I took my first real practice test for the GMAT this morning. This was a pretty good simulation because I did the computer adaptive version through Manhattan GMAT’s online tests. I did try to simulate it as closely as possible by completing the analytical writing assessment and using a simulation scratchpad that you’d use during the test. However, I did make a few personal customizations for my own test. For example, I don’t think they’ll allow me to sip a diet coke and eat a Hot Pocket during the Verbal section.
My overall score was 630 with the splits being (Q 41 , V 35). My percentile ranks for overall, math, and verbal were 79%, 64%, 77% respectively.
What really surprises me about these results is how poorly I did in the Quant section. I generally consider myself a quantitative person, but I found verbal considerably easier. Not only did I score poorly in the Quantitative section, but I ran out of time. I had to pause the test so that I could finish more problems. Even that didn’t seem to matter to my score because I got almost all of my final questions wrong. I don’t really know what happened to me in this section. Every question seemed hard and somewhat foreign to me. I also kept looking at the clock and the fact that I was behind probably caused me to rush some of my answers. I’m definitely going to spend a couple of hours reviewing every Quant question on that test.
The Verbal went very smoothly for me. Though I didn’t ace this part of the test, I paced myself appropriately and finished with five minutes to spare. I always wonder about the validity of verbal practice tests and how much they actually mimic the real GMAT. While I feel the Quant section tends to be very similar to official GMAT questions, the Verbal can be somewhat hit or miss as I occasionally disagree with answers and explanations to Verbal practice questions.
The overall experience wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. (Nearly four hours of staring at my computer and I survived!) I took the exam in the early morning so I could avoid distractions during the day. I didn’t have to take too many breaks and was able to maintain concentration throughout most of the exam, even with my upstairs neighbor snoring loudly above me.
Now, speaking in somewhat of a sarcastic tone, it wouldn’t surprise me if Manhattan made their first CAT exam a little more difficult than the rest of their exams. That way, you could more easily show improvement on successive tests. But maybe that’s just me complaining about my lousy initial score.
So the gauntlet is set. 630 score. My target score is 720. I have 3 months to study, improve my score by 90 points and my percentile ranking by roughly 11%.