Thanks to Ashmita for sharing her experience. And her success story from 650 to 720. I am posting the story on her behalf.
Hello everyone, so i'm making a lengthy post on my preparation strategies and test day experience. Please note that preparation method varies from person to person. So, try to build your own method that suits you because even i read a lot of success stories but it all depends on which method will suit us better..
I started my GMAT preparations in April. As, i'm a working professional i was not able to give more than 2 hours in the weekdays. I utilized the weekends to the fullest by studyinng more than 10 hours each day. I understood the question types and formats.
Then i picked with the manhattan strategy guides. After completing each topic from the Manhattan Guides, I solved the respective questions from the OG. I started with Quant. As i am at good it, praticed Quant for 15 days. Then I concentrated fully on verbal. I solved all the OG and verbal review questions twice after completing respective strategy guides from Manhattan. It was already June end by the time i completed them.
Now I gave a test again and scored a 620. Quant was very good but found no significant improvement in verbal. Then i bought the E-Gmat online video tutorials. Completed their online training materials and questions within a month. I could see that my Sentence correction improved significantly but my accuracy with critical reasoning and Reading comprehension were very bad. Then I prepared with Powerscore CR bible for some 10 days and solved the OG questions and verbal review questions again. But i didn't feel that my accuracy improved significantly. I took RC very lightly assuming that it can't be improved and there is no particular strategy. And it was almost august end.
I bought the GMAT prep question pack 1 and exam pack 1 and practiced the questions in them. I gave 4 mocks in 2 weeks before my GMAT exam (First attempt) on september 13th. GMAT prep test 2 - 660, test 3- 700, manhattan 1 - 680 and manhattan 2 - 690.
On the Actual GMAT exam, i scored just 650 with a (Q-49 and V-29, IR-7, AWA-5.5) . I was really disappointed after 5 months of preparations i couldn't break the 700 barrier.
The Revenge & Comeback to beat the GMAT
I took a 2 day break and cameback. I was really determined to break the 700 barrier and decided to do it again with more resolve. I was weak at verbal, so spent 80% of my time on it. I knew i had atleast 80 to 90% accuracy in my SC. So, i just started solving SC questions again but from various other random online questions that i got from forums this. In all i solved close to 600 SC questions in a week. And i finally gained confidence that i am perfect in SC like Quant. Then started with my real weak points CR and RC. I went through the CR bible again for 2 days to recollect the strategies. Then i started with the LSAT question sets. There are totally close to 1500 questions available from previous year papers of LSAT. Note that all are not of GMAT type but if u still solve them, you can master GMAT CR. I solved close to 800 CR questions from GMATprep question pack 1, LSAT and few gmat club materials. I could really see that i could improve to atleast 80% accuracy in CR.
I visited gmatxchange regularly to take up daily question challenges and learn about the process to solve questions than just questions and it was helfpful. I used this Verbal to help me improve my grammar skills. Download Grammar Book
In between, for 10 days i again concentrated on quants and solved the 900 odd questions from (OG, quant review and question pack 1).
I also tried to solve atleast 2 passages everyday. I prepared LSAT and GMAT RC passages that i got from online sources. i solved some 90 to 100 passages in a span of 40 days..But still i would say i dint not see any significant improvements. (I was not confident with my RC even till the last day).
I gave 5 mocks in the last 2 weeks to my exam. (GMAT prep test 3- 710, test 4 - 680, Manhattan 3 - 740, Manhattan 4 - 680, Manhattan 5 - 720). After each test, saw the questions that i got wrong and tried to solve them again.. infact i managed to get atleast 60 to 70% of the questions right when i solved the second time..Then i understood it was my silly mistakes that led to wrong answers..
Just revised the maths formulas in the last 2 days and went for the exam and scored a 720.
Main takeaways (may not apply to everyone)
1) When you start with your preparations, solve a few OG questions and keep the rest for practice at a later point of time. I was really running short of questions in my last few weeks to the exam.
2) During your preparations, don't worry much about your timings initially. First learn to get ur answers right, then you time your questions. Once you have reached a position where you get atleast 70% accuracy in all topics. Then try to solve the questions under timed circumstances.
3) For quants, be thorough with your concepts from manhattan and formulas from platinumgmat.com site. If you are weak in areas such as probability, combinations and coordinate geometry. Go back to ur class 10, 11 and 12 books and revise the concepts. Don't worry too much about combination and probability, in all you may get just 4 to 5 questions from both these topics. And once you have reached a 48 or 49, concentrate your efforts on verbal.. Don't waste too much time to get a 50 or 51. Because it is going to be extremely difficult. For 51, you can get just 2 or 3 wrongs and for 50 you can get just 5 to 6 wrongs.
4) Verbal, strategies help to a certain extent only. After that it completely depends on the practice. Solve, as many questions as you can. LSAT questions really helped me a lot. And if possible read economist and NY times everyday to improve ur reading ability.
5) AWA - Just memorize the template and practice 5 to 10 passages. Write atleast more than 400 words. 5 is guaranteed, if it is structured well u can surely get a 5.5 or even 6. I din't practice for more than 3 hours for AWA in my entire gmat preparation schedule. Google for the GMAT AWA chineese burned tips.
6) IR - If you are good at quants, literally no practice is needed. Just go and solve that..even if u get 7 out of 12 right u can get a 7 and 9 out of 12 right, u can get a 8.
Test day (may not apply to everyone :P)
1) Avoid being anxious and dont keep on estimating whether u are getting tougher questions or easier questions as u are working on the exam. Just solve all the questions u get. Don't think too much about the results while giving the exam.
2) Have some source of energy drink or glucose or fruits for the breaks. But don't eat too much..
3) try taking deep breathes whenever u feel anxious before the exams. You will really feel relaxed!!