Background: I am a credentialed actuary (FSA), so I have taken what seems like 100 exams (I have also passed CFA L1). I decided in mid November to apply to b-school, so I knew that I would need to take the GMAT by end of year. Instead of taking the test basically cold in late November and then try again in late December, I decided to focus my efforts and give it one shot.
I figured going into the test that I needed a 700. I am applying to HBS, Wharton and Chicago. I have a strong academic record and a non-traditional background. I have had a good bit of success at work: 6 years of work experience am currently an AVP in a Fortune 1000 company. After reading more on the blog, I don't know that a 700 will be enough, but I am going to give it a shot.Study method
, Beat the GMAT flashcards on my iphone, and MGMAT practice tests
-also relied upon prior test taking strategy. Passing 10 actuarial exams is not the most direct method to prep for the GMAT, but it works!
GMATPrep1, 710, Q46, V41
MGMAT1, 680, Q43, V39
MGMAT2, ..., Q47, ....just did quant
MGMAT3, 660, Q45, V35 (did the quant in the morning, the V at 11pm)
MGMAT4, 650, Q43, V36 (had issues find a quite place on this one)
GMATPrep2, 720, Q47, V44
Actual Test, 700, Q48, V38
I knew after the quant portion that I had a chance at a really good score. I was never short on time and felt in control. I also had done really well on the verbal part of GMAT Prep #2. Looking back on this test, the score was probably a bit inflated because I had done all of the SC in OG12
and there were some repeats. The verbal part of the test ate my lunch. I got a difficult reading passage early on, and I actually got a little behind on time. It seemed like my last 5 CR questions had enourmous, difficult to follow passages, so I probably made some stupid mistakes. So while I am a little disappointed to get a 700 after blowing out the Quant (for my standards!), I will take it. There are a lot of smart successful people that take the GMAT and I just did better than 90% of them.
is really, really, really hard compared to the real test (this has been discussed before). Don't let MGAT get you down. I also think their RC questions are more difficult to.
-Managing the clock is imperative on the quant. During practice, I found myself taking 3-4 minutes to answer some questions...and I would sometimes get them wrong! If I was going to miss a question, I at least wanted to miss quickly! So on the test I would occasionally note what time I started a problem and look back after 2 minutes had passed. I wanted to access if I could solve this in the next minute. Re: timing, I found the MGAT tests really helpful with this aspect. They give you a break down of how many minutes you spent on each question.
does not have enough hard questions to really prep to make a high score. If you want to do well on verbal you'll need to tackle some difficult CRs and SCs...I just didn't think there were enough 700-800 level questions.