I was asked to post something about my GMAT experience in chat the other day and after thinking about it got bored at work so I decided to put something up. My intention is not to brag, but rather to relay a different outlook on test taking that might be beneficial to some people who are really stressed out right now.
the main point I would like to make is this: Standardized tests are hard because of pressure and time limits NOT because of the difficulty of the individual questions.
I took the GMAT on Halloween, 2007 after flipping through a book, I think it was Kaplan
, and taking one of the provided practice tests from MBA.com to familiarize myself with the format and get some info on the AWA. I used the results of the practice test to focus my reading on the 2 or 3 chapters where my score was the weakest. For the other sections I relied on my general knowledge of math and reading comprehension/vocabulary. Studying was not the key to my score.
Looking at it realistically there are very few questions on the GMAT that are objectively hard, the math is generally freshman year of college or high school stuff, the Verbal is tricky but not overwhelming. Mistakes are made by inteligent well prepared people when they rush and get sloppy because they fear the clock. Because of the way the GMAT is scored this is accentuated. It is EXTREMELY important to relax as you take this test and make sure you get the first 10-15 questions as close to perfect as possible. As John Wooden said "be quick, but don't hury."
Wear comfortable clothes to take the test. I wore a hoodie and jeans. Wear the headphones in the testing center so you can avoid distractions. Take a day off work and relax. Do NOT study the day of the test. I know there's temptation to look over that one last thing, but don't. You won't remember it anyway. Play videogames, watch TV, read a book, go to the gym, whatever it is you do to chill out, do that.
While this test taking strategy admitedly won't work for everyone I've seen a lot of strategies put up here that definitely wouldn't work for me, and I think that my strategy of trying to stay as low stress as possible was a key to doing well on the test. Hopefully this helps someone be a little less stressed and improve their score.