First off, I want to issue a huge THANK YOU for the incredible people and resources on GMATClub. I remember reading so many debriefs as a lurker, and just wanted to give my experience.
So I am a graduating senior majoring in mathematics, but I figured that I might as well take the GMAT now before the real world takes over and my life becomes like Office Space. I took my first practice test in February – figuring that I would get a low 600, but was surprised to see a 730 – so I decided to take the test right away and set a date for April.
How I Studied
I basically used four sources:OG 12
– Too much has been said about this for me to add anything. Did diagnostic test, problem solving, data sufficiency, and SC
MGMAT Tests – More CATs the better, scoring high in quant here will help you a lot on the real thing
LSAT Tests – These really helped strengthen CR skills – highly recommended! I only practiced with two tests, however. MGMAT SC
– barely used this book, too dense for me, but useful to get the MGMAT tests.
MGMAT6:740 (had to rush at the end, so verbal skewed my score)
GMATPrep 1(Reinstalled): 760
ACTUAL (4/28): 760 (Q49 V45)
Test Day Experience
I arrived at the test center around 7:15am, and got started around 7:30am. Was surprised by how stringent the security measures were (Palm scanners, escorted breaks, etc). Got started with AWA, both sections were fairly straightforward, but I don’t have the essay scores yet so we’ll see [update: 6.0 in AWA]. After an 8 minute break and after drinking plenty of water, I started on the math section. Quant was not as hard as people made it out to be. The questions were slightly more difficult than GMATPrep, but not even close to MGMAT’s brutality. Still I only had 1 minute to spare by the end.
Another eight minute break later, I tackled verbal. This was almost exactly the same as GMATPrep, but I constantly felt I was failing since I never received a bold-faced question. It was straightforward despite an extremely boring passage about the growth of grass that I couldn’t get my head around.
I got really nervous near the end as the whole exam was about to finish, but I finished Verbal with about 15 minutes to spare. After barely filling out the end of exam survey I got to the Report/Cancel score screen. I figured no matter how badly I did I would want to see where I could improve. I clicked report and waited an almost unbearable amount of time seeing “processing” come up on the screen . When I saw a 760 pop-up I couldn’t believe it. Had a mini-celebration in my cubicle which made a few of the other test takers look at me a bit funny. The proctor escorted me out of the room and the receptionist congratulated me when she gave me my score report. I had the widest grin on my face. Finally Done!
1) Don’t overestimate how nervous you will be on test day. My nerves were out of control on test day and I had to fight to keep them under control.
2) Try for high quality sources, alongside with those with SLIGHTLY higher difficulty like LSATs, MGMAT quant, etc. Those crazy hard math problems are not doing you any good.
3) Go for quality, not quantity. Take the best material you have and dissect it so dry that you have all the concepts of a particular question down straight. Also do everything in a timed environment.
4) Review right answers too – I had a habit of only reviewing wrong answers, but this made me less confident. By reviewing what you did right you can maintain solid ground in the face of an uncertain problem.
5) Keep a list of flaws – I wrote this down on a sheet of paper, and reviewed it constantly (e.g. “Read the whole question”, “Double check”, “Remember that some abs. value solutions do not work”)
6) You must love doing GMAT problems – treat them like logical puzzles, brain games, and interesting passages – your study sessions will become much more productive.
Overall I am pleased with my result, but I know that it could’ve easily gone the other way. Luck is a big factor despite the so-called “standardization” of these tests. Most of all though is that the GMAT is only one part of the admissions roulette and is more like a Pass/Fail exam than anything else. Let me know if you have any questions!