I finally took the test last Saturday afternoon, and I feel okay after getting back my score. Not great, but not horrible.
I woke up around 10 in the morning, and ate lunch at around 2 PM, and then got to the DC test center at around 3:30 for a 4 PM appointment. Inside the test room, it was quiet, and there were maybe about another eight or so test takers taking the exam at around the same time. Overall, my test went smoothly, since I didn't feel ridiculously bad nerves or get fatigued or needed to go to the bathroom during the middle of a section.
I was surprised that we were given earplugs to use if we wanted them. I didn't use them at all.Books and Course used:Revolution Prep GMAT
12th Official GMAT Guide, and the 2nd Edition Verbal and Math workbooks.Diagnostic TestsKaplan Premier
Test 1 on the CD: 550 (forget breakdown) back in mid August
Revolution GMAT 1: 580 (39 Q, 31 V) - took on Sept 11
Revolution GMAT 2: 640 (40 Q, 37 V) - took on Oct 9
Revolution GMAT 3: 670 (45 Q, 37 V) - took on Oct 16
GMAT Prep 1: 650 (44 Q, 35 V) - took on Oct 23
Revolution GMAT 4: 640 (48 Q, 31 V) - took on Oct 30
GMAT Prep 2: 620 (41Q, 35 V) - took on Nov 2
Manhattan: 680 (46Q, 36V) - took on Nov 6Kaplan
Online CAT from premier (Test 6): 640 (42Q, 36 V)
2. How did I feel about the sections.
I felt good with the math section. I just knew it had to be a score above 40 in a worst case scenario. For the verbal, I didn't feel like I had that much trouble, but I felt that I had so many sentence correction questions there..... Sentence corrections are my achilles' heel in this test, sometimes I do well, sometimes I suck. I likely sucked in this section today. As with Math, I felt that I did better than expected, maybe not too much better than expected, but still an above average day at the office, since I'm no banker/financial consultant.
3. On the Noteboard
I only needed the one noteboard I was given. I never bought one of those sample noteboards from Manhattan or wherever. All I did was use a legal paper pad, use a pen for all scratchwork, and box in work. That is the suggestion I give to everyone else here. Don't buy the noteboard at all. IF you use less than four whole sheets of legal paper (front and back) per test on the GMAT in practice, you're golden.
4. Should I retake or not?
Considering the top three programs I'm looking at:
Georgetown, Maryland, and GW (all evening programs here), I'm overall not feeling too bad, for the latter two at least. Maryland and GW's median GMAT's are at 580, and a 640 is at the 75th percentile of incoming students if not better, so I think I'm set there based on the GMAT scores.
For Georgetown, I'm not so sure. Since I'm not in the federal govt (That's a big contingent for DC schools), consulting, or finance, that's kind of a plus, because I'd give more of a outsiders perspective in the classroom, esp. since I'm in a small company of about 60 people, not at a mega corporation like most business school students in the DC area (and maybe overall). On the other hand, I'm not a URM, and I'm a man, so the job diversity advantage gets negated to at least some degree. Georgetown's median applicant last year had a GMAT of 640, and I'm right there, but among incoming students, a 640 gets into the 25th percentile, and the median is at 660, so I can't say that I have a great chance, though I'm not likely in the "reject now" pile either. I'm leaning towards a retake too, only because the verbal has leaned toward the low end, and I think that I just need to tweak my sentence correction skills, since my reading comp and CR has been solid for the most part.........
The Georgetown 1st round deadline is also on Jan 15 for evening students, so I'll have to make a rather quick decision on what to do there.
The Ad/BCE or BD/ACE strategy is golden in the data sufficiency for quant. Conceptualizing answers is also one thing that can help eliminate wrong answers once you are at those hard questions too.