Friday, May 14, 2010

The Mighty GMAT!

My friend got dinged at Kellog! Even after she thought she had it in the bag after the interview! Feel so bad for her because I know how badly she wanted Kellog....worse still, she had tuned off work because she assumed she was gonna get in....On a slightly brighter note, she got waitlisted for Darden....fingers crossed!

What's the most embarrassing exam out there? The CFA? Nope! Phd exams at MIT? Nope! Entrance exams at the John Kennedy School of Govt? Well, maybe if Sarah Palin was writing it....but for this purpose no! Its clearly the GMAT! Not because its the hardest....its simple! Its actually out of the simplicity that the embarrassment comes! It humbles a great many people...afterall its high school math and english....surely I can figure that stuff out when I see the questions! Its only when you click that famous 'finish' tab during the exam and your results stare at you that you realise that you underated the exam....then of course its too late and you'll probably have to take it again!

My personal experience? Well, I was lucky....I had a very good friend who had started MBA research before me so had a bit of a head start. Like everyone else, I assumed I was entitled to a 750 at the minimum....I bought the Princeton review and studied it for a bit. A lot of people rave about the book, but it really didn't do it for me. They had a few exam writing tips, but for me, the content was a tad shallow. I borrowed Kaplan from a friend and liked it much more...the questions were a bit harder though and made me realise it wasn't a piece of cake. I decided to get serious....I gave myself three months to study and scheduled the exam. I work better with deadlines....luckily, I was changing jobs at that point so I got a month off to study. It was then I found the Official Guide....this was the most helpful of the had loads and loads of actual GMAT questions. Then I started with the practice scores were shocking....570, 610, 590...I was depressed! After two months of studying, I couldn't remember the formula for the volume of a cube! My scores didn't get better in the last month and I entered the exam hall praying for a 600...for some inexplicable reason, I was calm. The questions started easy (as usual) but didn't get harder! This was a very bad sign! The GMAT is an adaptive exam so if you get one answer correct, the next one is harder! I still didn't panic though and it finally got harder....three hours later, I clicked 'finish' and waited....there had never been a longer 30 seconds....I continued staring at the cursor.....still loading....maybe I should become a make money right? I wonder of my boss would notice I'm not in the office.....were some of my thoughts while that result was being generated....just as I was about to start thinking about the latest episode of soul food, the page changed....there it was! 670! I wanted to take the computer out to dinner, buy it a nice dress and kiss it! I was estatic!

Now don't get me wrong, 670 is not mind blowing....its commendable at best but I didn't care! My highest practice score was 620! My advice for those taking the GMAT,

1. Get your hands on Kaplan and the Official Guide;

2. Solve questions till your mind bleeds!

3. Be calm during the'll probably be able to figure out most of the answers if you are calm and actually think through the questions;

4. Spend more time on the early questions. They carry more weight!

5. Most importantly, put in the time! Never! Never underestimate the exam! Unless you want to end up like Sarah Palin during the Couric interview!

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