Yesterday, I took the GMAT (on 29th of July). I made 740/800 (Q-50, V-39). Total – 97 percentile (Q – 93 percentile, V – 87 percentile). It took me more than two years, with many long breaks in between, to prepare for GMAT. Over a period of time, I worked very hard to develop certain skills, which are pre-requisites to pursue MBA and to manage business. I want to share my views on and my preparation strategies in GMAT preparation so that some points would help aspiring MBA candidates who wish to take the GMAT.
Problem Solving & Data Sufficiency – You should learn the concepts, remember the formulas and solve wide variety of problems. To master Quantitative Ability, practice problems with a smart approach. I prepared for CAT, which requires one to solve problems of a high difficulty level. Thus, I did not spend much time to master Quantitative Ability. I followed only the Official Guide to study the concepts in Quantitative Ability.
As I am a non-native English speaker, I had to spend much of my time to improve my score in Verbal ability section.
Sentence Correction – Unless you know the rules of Sentence Correction, you are recommended not to proceed further. Study the rules (especially idioms) with due diligence. Looking at a sentence, you should identify the flaws and this skill requires good amount of practice. I suggest Official Guide, Manhattan Review, Princeton Review and the flash cards from ‘beat the gmat’.
Critical Reasoning – Usually, the time required to solve a Critical reasoning question is more than the average time required to solve a question in Verbal Ability section. Whether you read the question first and go to the passage or you read the passage first and go to the question later should not make much difference. But, before looking into the options, you should have a vague idea about what the answer could be. Don’t overlook other options, even if you think you got the Bingo! in the first option itself. Although I practiced L-SAT questions, I do not suggest others this path because the questions are pretty difficult and may unnecessarily consume your time. I suggest you follow Official Guide, Princeton Review and Kaplan Review.
Reading Comprehension – Many of us have different approaches to solve Reading Comprehension questions. I recommend you read the passage first, understand the gist and refer to the passage only if needed, while answering questions. This approach helps you a lot not only in b-school but also in your future endeavours in managing a business. The concentration with which you read the passage is inversly proportional to the time you take to answer the questions. I suggest you follow Official Guide and Princeton Review.
If you apply the Verbal Ability strategies in AWA, you can reap the benefits with less effort.
GMAT Prep Tests : These tests are highly recommended because the difficulty level of the actual GMAT tests is more or less the same level of GMAT Prep tests. Try to take more than one test so that you can get a clear picture of what kind of traps GMAC has devised for you. I made 720+ in all the GMAT Prep tests I practiced.
Manhattan GMAT Tests : I recommend even these tests because the difficulty level of actual GMAT tests is more closer to that of Manhattan tests than to that of any other test. By the time I took these tests, I was not strong enough in Verbal ability fundamentals. My average score is 690 in these tests. Later I worked on Verbal ability fundamentals and proceeded with GMAT Prep tests.
Princeton Tests : I heard that the scores in Princeton are skewed. I cannot comment on this claim as I took only one test when I was taking Manhattan tests. I made 720 in Princeton test.
Kaplan Tests : You better avoid taking these tests. The difficulty level in these tests is pretty high. I made scores in the range of 570-640.
I hope this information helps the MBA aspirants who are planning to give GMAT in near future. If you have any query or need some help, you can shoot a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or post the query in the comments below. If you post the query in the comments, your query and my answer will help others who are planning to take GMAT.