I just took the GMAT this morning and wanted to share my experiences with you. Since I only have my official score report I don't have my AWA, but I'll update when I get it.About me:
For some background about me, I just finished my undergraduate degree in commerce this June and am starting as a business analyst at a management consulting firm this September. I don't plan to go apply for MBA programs for another 2 to 3 years, but I heard that you score better if you take it soon after finishing school. Last year I also took the LSAT and scored 172, but I decided not to apply for law school after having a fantastic time at my summer internship.
I'm Asian but grew up in Canada so I consider myself a native English speaker.Prep:
1) GMATclub Forums
2) GMATclub Tests
3) Official guide (not really)
4) Knewton Youtube vids (not really)
My journey began about 5 weeks ago when I went to visit my parents in Manhattan (I live in Toronto). I decided this was a good time to start preparing for the GMAT because I wouldn't be distracted by friends calling me out, plus I didn't have to worry about food, laundry and general house keeping. I took the first GMATprep practice test and scored 680. I don't remember exactly what my Q/V breakdown was, but I remember being terribly disappointed in my quant score. I think at this point my V was 42 or 43 and my Q was something abysmal. I also finished the quant section with 22 minutes left and my verbal section with 35 minutes left. I knew immediately I had two major issues:
2) Forgotten math concepts
At first, I just opening up the official guide and started doing quant questions. I was sorely disappointed. These questions were easy to the point where I could solve them in under 20 seconds. Clearly, I needed harder material, so I came here. I started just perusing the quantitative questions forum and just doing them at random. I found, in general, the material here to be much harder than anything in the official guides. I skipped forward in search of harder questions, found a couple that were, but somehow I just didn't like working with the huge thick book. I came here to GMATclub and started working from forum questions with a bunch of random scrap paper in front of me.
My strategy was simple, do questions until I get stuck. If I get stuck, look up the underlying math concept required to solve it and learn that concept. I did this for 2 hours a day for about 3 days. I would continue to come back to these forums occasionally, especially while eating (it became a past time for me to sit here with a burger in my left hand and my right hand doing quant problems) or between games of Starcraft 2, but I began to shift my focus elsewhere.
I spent the $99 and got access to all the GMATclub tests
. This was probably the best investment I made. I only got through 9 of the quant sets and 2 of the verbal sets, but the timed environment, plus the very high difficult level of the tests really helped me get my timing down.
After spending 3 weeks in Manhattan, I returned to Toronto and did absolutely no studying for about 4 days while my parents caused my endless amounts of stress by complaining about the state of my condo.
After they left, I resumed doing GMATclub tests
and random forum questions. At this point, GMAT had almost become fun. Whenever I couldn't get an answer, I would screenshot it and post it on facebook, and then see how many of my friends could get it. While doing forum questions, I would frequently tab between facebook, gmail and youtube. I always studied with music on. If ever I got stressed over a problem I would just get up and go bang on my piano for like 20 minutes. In a way, this helped me mentally associate the GMAT with leisure and completely eliminated any nervousness I had about the test.
I took the 2nd GMATprep at the beginning of this week. I scored V42, Q48 for 710. Though I had improved, I was still a little disappointed in my score since I had started at 680. I decided it was done with quant prep since I knew it was not my natural strong point anyway.
As a former LSAT taker, the logical reasoning and reading comprehension questions on the GMAT seemed very simple. I spent literally 0 seconds studying these because on my GMATprep tests
I got all of them correct and only made verbal mistakes on sentence correction. I started watching the Knewton GMAT youtube videos on sentence correction and read over the Comprehensive List of GMAT Idiots
and tried a few SC questions from this thread.
Looks like in the end, it was a waste of time since I ended up doing worse on actual the verbal section than I did in practice.
Reinstalled GMATprep and took another practice test. Unfortunately, I got a couple of repeats. Overall score, 770. Even if the repeats inflated my score a bit, I reasoned that this was good enough.Test Day
On the day of the test itself, everything seemed to go wrong. I work up with a stuffy nose (popped a Dayquil), the Starbucks I had planned to get coffee from was closed (ended up at McDonalds), and I couldn't find the test centre and ended up being late (had an 8am appointment). I sat down at the AWA thoroughly stressed out. The AWA, however, actually helped me calm down a ton. I have a lot of confidence in my essay writing as a political science minor, and I felt really good about both my essays.
I took my optional break and drank half a bottle of water. From then on, my practice kicked in and the results are in my post title! Quantitative seemed to go really smoothly and I was delighted at how hard the questions seemed. As for verbal, I must have got absolutely massacred on the SC because I got some of the hardest logical reasoning problems I have ever seen (LSAT included). Luckily, because of my normally fast pace, I was able to tackle these by spending 6+ minutes on them. I also got an RC passage that was literally 2.5 screen lengths long. With RC and LR questions this hard... I guess I really don't know grammar!
Thank you GMAT club!