HELLO GMATCLUB CITIZENS. Just want to put my post out there to give a unique experience. This has been an arduous journey, and I would like to say I'm cautiously satisfied with my result. I say cautiously, as I'm unsure as to how my result with grad school applications will turn out.
So for starter's theres a few things that are peculiar about my case. Full disclosure - I DID use a prep course and material with Kaplan
Here's the breakdown of my mock exams:
(diagnosis - first mock baseline) October 26 2013 - 550 (39Q, 27V)
November 3, 2013 - 560 (39Q, 28V) Kaplan
November 24 2013 - 510 3(38, 20V) Kaplan
December 1 2013 - 540 (37Q, 27V) Kaplan
December 15 2013 - 540 (41Q, 22V) (Cracked 40Q! was a conscious goal...but..) Kaplan
December 29 2013 - 540 (36Q, 28V) Kaplan
January 12 2014 - 600 (45Q, 31V) Kaplan
January 19 2014 - 590 (42Q, 31V) Kaplan
February 9 2014 - 540 (31Q, 33V). GMAC MBA software
Actual GMAT - 650 (39Q, 40V). IR was a 5.
So I actually performed better on the actual GMAT than any of my mock exams. Not a by a hair as well..at least 50 points. All mock exams were done in real time simulated experiences...4hrs, 8min breaks. Most of my schools that I'm aiming for are looking at that 650 but with a reasonable spread of minimum 50 percentile on all four areas. The quant section is somewhat of a concern on my part, since its a hair below the 50 mark (46percentile, as of the GMAC's printout).
As for test day, well.. I took the preceding two days before the exam off from work. Stayed at home and just hung out for a bit. I understand people may say that you should not study so close to the actual exam, but I often took leisurely short quizzes throughout the day. I think its important to get in to the right mindframe of solving problems without the stress. So while I was on my computer browsing and relaxing, I'd turn to the books on my desk beside it to crack some problems out from time to time.
I may be wrong on this, but I feel the GMAT is a test that requires you to understand more of yourself than the actual material. Your strengths, weaknesses, bad habits, etc...that's why I found some of the rules of the thumb that I've tried to implement were so hard to work (practice timing, study with a tutor/friend, work with the right materials, etc.). Also, I tend to be a bit nervous with timed conditions.
Some may also argue that you should not do your GMAT until you're ready. And by ready, some may define that as scoring your target on your mock exams leading up to the date. I decided to set my GMAT date 4 months in advance as a pressure tool to get the process going...and even though leading up to the actual date of exam I did not score anywhere close to 650, I decided that I will not waiver in that commitment to do the exam, regardless of the result.
There's room for improvement, and my hunch tells me that the school I'm looking to apply may not feel my Quant score is sufficient. But, if the GMAT score has taught me anything, its to go ahead and take a shot anyway, even if the odds are against you that you'll score a certain way. If I don't get accepted, well that would be another discussion about retaking it later this year.
MGMAT Complete Set with Foundations of GMAT mathKaplan
onsite and course materials
GMAT Quant OG
, Verbal OG
, and All-In-One guide
Princeton 1037 (errors galore!)