I am a new comer to this group. Got to know of this resource few weeks before the exam. I wish I had seen this earlier. I wanted to share my experience that may be of help to some people
My background :
I am 36 years old, married and have two kids. I have been working for 11 years. I appeared for GMAT exactly one year back with a score of 680 ( breakdown was 46 on quant and 37 on verbal). Did not like the score, so did not apply to schools.
What was different this time :
I took some help. Prepared SC from MGMAT guide. Otherwise reviewed Kaplan
and OG. Saw a thread on this website suggesting to read LSAT for CR problems. Say it two days before exam, but I think it still helped.
How much was I scoring :
I gave Powerprep after thouroughly reviewing OG, so my scores are biased. First exam I achieved 770 (lot of questions were known). Second time there was considerably less duplication and I socre 750.
1, I got 600, with Kaplan
2, I got 630. So, before the exam I thought I would land up between 720 and 750.
Key to me was how I paced myself. This was the formula I used :
Format : time left /Question completed
Quant : 70/3, 60/8, 50/13, 40/18, 30/23, 20/28, 10/33
Verbal : 60/10, 45/20, 30/30, 15/40
Verbal pacing was not necessary for me, as I finished all my exams within time. However, forcing to finish Q during practise gave me an internal idea of how long 2-3 minutes were without having to look at clock.
What did I do in the last few days before the exam ?
I know a lot of people wonder about how to spend precious time before the exam.
Compare my scenario during my first exam :
1st trial : Flew to another city for taking the exam. Flight got delayed by two hours. I was supposed to be in the bed by 10:00 PM, but managed at 12:30 AM. Foreign bed == bad sleep. Hardly managed 4 hours of sleep.
Did not visit the location before the exam. So all these anxieties summed up made me a lot less level headed. [b]Plus one major factor is that if you have not given the exam before, expect Quant to be harder than you have seen. The last time I got stumped and lost my balance.
2nd and final attempt : Stopped giving tests two days before the exam. Went through logs of old tests and identified, attempted at fixing visible issues on day-2. Worked on GMAT for about 12 hours.
Day-1 : Folded books by the afternoon. Went for a jog. Saw a movie. In other words completly took myself away from books and preparation. In the evening drove to the exam center to get a mental map of the location.
Day 0 : Had a nice sleep. Went to bed at 9:00 PM day before. Was tired due to excercising, so had a good sleep. Woke up in time. Has a shower. Ate very light breakfast, since digesting volume takes away blood from the brain
Took a bottle of Gatorade and a small cereal bar with me. I forced myself to feel calm by taking away all the unknowns.
Two essays were simple. Stuck to my template from Princeton Guide (Does not matter. Pick one).
Quant : Got stumped at 23rd problem. It had to do with male v/ sfemale teachers and some being post graduate and some not. This was otherwise an easy problem, but do not know why got stumped. I was ahead by 3 problems, so spent time. Did and redid it, to no avail. After I spent my time credits, I moved on. This might have lowered by score (maybe). But the critical issue is always know where you are and do not bet your farm on one problem.
Verbal was wierd in the way that first four questions were SC. Then short RC. Then 4 CR questions etc. I kept track of the number of RC questions attempted, so was expecting an RC late in the game. It happened around Q37.
So, all in all, with eight weeks of effort on second attempt, I did okay. Still bummed that did not break 750. But that happens. Atleast I did not screw it up this time.
Good luck with your preparation.