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True GMAT Stories from the Caribbean: 440 (1st Attempt)

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True GMAT Stories from the Caribbean: 440 (1st Attempt) [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2009, 18:27
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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, Veritas 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!
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Re: True GMAT Stories from the Caribbean: 440 (1st Attempt) [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2009, 21:55
First of all, +1 for a great debrief.

Second, there is a Chinese saying that goes on the lines of, "Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.." You have got a great positive attitude, so please keep it up, and keep fighting.

My 2 cents for what it's worth:

Learn the basics, practice the materials, master it. During the initial stage, focus more on understanding the material and getting it right. The timing will come later on.

Also, for now I would not recommend doing the GMAT club challenges. There will be a time later for those, but not during the foundation-building phase.

Good luck!
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Re: True GMAT Stories from the Caribbean: 440 (1st Attempt) [#permalink] New post 01 Nov 2009, 18:07
Hi,

Your story is similar to mine...honestly, I think that I didnt have a specific plan to follow..thatis why I didnt succeed....I'm lost know and don;t know from where to start.

that is why I decided to take Manhatten online course for 2 months. They will provide me with all the materials, excerices and homework that I need
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Re: True GMAT Stories from the Caribbean: 440 (1st Attempt) [#permalink] New post 03 Nov 2009, 02:44
Hi

Writing also from the caribbean, i think you and i did our exams at the same location and it seems we are having the same problems :-D . In that i am 30 years old , have been studying for about 3 months on and off using OG12 and Cliff Math review. i took the exam today and got 550. really disapointed in myself , feel like crying but too angry to :) . Anyway i guess if you can jump back on the horse i can too. maybe we could study together ? you can email me here.
Re: True GMAT Stories from the Caribbean: 440 (1st Attempt)   [#permalink] 03 Nov 2009, 02:44
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