I wrote the GMAT for the second time on May 30. I had cancelled my scores the first time thinking I had completely bombed it due to a combination of nerves and a lack of sleep the night before (see http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=745
for more details). I made sure to schedule my subsequent test during the afternoon session.
The essays were fairly standard - as mentioned several times before, they were both pulled from the back of the OG, so I really believe it is worth spending 2-3 minutes brainstorming on each of the Issue topics, if not the Argument topics as well. I think most people find the Issue essay more difficult (especially non-native speakers), because you have to be more creative and package those thoughts coherently in a short period of time.
The quantitative section was the most interesting part of the exam. During my first test, I had some very difficult questions early on - standard deviation, 2 confusing probability questions, stats, etc. I had expected the same this time around. But by question 15, I had yet to receive even a remotely difficult question!! Mostly algebra, some arithmetic and geo, and one simple probability. I was convinced I had bombed the section. I truly believe all the questions I got were on par with the OG (maybe longer, but not harder), and certainly not as difficult as Kaplan
's. I actually finished with 10 minutes to spare (not very good clock mgmt, I know). Moral of the story: don't give up, even if you're not getting more visibly difficult questions. At the end I expected a 35 - 40 score; I ended up with 49.
The verbal section was not that bad either. I started off with 5 SC in a row, followed by 2 RC back to back, and then my first CR by Q12. In total I received 4 RC passages. All were about the same level of difficulty as hard OG questions - I believe my biggest problem was my level of concentration. I am a native speaker, with fairly good English skills, but my eyes were getting sore, and I started to simply pick the first answer that sounded correct and moved on. Boredom also starts to creep in at this stage. You need to really buckle down and stay focused. I ended up with a 35, while in practice tests I was regularly scoring in the 40 range. O well.
So that's that. I thought about rewriting a third time to boost my Verbal score, but I figure the time is probably better spent on my tan and my application essays.
In terms of prep, after my first test, I purchased Kaplan
's Quiz Bank 1000 online (about $179 US) for additional practice questions. They were pretty good, but I'd say about 20% of the questions are duplicates from the Kaplan
5th Edition CD. I also bought the 3 paper-based tests from MBA.com, but they were from 1995 and 1997, and far too easy, with a lot of duplication from the OG. I do not recommend them. I looked at Barron's GMAT and Arco's Master the GMAT CAT, but they were absolute garbage and bear no resemblence to the real deal. However, Bogdan's pick of the GRE GMAT Math Review was an excellent refresher, and defintely worth the trip to the libaray/bookstore if your math is rusty.