i took the GMAT twice; I had to take the GMAT twice. the first time, i didn't feel like it was necessary to put that much effort into it, since i had always done well on entrance tests (top 3-5%), even without studying... i found out too late that the gmat is a different animal altogether, and NEEDS A LOT OF EFFORT.
my first take, i took the GMAT within 3 months of deciding that I would apply to B-school. it was an afterthought, more than anything. although I religiously reviewed, i only put in about 1 hour a day, and used only one book. i did all the problems in the book, and thought that would be enough. i also only just used the one free CAT exam from GMAC.
apparently, the GMAT does deserve awe and respect. it gave me the grade i deserved for not studying enough for it: 660. not a bad score at all, but i knew it was well below what i should have gotten. being uncomfortable with the CAT system didn't help either.
i tried applying for the top b-schools, and true enough, didn't get in any of them. i'm sure this was not the only reason, but it was a contributing factor. when i checked the middle-50% range of most schools, my score was either at the lower bound, or even below it. i was at the lower half of the curve.
this year, i actually put in the effort needed. I started reviewing november, 3-4 hours a day, and took the exam last january 4. I got a 730. i made use of 4 different books, princeton, official guide 11th ed, kaplan
and kaplan 800
. the most effective were princeton and OG for me. i also used the free days of the gmat club to use their tests. thanks for these by the way... i even hired a friend (paid him with coffee at a coffee shop, lol) to teach me some concepts i couldn't quite get. i took all the CAT tests that i could get for free including the official GMAC test, MGMAT, and all the other ones found someplace else in this forum. i also solved the problems given by people in the forums.
i should note however that my scores were a bit different from most people in this forums... i got higher on my verbal than my quant, which is opposite what i keep seeing from other people. Q45 (74%ile) V46 (99%ile). i don't know yet how that will play out with the admissions committees of schools, but let's see.
anyway, thanks to GMATClub for being a great resource. i'm not ecstatic over my scores, but they will do... they're at least above average now for most schools... which can't hurt.