This is my first post, so I thought I would start with my GMAT experience.
I gave my first GMAT at the end of October and scored a 600 on it.
I was not ready for the exam at all, I was very nervous, couldn't sleep the night before.
All this resulted me in going through the exam really fast as equalled a bad score.
Post this, after beating myself up inside, I picked myself up for another attempt.
Scheduled the test for the closest date in December I could find, which was a week.
My quant was always good so I did not concentrate on it much, rather I concentrated on verbal improving my accuracy to as high as possible and also planing a strategy for RC which would help me in understanding the passage better. This lead to just doing 100 quant questions besides the ones that came up during the mocks.
But being lazy as always, I did a lot of resting as well. Nonetheless I managed to give 10 mock tests. 4 in the last week along with a total of 1000 questions.
Since I had exhausted a lot of question banks in my earlier attempt, besides OG13 I did not repeat any of them and found more sources online. (Long live google, helping exam takers since forever)
Mocks sources: GMATprep, Manhattan, Kaplan
, GMATpill, GMATclub, Veritas
, GmatPrep 2 again.
On D-day, I was nervous again, mostly because of fear of failure and time running out for applications.
I had a mug of strong black coffee before leaving for the test centre, and read the AWA notes I gathered from GMATclub on the way to the test centre.
I also carried a can of Red Bull and my earphones with my mobile.
Before I entered the test centre, and after I had finished going through the notes as best I could, I listened to a track ,that I thought would calm me down, twice.
Now this is how the test went,
AWA: Even though I had read the notes less than an hour ago, I had already started forgetting the pointers. So before I forgot everything, I just wrote down a few key words before I started reading the argument. The keywords mostly including the words that can be use to better show the flow of the essay than ordinary words like first, second, to conclude, etc.
The essay had 5 big paras, and would have been around 600/700 words. But somehow I managed to write so much that I left with no time to proof read and I finished the last para with 20 seconds left on the clock.
IR: I tried to give it with the maximum enthusiasm, but in the end I refrained from using much of my brains. Mostly because I did not want a headache during verbal like I did last time.
1st break: Went to the loo, washed my face and had the can of redbull. I also closed my eyes and kept my head down, mostly to rest my eyes.
Quant: I cant sey much of this except that I approached questions without looking at the time. Which was a problem in the end, as like last time, I ended up with just 5 minutes for the last 7 questions. This resulted in a worse score than one which could have been achieved. Strangely this problem never occurred during any of the mocks.
2nd Break: Same as before, except for the redbull, which I thankfully ran out of
Verbal: This was the section I was most scared of. And to add to the problem, the excess caffeine in my body finally reached my brain, making me feel on the edge. During SC questions, I applied whichever rules I could remember. During CR, I read the question, read the argument and answered. If I couldn't reach an answer, I made notes about the argument by reading it again and answered as best I could. During RC, I got 4 of them, if I recall correctly. For the short ones, I didnt bother to make any notes and read it twice if there was a need. Mostly paced myself and answered a question. During the longer passages, I made notes as fast as possible but it increased my understanding of the passage greatly. After which I answered the question. Due to high caffeine, I was unsure about almost every answer I gave, and felt I was going wrong in every one of them. I finished with 4 minutes to spare.
I'm not sure if it was my prep, or the caffeine which helped me through the exam, but whatever it was I'm glad for a 100 point improvement.
I'm sure I could have done a lot better if I had enough time in Quant, but I'm sure I cannot do better in verbal. So I am going to refrain from taking a 3rd attempt.
So, despite my limited knowledge, the advice I would give is:
1. Use the GMAT prep software to your advantage, after all it uses the exact algorithm of the real exam.
2. Practice a couple of AWA essays on the last day.
3. Make sure you give a pearson test on the last day.
4. Follow the AWA guidelines from GMATclub
The test is more about mental stamina than about knowledge, so practice, practice, practice.
Next step: I feel Im too late to apply to the major colleges despite a good score. Unsure if I should even bother with Fall 2014. Working on the applications nonetheless.