I just finished taking the GMAT, and I am so excited and relieved to be done with it. Some background info on me--- I graduated in 2001 and have been working for the last couple of years. I'll be applying next year to start in the Fall of 2005. I have an engineering (non-IT/non-computers) background but I've always been very strong in verbal.
I know y'all like numbers here, so here are my previous practice test scores:
PP1 740 (Q47, V45)
PP2 760 (Q50, V44)
PR 660 (I don't remember the breakdown)
Diagnostic 710 (Q46, V43)
CAT Test 1 670 (Q40,V39)
I'll first go over how I studied and then review my thoughts on the test.
I took the PR online test in June before studying anything so I could gauge how far I was from a good score. Then, I checked out the PR Cracking the GMAT
book from the library and read through their strategies, practicing them on some of the PR book problems.
I bought GMAT+ and Kaplan
Higher Score material from ebay (cost=$30). I worked through the Kaplan
CD, taking a diagnostic (score 710) and then working on individual areas that needed improvement. The CD I had was kind of buggy, though, so I didn't get much practice from this for SC or CR. The RC passages I read in Kaplan
were horrible, though... I found myself falling asleep at times. I never really had this problem working through the OG RC. I took a Kaplan
test after going through their CD and got a 670.
A month ago, I took the first PowerPrep test. I was happy with the 740, but I knew people said PP was easier than the current GMAT, so I started working through the Official Guide (cost=$35). Over three weeks, I completed all the PS, DS, SC, and CR. I got through about half of the RC. I paced myself so I worked on about 50 quantitative per night and 50 verbal. I did not use a stopwatch, but I would mentally note the time I started the test and try to complete my problems in good time (usually about 1.25 hours for 50 questions). Just as a note (because I had wondered the same thing when I started the OG), the questions DO get harder as you go further into a section. So if you have limited time, you may want to skip the easier beginning questions.
I took PP2 on Sunday and scored 760. Though this is a good score, I wasn't too confident in it because I had seen many of the questions before in the OG.
This last week, I reviewed the questions on this forum and the probability and combination guides on this site. All of this material was invaluable--- thank you to everyone makes this site work! I started working through some of the GMAT Plus problems, completing all the SC, CR, PS, and DS questions and some of the RC questions. I only worked on the GMAT Plus questions labeled "from newest 2001-2002 tests". I think more came in my ebay pack, but I think I misplaced them. I also re-did the questions I missed the first time in the OG--- and, yes, I missed some of these the second time around! I redid these questions this morning and then reviewed basic probability and combination problems, I went over some AWA stuff a couple of hours before the exam. I stopped all studying 1.5 hours before the test.
<b> The Test </b>
I took an afternoon test. The most stressful part was finding the test center. I signed up for a Prometric site, but didn't realize that it's inside of Sylvan Learning Center. Anyway, I finally found the place in the back corner of a mall.
AWA was a breeze. Of course, I'm not sure what I got, but there really aren't any surprises here. As long as you can do it in PP, you're fine.
I found the quantitative to be pretty easy. I took a lot of time on the first few questions (which were pretty easy) to make sure I did them correctly. There were some easy probability questions as well as easy combination/permutation questions (about 4 total). Some of the questions seemed pretty easy (even towards the end), but I decided not to think too much about the difficulty correlating to my score. I finished with about 7 minutes left.
I thought the verbal was more difficult. There were four RC passages, two of which were about 80 lines long. I had some difficulty with SC... I could narrow it down to two choices, but found it hard to make the final cut! There wasn't anything too unusual about CR... but there were some harder problems there. Two were boldfaced. I finished with about 5 minutes left.
I guess that's it! The test center was not quiet (there were about ten other people at computers taking various tests), but, after reading posts on this forum, I wasn't expecting it to be. I ate oatmeal for breakfast and yogurt for lunch. I brought an apple to the site, but didn't have time to eat it. I got a little hungry during the test, but I think I'm a little more alert that way! I tend to get sleepy after eating...
As I said before, I'm really relieved to be done. I haven't gone out very much for the last few weeks (it's been work, exercise, gmat, and sleep), but now I can relax and have fun for a while!After I get some partying out of my system, I'll concentrate on researching schools and programs that I'm interested in. Sorry this was soooo long (kudos to those of you who read this far!), but I wanted to give a complete summary of my GMAT experience... reading the stories of other people on this forum really helped me, and I wanted to give back!
Total cost of GMAT:
(GMAT Plus and Kaplan
material) + Official Guide + Registration + Time
=$30 + $35 + $225 + !!!TIME!!!
=$290 + !!!TIME!!!