Published Oct 12, 2003

The last major step in preparing for the GMAT on Wednesday was taking a practice test today. Did all of the studying have a payoff? This evening, I found out.

This was the second of two practice GMATs I took, both of them included with the downloadable POWERPREP software that the GMAC offers on

I scored a little lower than I had hoped on the first practice test, but that was without any preparation whatsoever. With two-and-a-half weeks of nightly review and practice from both the Princeton Review and Official Guide review books, I hoped to improve my score substantially.

Here’s how it turned out:

First test
Quantitative: 51st percentile
Verbal: 98th percentile
Score: 660

Second test
Quantitative: 84th percentile
Verbal: 98th percentile
Score: 740

I have to admit — this is about as good a result as I could have hoped for. I had barely practiced the verbal section at all, so keeping the same score suggests that this result should be reliable and reproduceable. The improvement in my math score is substantial, but the difference may be larger than my score indicates. The GMAT, administered on a computer, gives harder or easier questions based upon how many questions the test subject is getting right. I saw much harder math questions this time than the first time I took the test — which means I should be able to increase my score substantially by just getting one or two more questions correct. I’m particularly enheartened that I was able to work through distractions — somebody was loudly retching in a bathroom across the alley throughout the math section of the test. I did, however, talk to myself out loud a few times; that probably won’t fly in the testing center.

The proof is, as they say, in the pudding. On Wednesday, we’ll see how I really do. Hopefully well enough to get into Chapman.