Figuring out what study materials I was going to invest in caused me some initial stress. I wanted to be sure I had a number of books from different publishers for perspective, but didn’t want to waste my money on subpar or unnecessary resources. Before I began collecting the materials, I wanted to figure out what exactly my study plan would be, as that would have a big impact on what exactly I needed. Also, with a target score of 740, I knew it would rule out some other books geared for people targeting 500-600 scores.
Here is the breakdown of my priorities when deciding what to buy:
AAmple practice problems. My study plan relies heavily on practicing problems. Since I am on a relatively rigorous 10 week program, I will be burning through problems and wanted to ensure that I have a fresh supply.
2. Representative problems. In addition to simply a large number of problems, I wanted to be sure that they were representative of what is currently being used on the GMAT. Working on outdated and irrelevant questions would do me no good in the long run.
3. Difficult problems. The GMAT is a computerized test that automatically adjusts for the test takers skill level. The more you answer correctly the more problems are drawn from the “difficult bin.” Once again, with a target score of 740 I have to plan for a majority of my questions being drawn from this pool. For that reason it was important for me to find materials that focused on presenting difficult questions.
4. Sentence Correction & Verbal Review. I am sure you have picked up on a good number of grammatical errors just in these first two posts. I believe the sentence correction portion is going to be the most challenging for me. I have already decided I will give this portion of my studies an additional week and quick review time everyday. I also decided that it would be a good idea for me to purchase some materials specifically targeted to this section.
With those priorities, I went on my favorite forums to do some research. I looked at recommendations from people that had already taken the test and cored very well. There is a myriad of people out there willing to discuss what worked for them and what is a waste of money. It’s great. Armed with all this knowledge, I hit up Amazon and settled on these books.
The Official Guide for GMAT Review 11th & 12th Editions – This one is pretty much a no brainer. In the original blog that got me going down this path, Eric states, “Official Guide is the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, and the Gita of GMAT prep.” I don’t know if having both editions is really necessary but I already had the 11th edition which I purchased about a year back out of curiosity. I bought the 12th edition simply for the fact that there will be more recent questions and I think that will be invaluable as I approach the test date.
Kaplan GMAT 2008 – This is the book I have already started on. I have found it is a relatively easy read and will give me a good starting point before turning to more difficult books. There is already a 2009 version of this book out but I feel that the 2008 isn’t too outdated. It comes with a CD ROM companion which I am excited to play around with. Since I haven’t gotten too deep into the book, I can’t say this for sure, but I had read from multiple people that the practice tests are abnormally difficult and can be a bit demoralizing. I will be sure to report back once I get deeper in.
Kaplan GMAT Advanced 2009-2010 Edition – This book’s tagline is “Intensive Prep for Top Students.” I am really excited about this book. I think it will give me some headaches but if I am going to hit my target, I need to have something that will frustrate me. I will be using this book as I near the completion of each section.
Sentence Correction GMAT Preparation Guide (Manhattan) – I have heard great things about this book, which is good since I think I will need all the help I can get in the section. I have found a couple good online resources which I will discuss in a later post but I think this book will be the root of my studying for this section.
The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review – I bought this one on a whim. I don’t like to say that, but it wasn’t too expensive and I thought it would give me an alternate point of view of strategies on the verbal section. I might have wasted my money but I will be sure to let you know.
I am pleased with my purchases and thank everyone that has written reviews on all the different books out there. I am going to take a day off from the blog but in my next post I will discuss the free and online resources I have collected.
Until then, take it sleazy.