This is one of my first posts, even though I have been reeding and using GMAT Club during almost all of my GMAT preparation.
First of all, i want to thank you guys because your help has been REALLY useful.
So, i decided to share my experience.
I am currently studying in Bocconi University, in Italy (my home country); I renounced to going on an exchange semester, since I had the objective to prepare and get all the requisites for applying to RSM or other top European business schools to do a master in International Management, coupled with the CEMS international degree. To do that, i needed a GMAT of at least 600 (just to apply, not to be accepted!) and a third language certification (in my case Spanish).
Having a high GPA, i kind of gave for granted that i would manage to do all this in the two months of summer, in which i would spend 2 weeks in Spain and one of complete holiday.
I passed the language certification (B2), leaving only a bit more than 3 weeks to GMAT preparation.
I studied on Cracking The GMAT
and on GMAT 800
my GMAT Prep Scores were 570 and 670, with a time gap of about 10 days one from the other.
after the 670 I was pretty sure I would get a grade higher than 600 in the real test, so I went and did it...
What did i get? A disappointing 590.
I was really frustrated, for about 1 week after the test I went blue every time i thought about it.
Then, I started reading the retake success stories on this forum, got a little more confident and started studying again. After one month spent on math (my great weakness), i took one further practice test (manhattan) --------> 590.
My fear was not defeated at all. I really forced myself to believe that that was because i did not keep my verbal "alive" during that month.
I practiced A LOT for another month, using the following books:- MGMAT Critical Reasoning
- MGMAT Word translations (from which i learnt the useful method of the RTD and RTW charts, which helped a lot in getting my messy thoughts organized!)
- MGMAT Reading Comprehension (From which I learnt to quickly schematize the passage content, a technique that i never thought could work out)
- MGMAT Sentence Correction (VERY USEFUL FOR NON-NATIVE SPEAKERS, since it contains a pretty exhaustive list of idioms!)
- OFFICIAL GUIDE (verbal)
- OFFICIAL GUIDE (math)
After a lot of reading and practice I took a Veritas
Practice Test, in which I got a bare 610. I was quite sad, since I thought my improvements were massive, but that was not reflected by the new score. Furthermore, I had too narrow of a margin (only 10 points) to be sure to get at least 600 on the real test.
I really thought about what I could do to improve, and I concluded that:
1. I needed more CAT practice (being quite scared of it, i didn't take many of it)
2. I needed to learn to practice on more difficult stuff to fix the main concepts ----> TIMING IS EVERYTHING! In my real exam (590) i burned too many minuted on the first 10 questions, since I was convinced (by Cracking the GMAT
, i would add...) that the first 10 questions really were the most important, and ended up guessing on the last 3-4 questions, both on math and on verbal...
So I started practicing on GMAT club timed tests, even if they are not CATs. They gave me more confidence and improved my timing strategy. Furthermore, practicing on the Manhattan Challenge Short Sets
made me understand some of the logic underlying the most difficult questions. Anyway, I scored really low on the challenging short sets! From a minimum of 28% right to a maximum of 57% right.
I had no illusion. I talked to many people. I was constantly repeating to myself that GMAT does not portrait you as a person, and that there were (and there are) many ways to be a successful person and professional in my life.
The stress was getting higher day by day.
I re-took a GMAT-Prep (i didn't remember anything of it, but still i did not consider it representative) : 680
I booked my second GMAT test on the 3rd of December, with no expectation at all.
My family was really helpful in valuing my efforts, and told me they did not expect anything and that I didn't have to get angry or desperate if I got a low score. They believed in my potential beyond any score.
During the last days before the exam I relaxed, slept a lot, and didn't watch movies before going to bed (that makes it more difficult to fall asleep). I reviewed some of the big rules I had learned on the math, and the idioms. I did more verbal than math during the weekend, since I wanted to leverage my strengths.
I went to the test center 2 days ago (i had the appointment at 9.15). I arrived half an hour earlier, as usual, but nobody was there!!!
Other 3 guys and I had to wait freezing for 20 minutes, when a girl (looking everything BUT professional) arrived (late) and let us in. The place was not warmed up, so it was like 0 degrees (celsius!!!). I got angrier and angrier. We sat after other 20 minutes and she turned the computers on. A problem with the servers occurred, ooops!
I was REALLY upset, we were 50 minutes late and she was still calling the central office trying to solve a problem that she could have solved if only she arrived in advance.
I talked with the other guys about how the situation was a shame, and treated the woman (I know this doesn't sound nice) a bit abruptly.
This is just to say that pouring out (a bit of) my anger actually did a lot good! When I started the exam I was concentrated AS NEVER BEFORE. I was extremely clear-headed and i didn't panic for a moment. I guessed when I had to guess, without losing any time. I finished both sections in perfect timing, seeing the questions difficulty rising up step by step.
When a difficult scientific passage came out in the last verbal questions I was quite sure i would get more than 600.
When I had to choose to see my grade I couldn't feel my legs anymore, a feeling that many of you may have felt, I guess!
Verbal 39, Quant 47.
I thought i was dreaming, really! I never did so good on any practice test before!
I am still so happy... this long journey is finally done.
The GMAT was a nightmare, but also a perfect challenge to improve and build my self esteem and self awareness.
Most of all, it was useful because it allowed me to constantly revise my expectations and be more humble. Having a high GPA doesn't grant you anything.
I will now proceed with the applications...
1. NEVER give up, never!
2. Believe in yourself. It seems banal, but it's not. I was really confident that i would get it right after 3 weeks of study, but i was wrong. Sadly, it doesn't mater if you have a high GPA or you always have been the best in your class. It really doesn't matter. GMAT takes practice! I have known a few people who scored 700+ with less than a month studying, but it's really an exception.
I met people who were so discouraged with their first score (after studying less than one month!) that revised their future plans, suffering a lot from the "defeat".
Do not do it! You can really improve if you believe in it and in your capabilities.
I hope my experience can be useful to some of you, as other GMAT club posters experiences were to me!