My posts here have been somewhat limited, but I wanted to share my GMAT experience. I took the test today and got a 740 (48Q, 45V).
I started studying about seven weeks ago for the GMAT, and overall I'm pretty happy with my score. I'm more happy, however, knowing that I don't have to study for the GMAT any more
I registered for the GMAT on July 18th, for a September 3rd test date. I wanted to pick a date early enough that I could retake in time for Round 1 applications, just in case I needed that option. After a few days deliberating, I ordered the Manhattan GMAT
online self-paced study package (just like the live online 9-week classes, except there are no classes to go to). It arrived around July 23rd, and from there I basically followed the self-guided study syllabus that they give you. I only had seven full weeks to study instead of nine, but I had fortunately scheduled a vacation for the second week of August. Every day of vacation (except the last--I had to take at least one day to sit on the beach) I stayed in the vacation house studying while everyone else went to the beach. I managed to cover about 3 weeks of material in that way over my vacation.
I'm pretty happy about my purchase of the MGMAT course and would definitely recommend it to anyone studying for the GMAT. I found all of the books useful, quant more so than verbal, although I was pretty strong in verbal to begin with. I really liked the OG tracker that they give you along with their online OG timer- it makes it easy to create an error log
to review later. I think I did about 300 total OG questions.
The MGMAT package also included a license for GMAT write, which is basically a product offered by Pearson that will give you one full AWA prompt and grade your essay responses with the same computer grader used on the real GMAT. Obviously, your essays on the real GMAT will be reviewed by a person as well, but it's nice to get an idea of where you are with the essays. My practice for AWA consisted basically of doing this GMAT write one day as part of one of my test simulations, and that was it. It will be interesting to see how my real AWA score compares to the 6.0 the computer simulator gave me.
Here's a history of my practice test scores.
MGMAT CAT #1: (Diagnostic: 7/17/10) 630, Q40, V36
MGMAT CAT #2: (8/3/10) 680 Q43, V39
MGMAT CAT #3: (8/15/10) 730, Q45 V44
GMAT Prep #1: (8/28/10) 760, Q50, V44
MGMAT CAT #4: (8/31/10) 710, Q45 V42
As far as the actual test day experience goes, I scheduled myself for an 8:00am test, since I tend to be a morning person. I got up at 5:00am and wisely skipped my morning coffee, since by the time I arrived at the test center at 7:00am I was already a bundle of nerves. The test center did not open until 7:30am, so I waited around with a few others. The test center staff were very friendly and professional, and got us all checked in and testing by 7:50am.
My analysis of an argument question was about a breakfast cereal company that wanted to improve its sales by redesigning the box. I always find these prompts easier that that analysis of an issue essays, so I had lots of examples of argument flaws. My analysis of an issue was about whether a student's learning is more impacted by his teacher or his peers. My problem with these essays is always finding relevant examples to talk about- particularly when the question is about an issue that doesn't really interest me. I was able to think of a few examples and got that essay, like the first one, finished with about 30 seconds to spare.
My break was without incident, but in the middle of the second quant question, the power went out in the center. The staff did not seem rattled by this- I've seen something like this mentioned in other people's posts on this forum, so I'm wondering if this is a common Pearson problem? Actually, I was very glad that I had read about this happening before, and it not affecting your test, etc., because I was able to stay very calm when it did happen. I felt like I paced myself reasonably well throughout the quantitative section- I usually have trouble running out of time. I had about 2 minutes left for the last question, which I unfortunately had to guess on, because I couldn't see a way to solve it without lengthy computations. One thing I'm wondering about: I had selected my answer for the last question but hadn't pushed the next button when the time expired- I hope that my last answer was counted and not considered blank.
My second break was also without incident- actually I was very happy that the test administrator gave me priority over other test takers signing in/signing out because I was on a timed break and they weren't. I got back to start verbal about 5 seconds late, which I didn't stress about since I always have plenty of time in verbal. I got a ton of sentence correction questions, about 15 or 16, as opposed to 13 RC and only about 11-12 CR questions. I finished with about 4 minutes to spare. I have to say, the MGMAT RC
book has a lot of great strategies for diagramming a passage, and that book taught me to slow down on RC and verbal generally, which contributed significantly to my verbal score increases.
Sorry for the lengthy post- hope someone else finds this helpful, and good luck to everyone still studying!
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