Please spare a moment to help a newbie start his GMAT prep!

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First post! So after weeks of procrastinating and shadowing these forums for preparation advice, I finally decided to kickstart my GMAT preparation yesterday! I decided I wanted to start with a mock GMAT to gauge my current standing and identify my weaknesses. So I did the online "Veritas Prep GMAT Simulator 1003.0" and scored 700 (51Q, 38V). I am planning on taking the GMAT early next year - so I feel I still have time to prepare and work on "softer skills" and language skills in general (like actually reading) while also learning the "scoring techniques".

This was my first time doing a mock GMAT and I felt I struggled to complete the Quant section in time. But I guess this is because I'm just rusty with standardized test math and just doing more practice tests would help with pacing.

My REAL problem was the Verbal section. I don't know if this was because I started the test at 11 pm and by the time I got to the Verbal section, it was well past my usual sleeping time - but I REALLY struggled with it - especially with the reading comprehension questions. Even before I got my score, just going through the section made me realize I needed SERIOUS practice for the Verbal section. I was "falling" for the test-setter's tricks and allowing the big words, technical mumbo-jumbo in the passages distract me.

The bottom line is - I need to get started on GMAT prep and looking at the forum, it seems that everyone advices different books and study techniques (LSAT, Manhattan, OG etc.). I was hoping that you guys who have already tried out various books and/or taken the GMAT will be able to assess my current standard and suggest material and techniques accordingly.

I might be setting my goal too high (but hey, why not?) - but I'm aiming for a 780+! On this test, I got two Quant and nine Verbal (5 RC, 3 SC, 1 CR) problems wrong. I look forward to your advice/suggestions/tips/prep-book-recommendations/anything-really (about the AWA too)! Thank you for reading this and here's wishing you good luck for your GMAT and applications!

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by VivianKerr » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:58 am
That's great that you seem confident in your test-taking abilities -- that will definitely help! I think you'll find that the same books are consistently recommended.


- The OG - start here.
- GMAT Prep - you gotta know it cold.

Other section-specific guides:

Quant: MGMAT Number Properties
CR: Powerscore CR

You seem like you have strong Quant skills, but if you start MGMAT Number Prop and it seems a little challenging, you might want to go through a solid Math review book like Kaplan's just to cover your bases.

Those materials will set you on the right track, and augment it with free online resources like those here on BTG (make sure to download the free BTG flashcards). Keep the study two-fold: build content and learn/apply strategy.

I'm sure you'll do great!
Vivian Kerr
GMAT Rockstar, Tutor

Former Kaplan and Grockit instructor, freelance GMAT content creator, now offering affordable, effective, Skype-tutoring for the GMAT at $150/hr. Contact: [email protected]

Thank you for all the "thanks" and "follows"! :-)