***Note: I'm going to flesh out the prep studying habits/tips this weekend, but I wanted to get the GMAT experience out on paper while it was still fresh in my mind.
I sat for the GMAT less than 24 hours ago at the Pearson Vue testing facility in Princeton, New Jersey. Incidentally, the testing room looked identical to the thread posted within the past few days of what to expect at the testing center. Cubicles with everyone with sound-dampening headphones
May 2010 -- Knewton Test #1: 580 (Q42,V28)
Real GMAT -- December 15, 2010, 2:15pm EST
710 (92%), 49Q (86%)
, 38V (83%)
Most important to me was that I hit the 80/80 percentiles in both subjects, especially quantitative as I do not come from a quantitative background (and in fact did quite poorly back in my freshman year calculus courses).
First, I just wanted to thank GMATclub and everyone here for all of their great insight on this board, without which I could have never accomplished my goal of joining the 700 club.
Some Background for perspective:
-- I'm old (34yo).
--Native english speaker
--Was always a math dork in grade school. Competed in math competitions as I thought that was fun, etc. In hindsight, I can't believe I was such a dweeb, but hey, at the time I thought I was co
--I basically hadn't done any real math in school or in real life for the past 15 years.
-- I have always hated reading "for fun". I absolutely despise it. What's fun about reading a book when I could watch ESPN
Despite this, I have always excelled at reading comprehension, but have never done well on grammar or analogies or anything like that.
--Like many US students I was never properly taught English grammar in school (I think many foreign students actually might be at an advantage as they are taught specific rules, etc., and are more focused on actually learning the rules). As a result of not really doing a lot of extra reading, I never really picked up the sort of "ear" that I should for it.
--I performed horribly in my first academic year of undergrad (16 years ago of course), getting something like a 1.5 GPA, which can be attributed to never attending class.
--I have a J.D. from a large public school ranked by USNews in the top 20-40 range.
First Prep Test: Knewton #1: 580 (Q42,V28).
The shocking thing is that on the verbal, I actually did well on the RC and CR, and still got the 28. The problem was that I got about 45% correct on the SC. I reviewed my answers and it was no fluke. My knowledge and reasoning in this area was absolutely horrible. Note that by the time I was done with my prep, I was consistently getting 85%+ on SC. Not perfect by any means, but since I felt I could consistently get 90% on RC+CR, just getting SC into the same ballpark was a complete victory for me.
MGMAT OG Companion (awesome resource, btw...in particular, i found it invaluable for DS questions. After each and every question I would review how the OG Companion set it up)
MGMAT Individual Study Guides 1-5
(Only did Sentence Correction)
Aristotle SC Grail (Awesome)
GMAT Grammar Book (Awesome)MGMAT Sentence Correction
(great book, but IMHO too dense at the beginning...it is a great addition to review after going through something like Aristotle, IMHO)
****Note: Sentence Correction was almost my sole focus here. CR/RC I knew would be relatively easy for me.
Test Day: Wednesday December 15, 2010 2:15pm -- Princeton, New Jersey
I'm not a morning person, so I scheduled in the afternoon.
I actually did a fair amount of "easy" studying before the exam. I like to get my brain warmed up for this sort of thing. So from about 9am to 1pm, I did a combination of skim through a couple outlines I had prepared (one for math, one for SC), and did 10 DS questions, 5 CR questions, and 20 SC questions to get all my neurons firing.
I got to the Pearson Vue center around 1:40 (it said to get there 30 minutes early). The place is locked down tighter than the CIA I think. I got palm printed and a digital picture taken. Each time I went from one room to another, they retook a palm print. It was crazy.
I actually started the exam a few minutes before 2pm as it didn't take that long to get everything set up, etc.
I never really did anything with it. I figured that with 3 years of law school I could just "wing" it
I found it easy enough, but my time management was absolutely horrible. I fleshed out the body paragraphs but the intro and conclusion paragraphs were sparse to say the least as i was literally down to the last second on each exam. Of course, I'm not really at all concerned about it.
[As a comparison, my last Prep test was GMATPrep #1 about 7 days before the real GMAT, in which I scored 46Q, and I took the GMATclub Math Test #1 and scored a whopping 27/37 53% 3 days before the real GMAT.]
