I took my first GMAT test in Nov 2010 and scored 570(43Q, 26V). At that time the approach I took to prepare for test was:
-I went through Manhattan prep materials only once
-I went through OG11
problems and solutions
-I took free tests from GMAT prep sites such as Manhattan GMAT
prep, Princeton Review
, GMAT Club and MBA official GMAT prep
My score varied widely but I didn't care much thinking I would tame the wild beast 'GMAT' on the exam day. But when I got my score then I realized it wasn't so easy to tame this beast otherwise no body would have labored so hard to get 700+ GMAT score.
Then I re-assessed my preparation strategy. I went through all the Manhattan prep materials thoroughly, specially SC book and CR Bible book. I bought and took 6 paid Manhattan GMAT
simulated exams. I practiced lot of questions posted on GMAT Club forums.
As such I didn't spend much time studying at home and/or library to prepare for GMAT. I spend 3 hrs every day on commute to work out of which 2 hrs are spent in shuttling between 4 trains. I utilized this time to go through all the printed materials and at home I spent couple of hours a week to practice the questions from GMAT Club. Some times I used to get demotivated and stop preparing for weeks but then success stories from others on GMAT Club forum helped me to motivate again to my preparation. So my preparation got stretched a little longer. But I think its better late than never.
I took exam appointment 10 days before the exam date (Oct 29, 2011) and prepared for my test. Last 2 days before my exam I didn't even touch any of the book but I practiced little from GMAT Club forum questions.
Finally on the exam day, I reached center almost 45 minutes earlier than scheduled time, checked-in and took the exam. I took all the breaks after completing each section. During quants section, some how I misinterpreted remaining time when I was left with around 17 questions. I thought I was left with less time than I would need to finish all the questions. So I rushed through the questions but when I was down with 10 more questions and I looked at the timer, I found that I was still having 30 minutes left. This gave shivers thinking that I unnecessarily rushed through many questions and what if answers to those questions were wrong. After finishing the quants I took break, went to rest room and took deep breath to calm myself down and do good in verbal to stand a chance to score 700 marks.
When I started verbal section, I put down 4 time intervals three 20 minutes each and 15 minutes for the fourth one. And I put the number of questions in each interval I was expecting to solve. It was like this:
75 - 55 10
55 - 35 10
35 - 15 10
15 - 0 11
I checked my pace with this above table to make sure I was in correct path.
Finally when I came to question # 38 and my heart started pounding and anxiety started to set-in thinking what if I miss my 700 marks. Some how I focused to finish rest of the questions. Then after verifying my personal data, score popped-up and it was exactly 700 (49Q, 36V). This made my anxiety disappear as I'm targeting for part time MBA from NYU Stern and I'm well within the range of GMAT score required to apply for this program.
Last but not least I would like to thank GMAT club for all the help and support I got for my GMAT preparation.