I just wanted to share my GMAT experience.
I started studying for the GMAT at the end of August. I didn't remember much math from college and wanted a refresher in the basics before test prep. I got a book on algebra (Practical Algebra) and a book on geometry from the library and started studying. I went through the two books pretty quickly and felt like I was ready for the prep course.
I chose Princeton Review because the price and schedule were right. It was a 4 week course meeting 2x/week for 3 hours at a time. The course was okay but if I had to do it again I'd spring for Manhattan. Still, I learned some pretty good techniques and I began to feel confident. I took PR, Kaplan
, Manhattan and GMAC tests in addition to using the OG in conjunction with PR classes.Here are my practice test scores:
9/11/2011 - 590 - Princeton
9/14/2011 - 680 - GMAC - My laptop died during this test and I had to take the second half of it the next day, so I considered this score a fluke since I was fresher for the verbal portion.
9/18/2011 - 610 - Princeton
9/24/2011 - 640 - Princeton
9/25/2011 - 650 - Manhattan
10/5/2011 - 570 - Princeton - This was tough to swallow, I took this practice at night after a 10 hour workday but it was still disheartening
10/08/2011 - 630 - Kaplan
- Maybe it was being tired from a week of late night studying, but this one was HARD!
10/09/2011 - 640 - GMAC - I didn't think this was too bad for the 2nd of back-to-back tests
Work was getting busy and the late weeknight study sessions were getting less productive. I decided that I was going to 1) stop taking practice tests a week before the exam and 2) stop trying to build up my weaknesses and focus only on my strengths.
I took yesterday off work, got a massage and went for a walk to watch the changing foliage. I ate a meal at my favorite restaurant and relaxed all day. I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. I was expecting around 650 based on my practice test track record.
I know most people don't do better than their practice exams when test day rolls around, but I am one of the exceptions. I got a 690! Better than any of my practice exams! I would have liked to crack 700, but I'm still very happy with my score! I am pretty good under pressure and I think that really helped me focus. I didn't mind guessing as much on the practice tests, whereas today I was just so focused that I didn't need to guess very much. If a door closed on a quant problem, I did my best to figure out how to open a window to get to the right answer.
I'm in the Midwest and I am thinking about Booth, Kellogg, Fisher & Kelley among others. I know some of those schools will be tough with a 690, but I think I have a well-rounded app with some great work experience. I'm still trying to determine which school might be the right fit and now I have the time to figure that out.
In the past week I've been burnt-out, stressed-out and feeling like I would not do well on my tests. My prep was essentially 6 weeks and I raised my score by 100 points while working ~50 hrs/wk. I really think game day focus helped out a lot. I know a 100 point increase is not unusual when you're starting at 590, but I thought this would be a good story for anyone who is getting burnt-out from studying.