I think verbal will be easier–it is not. Rats. Somehow, I am being punished for going out the night before (it was one drink!) and my laundry list of transgressions that week (forgetting to turn off the oven again, buying whole non-organic non-sustainable milk) as the verbal section is terrible (harder than the practice sets in the books). PLUS I nearly doze off as we get into critical reading. All I remember is something about El Nino and La Nina and getting hungry for Mexican food.
Verdict? 630, 45Q 31V and around the 73% percentile. Uh oh. Now for some, that is a great score. For me, I know I can do better. Standardized tests are my thing, well at least they used to be. I have a long and sordid past with the SAT after studying much longer than the traditional test-taker – a few years actually. My parents had their own idea of summer fun. As I had originally aimed to take the GMAT in April, and I just started seriously studying, I feel that I am very short on time. It’s just that many of the tricks that I used to use on the SATs (doing all the easy questions first, scribbling on note paper) do not apply to the computer-adaptive GMAT.
According to the forum poster, I should be scoring 765. In order to be competitive with the top schools, I need to get a 700+, even more with my GPA (more on that in another post). My goal is 724, 700+ my lucky number of 24. I think I can do it. I KNOW I can do it.
Lessons I Learned:
- Be alert during the exam, drink some coffee, pop some Trimspa for caffeine. whatever it takes.
- Do not guess the system, you will invariably lose. It’s like a casino.
- Pace yourself. Quant should take a little more than 2 minutes per question, verbal a little less. There are always shortcuts, take some time to decipher the question and your approach before diving in.
- Tune out distractions, especially if “H” is cracking their knuckles incessantly. Learn the ways of the basketball players at my beloved alma matter, who would be unfazed as ruthless, unclassy fans (yes I’m looking at you, Maryland and UNC) shouted obscenities in their face while shooting free-throws.
- Finally, eating beef jerky during the exam is a bad idea. It will distract you and make you hungrier. (Don’t worry, I don’t plan on snacking during the actual exam!)
To wrap up, applying for B-school is an extremely humbling and arduous journey. To borrow from others, “The MBA application process is a marathon not a sprint.” I used to think I was unique with my life experiences, achievements and personality and then I stumbled upon MBA blogs, forum posts and I am blown away by what others have accomplished at a young age.
I read student profiles from the top schools of what the current B-School students have done pre-MBA and post, and I am wondering how I can compete both intellectually. A part of me is slightly jealous that they have accomplished all AND look so polished and stress-free in their pictures (effortless perfection, a term coined at my undergrad is my first impression! Photoshop is my second!)
The other part of me, is encouraged, impressed, and relieved knowing that the people that may someday lead our country in the public and private sector have passions and values that are more meaningful than just making dinero. Call me naive, but reading each of their profiles, I believe that there is something more that makes them tick, something that motivates them to be successful that is greater than themselves.
Mango is a consultant in the Pacific Northwest who is applying to business schools so she would graduate in the Class of 2014. This report is adapted from her blog posts at Por qué MBA? One Girl’s MBA Application Journey!
Her previous posts on Poets&Quants: