I just wanted to thank everyone who has posted to share their experiences - I'm posting to give hope to others out there who might have been in my situation.
I took the GMAT in September after a good amount of preparation consisting of:
-Nova Press GMAT book
2003 book and CD
GMAT CourseBook I got from a friend
PowerPrep1: 690 (47Q, 38V)
I was content with the quant, but thought I could do better on the verbal, so I did some more studying and then took the next PowerPrep.
PowerPrep2: 760 (49Q, 45V)
I was happy with this number, and went to take the actual test hoping to score some between my practice scores, between 690-760.
The test was AWFUL. I ran out of time in BOTH sections, something that had never happened in any of the practice exams. I ended up not answering the last question on math, and on verbal I skipped an entire RC because I had no time. Why did I run out of time on this test and not on the practice? To me, the questions on the real one were much harder. The ones I could do took more time, and there were a lot that I had trouble with. PP1 and PP2 were pretty easy for the most part and I always finished with a lot of time. The real GMAT was much more difficult. My scores showed up as 690, and I was upset. I was shooting for 700+. Now, we all know there's really no difference between 690 and 700, but unfortunately admissions committees feel differently. So, I decide to schedule another exam.
I thought I had prepared as well as I could, but I knew I had to try some more practice - so I ordered the OG 11th Edition and downloaded GMAT Prep. I took GMATPrep1 and got a 750 and didn't take GMATPrep2. On the OG, I went through the diagnostic test - I thought the math was a little tricky, though the verbal was pretty easy. I didn't look at the CR or RC sections of the book, though I did go through SC. I spent the majority of my time on quant, going through the 250 PS and 150 DS questions and trying to understand all of them. I also went back to the Kaplan
CD and did all the quant tests that remained - including the quant sections of the remaining 3 CATs. I found Kaplan
's verbal to be horrendous, so I didn't bother.
Anyway, test day was this morning. The test was like the PowerPreps - the questions weren't particularly difficult. I had one probability question that I couldn't do, so I guessed. Everything else was basic algebra or number theory - there was nothing difficult on this exam. I finished Q with a few minutes remaining. I finished V with about 15 minutes remaining.
So, to all those out there who think they got screwed over on the GMAT - sign up and take it again!! My experience shows that the test is not always consistent, so you can really improve!