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Hey everyone, I'm a long time listener, first time caller...
I decided rather late in the game that I was going to be applying to business schools, and I stumbled across the forum when I was studying for my first go at the GMAT in November (actually, it was my second, but my first go was two years ago when I took it just to have it in the bag).
I studied so long for the test, got to the center during test day, and completely bombed. I had practiced at around a 710 level, and came away with a 640. Very disappointing, felt like crap the rest of the week because of it.
I had resigned myself to not applying to top schools because of the score. The GMAT homepage suggests that retaking the exam rarely netted a higher score, so I ruled that out until I came across the "Should I retake the GMAT" thread. It suggested that I shouldn't retake it unless I tested 50 points or more below what I was practicing (I had) and my splits were abnormally large (they were, 45Q, 35V, and verbal is my strength). I decided to retake it based on that advice.
The problem was, my family and I were going on a vacation to NYC over the holidays, and taking a standardized test is not really a common vacation activity. Nevertheless, I found a testing center a few miles away from our hotel, booked a time there, and began lightly re-studying with GMATClub's tests and forums while dedicating a lot of time to applications.
We were going to leave the day after Christmas for NYC (I'm from the Midwest), but snow canceled our entire trip the day before the exam. I managed to get a hold of the GMAT customer service and after a long discussion with them, they finally allowed me to reschedule the exam...for downtown Chicago...94.7 miles away from my house...for the next day.
I got in my car, got to downtown Chicago an hour before the exam started, found the testing center, and crushed it (well, my definition of crushing it) with a 710 (47Q, 42V). I celebrated by listening to music and singing along with it at the top of my lungs as I walked down Michigan Ave. It was a sweet feeling.
So I wanted to take a minute thank you all. Your condensed study guides and sets of very challenging problems helped me stay sharp in the break I had between try number 1 and try number 2. It was because of your help that I was able to dedicate most of my time to my applications knowing that I could maximize the few minutes I had each night with the material available on this site.