Although I have been reluctant to post. I've seen a huge level of support from other users and I have reached the point where I am discouraged enough to give it a shot.
I just finished taking a GMAT Prep practice exam - my score = 440
. As I have noted on the topic name, I am scheduled to take the exam this Saturday. I do not feel confident at all. I am almost certain I will have to retake it again.
Here is a bit of my background:
Graduated in May 2013, Poli Sci major, with Econ concentration. I am currently working for a Fortune 500 company, in their commodity research department. I intend to pursue a MSc in Finance.
I scheduled the test for this Saturday after being instructed to do so by my GMAT Prep instructor. The course was offered by a university in my area and although the school is one of the top ranked public universities in the US, I did not feel that the GMAT prep course was beneficial. The instructor focused on strategy and always mentioned the fact that the test is "nothing to worry about, just apply these strategies". He made it seem so easy. I think all of us fell under the illusion that we could ace the test just by taking the course. He even suggested not taking any CATs.
I became a bit suspicious after doing a bit of my own research and seeing that the GMAT takes extensive preparation and incredible amounts of review. Almost in a state of panic (3 weeks prior to the test) I ordered MGMATs Foundations of GMAT Math
, went through the book in about a week and half. Still didn't feel prepared, ordered the full 8 guide MGMAT but with only a little bit over a week I've barely been able to scan 3 of them. This past week, I just didn't know what else to do and added the GMAT Pill courses to my list of materials.
Today with 2 days left, I feel lost. A 440 practice test. I know that my preparation was not adequate nor correct. Does anyone have any advice? I am only taking the test this Saturday so that I don't lose the entire $250. Should I just cancel my score the day of? And after this Saturday, how should I proceed?
My breakdown was 23Q 26V - I am incredibly embarrassed but I have decided to use this forum as a resource going forward. I don't know how much it will help anyone else but I will be logging my experience on here from now on, so that others may benefit from a GMAT horror story from beginning to end (hopefully a happy ending).
I appreciate any advice.
Since you know that you are not prepared for the test, one suggestion would be to postpone taking it. Why to put a 450 score on your permanent record? I sometimes advice people to go ahead with their appointment to experience the actual test but that is in case they are close (but not close enough) to their target score. Since a 30-40 point variation in actual scores as compared to practice test scores is normal, there is a chance that they may get a score close enough to their target score. If that doesn't happen, they can always take it again with a better understanding of the test. But since your practice test score is quite a bit lower than your target score (I am assuming), I don't see you gaining much from taking the test at this stage. You will probably forfeit your registration fee but you wont have a 400-450 score on your record. On the flip side, if you do take the test, you have already paid for it and at least next time you will know exactly what you will undergo - the exam environment, the protocol... So at the end of the day, it is your call and your comfort.
Whichever way you decide, I would suggest you to make a future plan which goes something like this:
1. Work on your concepts - GMAT doesn't test just strategies (I wish it were that simple.) It tests your conceptual understanding of the topics. The questions above 600 level are ingenious (more so above 700) so you need to have your basics bolted down. You should understand the why and how of every relevant thing. GMAT test makers take great pleasure in wording the question in such a way that it befuddles you. If your concepts are clear, it wont matter how they word the question. For that you will have to go through either the entire material of a test prep company or take a course which caters to foundation and well as advanced topics depending on how you study best.
2. Now work on strategies - how to speed up, what to do in particular questions, how to manage time, what to do if you don't understand the question, which pitfalls to look out for in DS questions, how to recognize the CR question types etc
2. Take a practice test to check your progress - This you need to do at regular intervals after working on concepts, say weekly or fortnightly. Identify your lag areas and work on those. Meanwhile, keep practicing everything else.
3. Once you touch your target score, schedule your appointment, keep practicing and hopefully, you will achieve it.
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