Just wanted to provide a quick writeup of my GMAT experience, now that it is over.Procrastinating T- 3 Months
I’d decided that I would start studying for the GMAT sometime in late June, however things always got in the way of actual studying. You could say that I was making excuses for not taking the test, long story short. It was about 5 weeks before test date that my materials had all been purchased.
The one thing that I would emphasize is that the FIRST thing that you should do is set yourself a GMAT test date. Not just mentally in your head, but confirm and pay for a test date at a testing center. This will allow you to make the appropriate arrangements, ensure that your preferred center has space, and prevent you from justifying slippage in dates with various excuses.
Prime is your friend. Free trial of 2 day shipping allowed me to get my material in relatively quickly without having to wait for shipping. Alternatively, drive to Barnes and Noble and just buy the books there.StudyingT-5 weeks
I purchased the OG12
and the 2nd Ed OG verbal
review. These arrived approximately a month before my testing date. By working through those problems extensively, you can get a great foundation for exactly what kinds of problems are on the test. The GMAT Club website has some great reviews of the books and study materials that seem to provide the most bang for the buck.
I will say that you should be prepared to dedicate nearly every waking moment (outside of your job) to working on the GMAT. You will probably find your most productive study time between Friday night and Sunday afternoon, which effectively kills your social life. I finished a first pass through the OG 12
and the verbal guide in about 2 weeks. Anytime you have some spare time, you should spend flipping through practice problems, whether on GMAT Club online, via the Manhattan GMAT
One thing that I also recommend is going to your local library and working through the practice problems in some of the books there. I got the feeling that some books are not worth buying, but it is worth doing problems from different books to ensure you remain mentally flexible for whatever problem appears on your CAT. Additionally, most books (even if they are a year or two out of date) will come with a CD Rom, which will allow you to practice on various CATs as practice problems. I didn’t start worrying about my score on these practice tests as I primarily saw them as practice problemsT-3 weeks
I purchased the Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction
book and worked through that to try and improve my verbal score. While many on this forum recommend making flashcards and error logs, I did not really have the time nor the inclination to do so.
Around this point, I started taking the CATs that I had available to me under test conditions, this means turning off the cell phone and finding a relatively quiet place to take the test. I do recommend that you do the test in a place with some ambient noise (either traffic or if you can find a place with other typists as that will be invaluable in helping you tune out other test takers at your testing center).
I had not really looked at the AWA sections review in any of my books. However, I feel that it is unnecessary to thoroughly study for the AWA, I think the GMAT club has a great post on AWA Strategy as you follow a format and fill in the blanks. You will want to type out at least one essay to see how fast and accurately you can type under those testing conditions. To practice for the AWA, I recommend you turn off spell/grammar check in your copy of word and go about your daily business T-1 week
The last week of my study, I stopped taking practice tests and focused solely on reading through the Forums and my old practice problems. I would review and flip through random problems that I had already done to see if I could solve them in an expeditious manner. On Test Day
I arrived at my testing center about 30 minutes early with a snack, a red bull, and a bottle of water. I had also brought earplugs (which I wasn’t allowed to bring in). Arriving early, I was allowed to start my test early.
In between sections, you should do whatever you need to in order to keep yourself alert and awake. This may include splashing water on your face, drinking your beverage of choice, and snacking. Do not worry about the problems or the relative difficulty that you are getting, you can’t predict whether you are doing good or bad by the difficulty of the problems.
One thing that I wasn't really ready for was the fact that the GMAT had you answer all kinds of questions about where you wanted your scores sent to. It is a very big letdown from being psyched about starting and mentally composing your essay to answering a series of survey questions.
Finally, take the problems one at a time, and when you click to the next problem, focus only on that problem.
After I got my score, I literally took a break went out and got a dinner with my friends and took a weekend trip. I definitely recommend taking some time to decompress and not think about your scores, whether or not you could do better, or how your score will affect your admissions chances.