Took the GMAT today for the 3RD TIME
and finally got a score that I'm reasonably happy with 720 Q80% V95%.
I first took the GMAT this time last year and got a 690 Q73 V91. I was gutted. So close to the 700 mark but SOOO far. I was also a bit annoyed - I felt that the test prep materials that I'd used (princeton review
and a bit of Kaplan
) had given me a false impression of what the GMAT would be like - especially the quant.
I then took it a second time in September this year. I had gone to town on quant and was very comfortable with it. I foolishy did no verbal at all. I got to the test centre and felt like it was going to be a good day! The essays went really well and couldn't believe the amount of b**ls*t I was writing. Then, approximately 5 minutes before I was going to start the quant I just felt a feeling of panick overtake me. My heart was pounding and I began to feel a bit sweaty. I found it difficult to even perform simple arithmetic because I felt so anxious. I did manage to get to the last question (timing had been a problem in practice) so that was one good thing.
Next was the Verbal section. It didn't really feel any different than it did last time and so I thought it'd all gone really well. By the end of the test I hit the "report score" button and had a silent wager that I'd probably just done enough to hit the magic 700. Pauseee.........come on...........it's taking forever.......................6.........6.........0.......660-----WHAT???????
I was mortified. All that work and my score had gone down. I left feeling totally deflated but knew it wouldn't be my last visit.
I resheduled the GMAT for Thursday 14th December. This was it!!! I kept my maths skills up to date and did a fair bit of verbal - 95% sentence correction.
The test day came - I got a better night's sleep than on the other days - I think this is really important. I arrived at the test centre early and reviewed a few of my revision cards. Then, at 2.45 the exam started. The essays went ok but I didn't seem to be able to produce the usual rate of bu**%h%t that I had done previously.
I was just about to start the quant section and it happened again - heart pounding - palms clammy- NOOO!! Please allow me some mental capacity! My anxiety was compounded the thought that I'd already taken the test two previous times and that I couldn't bare face a third. Question that I knew how to deal with seemed impossible - it felt like my thoughts were hitting a wall. I ended up spending far too much time on the first 30 questions and had to just make an educated click on most of the last 7.
I tried to pull myself together and started the verbal. This seemed much better. There were a few really tricky SCs and one or two difficult RCs but generally it seemed to go ok. I got to the end of the exam and was exhausted. I wondered whether I really could do this again (although I would!). I hit the "report score" score button and waited for what I expected would be circa 650..................come on................I think the pause is there to make you squirm........7.........2.........0.......WHAT----YESSSSSS
I couldn't believe it. I was so happy. I instantly got on the phone and told everyone. Nothing could've taken the smile off my face. It is such a great feeling.
Now I've had time to reflect I'm a little disappointed with my Q score and may take it again sometime next year to see how I do when there's no pressure and I'm just doing it for me.
I think it's worth talking about what went wrong the first two times. The first time I was hugely underprepared - particularly on the math side. I understood all of the concepts I'd read but had not really practiced them that much. I think that PR is rubbish.
The second time I'd put all my eggs in one basket and done no verbal - this was a mistake. I think I did this because someone told me that you cant really make much of a difference to your verbal score so it's worth spending more time on quant. Big mistake.
If (and maybe when) I do it again here's what I'd recommend:
1) USE THIS SITE - IT IS BRILLIANT
- the number and variety of questions on here is fantastic and the moderators'regular contributors are just fantastic.
2) Take lots of practice (timed) exams - this is something that I have definitely neglected at all three attempts and would've helped my anxiety a lot. Answering questions under GMAT conditions is SOOOO different to happily musing over them in front of your nice computer at home with a cup of coffee.
3) Books - OG - Is a necessity
- good for SC and quant ok
4) Practice exams - Kaplan
- quant possibly more taxing than the actual GMAT - therefore a great way to prepare.
Powerprep - almost identical to the GMAT but if you've visited this forum once or twice your score will be falsely high because you'll most likely have seen a few of the questions in the forums.
5) Plan ahead - figure out how much time you're going to devote to revision - then DOUBLE it!! The GMAT is a fierce test and you really need to be sharp. There's no substitute for practice. This last test I've basically spent every hour that I'm not working (which isn't many since I'm a surgical resident) doing GMAT revision. I even kept little revision cards in my pocket at work so I could brush up on some formula on the train or when I had a spare five minutes.
6) Dont give up!!! I truly knew that I could get above 700 and it was worth the effort.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone on this forum for all their help. I really do believe that this has been the single most useful preparation tool out of all the books and websites that I've visited.
Now can I join the 700 club?????