Thought I would take the time to share my GMAT experience because I learned a lot from reading similar posts from others...
So I finally took the test Friday afternoon, and as mentioned above, scored a 710, 45Q, 42V. Very content with the score, though the Quant was a little bit of a mystery (to be explained)
So I am taking a new job that won't afford me a lot of time to prepare for the GMAT at a later date, so even though I am not sure that I even want to go to Business school, I decided that I needed to take this thing now because I would never really have another chance. So I started studying about 3 weeks ago, and originally scheduled my exam for Monday the 24th, which gave me about 10 days of study time. Wasn't working so I had a lot of time to focus on only the GMAT. Started out just going through every quiz in the Kaplan
online classroom to learn / refresh everything. Took about 3 days to get through all the quizes, so I then started to take CATs. During this phase I had some problems come up with my move from NY to the west coast that needed immediate attention. So much stuff came up, that I changed my test date, pushing it back to the 27th, a Thursday, because I didn't feel that I had adequate time, and like I mentioned, this was a one-shot deal for me.
So after I take care of the moving issues, I re-focus, start taking CATs. First CAT was ONLINE Kaplan
4, got a 750 (3 days before test date). I was feeling great. Thought the studying was going great, etc. So I loosened up a bit on the intensity. Next day, take ONLINE Kaplan
3, get a 670. Felt very defeated and worried. So I re-focuse my efforts, study hard, take another CAT, Kaplan
CAT 2, get a 630!! So at this point, I am really worried, evaluating all my options etc. That is when I discovered this forum as I was searching for answers to all of my annoying questions about indicative value of CATs, advice, etc. (Thanks BTW, forum is REALLY helpful)
So then I realize that I am in trouble because the "HARD" Kaplan
's are on the CD, and I was getting 600's on the online tests, which are pretty accurate (i guess). Anyway, take another CAT, and get 630 again!!! So at this point I call Pearson to inquire about re-scheduling for the following week and learn that I will forfeit my $250 if I do so. Really bummed, but thought that I might have to do it. So after reading the forum's advice, I take GMATPrep 2 to really get an idea of where I stand. This is the night before the exam after about 7 days of all-day, all-night studying. I decide that if I get 700+ on the GMATPrep, I will go, if not, if not, I would reschedule for next week and re-double my efforts. So I get a 670 (after missing the last 8 verbals due to time pressure!!!), so I suck it up, pay the $250 and reschedule for the following Friday in California.
Only kicker is that I had to drive to California from Colorado on Saturday (18 hour drive). So I spend Friday relaxing, trying to ease my mind, then all day Saturday and Sunday driving to CA. Finally get here and try to start studying Sunday night, but realize that I don't have internet access, so I just read some of the Quick Reference guide. So Monday, felling a little behind, have to meet my movers, then hire some local guy off Craig's List to help me move which took basically all day. But then after that, I tried to really hit it hard. However, I had the worst time ever finding quiet, internet access. So I try to find a good study spot, and it just never materialized. Have a couple buddies, but their places are all really loud and they all stay up late. Tried Starbucks, but not a member of Tmobile. Public libraries have horrible hours, and the two universities in the city, both of their libraries were closed.
So I then waste Monday night, and all day Tuesday trying to find a spot. So finally, I just go knock on a neighbors door and ask if i can squat off their internet for a fews days while i study. He says no problem, gives me the password, but there is one problem. It won't reach into my apartment. Distraught, thinking I am all out of options, I set up two of my moving boxes in the hallway outside his room and start taking CATs on my laptop, thinking it would be temporay. My new neighbors would come and go and give me the wierdest looks until I gave them my 5-minute explanation of why I was sitting on moving boxes in the hallway.
Anyway, the temporay boxes become a permanent fixture for the next 3 days. I bought some MGMATs and starting taking them. Got a 620, 670, then 730 the night before the test. I also bought the Challenges, but just couldn't get used to the notion used (like exponents and square roots) and didn't want to throw myself off this late in the game, so I only took that first one.
So in short, on test day, felt great about everything. AWA was fine, then comes the Quant. So I had gotten into a pretty good routine on the Quants for the CATs. Felt very comfortable with the tricks, and very tough math problems. However, I NEVER saw a tough math problem. In fact, question 36 out of 37 was "here is 5 numbers, what is the median?" My head just hit the table. I was sure I had flunked. So I take my break, sure that it was all for not at this point, but decided, you know what, I am going to kick ass on the verbal just so I am more confident when I have to re-take it in a few months. That was how sure I was that I had bombed the math. So, anyway, finish the test, briefly thought about canceling the score, decided that would be weak, and got my result. Overall, very happy but the math is still a mystery.
Overall, lessons learned:
Be careful taking tests around other big events in your life. You may think you will have nothing but time, but it rarely works out.
reading comps are the worst. Stupidly tough, and almost every question has two answers that I could defend in court. The real test was NOTHING like that. Towards the end of my test prep, those reading comps on the Kaplan
CATs really scared me. But even scoring as well as I did on the real test (verbal), I noticed the reading comps getting tougher, but they still made sense and there was always a clear answer.
Very, very helpful to use at least two different sets of materials from testing prep companies. i gained so much incremental knowledge during those last 3 days by taking and really studying the answer keys to all the MGMAT CATs. Each company has a different approach to solving problems, and each has a different focus. Very helpful to use atleast two.
If you made it all the way to this point, I commend you, and I hope you enjoyed my story. Good luck to everyone, and thank you to all of those that helped along the way. Very helpful forum!