The Unpleasant Reality Of Taking The GMAT: From A 700 To A 730

It was at this point that I pulled an ace out of my sleeve, thanks to my natural ability to look just like the nice test lady’s brother-in-law. Because of this similarity, she recognized me from the first time around and wished me extra luck. HA! I don’t think the GMAT expected me to get the test administrator on my side that early in the game, and this may have saved me additional seconds during my 8-minute breaks as she was very prompt in logging me out and back in. This was a strong start.


AWA was up first, but it was a piece of cake (H/T to chineseburned from GMATClub for handing me the easy button there).

Next up, Integrated Reasoning, which was more challenging, but I treated it as a warm-up for quant and practiced using my quant section mindset. It felt much better than my first IR experience on GMAT 1, but we will have to see how that one shakes out on the official report in less than 20 days.

Break 1 – Speedy response from the proctor. #brother-in-law

THE QUANT: Here it was, that one moment Eminem raps about EVERY time I listen to Lose Yourself. I started strong; first twenty questions even felt easy. But just as I was getting comfortable, I slipped up. I was very lucky to catch myself before I did too much damage, but the timer had done it AGAIN. Where did five whole minutes go? I wasn’t super far behind, but I was scrambling for the last half of the test to rectify my mistake as the questions got progressively more difficult. I cursed the timer for the millionth time and did my best to stay ahead of it.

Break 2: Hmm, the proctor was not quite as quick here, did she not remember I looked like her brother-in-law? I was disconcerted and hoped my luck was not turning.

Verbal: Ah, verbal, my old friend. Now it was just a matter of staying focused and not thinking about what came next, the end of the GMAT. It got very difficult very quickly. Around question 10 I started to struggle and that would be the case throughout the rest of the section.

Survey: The last part was the survey, which is easily the most torturous part of the whole side-show. They expect you to click through and actually read these questions that you care nothing about, all while your heart pounds in your ears and your adrenaline courses through your veins. Luckily, many of my answers were pre-loaded, so I didn’t follow them closely except for the one that asked if I wanted to report my score…ugh, YES I DO. My finger almost failed me as I struggled to click the mouse, but then, there it was, casually sitting there like it owned the place: Q47, V42, Overall – 730. I’ll admit it, both fists jumped straight in the air. More than anything else, I felt a giant wave of relief. I gathered myself, held my hand up for about 2.37 eternities waiting on the proctor to come and get me (#brother-in-law had apparently lost all power at this point).

I palm-reader’d out of there and picked up my print out. It was STILL THERE. 730. Written in ink. All official-like and not a misread.

I levitated to the elevator, floated down to the first floor, glided through the glass doors and hopped in my truck. And then this little piggy rocked out all the way home.

Final Thoughts

After the euphoria subsided somewhat, I thought back to the test and that glaring mental mistake I made, yet again, in the quant section. It was almost like the test tries to lull you to sleep, get you in automatic mode and then BAM, five minutes disappear into the ether. That’s why, if you take anything away from this post, I hope it’s this piece of advice that was first given to me by THE Mad-Eye Moody – In life, and especially regarding the GMAT you must maintain…

A management consultant, FromGMATToMBA is blogging about his journey into a top 10 business school with what he calls a “low-ish GPA.”  In the first round, he was dinged from both Columbia Business School and Wharton. He also plans to apply in round two to Chicago Booth and Northwestern Kellogg. He blogs at FromGMATToMBA.

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