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570 is not a hopeless score

This topic has 14 member replies
asha328 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
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570 is not a hopeless score

Post Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:22 am
If you're one of those who didn't break the 600 barrier on your first try, you're not alone. Read on.

I've waited for this day when I can write this post and share my MBA journey with everyone in this forum. I have drawn inspiration from the BeattheGMAT stories all throughout my MBA preparation. I would like to return the favor and hope someone out there would be inspired by my story.

My GMAT preparations started in September last year, when I had finally convinced myself that MBA was the key to fulfilling my dream of becoming a manager and eventually starting my own company. My first GMAT book was Princeton's Cracking the GMAT, that served as a good resource for someone who had no clue where to begin. Quant was a struggle. I graduated with a degree in Fine Arts and as you can imagine, math was not really the focus of my studies. I had a GPA of 3.7 and graduated with cum laude honors. I'm from a developing, under-represented Asian country.

(In case you're wondering about my alias, an Indian friend told me "asha" means hope. The name stuck because hope is the only thing that keeps me going when things get really tough.)

It took me 4 months to prep for the GMAT. I enrolled at Kaplan, attended their live classes, bought the OG 12, downloaded the GMAT prep and purchased the Manhattan CAT Exams. I went to 2-hour evening classes after work twice a week. I studied until midnight and reviewed for 5-8 hours over the weekends. I turned down so many social invites from friends and became a hermit. For an extroverted, gregarious creature like myself, it was social suicide.

It was not surprising that I had a nervous breakdown the week before the GMAT. I was exhausted, burned out and depressed. I started questioning myself if GMAT was worth all the sacrifices I made; I missed time with my family and friends. I lost four pounds during that week because my stomach was in knots and I couldn't eat. My mother got very worried and forced me out of my apartment to watch movies and eat out. She did me a great favor and I started to relax four days before the exam. I figured, win lose or draw, I did everything I possibly could.

I did nothing but watch movies and play arcade games two days before the GMAT. I wasn't nervous on the day itself, which was pretty odd. I was surprised to find out that Verbal, where I thought I was stronger, was more difficult than I expected. I was feeling quite okay with Quant but I've read so many horror stories about not finishing the exam, that I lost my focus.

My GMAT score - 570.

It took two hours for the score to sink in. I was not disappointed. I just felt deflated and depressed over the thought that I'd have to take the GMAT again. As I dig in to my post-exam lunch of vegetables and rice, I tried to figure out what went wrong with my review strategy.

Mistake 1: I did not give myself enough breaks. I thought breaks meant lost study time. I overworked my brain and it turned to be counterproductive. I read somewhere that latent learning is the best; we have to give our brains time to absorb the information we're feeding it. I realized in my previous standardized tests, I scored higher when I don't "overstudy" or try too hard.

Mistake 2: I did not take the GMAT Prep early enough to know where I stand. GMAT Prep is the closest thing you can ever get to the real GMAT. You don't need any of Kaplan's expensive review materials; I personally believe that the OG and GMAT prep are sufficient to get anyone a decent score. It was too late in the game when I realized I didn't do enough GMAT Prep practice. I thought I'd save it for the last few weeks of the test - big mistake! I should've been working with it right from the beginning.

Mistake 3: I did not do enough timed practice tests. Training your brain to work under time pressure is crucial to your GMAT success - easier said than done. It's true that anyone can solve the problems when given enough time. Unfortunately for me, I clam up like an annoyed oyster when I see the clock ticking and my brain ceases to function. I only started getting the hang of it two weeks before the test, and that wasn't enough for me to really master time management.

My recommended materials:
1. Master GMAT- I learned about this through BTG (thanks, Eric!). The best math online learning material I've seen for quant-challenged folks like me. The teaching technique is very straightforward and interactive. You get timed practice tests in between lessons and the program asks you how long you think you took to solve the problem. Somehow, it wants you to get a better sense of your "inner clock". The best part? They give you a pretty robust free trial!

2. Manhattan OG Companion Guide - Manhattan has the toughest CAT, in my opinion. Some of the problems seem way too complex to be solved in two minutes. I think of their practice tests as CAT on steroids. If you're aiming for 700+, this is the CAT for you. I downloaded their online OG Companion Guide which had pretty thorough explanations of OG's Quant Problems including neat review tools like a timer, flags for review and notes. The guide did not include explanations for the verbal section.

3. OG and GMAT Prep - A must. If you still don't have the OG 12, I'm selling mine (winks).

I was targeting business schools in Europe and wanted to enroll this fall. While most people dream of going to Harvard, LBS and INSEAD, I was gravitating toward the top business schools in Spain - IE and IESE. I just feel that these two schools are more aligned with my MBA goals. I initially planned to retake the GMAT in April, but I knew I was running out of time. It was one of those Catch 22 GMAT situations - wait to take the GMAT again and apply at later rounds which have fewer slots, or take the risk and submit my application despite the low GMAT score?

