GMAT has not seen the last of me!

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GMAT has not seen the last of me!

by VicAnn4 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:09 pm
My GMAT experience:

I go to Walgreens to get my brain food: trail mix, b/c eating nuts and dehydrated fruit will certainly boost my GMAT score.

I get to the test center about 45 mins early, and a pleasant woman w/ orange hair tells me that I can start my test early. She checks my driver's license and does a palm scan. The GMAC now requires a palm scan, which identifies you by your vein pattern (creepy), instead of a traditional thumb scan. They invested in more accurate technology b/c apparently there have been quite a few scandals where people have hired GMAT experts to take their tests for them. Yea for ethics.

I head into the test room after doing another palm scan and begin the test. I complete the essay portion which is an hour long. That part went okay except for when my brain stopped functioning, and I couldn't remember if strategy is spelled strategy or strategdy. I raise my hand so that I can take my permitted 8 min. break.

I palm scan back in and begin the 75 min. quant section. I feel okay throughout most of it but am a little crunched for time @ the end. I guess on the last few questions and take another 8 min. break.

I palm scan back in again and do the 75 min. verbal section which I feel went very well.

Then, I get to the screen where it asks you to confirm that you would like to submit your test for scoring. In my head, I estimate my score. I think I did okay in math but knew those last few questions that I guessed on would bring my score down a bit, but I hope that will be counterbalanced by my strong verbal score. I hit the submit button and am stunned. I had taken 6 practice tests, all of which were pretty similar to the actual test. My verbal was slightly higher than all of my practice scores, but my quant was SUBSTANTIALLY lower than even the very first diagnostic test I ever took. Even with my strong verbal score, my overall score is awful b/c of my wretched quant score.

At first I am in denial. "I need to contact GMAC immediately. Certainly, something is wrong w/ their scoring system."

Then I am mad. "The GMAT and grad school are stupid anyway. I'll quit my sucky corporate job and go back to waitressing @ Steak-N-Shake. Or maybe I'll sell all of my personal belongings on Craigslist, quit working for a year, and make a documentary film on the secret lives of swingers."

Then I panic. "No, I can't do that! I have a house and a kid to pay for! I know, I'll hire someone to take the GMAT for me. I know they have those fancy vein scanners now, but surely some con artist has figured a way around it."

Then I am depressed. [Cue the violin music] "I am a pathetic moron. A monkey trained to input C's for every answer would have scored higher than me. My life sucks. I need to move to Utah, get a brain transplant, and start over."

Finally, after several hours of pouting @ Starbucks, I am rational. "The quant score is not representative of my math ability. Clearly, I just had a very off day. I will make an appointment to retake the test again in 30 days I can take advantage of that time and do some additional study." (GMAC doesn't allow retakes sooner than 30 days.)

I feel slightly better but am still pretty beaten down. After Starbucks, I go to an Open House for the school I really want to get into. I talk with someone from admissions, and she feels strongly that I will still get in despite my not so fantastic GMAT score b/c I have a high undergrad GPA, a solid work history, and strong recommendation letters. She told me that I should save the $250 that it would cost me to retake the test and apply with my current score.

In the end, I have decided to retake the test. My retake date is April 10th. Even if I could get into grad school w/ my current score, I don't want to be forever haunted by my quant score. I know I'm not a math wizard by any means, but I am not a complete numbers dunce either. I'm confident that my score would be higher w/out any additional study, but I might as well take advantage of these next few weeks.

I have concluded that my best approach is to re-learn the basics and build from the ground up. Part of my problem is that I can do most equations, but I do them @ snail-pace b/c I don't know simple shortcut strategies. So in addition to the $250 I coughed up to schedule a GMAT retake, I also forked over another $140 for Manhattan GMAT quant prep materials, b/c everyone raves that these books work wonders for people who struggle w/ math.

