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680 - Good enough for me

This topic has 1 expert reply and 0 member replies
goliphant Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
23 Nov 2006
1 messages

680 - Good enough for me

Post Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:23 am
After several months of study (broken up by a stay in hospital and subsequent recovery) it was time to write the GMAT.

Books I used:
* Kaplan 2006
* McGraw-Hill 2007
* Kaplan 800 2006-2007

The Kaplan 2006 book was the first book I used and it gave me a good introduction to the overall structure of the exam as well as some good tips and tricks. Kaplan also has reputation for one of the most difficult Practice Exams which I reserved for much nearer to the exam.

I bought the McGraw-Hill 2007 primarily because it comes with 12 (yes, 12) Practice Exams. This was most valuable in the 4-5 days before the exam. Practice and more practice was really helpful. Working out the timings of each section was crucial to ensure that I had time to answer each question. The end result was the strategy that I had to ensure that I was watching the clock during the Quantitative and I could take my time on the Verbal.

The 800 book allowed me to pick up a few tips and tricks to help me spot trends in questions. It was a spur-of-the-moment purchase but ultimately it made me think TOO much rather than just going with my instincts.

I didn't do any training as I was reasonably confident that I could learn what I needed from a book.

Websites I referred to:
* MBA.com (of course)
* Beat the GMAT - lots of good questions in the forum when you become a member
* GMAT club

Software I used:
* GMAT Prep from MBA.com

The practice exams from MBA.com are by far the most authentic. The paper tests are good but they can lull you into a false sense of security when you are actually on a computer and have to click twice to ensure that you "really really" mean that answer.

I struggled with a lot of Data Sufficiency questions as I predicted I would. My scientific mind takes an adjustment to understand that not solving for the answer to a question could still answer the question. The number properties questions also gave me a lot of headaches. Remembering the rules of exponents and odd/even numbers is very confusing for me for some reason.

I found the Verbal part of the test by far the easier. In all my Practice Tests I got 95% of the Sentence Correction problems correct. This is probably because I read a lot and being able to guess "what sounds right" comes quite easy to me. I'm sure that it would be a nightmare for anyone who has English as their second language.

I didn't practice the AWA very much at all. If you memorize the structure of the answers that you want to give (lots of examples at the Beat the GMAT forum) and you are confident in your ability to come up with ideas, then you shouldn't struggle too much. Plus, you have to really do poorly with spelling and grammar to do horrible here.

Exam Experience:
I arrived at the test center about 20 minutes before the scheduled time to find myself number 11/12. The proctor was very exact about checking people in and out and explained everything to each individual one after the other. This just heightened my anxiety as I wanted to get going as soon as possible.

Once I had dumped all of my stuff into a box and checked in, it was time to begin. I found five schools to send my scores to even though I know that there is only one that I'm going to apply to. The rest were "just in case". I began by putting in the supplied earplugs. I had used them in when I wrote my practice tests, so I was used to them but I could see how they would be distracting to someone who hadn't used them before - often they make things too quiet.

Off and running with the Writing Assessments. Both went pretty well (I haven't seen the scores yet though). The argument essay concerned a subject that I had read a book about just recently so that helped me to come up with some strong and compelling arguments both for and against.

I know that the GMAT starts by giving you a medium question and depending on how you do on that one, you get an subsequent hard question or easy question. It seemed that I kept getting questions that were harder and harder. I know that this is a good thing, but it also means that my chances of getting the answer wrong go up as well! I had to rush the last three questions and likely guessed at them - my brain was fried by them. After the Quantitative I took a 5 minute break to clear my mind for the Verbal.

As I said earlier, I find the Verbal much easier but spent a lot of time on these questions (because I knew that I had that luxury). It seemed to go well and my score reflects that.

Then it was over. There is the screen that gives you 10 minutes to figure out whether you want to cancel the whole exam or see your score. I clicked "See Scores" and waited.....waited.....waited.....waited.....waited x n......stared at the little Windows hourglass and then there it was. I tried to remain calm as I knew that others around me were still writing.

I was soooo glad to get out of there. I got the print out and rushed out of there as fast as I could. I had a huge headache (probably due to lack of breakfast and my regular coffee) but I felt like weight was off of my shoulders.

My score?

680 Q40 V43

Not the highest that I've seen - I was hoping for more than 700, but 680 is good enough for me and ultimately (hopefully) good for admittance to the EMBA program.

Good luck to all the others and thanks for the help.

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Post Sat Mar 31, 2007 2:59 pm
Congrats on your score, and thanks for the detailed write up!

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