I'll try to keep this pithy. My background
: Did undergrad at U Chicago, majored ("concentrated" as they say there) in psychology. I am assuming my major will be a disadvantage on paper in terms of getting accepted into programs, but I should be able to handle myself quantitatively as well as anyone else given the amount of math/stat electives I took (probably the first ever psych major to take Analysis as an elective). Anywho...my work experience is interesting. I continued to work at my student job as a research assistant in a pharmacology lab for about 6 months after I graduated. I then quit this job to play a computer game for a living (if you can't guess, I played poker). I also moved half way around the world (Manila) because I wasn't tied to any particular location. This was my job for about 3 years. Everything was on the up and up. I paid taxes on my income, I dedicated myself to it. I did a little coaching on the side as well as a operating a small stable (more entrepreneurial aspects). I probably average about 50-60 hours a week working in this way. I made significantly more money doing this than I could have with any opportunity available to me at that time (however, part of me regrets doing it). In fact, I believe playing poker on the internet can have every essential characteristic of a normal job (with the exception of value to society). So, long story short, the US government shut down online poker for US players (known as "Black Friday"). So, I started looking for a job and realized I'm not qualified to do anything that pays more than $30k. Took me a couple of months to decide, but I realized graduate school was probably a good option.GMAT prep
: I started prepping for the GMAT about 10 weeks ago. I didn't really have a study plan to begin with. Actually, this site, while not really helping me in any highly specific way, was extremely useful and giving me a sense for how people prepare, what reasonable study times are, expectations for the exam, etc. I decided on taking a ton of practice tests. And that's pretty much what I did. I spent maybe 2 hours going over the GMAT club comprehensive Q review. While this was very concise and helpful, I decided that for me it would be better to learn through examples. I work a full-time job, so I just decided to take a practice test whenever I had a day off. Although, I usually only did 1x weekend rather than 2. In all, I did 15 practice tests. My MO would be to take a practice test and review every single problem that I 1) missed, 2) spent a lot of time on, 3) guessed on. Rinse, Repeat. x15.
I got 710 and 720 on the two official MBA.com practice tests but my other scores were all lower. Out of the other 13 practice tests I took, I only go <700 on 2. I started with Manhattan's practice tests because 1) based on their free exam, the site looked nice and clean, everything was very user friendly and 2) they basically offered just tests, without forcing you to buy expensive tutoring in addition to tests (which I did not want). After I ran out of Manhattan tests, I bought 800score tests mostly because they were cheap.GMAT experience:
I wasn't that nervous going in. I was expecting a score between 620 and 740 and even a 620 would be good enough to get into many, if not all, of the programs I've been looking at. So, really not much pressure.
I got there redic early and the proctor told me I could start early if I wanted to. Sure. The room was crazy secure, like if anyone is able to cheat on the GMAT, they should probably not bother getting an MBA and should just be given a sinecure at the NSA or something. Access to the room is granted by palm scan and every single time I entered the room, the proctor would make me turn my pockets inside out and lift up my sleeves. Anyway, the AWA was whatever. The format of the essays doesn't really change. I thought the prompt was a bit more difficult to work with than the 2 I had practiced with, but I still expect to get a solid score on it. When the IR started, I had to pee really bad but, ofc, I had no choice but to hold it. The IR was ridiculously hard. If I had to guess, I'd say I got 2-4 correct out of the 12. I insta-guessed on maybe 4-5 of them because of time. It was hard as hell but I didn't really let it bother me sense it doesn't mean much. Break 1! Finally get to use the bathroom. I'm eager getting back to kill the Q. I had always tested better with V than with Q but I had high expectations with Q because my scores had been getting better and better and I just felt that I had seen like every type of Q question that could ever be.
As I had experienced during a few of the practice tests, the very first Q question screwed me up. Idk why this is, I think I might have some kind of psychological hang up or something. But what happens is, I expect the first question to be super easy and I know I should get many of the earliest questions right as they are more important. So, as I recall, it seemed easy but I kept struggling with an answer; I finally finished a bit panicked and I checked the time - I had spent 6 minutes on it!!! From there, the Q section didn't get much worse but didn't really get much better either. I was certainly off my game. There was a question which should have been trivial (something like (32*(4^3)) = (2^x)^3), what is x) and I was thinking 'ok this should take 30 seconds'. I kept getting an answer that was not one of the choices. I freaked a little. Anyway, that took another 4-5 minutes. Out of 37 questions, I think I had to insta-guess on about 8 because of time. Overall, I was expecting a terrible score on it as I was really certain about my answer for probably only 50% of the questions.
Anyway, I knew that re-taking the exam isn't really an option for me - and even if it were, I didn't want to. As I was standing at the urinal on my 2nd break, I just decided everything was fine. I just needed to knock the V out of the park. And that's pretty much what I did. The V section was really easy. I remember having great pacing the whole time. Once I read #41, I was pretty sure I had missed at most about 4 questions.
And my scores reflected my expectations: 720 overall, 44 Q which was given as 63%, and 45 V which was given as 99%. I'm happy with the score. I think my Q doesn't reflect my ability accurately, but it's fine.
Anyway, glad it's done.
Thanks for listening.