I hired a math tutor to keep me motivated but if I were to be completely honest with myself, I lost my steam. Instead of giving up my MBA dream altogether, I decided to rechannel my energy into doing something more productive to move forward with my application -- I started writing my application essays.

The essays I wrote were honest and sincere. I used editmyenglish to proofread my essay. They're efficient and reasonably-priced. Note that they will only do grammar and punctuation edits - they won't write your essay for you.

I decided to submit my applications to IE and IESE despite my low GMAT score. I believe the rest of my application was strong and I was desperately hoping the admissions committee would see my potential. After three weeks, I received an email from IE. Imagine how my heart leaped out of my chest when I saw the email inviting me for an interview and the admissions test (I will not go through the details of the admissions test because that will extend this post to four paragraphs more - shoot me a message if you're interested). I received another invite from IESE a week or two later. That was a bit anti-climactic but nonetheless exciting. I'm flying to Singapore next week to do my interview.

I am the living, breathing example of when schools say GMAT is important but it's not everything. The sincerity of my essays, my strong academic background and my unique profile were enough to compensate for a low GMAT score. I am very grateful that the admissions committee gave me a chance by inviting me for an interview.

The highlight of this lengthy post happened exactly eleven hours and thirty minutes ago...I GOT MY ACCEPTANCE EMAIL FROM IE. I have no words to describe my joy. I read the email three times just to be sure. This is the best day ever!

Wow, that took me more than an hour to write! Best of luck to everyone. Remember, hope and faith go a long way.



Last edited by asha328 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:16 am; edited 1 time in total

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tohin Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:40 am
Congratulations! This is a great story.

Westkurve Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:13 am
congratulations. I know how you felt while preparing for the GMAT. I was also overworking my brain and burning myself out. In my first attempt on the GMAT I scored 540... and I think this was due to "overstudying" in the last week before the exam as I constantly scored around 630 in my practice tests. Then I retook the GMAT last week and scored 690 and I am still overwhelmed by the great score. So I definitely agree with you and suggest that everyone preparing for the GMAT shouldn't panic so much as studying too hard can really be counterproductive.

Enjoy Spain Wink

kibango Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:44 am
congrats asha.....

jk2010 Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:39 pm
Awesome!! Congrats!!

pappueshwar Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Wed May 25, 2011 11:46 pm
hey congrats...i am new to this forum and i have read ur message first. u gave a lot of hope to me.
byt the way what is profile? imean which comp u r workign for? how did u do ur essays? did u take any help from any web site etc?

congrats and truly faith takes u a long way
eshwar

dadou Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:26 pm
congrats, u really are an inspiration, i hope to get to my dream school like you, i have 4months to study hope to get a good score

Thanked by: asha328
prateek_guy2004 Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:10 am
Great inspiration......i hope if not Harvard, i get into iim's India.

rahulraj09 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:55 pm
Hi Asha,
Just curious, can I know what was your work experience while applying. I too scored 570 and am now trying to find my options.

enriqueafs Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:55 am
HI Asha,

I am curious about the interview and admission test at IE? How was it? Can you please comment on that? Does the admission test resemble the GMAT?

Thanks

asha328 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
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Post Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:04 am
It's been more than a year since I wrote this post and I didn't realize many BTG members left comments on how this story inspired them. I hope all of you are doing well! As for me, I graduated last year and just to prove that GMAT score has no correlation to your MBA cademic performance, I actually graduated top 10% of my intake.

Best of luck to everyone!

Thanked by: KristenH88
ThinkAdmit Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
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Post Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:22 pm
Hi Asha,

This is a great story and the best example for people who relate
1. GMAT with admission chances, and
2. GMAT with academic performance.

Maybe if given a chance again, you may prove the hypothesis right that GMAT does indicate your true academic potential and maybe that day was just one off day.

Anyhow, I think people will also benefit in knowing a little about your profile, because if not GMAT, we'd like to know what worked in your favor. And in the light of low GMAT, what should people focus on to market themselves.

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Nitin, ThinkAdmit

EMAIL: info@thinkadmit.com
PHONE: +91 7838998299

Our GMAT Partner: http://www.edvento.com

Read our blog: http://www.thinkadmit.com/blog
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MBACrystalBall Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:50 pm
Very inspiring story, Asha.

The last post (about being in the top 10% of the graduating class) was the icing on the cake.

Speaking of 570 scores, here's another applicant who got into Columbia Executive MBA with a 570 GMAT score.

_________________
Sameer Kamat, Founder - MBA Crystal Ball | Careerizma
Email: info at mbacrystalball dot com

Must read for MBA aspirants
1. Beyond The MBA Hype | 2. Business Doctors: Management Consulting Gone Wild

rahuljosh111 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:22 pm
Hello guys I am sharing my GMAT experience. I have attempt GMAT exams. I have scored 570 and this score is very poor to get admission in a good university then I came across a website name spotcollege com they help me a lot to get admission in Sloan (U.S.A.) thanks to him.

AG7 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Wed May 14, 2014 12:16 pm
Joshi seems to be a fake profile. Posting the same thing over and over again on different posts. Beware of such chaps!

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