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GMAT – Cracking the GMAT 2012; Princeton Review

Please notice this was first posted in the period 2012-2014 and can be outdated

Like I explained in my previous post; the GMAT tests basic high school mathematics, English grammar, reading comprehension, and analytical skills. But instead of jumping into a first test exam to see where I stand I want to do the necessary brushing up of my skills first with the following book:

Cracking the GMAT 2012

The book starts out (first 40 pages) by giving all kinds of details of the GMAT. What kind of questions can you expect, will there be breaks, should you bring food or drinks, etc. It doesn’t seem that different from earlier tests I have taken, especially not the earlier computerized tests.

Second part of the book explains how to crack the math part of the GMAT, followed by how to crack the verbal part, and how to crack the analytical writing assignment. There is a lot of cracking needed it seems.

What worked really well for me in the past was making notes while reading, so I ended up with a total of 6 pages of hand written notes (yeah, I know, maybe it is time to buy an Ipad or something).

My study notes, nicely written by hand

On page 400 there is a warm-up test to determine your initial level of knowledge of the concepts. Here you answer 20 math questions and 20 verbal questions and this will help determine where you are at right now. The math questions seem rather simple to me. Most questions I can answer right away and in some cases I have to guess since I don’t know my study notes by heart yet.

Verbal takes me by surprise though. Since I don’t speak English that well I really try to differentiate between the answers. Some questions are solvable by just reading the answers and spotting what sounds right and what doesn’t. But in a lot of cases it all sounds right, and I have no idea what to choose.

Cracking the GMAT 2012 test result

So there it is…

With these scores (math: 17/20 correct and verbal: 14/20 correct) you can now determine a quick and dirty GMAT score and you can find out which practice questions you need to focus on. With only 31/40 questions correct the book tells me I will score around 550 if I took the GMAT right now. And like I said before; I am aiming for about 700.

So there is some work to do which can be done in chapter 22 where just over 100 math test questions and 75 verbal test questions are waiting to be answered.

Time to start practicing

While starting with the easy questions and moving to the harder ones the strangest thing happens: I am scoring better on the harder ones than on the easier ones. Logically it should be the other way around. To keep in the spirit of the GMAT lets make it into a critical reasoning question:

GMAT test question – reading comprehension

I would go for the fourth answer in the question above. I think I just got the hang of it after the easier questions and learnt how to interpret the questions and how to solve them quickly.

To go through this complete book, including doing all the sample questions, took me about 20 hours. Ten hours to read the text and summarize it in my own words, and another ten to do all the practice questions and understand the answers. Since this is the first book I picked up I cannot compare it yet. But for coming weeks the “Kaplan GMAT Premier 2011” is on my menu and by then I should be able to make a comparison between those two books.