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I am going to prove to you that the GMAT is a poor test of ability.
OK experts. Explain this one.
I have taken the GMAT 5 times. The first time I cancelled the score. I was overwhelmed by the lack of time to do the questions.
The second time I got a 520. In quant, the test said I was in the 30th percentile (basically the test's way of telling you what an idiot you are). I studied by taking PR and using all of their materials + some OG (not too much).
Then I took the test a third time and got a 580. I was still in the 30th percentile in quant, but in the 91st percentile in verbal. I studied using the PR refresher course.
Then I took the test a fourth time and got a 570. Still horrible in quant and in the 61st percentile in verbal. I studied for quant using a web site called Bell Curves, which was actually pretty good.
Finally, this weekend, I took the test one last time, expecting another disappointing result. Except this time, I had a different strategy. I DIDN'T STUDY FOR 3 MONTHS. I didn't crack open a book, didn't go to this web site, didn't study any formulas, didn't practice any problems. I wanted to prove to myself this test was an accurate test of NOTHING.
And I proved it. I got a 630. That is 110 points higher than my lowest effort (which I studied for). But here is the real kicker. I went from the 30th percentile to the 80th in quant. And again I was in the 60th percentile in verbal (down from a high of 90th percentile).
How do you explain these wild variances in individual sections? I am the same person as I was 3 months ago. I did not go through some intelligence changing experience.
There is only one explanation. The test doesn't accomplish its goal: to accurately assess your abilities.
Now I am no slouch in math to begin with. I have a CPA. But to go up 50 percentile points without studying says a lot about this test. It says it is a failure by ETS to gauge ability in an accurate manner.
I think my 630 is still a crap score, but hopefully it will get me into a decent school somewhere.
I just want to give hope to those of you who are doubting yourselves, thinking this test has you at its mercy. It can be beaten with enough time and money (yes, keep taking it!). You've got to believe in yourself, no matter what. That's what this test taught me and it might be its only redeeming quality.
Its may not be a test of ability, but in my opinion, it does a pretty ok job of testing one's endurance and ability to plan, execute and deliver in unfamiliar situations. Strategy is the core of doing well on GMAT.
From the little that i know, i think most guys would do much better on their first attempt if they had more sleep the previous night , had more mental control over the test and simply concentrated on one question at a time.
The thing thats hard to do it to 'let go' of a problem. When we come across a very difficult problem, we have to quickly assess the situation, see if the problem can be solved , make a decision, and implement the decision. Your focus should be entirely on the question on the screen. Please practise doing this in your practise tests and see how you do. I hope it will benefit.
I don;t totally agree with your analysis or logic.
There is a difference bwteeen not studying at all and studying for 4 times and then not studying for 5th time. And the difference is huge!
The delta between your past 4 scores and 5th is not big enough either.
Also, just blaming the way GMAT/ ETS tests us doesn;t mean a jack squat. Its their limitation as well. They just have 78 questions to test you.
Probably after facing same kind of questions 4 times, you don;t need any preparation, with better you can go past 600.
Anyways, the bottom line is getting admission to MBA. I personally think GMAT definitely tests your aptitude to an extent and more of your perseverance and ability to stand the rigors. This test may not be absolute or error free but does its job pretty well. And admission comittee patches it up by looking at your other credentials as well.