Although this is my first post, I have been an active reader of these boards for the past month, and since so many of you have helped me by sharing your experiences, I thought I'd share mine.
I took the GMAT this morning for the first time, and scored a 700 (Q47, V39) and the bottom line is I'm happy because I'm not going to retake it (700 was my cutoff score).
While taking the test, I was stressing out way harder than I thought I would. My heart rate was jacked up, I wasn't composed or focused, and did not manage my time well at all. In both sections, I had around 6 minutes to finish the last 6 questions; needless to say, there was a lot of guessing. I thought I was en route to like a 650, so the 700 was a huge relief, even though my goal (read: lofty) was to score above 720.
I studied HARD, but for only 1.5 months. I devoted all my extra time to studying, leading friends to think I was a major closet case, but I think it all paid off today. Here are my practice test results:
4/2 Veritas Prep
Free CAT: 630 (Q42 V35)
CAT #1: 610 (Q40 V34)
4/22 MGMAT CAT #1: 660 (Q44 V37)
CAT #2: 650 (Q44 V35)
5/4 GMATPrep CAT #1: 700 (Q47 V39)
CAT #3: 640 (Q4, V35)
CAT #4: 660 (Q46 V35)
5/10 MGMAT CAT #2: 720 (Q48 V40)
5/11 MGMAT CAT #3: 720 (Q47 V42)
5/12 MGMAT CAT #4: 720 (Q47 V41)
5/14 GMATPrep CAT #2: 680 (Q47 V37)
5/15 GMATPrep CAT #1.1: 700 (Q47 V39)
5/16 MGMAT CAT #5: 690 (Q47 V37)
5/18 Real GMAT: 700 (Q47 V39)
Self-Analysis of my studying: WAY too many practice tests, not enough analysis of missed questions. If I were to do it over again, I would have spent the majority of my time diagnosing why I missed certain questions. Also, I should have made more note cards and compiled a list of my errors and useful information. But all in all, I'm so happy I didn't pay for a class, which I was actually considering before diving into my studies.
GMAT Premier 2012-2013: Kaplan
gets a bad rap on these boards; for $40 you get an all-in-one review and 6 practice tests. Yes, scores are skewed 60-100 points, but the challenging questions--especially in the math section--really prepare you well. The real GMAT is a breeze compared to the Kaplan
tests. One word of caution: some of their answer explanations in the verbal section, particularly in CR, are suspect.
-Kaplan GMAT 800
-Official Guide - 12th Edition (old school baby): The only practice questions worth doing are at the ends of each section, as these questions tend to be the most challenging
-Manhattan SC: I dug it. And for $16, I got 6 free practice tests. Great deal.
AWA: This may have been really dumb of me, but I didn't prepare for the AWA. At all. Like I didn't even read the sample questions or read general strategies. Completely ignored it in my studying. On the test day, I think (?) both essays were fine; I just hope I don't get anything below a 5.0. Not sure if this was a good strategy, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
In Summary: I think my ceiling is around 730, so I squeezed most, but not all, of my talent out on the actual test. These boards were extremely helpful, and thanks to everyone who contributes regularly--you guys are chill!