I took my GMAT way way back in Dec 03. I actually ran out of time in the quant section and didn't complete it, but I somehow managed a decent score. Glad that's over!
Anyway, for those of you that haven't taken it yet - I strongly recommend buying the green book from GMAC that has real GMAT questions from previous tests and start working on the practice questions! The test is definitely something you can study for and it's a lot easier once you're familiar with the style of questions. Oh, and don't forget to download the powerprep software and take the practice GMAT tests - do one before your actually begin studying (to get a sense of where you are and what you need to work on), and one after you're done studying.
In a nutshell:
1. Register for the GMAT!! Don't fall into the trap of thinking I'll take the GMAT when I'm done with my preparations... that will never happen unless you happen to be extremely disciplined and motivated Booking a date gives you a deadline and a tangible target to work towards.
2. Download the powerprep software and do one practice test. Don't worry about the essay sections for now, just go straight to the multiple choice sections. This will give you your baseline score and identifies your problem areas. Don't do the other test yet, you'll need it later!!
3. Get the GMAT books from the Princeton Review and GMAC. Read the tips and tricks from the Princeton Review, but skip the practice questions since they're not real GMAT questions anyway - that's what the other book's for!
4. Start working on practice questions from the green GMAC book. Focus on your problem areas and work backwards because the harder questions are in the back. Point to note: Don't even try to do all the questions as you'll never finish them - there're thousands. You'll know when you've reached the point where doing more questions won't add any value to your prep.
5. There's also a trick to the essays - there is
a structure that the scorers will look out for, and if you cover the points you shouldn't have any problems with that. I can't remember the name, but there's this book that has covers the key points and has ~120 essay samples! Read through the pointers and practise writing a couple of essays so you get familiar with the time limit and can pace yourself.
6. You're ready to see how much all that studying paid off! Take the second GMAT score and hopefully it's significantly higher than your first score! (I think most people should be able to add 80-100 points unless you had an unbelievably high score to begin with)
7. Don't stress about the GMAT the day before the test, just relax and do something fun. On the day itself, maybe go through the tips, but don't bother studying - it's not going to help, and you'll only stress yourself out. Good luck!!