Just thought of sharing my GMAT experience so that others may be encouraged.
I took my actual GMAT test on 3 Oct, 2005. First time, only time. I started my prep in June 2005, so I had about 4 months to prepare. Like many, "4 months" describes the period, but not the intensity. Just to give you a sense of my life circumstances during my prep:
- My baby daughter was about 3 months old in June, and my wife and I have no domestic help. That means I'm quite involved in taking care of her.
- I run my own business. My bread and butter. Period.
- During my prep, there were some ad hoc projects/activities that I was involved in.
- Was also involved in other social activities during this time.
This means I can only put in 2 to 3 hours on average each day, for 4 to 5 days per week.
My prep materials
1. PR Cracking the GMAT
- 2002 ed.
2. OG 10th
2005 with CD
Item 1 and 2 were handed down to me from a friend in 2002/2003. So my only investment was the Kaplan
(GMATclub would have been a great resource to prepare myself mentally. Sadly, I only chanced upon this site after my actual test.)
I did about 5 or 6 full-scale prep tests during my prep. 2 from Powerprep, 3 or 4 from Kaplan
I don't remember many specific details, as it has been almost a month. However, I will try to describe some broad experience.
AWA: went ok. Still have not received the actual score yet.
It went on well initiately. After the first few questions, I got lazy and did not really double check my answers. Then I felt that the questions were getting simpler and easier, and I thought I'm a goner. I must had screwed up somewhere somehow. Towards the end of the section, 1 or 2 touger questions popped out - that I thought they were just sample questions.
Completely the Quant with a few minutes to spare. Was a bit demoralized during the break. However, I said a prayer and mentally prep myself to continue on with the test. Was thinking of whether should cancel the test. Before I could debate further, I started on the Verbal.
I found it difficult to guage how well one is doing for Verbal. Anyway, I thought it was going on generally well. However, a RC popped out unexpectedly on question 33. I thought I had already completed my share of RC so that was a surprise. Anyway, I took a bit too long to tackle this RC and had to rush. I was left with only a few minutes for the last few Verbal questions. In the end, I had to guess the last 2 or 3 questions.
Once I hit confirmed of the last verbal question, I was simply down. I thought with my screwup in my Quant and Verbal, I would only get at most 620. Was seriously considering to cancel the score, as my attitude all the while was to just show one good score to the schools.
However, not knowing why, I selected to view my scores. I just wanted to quickly see how badly I screwed up, and go home for a rest.
Well, as you may already know by now, I screwed up just a tiny bit. When I saw the score on the screen, I thought something was wrong. I rubbed my eyes, and wipec the screen. The 750 remained there. I pumped my fist into the air and almost shouted out. On my way home, I was just smiling from cheek to cheek, thanking God.
1. "I'm so busy at work. I don't think I can prepare for the GMAT and get a great score."
If you are consider taking the test, and are wondering whether you are able to prep for it with your busy work- and family-life, I have just shown that it can be done. And I'm not the only one before you.
2. "What GMAT preps material should I get? Which are the best books I should get and courses that I should attend?"
Apart from the test fees, I only spent US$40 for my prep materials. 2 of the materials are antique editions, handed down to me. No courses attended. I think I'm one of those who spent the least and used the most minimal for a GMAT test.
I'm not saying that there isn't any need to get good materials or go for good prep courses. But what is more important is to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and get the appropriate materials to help yourself. Don't simply chase after what other GMAT takers or forumers are getting.
3. "Damned. I think I screwed up my test. Should I cancel my test score?"
I think most test takers, during the test itself, will think that they are doing badly. That they have screwed up completely. That they will get a score that is 300 points below what they are hoping for. [This is a survey based on a one-man biased sample
My suggestion is: Unless you really KNOW that you have screwed up, or have to guess the last 10 questions or so, or have ran out of time to complete a section - accept the score. You are likely to do better than you think.
Also, by knowing how badly you did, it will help you in your future prep, if necessary.
4. "Which is the most important thing to prepare? AWA? Verbal? Quant? SC or CR or RC? PS or DS?"
To me, the most important thing to prepare is your mental stamina
. If there was no time limit for the GMAT, I think many people can hit a 800. But for GMAT, not only must you get it right, you must get it right fast. And not only must you get it right fast, you must get it right fast consistently for 4 hours.
To me, it is the ability to concentrate and think and work fast for 4 hours that have helped me to conquer the test.
To help build up your mental stamina, incorporate a few full-scale prep tests into your GMAT prep plan. Also, went you tackle the OG, don't take your own sweet time. Remember to put yourself in a test condition.
All the best to your conquest!