Just got back from the test center. Needless to say, I am emotionally overwhelmed now, and yes, I cried like a girl after seeing my score! It has been a long journey for me with a great ending. All I can say is that hard work DOES pay off.
Will write the debrief later as I really want to go party now!
UPDATE AS PROMISED:
I started studying in January. Took a Manhattan GMAT
on-line course - highly recommended - and followed the class program very thoroughly. I ended up buying a bunch of books based on the reviews I read on the net, such as Arco GRE/GMAT book, Powerscore's CR, Kaplan 800
, in addition to the usual package that comes with MGMAT class
. I recommend Arco's book for everyone having math problems. It's an excellent book for non-engineers and / or people who haven't had exposure to math for a long time. It covers all the basics very well. It helped me "relearn" a lot of concepts I have forgotten.
I have never thought that math will be so hard for me. After all, my grades in math and stats in schools were always A’s. But I guess GMAT is a different animal. Plus I discovered that I’ve never really learned a lot of concepts that are tested on the GMAT, such as number properties, combinatorics, and word problems. I attribute this to the cultural bias. In Eastern Europe we manage to learn integrals and calculus but not word problems
So I completed the course during which I took 3 CATs, scoring 640, 550, and 650 in January, February and March respectively. Although I felt like I learned a lot, my quant did not rise above 39 through March. My verbal was stronger from the start – I scored a 38 the first time I took MGMAT CAT. I gathered enough courage to take my first GMATPrep in April but scored only 560 (can’t remember the split). That was an awakening moment for me but to keep me going and put some pressure on myself, I scheduled my first test in May. I spent April and May taking more GMATPreps and studying quant. I studied on the weekends 8-10 hours a day, and on the train to/back from work every weekday. My work is very demanding in terms of hours, and highly inflexible; hence studying primarily on the weekends. Anyhow, after rigorous studying and scoring consistently in high 600’s and having a couple of GMATPreps with 750 in my pocket (they were repeats, so the scores weren’t representative of my true abilities), I was convinced that I will score at least a 680 on the real test.
Boy, was a wrong! I ended up screwing up my time management entirely on the real test. I admit, I always had timing problems but I guess the pressure of getting every question right got a hold of me, and I ended up half-guessing on the last 15!!! problems in quant. I made the same mistake in verbal, guessing on the last 10 questions. Don’t make the same mistake and don’t let pride get the best of you. If you don’t know the answer, guess and move on! Otherwise, you will get sucked in the big black hole with no chance to get out
That being said, I ended up with a 600 (36Q, 38V) on my test. I was devastated not only because I scored that low, but because I invested all my spare time for 5 months in preparation for the GMAT.
In a week or two I regrouped, making a decision to not slave over my quant anymore. I accepted that my quant score will never get above 45. Instead, I concentrated on my strength, verbal, and getting my time management straight. I did 500 SCs and quite a few CRs and RCs out of 1000 docs collection. At the same time, I did timed quant problems, finishing 20 quant questions in no more than 40 minutes. After a while, I “felt” the length of 2 minutes.
In the last 2 days of my preparation, I did not take any tests at all. Instead, I reviewed the formulas and relaxed as much as I could under the circumstances
I did not want to take any chances; that’s why took a sleeping pill the night of the test. My test was scheduled for 1:15. I had a filling breakfast and made sure that I had some snacks for the breaks during the test. I managed my time much better this time, guessing only on the last 5 questions in quant (ok, I still have time-management problems
). I told myself that I would kill verbal no matter what. While I was taking the verbal section, I felt like the questions were too easy and started thinking that I wasn’t doing too hot. I prayed to get a 680 as I was going through the motions of already pre-filled screens with the information I filled out the first time I took the test. My heart was pounding, my hands were sweating as I thought that I will not see the dreamed score but I was determined not to cancel my score no matter what. I closed my eyes as the computer hang for a while displaying a torturous hourglass on the screen… when I finally opened my eyes, I saw a 720. I turned around to look at the proctor, raised my hand… she was busy explaining something to a guy. I turned and looked at my score again. It didn’t change
42Q 47V for a total of 720 stared back at me. The question appeared on the screen asking me if I want to end my exam. Yes, I want to finish my test now, you dumb machine! I already got the score!!!
Some tips: confidence is 50% of the score you get on the GMAT. I really believe that. If you want to score highly in verbal, nail the SCs. They are time-savers and probably the only verbal area that if studied consistently can be improved upon. I am attaching a Brutal SCs document I found on GMATClub that has the toughest SCs you will probably come across. If you hit an 80% accuracy on these suckers, you are 100% prepared for the GMAT SCs.
Whew! That’s my debrief… turned out to be a long one… Feel free to PM me if you have any questions, and good luck with your GMAT!