I took the GMAT for the third time on Nov. 4th and finally broke that 7-- mark that we all hope for. Although I haven't been active in commenting on this blog, I kept on coming back to this section to read other people's journey with the beast to receive inspiration, so I thought now I'd give back.
My first GMAT happened at the end of June and I received 660 (Q42, V39, AW6.0). I had a tough time getting ready for the beast because I had just ended a long term relationship and moved to a new apartment. Luckily the apartment was only a block away from my work, which allowed me to go home during my lunch breaks to look at some portions, etc. I started out using TPR's Cracking the GMAT
book, which was recommended to me by my friend, a TPR tutor. I also used Kaplan
's Premier program, OG10
, and then largely relied on the GMATPrep towards the end. I realized at just two days before the GMAT exam that the GMAT Prep and TPR questions did not cover all the questions that I saw on OG10
. Also, I believed that conventional "first 10 questions matter more" theory and spent A LOT of time on the first 10 questions and always ran out of time on the Quant. On the Verbal section my score seemd to be fairly stable. I had been scoring anywhere between 620 to 690 on the GMATPrep and hoped for a miracle on the test day. The Quant section tested all those questions that I had studied long time ago on the OG but hadn't seen for a while, esp on the GMAT Prep. I walked out with 660.
I decided that I wanted to take it again since I felt that as long as I studied more on the Quant, I should do okay. But I left my job in July and moved across the country. I was hoping to take the exam in September but due to a minor car accident, the moving company losing my shipment, getting settled in, etc., I couldn't take the exam until Oct. 4th. I focused on the Quant section but still looked at the Verbal section. My Quant at this point had shot up to high 40s because I realized that if I didn't spend the extra time double-checking the first 10 questions and actually get through the entire exam, I would score a lot higher.
The day before the exam, I visited my sister at her college. She had suffered from a flu a week back but was fine now. We hung out a lot that day (and it was a mental break for me before facing the beast), then I went to take the exam on a Monday. It was an exam that started at 4pm (I am not a morning person, and that gave me the early afternoon to review for the exam). I fumbled a bit on the AW but didn't worry too much about it, and felt confident about the Quant section. All of a sudden during the Verbal, I felt dizzy and tingly, and I couldn't focus. I was running out of time and had to randomly guess the last 10 questions, which had never happened before. My time management on the Verbal was always perfect and my score had been so stable. I couldn't understand what was going on. When I saw the score, I saw that my Quant went up to 48 and my verbal dropped to 29. Needless to say I was very disappointed. The next morning, I woke up with a fever of 105. I had caught that flu.
Because the scores flipped on me, I felt that I had to make one last attempt. If you took my 48Quant and 39Verbal, it'd be above 700. I decided to take it as soon as possible, and signed up for Nov 4th date (I think this was like 33 days after... I wanted to add a few more days in there so that the GMAC couldn't tell me that they calculate the dates funny and I took it too soon). I meant to study a lot but couldn't find the time due to a Rd1 app for a school that consumed most of my time. 5 days before the exam, I took another practice GMATPrep and scored 660.
I normally don't like to study the day before the exam but I tried, because I was so worried. I am sure that it didn't help that I was running on so little sleep due to the application (it's an infamous school that requires 2 long essays, 4 short 250-words max ones, and all sorts of supplementals). Because I knew the schools I want to apply to and the deadlines to attempt, I knew that this would be my last opportunity to beat the beast.
I surprisingly felt great on the day of the exam. I went in, tried not to worry too much, and took the exam. I am not sure how I did on the AW because, well, I just decided not to waste my energy on that too much. I had already scored a perfect score on it once and that was enough for me. I guessed on the last 3 in the Quant but tried not to stress. I took my 10 minute break and made sure to talk to other people suffering through the beast with me. This was important for me because it made me a bit more relazed. The verbal went okay and I actually finished 2 minutes before the end of the exam. I closed my eyes as the score generated. Man, those things take forever! Finally the score was computed and...
I GOT 710! Quant 49, Verbal 38. That put me in the 96th percentile.
I was disappointed to see that the verbal went down by a point since that extra point would've put me in the 95th percentile, but you know what? I just can't care about that. I am done with the beast and I am happy about it. I kept on singing "i am done i am done i am done" after the exam.
Btw. I am not a native speaker so I was okay with not breaking 4- on the verbal section. Sure, it would've been great, but I also wanted to be realistic.
These are the materials that I used to prep. I will also be selling all these so let me know if you are interested in any of them...
TPR's Cracking the GMAT
's Premier GMAT
's GMAT 800
MGMAT Sentence Correction
MGMAT Word Problems
MGMAT Reading Comprehension/Critical Reasoning
MGMAT Equations, Inequalities
TPR's GMAT manual (the ones for the TPR course program) -- new!
Again, thank you GMAT Club for the support! If I can help anyone with this beast, please let me know. I'd love to get more involved with the Club. Now, it's time for me to attack those app essays!