This is my first post (I've been using the site for a while but never posted anything before). I just wanted to share my experience with everyone here because I think it might help someone else out there. I found a lot of great posts here, so maybe this will help as well.
I went to a large public university (nothing special) and graduated several years ago. I worked for a while and pretty much forgot how to study and most of the academic stuff I learned in school. Let's face it, most of us don't use what we studied at work. Simple algebra word problems were totally messing me up.
Anyway, I spoke with a couple of friends about the GMAT and applying to BSchool and they recommended taking a MGMAT course (they were taking one at the time) and I should be ok. I had heard bad things about Kaplan
from those same friends, so I signed up for MGMAT. I thought I was doing ok. There was a good amount of quant review which was helpful and just doing some practice tests was definitely useful (or so I thought).
Wake up call.
Many of the MGMAT questions did not seem to be anything like what the REAL GMAT tested. I ended up with a 490. That was after scoring in the 600s on MGMAT practice tests. As you can imagine, I was COMPLETELY bummed. I gave it all up for 6 months. I was so disheartened that I just thought maybe I couldn't make it in business school anyway and maybe I didn't belong there with "smart" people.
Anyway, I started dating my current boyfriend about a year ago and (being the supportive guy he is), he recommended I try again with a tutor that he used (my boyfriend got a 740 by using this guy). WHAT A DIFFERENCE! The tutor made a game plan with me and I think just having a schedule in place helped a lot. He told me what materials to use (and what materials were a waste of time). It turns out I had a lot of gaps that I didn't think I had (I think test prep programs teach you how to take THEIR tests, not the GMAC made GMAT). It was a lot of hard work, but I took the GMAT a second time and I got a 720! I'm sure I could not have done it without the tutor and my boyfriend's emotional support.
SO, the moral of the story is: HANG IN THERE! Don't be overly confident - ask for help if you need it! Time is money. Don't waste time thinking "I can do it on my own" or waste money on a class from a company who doesn't care about you. Hire a GREAT tutor / coach (it's like personal training). Don't be afraid to take the first step.
Anyway - I wish you all the best of luck! If I can do it, you can too!