Although I took the GMAT a while ago, it still comes back to my mind every once in a while, mostly becuase I think I did not do my best on the exam day. Anyway the score is great.
I started preparing the GMAT in august 2013. The only materials I used were the OG13 and the Supplements, and also two books summarizing the very basic concepts of verbal and math that I got from a friend.
So my preparation consisted in almost two months using much of my free time to complete the questions in the OG13, and some others I found from older editions, while also revisiting questions I had found to be tricky or that caused trouble. Since the very beginning it was clear that I was strong at verbal, especially critical reasoning so, after the first two weeks, I focused a little more on Quant. It is not that I wasn´t doing good on quant, but not having used many math concepts for almost ten years, and considering how some questions are asked to fool you, I did not start as fast.
After my first month I decided to take my first GMAT Prep mock test. The experience was mainly positive: I got a 710 (49,39). I was happy for that 49, but not so much for my 39 in Verbal, which was supposed to be my strong side; I expected at least a 40. I considered it just a one time thing, a mistake. I kept focusing on math for two more weeks and gave it another try. This second time I had a slow start, and that reflected on my math perfomance, but I managed to finnish strong. The verbal went as it was supposed to. Result: 730 (47,42). Even happier.
Thus I thought I was ready to take the GMAT, which I took 2 weeks after my second GMATPrep mock exam. Those two weeks I spent them trying to keep the pace, not to lose focus, but nothing more. Since I had proven to myself that I had the skill, I just needed to show it when it mattered.Exam day:
Classic story: I did not sleep well the night before. Then again, I am used to taking exams with very little or no sleep at all, for I´ve been a night student all my life. Thus I thought I would be able to overcome sleepiness or tiredness in the end. Truth is I wasn´t. Or not completely.
The AWA was easy. Nothing more to say about it. But when IR came I was sure it was not going to be my day. I lacked focus the whole 30 minutes, and some questions, instead of solving them, I literally fought them.
After the break, I faced the Quant with the idea of entering the game since question 1. But, again, I struggled to find my rhythym: it took me 4 minutes to not solve
the first question correctly (I know, beginner´s mistate, lesson 101...but you arrive at the test center and sometimes have doubts and make mistakes you never had). Therefore, I was lacking focus and already running late. All of it worsened by the fact that I was feeling an urging need to use the restroom. It was not until mid-way through this section that I started doing things properly. Too late? I was not sure.
I used the second break to go to the restroom and came back knowing that I better shall perform as I was supposed to at Verbal. And I did. It was not my best day (the urging need to used the restroom came back) but I felt sure in almost every answer and finnised ahead of time.Result: AWA 5.5 IR:6 Q:46 V:41 710
I ended up happy because given the day I was having it was a great result. Nevertheless, I was a little pissed off by my IR and Quant scores. So the first though I had was: "retake". It was mostly out of a lacking of self-satisfaction and the feeling that I had performed below par. After a couple days, I came to my senses and acknowledged that 710 was indeed an awsome score and that you can never control what happens on an exam day, no matter how well you have prepared. So retaking the exam could mean a higher score, or having an even worse day and fail. So that settled the issue.My piece of advice: Take it seriously
. It is an exam that will penalize you if you show up unprepared. So take no shorcuts when preparing for the exam.Do rest
. Success rate when answering questions may very significantly depending on your stamina.Try to enjoy it
. When you like what you are doing it becomes easier to allocate time and effort into doing it, and you also tend to get better results.