Took the GMAT over a year back, didn't know of this forum back then, otherwise I would have posted here earlier
I got into a bit of a predicament around the time of my GMAT, as the deadline for my thesis and GMAT were on the same day. I ended up deciding there was nothing to gain from studying the verbal portion of the test for such a short period, so instead I did 2 10-hour days on the quant section and taking the test as sort of a "let's go and see how this works out" kind of thing. I went in without the stress of high expectations and just did as well as I could, which turned out to be a lot better than I'd anticipated.
I've browsed through these forums a bit and see a lot of people hyping themselves up or getting extremely anxious about taking the GMAT, and I get where they are coming from. I, however, would like to emphasize the importance of calming yourself down before the test. It's much too long to be hyped the entire way through, so you need to find a comfortable level of energy for you to perform on. I went in wearing sweatpants and a hoodie, with a big bottle of water. I was as relaxed as I could have been, and I think it paid enormous dividends on the questions I wasn't sure about.
I'm not a native English speaker, but went to summer school at the local American School and my bachelor's degree in Law and Economics was in English. I probably got the vast majority of my reading and writing ability from just reading a lot of books about things that interest me, and this is another tip I feel is useful for everyone looking to take the GMAT. A great strategy to improve your score on the verbal section of the test, as an addition to studying the GMAT Prep books etc. (of which I can't gauge the effectiveness), is to make sure that, assuming you plan better than I do and have a few months or so before your test, you are reading a lot of material you find interesting. This will allow you to engage with the stuff you're reading much more, and you will learn more from it.
I just finished a Master's degree in Finance and am considering going to business school (applying before my GMAT score expires).
I'm not that on the up and up about US business schools, and would like to hear your opinions as to what types of schools would be realistic.
My GPA in my Master's was a 3.9, and I have internship/work experience at a VC, PE Fund, and an Investment Bank.