Today I retook the GMAT for the 4th and final time and I can say with pride that I have finally defeated the beast. A little over a year ago I took a Kaplan
practice test on my lunch break at work - I was contemplating applying to b-school and wanted to get an idea of what to expect on the GMAT. At the end of the test I scored a 490, but I was confident I could improve my score with practice so I enrolled in the Kaplan course
My teacher was awesome, and my score did improve to the 590 level on the Kaplan
CATs, and my GMATPrep score was around the same level - never breaking the 600 level. At the time I would have taken a 640 and been happy. After taking some time off at the end of my Kaplan course
, I began meeting with a private tutor and soon was up to a 640 on the GMATPrep.
I took the official test in April of 2006 and scored a 640 Q38 V40- but the quest for 700 was now in my blood and I had also discovered the GMAT Club. Meeting so many driven people really pushed me to strive for the 700 level - Rhyme I would specifically like to point you out as my main inspiration for this quest.
After meeting with the same tutor for 2 more months, I retook the GMAT and my score dropped to a 610 - although my quant went up to a 43 my verbal dropped to a 32. Needless to say, I was shocked - but far from done.
For the third round with the beast I did my studying on my own, using the OG11
, the Verbal and Math supplements, and the PR CATS and Kaplan
book. Feeling more prepared then ever before - I took the exam and scored a 630 Q44 V33 - I decided to pack it in and apply because the effort wasnt paying off.
In December of 2006 I was wait listed at my top choice and their recommendation was to try my hand at the GMAT one more time. While I did not love the idea, I knew I could get a 700. Unfortunately work had just given me a promotion and my schedule along with applying to schools meant the GMAT would have to wait.
Fast forward to February and I started to get serious about the test again. I met with a different tutor for 4 weeks (once per week), took GMATPrep about 6 times, Powerprep twice, a PR CAT, and a Manhattan CAT. My lowest score came on the PR cat (580 - an eye opener considering how I have been doing on the real thing and other CATS). On the Manhattan I scored a 640 but those tests are worthless as predictors. On Powerprep I scored a 690 and a 720. Finally on GMATPrep I started at a 680 and the final two days before the test I scored a pair of 740's.
I attribute my increased scores to meeting with my tutor and reviewing the exams, as well as focusing on the OG11
for practice, and also focusing on my weaknesses. I kept making similar errors in SC and on the DS problems in the quant section.
Finally - today I showed up at the Pearson Center and took what I consider to be the hardest test of my life. The Quant section threw some brain twisting questions at me and the verbal section was rough. I covered my face, prepared to see another score in the mid 600's and to my shock and delight - I scored a 710 - Q48 V 38.
This truly has been a learning experience for me and I will talk more specifically about my prep later - but I just want everyone out there who is struggling with the test to know that it can be done - you can master this test - through hard work and perseverance. Dont give up, trust your instincts, and have confidence. Best of luck to all - now I need to get off that wait list!