I took the GMAT back in June. I studied for about a month and a half and didn't sweat it too hard - B-school isn't my end-all-and-be-all option - but I still studied at least every other day. Used Kaplan
Comprehensive Program and the OG 11
, and I pretty much did math drills - 10 or 20 questions at a time - constantly, carefully studying the correct solutions to problems I got wrong. Took a full GMAT or two each weekend for three weeks. I more or less ignored the writing and verbal portions, since I was completely confident of my skills there.
First time around, I racked up a 680 (Q39, V42, AWA 6). I was pretty pleased with this score itself, but the percentile breakdowns - 57% quant versus 95% verbal - were troubling.
After then taking the GRE (which comparatively I found much easier) and taking a break for about a month, I was convinced to try the GMAT again to bring up that quant score. I got a 750 on the GRE quant, and figured I should be able to do better than 57%. I got the Barrons comprehensive prep book, and was very disappointed. Much easier than what I was looking for. Nevertheless, I used it and studied hard for about a week, and then took the test again yesterday (on my birthday!).
Much more pleased with the outcome this time around - 700 (Q44, 70%, and V41, 92%). Sure, my Q score isn't going to impress anyone used to seeing Indian engineers or bankers, but since I'm coming from a non-profit/international development field, I don't think I'll be considered in the same pool. I'm looking at a specialization in entrepreneurship and non-profit management.
I agree that physical activity and exercise is crucial to doing well. I play soccer four days a week and like that sensation of dull soreness when I sit down to take a test. Makes me concentrate better.
I've found this board super helpful for application and adcom advice, not to mention for the problems posted. I hope to continue to help out any way I can. Thanks guys!