I joined the community on the 31st of March 2010. At that time I wanted to take the GMAT. Five months later, I still didn't take it
So first step in the GMAT process is to schedule a date to force you to work, otherwise you'll keep postponing the test and will certainly never take it.
Moreover the test costs $250 so that's an additional incentive to do your best.
I have now scheduled my test for the 28th of October. I consider two months enough time, yet not too much to create a time constraint and force me to work efficiently.
Test day debriefing
So on test day, I went to the test center ahead of time and at a sandwich as it was lunchtime. Around 8 other people were taking the test. I didn't immediately enter the test room, I asked for a 5 minutes concentration time.
The room was as hot as in hell, and the noise of the computers was unbearable. Even with the earplugs I could still hear the noise made by the fans, amplified by the carton cubicles. I thought I was in a nightmare. The screens were 22" 16:9 and made it painful to read the exercises. GMATPrep made it clear the screen's resolution must be 1280x1024 to mimic the real test. I might report that to Pearson.
Moreover, I took the test in Switzerland, and realized the keyboards were not US standard, but QWERTZ! God, my essays were painful, I had to fight against the typos and struggle to find the misplaced punctuation signs. I barely finished my essays on time. My hands were shaking, as well as sweating... Thanks to Chineseburned's templates, I couldn't have written my essays without them. At this point my heart was beating at 160bpm, hopefully it's time for a break.
First break. I raise my hand for the proctor to accompany me out of the room. After 3 minutes nobody comes, so I stand up and he tells me to just walk out the room. I drank a lot of water (it was an oven in the room) and ate a banana. By the time I went back to the computer, I was 1min40s overtime! Shit!
So I attack quant, with my stupid 1min40 penalty. The first question seems hard, and I struggle. Now I'm losing confidence. Fortunately, I was thinking about my commitment to gmatclub, and there was no way I was going to disappoint you, so I kept highly concentrated and managed to finish the section 2 minutes ahead of time, without having to guess too much. My target was to not make silly mistakes and secure a Q47 as I already did in the past with gmatprep. This time I immediately walked out the room to drink, eat, piss and go back in the room.
Now it's time for Verbal. The first question is an SC which threw me off. It was a hard parallelism problem, and it took me 2 to 3 minutes to solve. There was no way I would fail the first problem. Then came RC and CR which I am good at, so my confidence came back. Then around halfway through the section, as I ate too quickly during my previous break to avoid going overtime, I started to have stomach aches and my heart rate increased as problems got more confusing. I had to take deep breaths a few times to stay cool. I was a pressure cooker about to explode.
At last I complete the Verbal section, not too sure about my performance. I thought I would get around 680-690 and be devastated to miss my target by so little. Now it's time for the mba.com profile. Click, click... God it never ends! Where are my scores? I can't wait!
And here comes the final screen, where you are allowed 2 minutes to report or cancel the score. As I want to go into finance, I ftold myself that I should have a poker player attitude: no emotions, poker face, blabla. So whatever my score will be, I will not rejoice or be upset. Final click. I see my 710, and damn the poker players, I was jumping all over my cubicle waving hands as if I had broken a 100m sprint world record. This was a huge relief!
Now out of the room, I'm actually the last fellow of the session. In the office a cute blond girl and another guy are waiting for their score reports. I ask them if they took the gmat how it went on. The girl answered she took some other test and her young and beautiful face told me she was only around 20 yrs old, so gmat is not for her now. The other fellow however told me he preferred to cancel his score. We chatted a little waiting to be handed our score reports.
I wished everyone all the best for the future and stepped out the test center with an incredibly joyful mood. I'm now done with the gmat for the rest of my life.
A few tips
- If you can, bring your laptop and fire gmatprep to warm you up before the test. Just do a few questions.
- Beware of the 8 minutes breaks. Waiting for the proctor, going to the toilet and such will take you more time than when you are at home.
- Take all the breaks or you'll have a heart attack around mid-test.
- Take the earplugs.
covers everything you should know.
- The test difficulty is equivalent to what you experience with gmatprep.
- The GMAT not only tests quant and verbal, but also your stamina, self control, psychology and such. You must know yourself and be able to control yourself under stressful conditions to score well.
I'd like to thank the website founders and moderators for providing us a place to share experience. And I'd like to address warm encouragements to Financier, Dreamy, and others I forgot, whose experiences I have carefully followed to build my confidence. I'm sure you'll all do well in your upcoming tests.