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Today, I wrote the GMATs for the first time, and it was a resounding success. Final score: 49 math, 47 verbal, 770 total!!!
Thanks to everyone in this forum for your wonderful study help, preparation and advice. It's been great.
Now, to write about my experience:
Study time: About a month, give or take 3-4 hours a day after work, more on weekends.
Study tools: Kaplan GMAT 2006 book and CD, PowerPrep software, GMATPrep software. I never got the OG and was worried it was a mistake, but it wasn't available locally and was a pain to order. Also, this site, which was awesome.
I started off with a shaky start. My worst nightmare came true: I got lost on the way to the test center. Because I was writing it in another city, I couldn't check out the route beforehand. Luckily I'd left myself plenty of get-lost time, and I phoned a local friend asking for directions and eventually found it alright, though it took me an extra 45 minutes.
Anyway, I arrived at the test center, which was much smaller than I thought it would be. Only 5 workstations total. I had to sign in and copy out a confidentiality statement, and I luckily remembered to use the washroom and down a couple of advils for my headache before starting the test. I sat down at the workstation, and was given scratch paper and two pencils. Each work station also had a box of kleenex and a set of noise-blocking headphones. Luckily I didn't need the headphones because it was very quiet throughout.
I flubbed the first essay. I wasn't watching the clock, and of course I ran out of time halfway through writing the conclusion. Sadly it cut me off in mid-sentance, and I'm sure I'll pay for it in the score. The second essay was better, as I'd learned my lesson about the clock. I actually did very minimal preparation for the essay section, choosing to rely on the fact that I can usually wing essays without much trouble. I'll have to see how the scores come in.
Quick water-washroom-food break.
The math section was easier than Kaplan. I got a few combinations and probability problems, but luckily I'd practiced that quite a bit. There was a geometry one I simply couldn't figure out, and after about 7 minutes I guessed and moved on. Then the questions started getting easier, and I was worried I'd really messed up, but nothing to do but go on. I finished the section with about 3 minutes to spare.
Quick water-washroom-food break again.
The verbal section was surprisingly easy. The RC passages were non-science and fairly simple. I had to keep reminding myself to slow down because I had a tendency to rush through. But I finished with 20 minutes to spare, and I figured what the hell, may as well confirm and see how I did. The biggest challenge was concentrating for the last 5-6 questions, because I knew I was nearing the end and I started getting anxious to see my score.
The survey calmed my nerves a bit. It was a relief to concentrate on such mundane details as my name and school and GPA.
Then, the famous confirm/cancel dilemma. Wasn't much of a dilemma for me cause I was writing the GMAT partially just to see how I'd do. Besides, I'm too naturally curious to cancel. So I hit confirm and closed my eyes.
When the 770 popped up on screen, I sat with my jaw dropped for about 4 minutes. I couldn't believe it. Then I started laughing out loud before catching myself and reminding myself there were other people in the room.
I left casually, signed out, thanked the test invigilator, and went to my car where I blasted the radio and started singing along. I'm very happy now. It's done. Success. Thanks to all.
wow way to go dude, awesome score , i myself had this nightmare about getting lost on the way to the test center a few nights ago. hope it doesnt come true on D-DAy, good luck with the apps thanks for the good advice
I've already gone to celebrate by splurging on chocolate (my addiction). I woke up this morning with a momentary panic, thinking it had all been a dream and I hadn't written the test yet. After getting over that, I was once again happy it was done.
Anyway, thanks again for the nice wishes from everyone. I can't tell you how much it helped to have so many of you cheering me on. Very motivating.
please elaborate more on the quant prep and the question levels...
Aside from basic review and practice questions (mostly Kaplan), I spent extra time reviewing the following areas, where I felt I was weak:
1) Combinations and probability
4) Basic arithmetic without a calculator - I knew this, if anything, would be my biggest downfall because I'm slow and have a tendency to make mistakes.
The quant section started off with a few fairly easy questions. By the seventh question I still had 65 minutes left, and I was encouraged by the fact that all of them so far had been ones I knew.
I got a combination problem fairly early on - something about a committee with a certain number of men and women. Luckily I remembered the nCr formula and it took me only about 30 seconds to get the answer. I was encouraged, though, because I know that the combinations problems are considered to have the highest difficulty level on the GMAT, so it meant I was hitting the tough question wall early on.
About 9 or 10 questions in, I got a geometry problem with a right-angle triangle that seemed easy, in theory, but I couldn't seem to get the numbers to work. I calculated it out once, twice, three times... I kept getting nowhere. Finally I guessed and moved on, because it was taking too long.
Most of the rest was actually really smooth sailing. There were next to no questions on exponents (actually I can't remember any). I'd spent a lot of time studying those, but it turned out I didn't need them. There were quite a few problems on number properties, but they were pretty obvious. I had about 3 problems with data interpretation, percent gains and losses, things like that. A probability one that involved drawing items without replacement, but the numbers were simple. Oh, and one question about the graph of a quadratic equation. It's helpful to know what quadratic equations look like when graphed (i.e. direction of the parabola and intercepts).
All in all, the math was nowhere near as tough as the practice problems on Kaplan or GMATPrep. The level was much more like PowerPrep's questions. I think studying the tougher material helped me, because I was expecting much harder questions than I actually got.
The biggest challenge was hitting "confirm" after each answer. Unlike on the practice tests, I felt the pressure when confirming each answer because it was the real thing and not just an exercise. At first, I was second-guessing myself too much, even when I knew the answer was correct. But after a few questions, I got more confident and I started to view it as just another practice test.
It's hard for me to give advice to anyone still studying, because everyone is different and everyone has different areas of strength and different methodologies. But in general, I would recommend practicing as much as possible with the tougher math material, because in comparison, the actual GMAT seems easier.
Edit: This post probably doesn't belong in this forum. Sorry about that. The short answer is probably Kellogg, Schulich, possibly Yale, maybe McGill, maybe Berkeley, and maybe even HEC Paris. Not sure yet. Probably not applying till next year.
Hi coffee, if you would like to become an ambassador once you made it to any of those schools, let me know. The above is the link to read a bit more about that new forum I just created. We need inspiring and dedicated people like you around
I just wanted to congratulate you on your great score. You deserve it for sure. Your explanations were always helpful to me and I'm sure to many others, so thanks a million. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
Score report came in today. To add icing to the cake: 6.0 on the AWA!
I figured I'd get a low score on the AWA because I ran out of time on the first essay and got cut off partway through my conclusion. I'm still perplexed as to how they ignored that when scoring the essays. But hey, I ain't complaining!
Icing on the cake:
05 Oct 2005, 18:00