Similar to many people I see on these forums, my first attempt was a bust. I went in nervous and worried. I finished both quant and verbal before time was up, but my heart sank when I saw "610" staring me in the face.
I am a senior in college going for a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Math is what I consider my strong point and Verbal is by far my weakness. I haven't read a full book since ~7th grade, and since my school is an engineering focused school, I've written maybe 5 papers total in the last 4 years.
I'm going to give you guys a short overview for how I prepared for the first test because I simply didn't prepare enough and don't recommend you do this:
For the first test, I started my studying with the MGMAT full class in Ann Arbor. I kept up with the "homework" as best as I could but admittedly fell behind by the end. Then, a week for the test I studied for about 8 hours a day until test day. During that week of studying, it had become clear to me that I had not studied enough. I focused on math because I realized that even though math is my strong point, the time limit really gave me problems on the practice tests. Because of this, I neglected verbal and it showed in my final score:
Quant 44, Verbal 31
Overall, my plan for the first try was unorganized, and I lacked motivation. I assumed it would come naturally to me. I called up my MGMAT teacher, and he told me to attack the SC by finding EVERY issue in EVERY question I did. For CR, he told me to do all the OG problems. He said that repetition was key. Trusting him, I put together a real plan of attack. I had 10 weeks to study, so I put together a plan.
Weeks 1-2: CR
-I only did about 20 questions a day, but I did it consistently and finished all OG CR problems.
-I logged the problems I missed. After I had done all the OG problems in the 12th ed. and the Verbal Review 2nd ed., I moved on to SC (I didn't review the problems I missed yet).
Weeks 3-4: SC
-I took my instructors advice and really focused on finding EVERY error in each answer choice. I finished every problem in OG Verbal Review and OG 12th ed.
-Again, I logged all the problems I missed for future use.
Weeks 5-6: Math
-I honestly didn't have a great strategy here... I just did all the problems in the OG 12th ed.
-I logged all problems I missed.
Week Before Test:
For some reason, I had a real hard time getting motivated for the test. Also, I was still on my college schedule and use to waking up at 10AM so I decided to do the following:
-I forced myself to go to bed at 10.
-I forced myself to wake up at 7-8AM since my test was going to be at 8AM on Friday.
-I banned myself from websites that I could and would spend hours and hours on.
-I went over all the verbal problems I missed in excruciating detail.
-For problems I missed for the 2nd time, I looked up what the issue was and started watching videos from "Thursdays with Ron." Luckily, he had videos on the specific areas I needed help with.
-One thing I realized while doing SC is that the forums here have better explanations for SC questions than the OG guide does. If you do not understand something, use the forums!
-The day before the test, I simulated test day. I woke up at 5:30, ate breakfast, and sat around for an hour reading a book. Then, I took a practice test. Unfortunately, my "roommates" started getting loud during the Verbal and I couldn't concentrate. I ended up just finishing the test without even trying the last half of the Verbal. I ended up with a 42 in Quant which was very disappointing, but I only missed a few on verbal up until I got distracted.
-Looking over the quant I missed on the practice test, I realized that I made a lot of dumb errors (ie. I would forget to subtract the probability of NOT something occuring from 1 to get the probability of that thing occuring), so I focused on reading the question in detail and checking my answer on the actual test.
-I went on to watch Thursday's with Ron for the rest of the day on SC and RC in areas that I was weak in (ie modifiers).
-Knowing I still had one more attempt if I needed it, I went it with a F#$% it attitude. I went in thinking that this was more of a practice for next month.
-During the tutorial, I started to review. I wrote down "180(n-2)", "P(1-r/n)^(t/n)", "even*anything=even", "e+e and o+o=even while e+o=odd," and to get my brain thinking about SC I wrote down "modifiers, parallelism, S/V Agreement, and Pronouns." I'm not sure how much this actually helped... but it kept me focused. Then, I did the AWA.
-After the AWA, I took a break and stared out a window for about 4 minutes. I kept my mind actively thinking about quant concepts and focused on being relaxed. It's JUST a test that I get another chance at in a month! I sure wish finals were like that!
QUANT: I felt VERY strong during the quant. I felt like I was nailing it, I felt relaxed, and only guessed at one or two... until question 31/37. I looked up at the time and realized I had 8:00 left! I panicked! I was so shaken that I couldn't concentrate on a single problem and ended up guessing on all of them.
My heart sank. I took my break and stared out the same window, except this time I was pissed. After a couple of minutes of feeling sorry for myself, I pulled myself together. I decided to try my best to see how much work I have to do on Verbal for next time.
VERBAL: The questions came and went. I was really happy with how focused I was. I usually have a hard time focusing on RC but I remembered Ron Purewel's advice: focus on what the authors intent is. Is he in favor of something? Is he neutral? What's the point of this selection? Don't focus on remembering the oddball facts I felt like I had a grasp of SC since I had watched as many videos on modifiers as I could. CR wasn't bad after I had done all the OG problems.
Overall, I felt like I did pretty well on verbal, but what happened next was unexpected.
I decided to submit my score because I figured it couldn't hurt. When I hit next and "710" appeared on the screen, I literally laughed out loud. I couldn't believe it. Not only did I make a huge comeback, but the Verbal section carried this engineer to a 700+ score.
SC: Do all the OG problems and try to find every error in every problem. If you get it wrong, search forums for the correct answer because forum responses are better than the OG guide reasons.
CR: Do all OG problems. You really have to practice these so that you can almost guess the answer before you look at the answer choices.
RC: focus on what the authors intent is. Is he in favor of something? Is he neutral? What's the point of this selection? Don't focus on remembering the oddball facts
Math: Sorry, I'm not much help here. All I really did was OG problems. Read the question carefully because every detail is important.
-If you log the problems you miss and still miss them later, study that specific area! I suggest "Thursdays with Ron"
-Don't give up, even mid-test! I guessed on the last 6 problems in quant and still ended up OK.
REMEMBER: You can always take it again! There isn't as much pressure as people make it out to be. I really credit a lot of my success to relaxing. Find a way to relax.
Now, I have a question for the veterans:
Getting a 710 is bittersweet because I know I could do better on quant. I am trying to get into Harvard. I apply in June. Should I try to take it again in about 5 weeks or just focus on my application?