I thought I would post up my thoughts on the GMAT and solicit opinions regarding a retake given my goals- any opinion is welcome!
First off- I found the real test to be easier and less taxing than any of the practice tests I took (Kaplan
cd x2, GMATPrep x4, Manhattan GMAT
). Perhaps it was the lovely noise canceling headphones or the fact that the screen was easier for me to read, compared to the tests taken at home, but I was very comfortable. Even the notorious noteboards were ok- I thought they were even better than using paper and pencil like I had been at home. When I finished I didnt feel like a truck had run over me- which was a good sign
My timing was excellent.... because I was relaxed. I actually enjoyed taking the test!
I started this process on January 12- my first GMATPrep was a dismal 510 (29Q, 32V), indicating that I truly needed to work on timing, basics, and understanding the background of the test. I used the following materials:
2) Princeton Crack the GMAT (only because I had bought it the previous year-useful for basic strat, but generally useless!)
3) Kaplan Premier
2008 (because the library had it)
My practice tests scores rose as I became more fluent in the test material:
Jan 12: 29Q, 32V - 510 (GMATPrepI)
Jan 23: 31Q, 34V - 540 (GMATPrepII)
Feb 04: 34Q, 43V - 600 (Kaplan
online, NOT a CAT)
March 05: 36Q, 35V- 590 (GMATPrepI)
March 16: 26Q, 30V- 530 (Kaplan
CAT from 2008)
March 23: 41Q, 40V - 670 (MGMAT I)
March 29: 38Q, 37V - 620 (GMATPrepII)
Marsh 31: 38Q, 41V - 650 GMAT
I hit a wall at one point in my preparations with number properties and should have addressed the issue more with the proper MGMAT book
, however I was foolish to think I had the info necessary to correct the problem. I did have a large number of these questions, but nothing insane like I saw on the last GMATPrep test (questions about final exponents etc). I didnt get NEARLY as many geometry, average, rate, work, mixture, or such questions as I would have liked on the GMAT. That test really DOES know how to exploit your weaknesses!
Looking back, I should have worked the OG12
more- the gentleman who posted yesterday about his score after 4 weeks was right- the questions are almost ALL permutations of the OG questions. I recognized more than a few of them. However... I got sidetracked into thinking I needed to work problems from different sources, like Kaplan
, and that did not help me at all and may have actually hindered me. Prep is all about sifting through the available information on what is likely to work, and then making it work for you. Kaplan
questions, while they stretched my brain, were very frustrating and in the end the way they are written is dissimilar to what you see on the real test. Sticking with OG, and maybe picking up the OG Math, would have been my best bet.
Also- as much as I love this community and have spent hours pouring over all the information and becoming more informed than I ever could have hoped about applications and the test and how to work problems, at some point I had to not come on here. I found myself becoming too wrapped up in comparisons and needlessly worrying about the difficulty of the test based on the observations of others. This is a wonderful, invaluable resource, which I have already recommended to two other friends prepping for their GMATs, but for me I needed to pay attention to what I was doing and not how others were succeeding or failing
Finally: My dilemma
1) I am applying R3 to Wisconsin School of Business for Fall '10 in the market research specialization. I can only attend if I receive merit funding (doled out based on GPA, GMAT, work experience). I have no idea what algorithm they are using to determine worthy recipients, but 680 was the GMAT most often bandied about - hence my disappointment. Otherwise I am right in the middle in terms of GMAT and GPA., and top end with 8 years work experience.
2) If I do not go to Wisconsin this fall, then I would delay the MBA to fall of '11 or '12 and take a one year program in the UK or Europe. Preferences would go to Warwick or Imperial in the UK, INSEAD in France, or perhaps Copenhagen or Rotterdam (havent looked closely at those programs). Honestly I am far more excited about the UK programs (especially Warwick as they have a graduate degree primarily for optimization, which is something I just love to do), and given my personal life, we are likely to remain Europe-side for a while. The 650 is enough for some of those programs, but not others.
So... do I take a few weeks off, start up again and then retake the GMAT, having sorted my issues with number properties and hammered the OQ12 until it cried mercy, or do I accept the 650 and move on in life? What assumption am I making in this argument?