Sorry for delay in writing my GMAT experience in detail.
I registered for GMAT on March 15, 2005 and registered for May 25, hoping 2+ months should be as good a time to prepare as it gets and more over I wanted to go to Mexico on Memorial day
Anyways that's when I began my preparation. I found some very useful information on Sticky notes in Forum. For example I had at one point begun doing tests from Barons. But based on some great feedback, I dropped using it.
I began with Princeton Review. I studied every day for 1-2 hours in the morning as the whole day and usually even late evenings were spent at work. Initially I read chapters till I was done with reading all the material from PR. At that point I took Powerprep and scored 680. Next I took all the tests in PR book. At this time I completed PowerPrep test 2.(700)
I felt my Verbal was weak and I bought Kaplans Verbal WorkBook in additon to Kaplan
GMAT. At this point during weekday mornings I alternated between reading+exercising Kaplan Verbal Workbook
and taking section tests from Kaplan
I found Kaplan Verbal WorkBook
very good as it was helping me strengthen my verbal skills.
During the entire 2 month period, almost every weekend I took a complete GMAT test including the Essays. I was often tempted to skip the Essays, but I didn't asI knew it was definitely something that was helping me build my stamina.
I alternated between Princeton Review and Kaplan
and also mixed the Princeton Review online tests. The online tests messed up the tests because after that test, my Princeton Review tests often gave me repeated questions.
Moreover I did not score high on most of these tests. Infact during the entire process I didn't see a score above 710.
This process of taking section tests ,revising materials: eg idioms etc. , during weekday mornings and full length tests on weekends continued till my section tests were complete.
At this time I started with Official Guide on weekdays. I tried to complete at least 10 questions from each section every morning. And Yeah! I started from the back of each section.
At this point I was convinced that I will not get more than 700. And the full length tests that I was taking on weekends only made my fears more true. But I was thinking what the heck, its just 2 more weeks to go. I have already put in lot of effort. Let me just do whatever I can and take the test. So I kept practising from Official guide and taking remaining few full length tests. In the last four days before the test, I almost studied nothing. The night before the test I went to play tennis.
On the day of the test:
Test was at 8:30 AM. Got up around 6:30 AM, got ready , had my light breakfast and was at the center at 7:50. I had taken water and fruits but everyone is supposed to empty pockets into lockers before the test.
Anyways, the test began , I provided names of 5 universities to send scores to . I found the essay topics nice. i.e My thoughts were flowing easily during both the esays. I was able to write lot of stuff and finish on time after spending the last two minutes revising and correcting spelling/grammar errors.
I took the break, went out, had water form my locker. Quantitative began nicely. But after 3 or 4 questions I found one that was tough. I took a lot of time for that . A few more after that were tough. At one point I felt I was behind my usual pace in Quantitative section. But I didn't hurry. By the time I was done with 25 or so questions, I was confident that situation had changed and I was actually ahead of my usual pace and will be able to finish before time Eventually I finished the section 2 minutes before time.
Again took the break, went out, stretched, got water and got extra scratch paper . I drew lines on my scratch paper to help me in Process of elimination. I knew by this time that Quants had gone well and my score depended on Verbal. I also knew first few questions were critical. So took my time to answer first 10 or so questions.. At some point I realized I was terribly behind the clock and would not complete the section if I didn't hurry. Moreover I started feeling a bit exhausted as well. Nevertheless, I did speed up a bit. But my caution to you is : This is a gamble. I knew from my past practise exercises that when I hurry in SC & CR I usually get them right but I don't get them right in RC. So I followed that .
I finished all the questions without random guessing with 6 seconds to spare. Test was over after some more formalities: I saw the score. I had expected around 710-730 . So was more than happy to see a 770.
My practice scores in approximately chronological order:
PR Test 1: 710
Diagnostic : 670
PR Test 2: 650
Test 1: 590
PR Test 3: 650
Test 2: 610
PR Test 4: 610
Test 3: 590
Test 4: 630
My Only Advice: Practice a lot and don't be discouraged with bad scores.
Ultimately what will matter is how you do in the test. So just keep practicing with enthusiasm.
Hope my experience helps you succeed.