I passed the GMAT this Monday and got 690 points (46Q/38V).
I want to share some experience of my GMAT taking.
I started in mid November from studying the GMAT course. Beside that, I basically used Kaplan
materials and 'Challenges' for the Q. I have passed Kaplan
CAT tests in December-January and was very dissatisfied with their results of 520-590 points. However, I was told that they are a bad prediction of my actual score so I then tried only GMAT preps. My GMAT preps ranged (I made 7 or 8) from as low as 650 to as high as 770 (many verbal repeats, so not indicative). My 'challenges' results were ranged in 15%-90% percentiles depepnding on my concentration and the surrounding. However, I would always do more than 20 correct answers.
After several months of preparation, I took the test on February, 28 and got a dissappointing 590 (Q46/V24). I attribute such verbal result to many mistakes in the beginning since after 3 or 4 correct answer to SC and CR questions I got a very tough RC where I possibly got almost all questions wrong. I knew that this was not indicative and that I coud do much better so I purchased the OG11
and continued to work. I should confirm that this book is a must for all takers and its RC passages together with SC explanations helped me greatly.
After a week of study I made an appointment in Chicago (the center in my city was full until end of April), where I had to go for business purposes and went on preparing.
I arrived in Chicago on the 4th and had to dedicate myself to meetings so there was no time for preparation for GMAT. Becides, I had a jet lag so I actually couldn't sleep well the night before the G-day (some influence of the nerves, too). I actually slept for 2 hours and came to the test 'square-headed'. I started well but have lost the concentration quite soon and had to put enourmous effort in each problem to remain concentrated. Because of lack of concentration I ran out of time both in Q and V and had to guess 2 last questions in each section. I supposed that I didn't do as bad as the previous time because of the tough, time-consuming questions in the middle of the test, however, I expected something like 650 to appear and was rather surprised with my 690.
For the people who are still waiting for their GMAT time I want to say: beware of the first 10-15 questions. If you don't do them well, cancel the score if you don't want it to be in a 500 level. But it is definetely better to spend more time solving them. Spend up to 3 mins per question, if needed, they are worth that. If you have a difficult RC passage, spend even more.
Waiting for my official results with the AWA score, I am a bit biased of whether this score will be enough for the top-tier b-schools in Europe or US. I would appreciate comments on this matter from the gurus. I read that as long as you get 680 or higher B-schools do not really care about your score and rather pay attention to essays, CV and other issues. I targeted 700+ and think that I can reach 710-720 in the oprimal condition but is that worth spending the time? Do these extra 10-20-30 scores really matter for the adcom? I mean that I still need time for the Toefl and other things than the GMAT. What's your idea?
I would be glad to share some more experience and would appreciate any comment on the score...