I would like to start by saying thanks to all of you whom I have conversed with over the past several weeks, and thanks to those who have taken the time to explain things to me and what not. I can honestly say that GMATClub was a great help for me. Prior to using GMATClub, I was quite chaotic in my study habits. This forum allowed me to focus on topics of difficultly, and additionally exposed me to some very intelligent individuals from whom I have learned a great deal.
I took the GMAT yesterday (9/11) and scored a 770. This was well above my goal, and I actually thought I faired far worse, until I saw the score that is.
Break Down was:
Math 50 - 95 %tile
Verbal 46 - 99 %tile
Total 770 - 99 %tile
My preparation involved the following:
Kaplan Verbal Workbook
PR Verbal Workbook
Kaplan GMAT 800
Some Arco material (2003) edition
LOTS OF GMAT CLUB (for about a month)
Gmat club challenges
And ofcourse, the invaluable OG 10th
Additionally, I took the LSAT last year, and recieved most of by CR (aka LR) skills from that exam.
I started administering the practice tests two weeks ago, scores were as follows:
PP 1 - Aug 29 - 740
PP 2 - Sep 4 - 760
PR 1 - Sep 5 - 760
PR 2 - Sep 6 - 740
PR 3 - Sep 9 - 780
PR 3 - Sep 9 - 790
First off, I recommend that when taking practice tests, space them out ATLEAST 3 days apart. NEVER take 2 of them back to back. Doing so really wore out my eyes. Although I did nothing the day before the exam, my eyes were quite tired on exam day.
Second, make sure you do the essays when you take the practice tests. Essays, although trivial and not necessarily a threat, wear you down tremendously. I didn't take the essays during my practices, and payed the price in terms of fatigue on test day.
Third, make sure you bring earplugs to the test center. I bought mine from a university book store, I believe home debot carries them as well (as a safety item). There are so many distractions in there, that the earplugs are absolutely necessary. With them in, I didn't hear a single noise. Also, by 3 pairs. 1 for each section. They tend to become less effective as they go in and out.
Ok, here is my experience. I spent the night before at a quality Hotel by myself to ensure a quality sleep experience. I would suggest this if your funds allow it.
In the morning, I ate a light snack and drank some OJ and a protein shake. (Protein supposedly enhances your mental capabilities). I arrived at the test center to find it quite warm. Fortunately I was wearing thin, light, comfortable clothes.
When I sat down in the cubicle, the first thing I noticed is that the refresh rate on the monitor sucked. Basically, I could see the screen flickering, and reading a flickering screen for hours on end makes your eyes hurt. If you've never noticed a flickering screen before, then you are fine. If you know that somthing like this bothers you, I suggest preparing for it (by taking practice tests on a non LCD computer with the refresh rate set to 60Hz).
I began the test and went into the essays. I spent 5 minutes mapping out my response, then started typing. I basically used up all the time, and I have doubts about their quality. I took a five minute break, and came back to start the math section.
I found the math section to be only marginally harder than the O.G. My first 5 problems were quite easy, then they got really hard. By the 9th problem, I was having trouble. I was spending 3 minutes plus on each problem, and wasn't necessarily sure of the answers I chose. A few I marked, and then quickly realized that I had chosen the wrong answer. Around Q 15, I picked a totally random guess just to get the problem off the screen. I was so concerned with saving precious time, that I made some poor strategy decisions. Interestingly, I only got 1 simple combination problem, and 1 tricky, but not difficult probability problem. The last 10 problems were INCREDIBLY easy, and where almost verbatum of problems in the OG. This concerned me greatly, but in the end, I posted a Q50, so if the last questions you get aren't that difficult, don't be concerned. Ironically, even though concerned at the beginning of the section, I finished the math with about 15 minutes left over.
At this point, I was questioning whether to stop and cancel or continue and try. I chose the latter (thankfully!) and hit the verbal section hard. All in all, the verbal questions were either really easy, or really hard. All the CR's were very easy, and generally of the same calibur as the O.G. CR's. The reading comps weren't that hard either. Here is the strategy I used for them.
1. Read about 10 lines at a time
2. Every 10 lines, take my eyes off the computer and paraphrase in my mind what I read. (This takes about 15 seconds)
3. Take special note of contrasts, and hidden inferences. For example, RC's often say this:
"Unlike the aerospace industry, the electronics industry relied heavily on economies of scale."
You will often see a question such as: "What can be inferred about the aerospace industry"
Bearing that strategy in mind, I noticed that with lots of O.G. practice, I started to score much higher on RC's. If you have the time, always try to locate the answer in the passage, before submitting your answer.
The SC's were tough. I think this section cost me a higher verbal score. They were very long, but It almost always came to a choice between 2 answers. I either guessed well, or lucked out on the experimentals.
I finished the verbal with about 12 minutes left.
To be honest, I was expecting to see a score around 700, so when I saw 770 I was quite surprised and happy. Regardless of how you feel you're doing during the test, always press on confidently. Don't try to gauge your progress on the difficulty of the questions, just keep focused and keep on trucking.
So in summary:
0. Study hard before the test.
1. Rest well the day before the test
2. Get good sleep the night before the test
3. Bring your earplugs
4. Don't panic during the test, just keep going!
Lastly, I would like to send a personal thanks out to BB and Praetorian, for creating and aministrating this amazing site. And to those of you like Paul and srijay and Bhai and DJ and all the other heavy posters who make this site so valuable, thanks again!
Btw, although I started an error log
, I seldom used it. I do agree that it is invaluable as a tool, but I believe that it is equally as important to do as many different problems as possible. 30 of the 37 problems I saw in the quant section were either clones of O.G. problems, or similar to PR problems I had seen. Studying is the key.
Good luck all!