I took the GMAT for the 4th and final time last Tuesday. I was traveling for work so it was a lot of hotels and meals out. I don’t recommend doing this before the exam. All the literature I have read says to get plenty of sleep the week before the exam and don’t study the day before. I threw all that out the window and expected to get a poor grade.
I showed up with a positive attitude. I would focus on timing and switching my mind set during breaks. The essay went OK, the integrated reasoning was tough but ended up with a 5, same as last two times. I took too long of a break and lost 1:49 on the quant section. After this I freaked out a little but recovered. I zoomed through the questions and I was able to answer quite a few. The ones I couldn’t get I made educated guesses and ruled out the obvious wrong answers. I finished quant with a minute remaining.
The verbal section had a few challenging prompts. I spent very little time studying verbal so I answered the best I could. I prepared myself for a score in the 600s and another attempt in December. Then the score popped up:
I don’t know how this was possible because I felt I did so poorly solving problems. My focus was on the overall test. The strategy and patterns is what I seemed to focus on instead of answering each question. Jon Taves at EF Essays states it best: The goal in quant should be to win the war, not thirty-seven individual battles. Apparently something I did worked.
I was lucky. However, I had spent a lot of time preparing and working on the basics. Do not follow my example the week leading up to the test. Definitely start studying well ahead of time. Focus on individual areas such as algebra, geometry, powers and roots, and number properties. These are the core and the base of the other questions. Once you feel comfortable there go ahead and do some mixed question sets. The Magoosh website has some amazing training videos and questions for a low price. It was $99 for 1 of access.
Now it’s on to the applications. I can apply with confidence that my GMAT score will be a positive factor, instead of a risk.