Just took the GMAT this morning and wanted to share my experience. This may be my first post, but I have been reading the forum for a few weeks now.
A little background:
I started casually looking at some material (mostly just the warm-up questions in my Princeton Review
2003 book) about 1-1.5 months ago. A couple of weeks ago I started hitting the library a couple times/week. I took the full length PowerPrep I test and scored a 490. After working some problems the remainder of that weekend, a few problems during the week, reading the Princeton Review
book and hitting the library this past weekend, I took two practice tests:
CD (GMAT Adaptive Test I): 580 (35Q,35V)
PowerPrep Test II: 570 (37Q,31V)
TEST TIME: 9am this morning
I arrived early and they allowed me to start 45 minutes before my scheduled time, which was nice.
To be honest, I blew off the essays. Since the important parts of the exam are the Quant & Verbal, I figured I would wing the essays. They gave me two topics that actually challenged me to come up with more than a couple valid points on each side of the argument. Anywho, I tossed a few coherent thoughts down and moved on to the important part!
The quant started off pretty well. I thought I was really doing well and recognized most of the problems from my practice....then came my archnemesis...the DATA SUFFICIENCY PROBLEMS! I am convinced my low Quant. score is a direct result of these little *%#*$#. In my practice tests, I did much better on the quantitative section. However, I still felt that the problems in the actual GMAT were VERY similar to those in the PowerPrep software. For the problems that required solving a problem, I found I had ample time to use POE in the event I didn't know the algebraic solution.
I scored better on the verbal than I thought I did (96th percentile). I think this section was pretty typical of what I expected. There was only one really long passage in the RC and the SC problems were pretty straight forward (for the most part). Of course, there were some difficult questions, but that was expected. I didn't study idioms every day for a year or anything like that. I just went off of reading what to look for in general from the Princeton Review
book and my general knowledge of every day language. In most cases, the TV news anchor, teacher or Priest may not say it correctly in every day use, but I could pick out which one sounds the best on a computer screen!
Overall, I am pleased with my results. You get what you put in and I put in some effort for a month or two and a decent amount of effort for two weeks. In weighing time versus score, I'll take my 610.
I would definitely recommend reading a Princeton Review
or some other type of guide. It really helped in identifying problem types (especially in the verbal section). I also felt the PowerPrep problems were pretty representative of the actual GMAT problems.
Hope this helps. This is a really great forum for prospective GMAT test takers.