This is my first post to the Gmat Club website. I've been reading this site for years and I think it is a wonderful resource. I thought about not talking about my GMAT experience, but I believe it would be a good to share with everyone regardless of my score. I've been studying off and on GMAT for 5 years now (more off than on), and I never did the exam until yesterday. I did sign up for the exam in 2005 but didn't feel confident enough to sit it. Again I came close in 2007 but chickened out again. Always I had some excuse: work, too old for mba (i'm 36) etc. Basically I didn't have the discipline to do the work required.
My attitude changed this year and I decided to give myself a fighting chance. So for the past 2 months I thought I was working hard on my GMAT prep. I had a full 2 months as I took PAID study leave from work (yes, we can do that in the Caribbean!). I used mainly the Kaplan Math Workbook
Advanced Math book, Manhattan GMAT books
and completed the OG 11
. I divided the OG 11
into sections of 36 math and 41 verbal questions and towards the end of my prep I would do both timed sections to build endurance. I used the error log
, and re did questions I got wrong to try and drill the concept into my head.
The Day Before the Exam: The exam center is located about 2 hours drive from my house, so I decided to overnight by my aunt who lives in that area. I mostly read my study notes I made. I went to sleep about 10pm but I tossed and turned the whole night due to nerves. I think I got maybe 3 hours of solid sleep.
The Day of the Exam: I arrived at 8:30 and I was surprised to find out that I was the only person sitting the GMAT exam on that day. I felt good about this. Then I was called into the administrative office to have my photo and palm prints taken. Then I was ushered into a room that had two computers separated by a partition. There wasn't an exam administrator (maybe because I was the only one taking the exam), apparently there was a live camera recording me. If I had a request all I needed to do was supposedly raise my hand. I felt a little dubious about this...
AWA Essay Section: I thought my essays were decent. After writing them I took the optional 8 minute break. It really is more like 5 mins because when I clicked on the screen to take the break, I then had to go to the office to get logged out of the system. This involves reading my palm prints. After this I went to the restroom and then ate a snack (banana: potassium!). Then I had to go back to the office to get logged in, more palm reading and then went back to the test room.
Math Section: I always start slow with math so I was conscious of getting a flying start. However at this point in the exam I was feeling the results of a lack of sleep. I stumbled on the first few questions and panicked in the first 5 minutes when I couldn't get my felt pen to write! (Finally it did). Right from the start time got the better of me, so I had to rush the first 1/3 of that section. Questions got easier, and then I got some intermediate questions and maybe 2 hard ones (one prob and one combinations). Mostly word problems and number properties on PS. One or two exponent questions. I remember getting one geometry question dealing with parallel lines. Throughout it all I just wanted to finish the section and I did end up guessing a few (maybe 6?). But I did manage to finish all of it and I was pleased with that.
Verbal Section: After another break (which included the administrator rebooting her PC needing to read my palm after a system crash..no kidding) I started the Verbal part. I felt more relaxed and I think I did a better job with the timing. Half way through the verbal section I was getting tired of concentrating but I pushed through anyway. I got mostly business RC and one science passage. Finally I did finish the exam! Yay! I thought I would score in the 500's honestly so I was disappointed of course when I got my score: 440 q25 v26.
After the exam: I went to my car and called my ex girlfriend to tell her my score. After the call suddenly I felt sorry for myself and I cried in the car for about a minute. I thought I tried really hard with this exam! I worked non stop for 2 months! Then I thought about it and said to myself that the score is an accurate predictor of where my gmat prep is at the moment. Did I know the concepts? Yes! Did I truly master them, enough to do a math question in under 2 mins? No. Did I master exam timing? So I said to myself then you haven't earned the right to cry as yet. So I stopped crying. Then I drove to Benihana for a sushi pick me upper
My thoughts: Right now I feel kind of in a dream world. Anyway so far my prep is going according to my plan. I am where I'm supposed to be. Studying hard for the exam and actually doing it (after years of procrastination) was phase 1 of my prep. I am glad that I finally got the exam out of the way and despite my score I got some good positives from it. I know what to expect the next time in terms of anxiety and stress. I am NOT giving up and even if I have to devote 2010 to getting the score I want, then I think that is something worth fighting for! I am unsure when I will retest again, but I won't stop studying as I have good momentum so far.
My question: It's obvious I need to still master the basics and timing. Should I stick to working with the OG 11
and redo questions to master concepts or should i study from the GMAT Club Challenge Set? I need a good strategy going forward. Any suggestions would be appreciated!