Took the test yesterday, scored 610 Q36 V40.
My first reaction was of bitter disappointment, because as you might have read above the last mock I took was 700 Q44 V41.
Then I calmed down a little bit and realized where I was at: the whole point of retaking is improving, right? my highest official score was 560, now replaced by 610. I improved by 50 points, there is absolutely no reason to beat myself over the idea that I could have done better. It's just pointless.How did I prepare
I started studying back in october; because of very difficult familiar and economic conditions I knew I would have needed a bit more than three months. I ignored all the previous preparation I had done in april/may 2012, and just restarted from scratch going thru the Manhattan quantitative guides first, eventually using Mgmat Math foundations
for the harder sections.
For every chapter I would do the related official problems and then search the club for alternative explanations, whether I got the question right or wrong. Al the times and percentages were reported using Manhattan's OG Archer Lite.First Advice
Use the OG Archer Lite if you need to know specifically where you are weak and how's your basic time management.
December 18th I took the first full length mock test since August and scored 630 Q38 V37. (Manhattan CAT 2)
Math was never my strong point, as you can see. Second Advice
Take Manhattan's scores with a pinch of salt; they are pretty accurate (give or take 30 points) but it looks to me they might be a bit more benevolent than the actual gmat. To be honest I am not even sure Q38 V37 results in a 630 on the actual Gmat.
I took a couple more weeks to refine the quant section and then tackled Verbal until the middle of January.
New mock test ( Manhattan CAT 3) on January 18th 690 Q42 V41.
Quant's percentile was still somewhat disappointing but the overall score was balanced and a nice improvement from the original 560.Let's make it official...or maybe not
A couple days later I fell sick; still, I had to attend to my everyday job, so it took my body nearly 10 days to get back its energies. New problems presented themselves at my door and it became increasingly difficult to keep focus.
Let me just put it like this: It is difficult to wonder what "the main purpose of the passage" is when someone you love is crying bitter tears in the next room.
I had planned to take the official test on the beginning of February, no matter what. Now I was starting to question myself.
Another week went by and I could never find the time or the focus to take a new full length mock test; I kept doing question banks (usually 20 questions in 40 minutes or less) and reviewing each and everyone.
February 8th I finally took the horn by the bulls and took Gmatprep test 1 and scored 580 Q34 V35.
I gave up; just like that. I had been in the same exact place the year before; the same exact steps. I just said "this is beyond my capabilities in this environment".The final rush
One week and a half later I fought back: took a one week leave from work and said to myself to go through with it, whatever the cost.
Hell, I thought, I can not let this test break me down. Matter of fact, there is nothing else I would rather do in this moment.
Went through all the the official verbal problems I could in 6 days, everyday from 8:00 to 22:00. SC the first three days, CR the next two and RC the last.Third Advice
It might help you, especially if you are a non-native, do similar full immersion in the verbal problems. I found it to be the fastest way to develop a knack for the way the Gmat reasons; it also boost your verbal score temporarily; at least it did for me.
The next 2 days I took the GmatClub tests
averaging Q40, maybe more, maybe less.
Final mock test Gmatprep 2 700 Q44 V41.
This gave me enough confidence to schedule the exam for two days later.
The test center closest to me is more than 400 miles far away so I had to travel about 7 hours the day before the test.Test Day
I was as nervous as I have ever been, I had slept less than six intermittent hours but I wanted to get it over with.
The Gmat has been in my thoughts for so long that I wanted to get rid of it, one way or the other.
During the first half of the quant section I was still tense and a couple of times I even found myself distracted. One thing I was happy with was my time management.Fourth Advice
Do not have an overly rigid timing scheme; personally I found it helpful to stay as close as possible to the two minutes mark, but in any case never give up on a question or rush it before the clock has hit the full minute; for example, if I find an easy question that I can solve in 1 minute and 23 seconds, I do not confirm until another 37 seconds have passed and I use that time reviewing all the possible mistakes I might have done because of the speed.
I messed up during the official test, but this time management system has helped me many many times.
After the quant I took the break, splashed water on my face, stretched my legs and forced myself to focus. I knew I was losing it, I knew I was feeling the pressure of everything that had happened between me and the Gmat.
That horrible 490 still in back of my head, like a nightmare.
Sat down again and actually shook my head a couple of times to keep focus. And then I just did the verbal as good as I can.
I honestly found it to be slightly harder then how it might appear on the OG.
You have completed your exam, press "yes I want to report the scores" and feel the heart bumping in your chest like you are jumping from a cliff.
610. Less then what I wanted, more than what I had. My arriving point, for now. A certified proof that resilience in the end pays.Fifth Advice
Never give up. You can live with the pain of a 490 and then come back and amend it a little bit with a 610. But the pain of thinking "what if I had kept going?" never goes away.
I am a bit tired from the last couple of days right now, that is way my debrief is lacking a lot of info about practical aspects; but the club is full of great guys and debriefs that can teach you how to deal efficiently with overlapping sets more that I can.
If you have any specific question just ask and I'll answer as soon as I can.
Right now I just hope this story means something to someone out there who might be traveling through the same muddy waters this test sometimes puts us in.
And to all the guys here that kept me going.... THANK YOU! To give you a measure of how important it is for me, just know that I never met another gmat test taker in person; never ever.
"The Burnout" - My Debrief
Kudos if I helped you