A Stumble Across the 700 GMAT Finish Line:

by on September 30th, 2011

I am relieved to say – I am finally moving on from the GMAT aka Give Money And Time to the GMAC.

My GMAT retake was Sept. 19th and I resolved it would be my last.  My preparation up until this retake was a little lopsided. I put off studying entirely for the two weeks immediately after my first attempt, and studied pretty consistently the next three weeks.  I knew that timing was my big thing, so I tried to employ a variety of strategies including pacing myself and not running out of time at the end.

Like the first time, AWA went by quickly and though I had to think and plan longer on my topics this time, I still felt pretty good when finishing.  Moving on to Quant, I started with some fairly easy questions, then moved up to medium level, and for a few that I had no clue how to solve, I gave it my best guess and moved on.  What really scared me was a few easy questions in the middle: Was this a sign that I had made simple mistakes earlier?  This caused me to panic and I resolved to keep truckin’ along, doing well at the end and finishing with a minute to spare.

When Quant was over, I was slightly worried – I hadn’t seen any rate or permutation questions, the ones that I felt solid on, but saw two functions questions, types of questions that I did not brush up on.  I knew something was amiss, but wanted to head strong into Verbal so I only took a few minutes for the break.

The entire time on Verbal I told myself to work at a steady pace, which was my problem the last time.  Halfway through Verbal, I noticed I was short on the time I had budgeted and guessed on two questions in a very long CR passage.  I finished just on time, but thought I had bombed Verbal.  Luckily, I did not have to go through the experimental section this time around and when my results screen finally came up, I put my hands over my eyes, much like you would do watching while The Ring:

The result? 710 (92%) with 44Q (66%) and 44V (97%).  I had made my goal of hopping over the 700-barrier, but it was more of a stumble and dash at the end, rather then a true leap.

Go figure.  While I’m happy with my Verbal score, the Quant leaves much to be desired. +20 points is not much, but it puts me closer to the average of the schools I hope to attend.  My only concern now is in the unbalance of the scores – would a school look unfavorably upon such a low quant score?

Regardless, I really wanted to move on.  Realistically, the most my score could go up is maybe 30 pts, and the 3 practice tests I took over the past week I scored 710, 720, and 730, so I knew it was within my range.  At home, I googled a 44v 44q split and got some interesting feedback – most people said the 710 was a good score, but the split may be concerning to some as the 80/80 percentile is preferred. Gah!

I even wondered for a minute whether I should submit the 690 score because of the more even distribution, but realized how silly that was.  710 is a great score and I really did not want to keep taking this test again and keep forking over the $250.  I have no plans of doing anything finance related, though I’m fairly comfortable with numbers and data as I use them in my job with relation academic performance across schools.  After beating myself up for the split, I realized that I did okay considering I did not sign up for a class and used the Manhattan GMAT guides, OG books and a tiny bit of Kaplan and Princeton review here and there along with the Manhattan GMAT, GMAC and Knewton practice tests.  What did help the last couple of weeks was googling types of questions that I was still unclear on – there’s a lot you can learn from random websites on basic math!

Set of GMAT guides, looking for a good home!

I am pretty much convinced that my GMAT tribulations are ending today.  I even re-read through this thread on whether or not to retake, and can’t really point out a good reason other than increasing the Quant.  On the drive home, I reflected on the irony of the situation, which should be taken as a sign to move on.

I thought back to My Biking Incident of Last Summer – in an attempt to fit in better in my city (I was not about to get a tattoo and could only take PBR in small amounts), I bought a vintage Schwinn off Craigslist and convinced myself to bike to work. The bike was not really my thing, it was more of a practical move with a 15- minute commute downhill to work.  Riding home in a hurry one afternoon to get to kickball practice, I fell off and busted up my knee, landing in urgent care.  (I still have the scar to prove it, and now have to pose strategically in photographs – ha!)  A few weeks later, my bike got stolen as it was locked outside of my office; granted I had left it there for two weeks while I worked in Asia, but that’s besides the point.  Maybe, somewhere the universe was saying that I need to stay off that bike, and maybe, this is an indication today that I need to focus on other parts of my app. This time around, I’m listening.  :)

Pretty much the mentality of my city – less cars on the road and less pollution, I’m all for it!

Hopefully if I can show the admissions committee my strengths in numbers and data in other ways, such as in my job and on my transcript (took a few quant courses, minored in econ), the 44Q will not keep me out of a school.   I also read that if a certain component of your application is low but the rest is stellar, the admissions committee may wave you in but recommend taking additional courses.

What I am looking forward to now are the school visits!  I have decided not to let living out in the PNW and physically far away from these schools prevent me from visiting, as I know now the importance of the on-site visit. Due to some clever scheduling with working out east heavily in a few weeks and red-eye flights, I will be able to visit Kellogg when I’m working in Chi-Town and Columbia while helping my BFF settle into NYC.  I’m stoked that I’ll be able to spend time with friends in both cities, but also thankful for the opportunity to get a better reading of how I will fit in at these schools.  I want to get the most out of my school visits, so that will mean reading up on the programs ahead of time (the two programs that I am least familiar with on my list of prospective schools), compiling a list of questions to ask, and researching which classes I want to sit in on.

So what do you think – should I quit now while I’m *slightly* ahead, or take the GMAT once more to see if I can get that Q up?  At the risk of my verbal going down… I truly think my time could be spent in better ways.

Time to make the most of my “vacation” day from work and to go scrounging for a birthday dress,

Mango

Bucket list #27:  Run a half marathon, or at the very least, a 10k.  Ran a 5k this past summer dressed as Curious George (to my credit, I convinced my two friends to dress up as the [wo]man in the yellow hat and a banana) and I have been wanting to train for a longer run.   Now that the GMAT is over, this might be good balance with the app-writing process.  Bonus points if the half marathon offers pasta or beer afterwards, or is fairly flat.  :)

****addendum to my last posting: I realized last night that I may have miscalculated my chances of getting into a b-school in my last post, as I had multiplied the possibility of getting in instead of possibility of getting denied.  The actual percentage?  (1-.85*.8*.6*.5*.75*.6*.6*.5) or 97% chance …. I’ll take THAT figure with a Morton’s factory worth of salt :)

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:

Introducing Mango and her pursuit of a seat in the Class of 2014

Why I’m Applying to Business School

Applying to B-School Is a Marathon–Not a Sprint

Making a Date with GMAT

Breaking 700 on the Third GMAT Practice Test

The GMAT Test Is a Beast!

A Happy Dance After Scoring 750 on a GMAT Practice Test

After a 690 Score, The Big Question: Should I Retake the GMAT?

After A Disappointing GMAT Score: Decompression and Detox in Vegas

The Pros and Cons of INSEAD

3 comments

  • Great Score! Move on Mango.
    Good luck with the App process....
    Let us know how its going

  • Wow!! Great job! Definitely it's not worth going through that arduous process of reappearing. Take heart, 710 is a great score although you could have taken a couple of months break before re-appearing. Maybe that would have given you time to recuperate.
    I retake my GMAT on 31st of this month. I am in the same boat as you were aka 690 :) . Whatever be the end result I am happy that I tried! :) Take care Mango and best of luck with your apps :D ...

  • Its a matter of confidence. If you think you future career and your target schools won't stress your quant score, you may well say goodbye to GMAT.

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