Overall, I thought the math section was very
straightforward. Although the first GMATclub math test is mentioned by many to be the easiest of the lot, I thought that the GMATclub test #1 was quite a bit more difficult than the Quant on the real section.
In particular, my Quant thoughts:
-- time management has always been an issue for me on exams, ever since I have been about 5yo I think. I could side tracked and spent too much time on a couple of questions in the middle of the exam and had to fight my way back. But, I was able to get back on full pace with 5 questions to go and completed with adequate time to finish the last question.
-- not too many super tricky questions. In fact, there was only one that caused my considerable problems and I am pretty sure I got wrong.
--the tricky question that had me stumped and caused me to spend way too much time on the question, and I still probably got it wrong anyways was..... one of those stupid "arrange these items from lowest to highest value". These seem like they should be so easy but they always seem to stump me by making them quite difficult. For this one, you had three different roots (something like one square root, one 5th root, and one 8th root), and you had to rank them. BUT, none of them had integer roots, and in fact there didn't seem like there was any clean way to simplify the roots to do some sort of apples to apples to comparison. I really didn't see anyway to do it without my TI calculator, yet I still wasted 5 minutes on it.
--There were two overlapping set questions. One PS, which had 3 sets but really wasn't that difficult. You are given an overall total number, total numbers for each set, and the number that was in all 3 sets, and had to supply them with how many were in 2 sets in total. Another was a two set DS question that was quite easy.
-- There were several RTD/RTW questions, but IMHO all very straightforward. Almost all of them were DS too, so you never actually had to calculate values, you just had to figure out whether you could calculate a value.
--Most amazingly, I didn't get any question that I would have classified as really difficult word translation type problems (whether RTD/RTW, revenue/cost increase, price increase, etc.). In fact, in the PS questions, I didn't encounter any questions with convoluted variables that you had to work in. There were no situations with 5 people, with information on their ages 5 years in the past, 2 years in the past, today, and 4 years in the future, etc. It was all pretty much ABC stuff.
--Overall, I thought the DS was pretty straightforward. DS was my biggest weakness. On the GMATClub test, I got tripped up by many of the DS questions which were pretty much "trick" type questions. IMHO, there wasn't much of that on the real thing. There might have been 1 or 2 that I could see the trap they were setting, but otherwise I was pretty comfortable with the questions.
--IMHO, the last question on the exam was amazingly easy. I mean, maybe it was experimental, I don't know, but it shocked me. Basically, you had to figure out the weighted average between 2 numbers (I guess you had to be able to read a pie chart...maybe that makes it difficult
), and the question used "smart" numbers so you could pretty much just calculate the weighted average in your head (e.g., what is the weighted average of 20 and 40, if the 20 is weighted 25% and the 40 is weighted 75%).
--In the Question 5-10 range, I got a slew of what I thought were really hard/crazy questions. Maybe I got the first 4 correct, and the questions just escalated in difficulty very quickly, maybe there were some experimental questions in there, who knows. I don't think I have ever been stumped by a RC question my life. I get some wrong sure, but I never go "WTF". Well, that happened to me on a RC question. The passage didn't seem overtly difficult, but the question seemed just off the wall. Also got a couple of crazy CR questions in this mix. Needless to say, this threw me for a loop near the beginning of the text. I almost thought about quitting the exam and just walking out after this.
-- Just like with the Math, I got a bit behind in the middle of the exam. What typically happens is I get ahead of pace, and then slow down too much, and get behind.
--I got stock on several SC questions, but that is the norm with my SC abilities
So why do you have to fill out the bio info AFTER the exam? I mean, can't they just give us the score right then and there
I filled out the bio info. Then you come to the screen where you have 120 seconds to decide if you want to accept. I clicked "accept."
THEN, it took what was probably the longest 10 seconds of my life to compute the score:
710 (92%): Q49(86%), V38(83%)
I literally did a fist pump into the air at this point.
Not only did I get the 700+, but I hit broke the 80/80 breakdown with a pretty even split.
Now, I have to get busy with my applications due in 20 days
Thanks again everyone for making this a great board.