1) Your score is directly proportional to the score of the company you keep!
Well to elucidate my point I must tell you how and how much do your friends who appear for GMAT alongside contribute to finalising a target score. In my case I feel this was an integral factor. I was continuously in touch with my friends who scored 760, 740, another 760 etc. Going back to when I was beginning my preparation for GMAT I had a target score of 720. But when I spoke to these guys and there accomplishments a 750 sounded plausible and I elevated my target to 750. Now the question remains, what changes when you change your target. Well, everything. The moment you realise that 750 is not inhuman you have changed the gear of your preparation.
2) Neat and Tidy study
I usually find some guys on forums trying to get their hands on every possible preparation material. While, practice does make a man perfect, wasting extra time on brushing the same thing has its own opportunity costs and it also means that you are just skimming every material. Above all, its really important to use only good sources of practice, failing which you might end up messing with your concepts and practicing something totally beyond GMAT. I tailored my practice as per my requirement. My quant was always strong and hence verbal was the one to be taken seriously. I therefore chose the study materials one by one as I progressed in my preparation. I never made a list of books. I gauged my learning after I was done with a practice material and on the basis of that chose the next. Here, is what I used for my preparations in the chronological order:
Manhattan - SC
Aristotle SC Grail
Verbal Review 2nd Edition
3) Mocks are precious
Mock tests are like coal. They are non-renewable and will, unlike coal, deplete sooner than you imagine. So, use mocks very diligently. You cannot afford to use them as practice materials. They are not. They only help you measure your current level. Also, never underestimate the impact of pressure in your actual exam. So, make sure you don't give your mocks, sipping a chocolate shake (I just love them) and pausing to use a loo. You won't have that luxury in the real test, so why here! Infact, there is a higher probability of developing an urge to use a washroom during your actual GMAT. Hold it. Or better take preventive steps. Analyse your progress. Most of you want to take up consulting jobs after MBA, why not start analysing the graphs and trends from now. I drew a graph on my mirror using a temporary marker, and after every mock I updated it. I took the following mocks in the same chronological order:
GMAT Prep 1 : 700
Manhattan 1 : 620 (ooh that hurt!)
Manhattan 2 : 690
Manhattan 3 : 700
Manhattan 4 : 710
Manhattan 5 : 720
GMAT Prep 2 : 750
Manhattan 6 : 740
Kaplan 1 : 760
Real stuff: 740 (Q-50, V-40)
So, what really happened in Manhattan 1? I was shocked, how badly I managed time. That was a big takeaway and the scores soared.
4) What else
While you are doing all the stuff I mentioned above always remember that forums are such great sources of information like nothing else. I broadly used two forums: GMAT Club and Beat The Gmat. I subscribed to Beat the Gmat's daily verbal question and they were really helpful. I used GMAT Club to understand the mistakes I made in GMATPrep verbal section. I prepared for around 6 months, while working.
All this and a cool mind makes Jack a GMAT conqueror.