My journey to my 710 GMAT is not a particularly impressive one. But if it somehow helps someone else, than I figure posting it will be good. Around February 2007 I started to seriously consider going back to school. I decided I want to get a masters degree in accounting. This meant I needed to take the GMAT. I had a friend who got an MBA and another who got a masters in accounting both from Notre Dame. I asked their advice on GMAT study material. The one wasn’t very helpful saying he only studied for 2 ½ weeks but would recommend more study time. He got books from the library. But the other told me he took the test twice but he really would just recommend two books that helped him the most. The first was the Official Guide for GMAT review (I got the most recent 11th edition) and also the Princeton Review’s Cracking the GMAT
(I think he mostly said for help with the verbal questions). I went out and bought these two books (online rather than at Barnes and Noble where I would have paid twice as much).
At first, I was so excited to study. I have been out of college for two years and I missed school, learning and yes, even studying. I started off in the GMAT review book reading everything at the beginning about the GMAT test. I took a practice test early on to see my weak areas though I didn’t record what I got. I believe it was somewhere around the average score. I did better in quantitative than in verbal I believe. Actually I might have not had time to finish the quantitative part so that hurt my practice score. But I knew I was stronger in the quantitative than in the verbal questions. I decided to just do as my friend suggested and work my way through the GMAT review book. I read about the test and I read the review of information needed for the sections (math concepts and whatnot). Then I started in on the practice questions. I tried to time myself as I did them so I wouldn’t spend over two minutes for the quantitative. I’m mark the questions that took me longer. I started with beginning question which are the easier ones.
It was hard for me to find time to study. I watched my niece full time during the day so it’s hard to concentrate on studying when you have a two year old running around demanding attention. Sometimes she’d come over and close my books. I tried to get in a couple hours of studying about 4 times a week. Sometimes that went ok, sometimes it was less. I would usually do about 30 questions in one section at a time, then check my score and review the questions I got wrong to see my mistakes. The studying was going well for about two months. There were times when I hardly had any time to study though. I was feeling maybe another month of study and I’d be ready to take the test sometime near the end of May.
Then I hit a stumbling block and decided a masters in accounting wasn’t the right move for me and I stopped studying because I didn’t need the GMAT anymore. I was trying to decide what my next move was and where to go. I started thinking about my options. I really started to like the idea of starting my own business. The only problem with this is that I know absolutely nothing about running a successful business. That’s when I decided I should get an MBA. This meant I did in fact need to take the GMAT. These decisions were made in June. I started looking at schools to see if I could make any deadlines that would have me starting Fall ’07. I was mostly looking in Michigan since in-state tuition is a lot less than anything else. I found two schools that I decided I would apply to. I decided on Wayne State University (my first choice) and Western Michigan University. Neither are in the top anything, but they are programs that I could get into and start in the fall if I applied by July 1st. Wayne State University said I needed over 450 to get in. So I figured I’d take a practice test, see how I was doing. I got 550. That was good enough for me. The average GMAT grade for those who went to Wayne State was 510.
By this time it was around June 10th. I quickly looked at when I could take the GMAT and scheduled my appointment for June 19th. This gave me just over a week to get my final study in (after not studying for almost 2 months!). I got my books out again and knew I needed to finish the practice questions. I also needed to actually review a little what I needed to do for the writing part. I would say I averaged maybe 3 hours a day for that week. There were a few days that was less I think. My goal really was to get around 600. That I figured would easily get me into Wayne State. I finished the practice questions on the 18th and took my final practice test then also. I wanted to be done by 4 so that the rest of that night I could just take a break from the study and get a good night’s sleep before the test. I don’t know what my score was (it was from the gmat prep software) but it was enough that I wasn’t too worried about the test.
I wasn’t too nervous about the test. I felt well prepared and knew I didn’t need an excellent score. So I went in hoping I’d do well enough. I made sure I had lots of time to get to the testing center (an hour and a half away). I made it early.
I must say I did say a lot of prayers before and during the test. I got started on the test and thought I did decently on the essays. I decided not to take the first break because I just wanted to get on with it. I felt like the quantitative section went pretty well. I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. Either I knew what I was doing and I was doing well. Or I kept getting wrong answers and therefore got easier questions that would give me a lower score. I was getting through the test at a good pace. I think I still had about 30 minutes when I got down to the last 10 questions. So I knew I could take more time on them. I would double check those answers to make sure I was right.
I did take the second break so I could get some water and use the restroom. I got back and started the verbal section which I knew I wasn’t as strong in as the quantitative. It seemed to be going ok. I didn’t think the questions were too confusing for the most part. I was getting through this section in good time also. I finished it with I think 10-20 minutes to spare. I felt like it was heavy on sentence correction, but maybe that’s just me. At this point I was happy to be done.
I checked that I wanted it to be scored and waited. I almost didn’t believe the score when I saw it. And then I couldn’t stop smiling. 710 (94th percentile). 110 over my goal. How awesome! 47 quantitative (82nd percentile) and 40 verbal (90th percentile). I was so excited to get my cell phone and get out of there to tell my family and friends.
I’m very happy with my score though it’s caused me to change my thinking of schools. With a score like that I could go to a better school. But I wouldn’t be able to start this fall at a better school. So I’m trying to figure out what to do now.
I wish I would have found the gmatclub before I had taken my test rather than after. Perhaps it would have helped me score higher. But I'm glad I found it at all! I hope perhaps something in my post will help someone.