forums for explanations to the questions on which you made mistakes.
- Work on one verbal chapter (either from MGMAT SC or PowerScore CR) and the relevant OG questions every day.
- Take one Full Length test every week. Search the Manhattan GMAT forums for explanations, especially those of Ron for the questions on which you made mistakes.
If you have further questions, please let me know. I would be glad to help in any way I can, because I have experienced the pain and effort it takes to finally get there!