So far so good. When I got home yesterday, I saw a Fedex box sitting on my kitchen counter. My eyes lit up the way they did when I saw that Shamrock shakes had made a return to the McDonalds menu. I tore the box open and was delighted to see five strategy books that cover: geometry, number properties, word translation, equations/inequalities, and fractions/decimals/percentages. Additionally, there was an Official GMAT Guide quant book w/ practice problems and my most coveted item, a Foundations of Math book. After watching the American Idol Results Show, I took my Foundations of Math book upstairs and went to work. It is a really good, basic book w/ great explanations. It assumes that you now nothing which is ideal b/c like I said, I want to re-learn everything so that I can break bad habits, understand core concepts, and build my speed. I can't wait to dive into the strategy (NOT stratedgy) books.

So yeah, the GMAT tore me apart this past Monday, but it will not happen again. On April 10th, I'll be wearing a dominatrix suit b/c I am going to spank that GMAT.

*I have purposely not made mention of my score, but I will post both my first attempt score and re-take score in April. I'm like that person who has a goal to lose weight, and they don't want to show their fat pictures until they have reached victory and can boast their skinny pictures also.

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by IWillSurvive » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:08 pm
Hey VicAnn,

Let me tell you that I have experienced the same thing.

I am ashamed to say that I have taken this test THREE times. The first time, I thought "Hey, I am smart. I will get a tutor and begin my studies". I hired a tutor that did not understand the actual test - just the principles. $250 wasted. I should have known he was a little shoddy...for that cheap a price. Hey, I was 23...I did not know any better.

On to two years later...

Took the test. Seriously flubbed it. I had the same thought "A highschooler could do better".

After my $1,000 investment in a Manhattan GMAT class, I felt much more prepared. Due to my complete breakdown at test time, and my lingering thoughts about my "boss from Hades", I flubbed it once again.

Needless to say...I have not given up. I WILL NEVER GIVE UP. I WILL TAKE THIS STUPID EXAM UNTIL THE END OF DAYS...if I have to.

I am with you - in spirit. Please let us know how it goes!!!

-Your Kindred Spirit in GMAT hatred

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by carllecat » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:21 pm
I really like your writing style, you should think about being an author!

Good luck with the retake!

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by camilaross » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:49 am
Same thing here.. I bombed it a few weeks ago when I took it, even after getting good pratice scores. I have actually given up and will try again in a few months. I also purchased some Manhattan strategy guides and will start to study again in a few weeks.

Would you mind sharing which other books you are using and if they are helping?

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by VicAnn4 » Mon May 03, 2010 7:30 am
Update: My first GMAT score was 530 (27Q/36V). I re-took the test 5 weeks later and got 550 (33Q/32V). I was very charged and studied diligently for the first three weeks after my first GMAT attempt. However, then work got insanely busy, and I completely abandonned studying the two weeks before my second attempt. I am not completely satisfied with my second score, but I was pleased to see my quant score go up to a slightly less embarrassing level.

A few days ago, I received my accpetance letter to DePaul's Kellstadt School of Business. In 2009, U.S. News ranked Kellstadt 9th for Part-time MBA programs. I am very excited to begin my MBA journey in June and am glad to be done with GMAT. Many people would be devastated w/ a measly 550 score, but it got me into my school of choice so I am happy. I enjoyed studying for the GMAT, but in the end I sort of resented it for taking away time that I could have been spending with my family and border collie mutt.

IWillSurvive- I love your tenacity! Good luck w/ your studies!

Carllecat- Thank you! Your compliment made my day. I would actually love to take up writing one of these days. I have a blog as a hobby for now:

Camilaross- Good luck with your retake! I found all of the books listed below to be great study material. Additionally, the MGAT CAT's helped tremendously w/ my pacing. The only book I was not too crazy about was the CR Bible. I know everyone else loves this book, but it wasn't particularily helpful for me.

OG 11th Edition
OG Quant & Verbal Guides
MGMAT Quant Strategy Books
MGMAT Foundations of Math- Very good for people who are rusty like me and need to brush up on the basics. It assumes you know nothing.