The Results are In
First of all, I want to thank everyone that took the time to wish me luck on the GMAT today! Pulling That MBA Trigger, Top Dog MBA, Naija MBA Gal, MBA on my Mind, SciMBA, GNPTH, and The MBA Journey. You guys don’t even realize how special all your posts and comments made me feel, y’all rock!!
I ended up scoring a 680 today (45Q, 38V). Not quite as high as expected, but my optimism that I can do better the next time around is slightly outweighing my disappointment. Sorry for the football analogy I’m about to make to all of you non football fans, but in taking the GMAT exam day, I felt like a rookie drafted in the 1st round playing in their first regular season NFL game. 1st round because I know that I’m not only qualified to take this exam but also have the ability to achieve a high score, but a rookie, a first timer, nonetheless. No matter how well you know the playbook, how hard you practice in training camp or how great you play during the preseason scrimmage games, there’s nothing like playing in a real game for the very first time, just like being able to regurgitate every quant formula and SC rule, studying every waking moment, and acing the mock exams, is in no comparison to the experience of going against the GMAT itself, decked out in a helmet and pads, running at you full speed when it really counts.
My achilles heel was exactly what I knew it would be, what I told myself on the drive to the testing center not to let happen, what ultimately did happen on BOTH sections, I FREAKING RAN OUT OF TIME! *facepalm* I’m a terrible guesser so I’m pretty sure in my mad dash to just finish, I for sure got every single question wrong.
As I am determined to apply to programs this Fall and want to submit the strongest profile possible, I plan on retaking the exam within the next 1-2 months to get that 720. I know I have quite the uphill battle, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes. It’s crazy just how much clearer my mind is now that I have taken the exam. Maybe it’s false confidence, but I know what areas I struggled in and how I can improve strategy wise, so hopefully a few more weeks of preparation will get me in the 700 club. As an underrepresented minority, I know a 680 would probably be an adequate score to get me into most of my program choices, but because I’m also a young applicant, I feel like I need a high GMAT score to prove I should be accepted now rather than later.
This time today, I thought I would be gearing up for the next step of the application process with maybe only spending Saturdays in the library essay writing, but at least having Sundays of NFL Football to look for to, but as we all know, plans don’t always go accordingly. No worries, Sundays will still be football day, I can’t give that up for anything, but I will definitely have to schedule out a solid plan to juggle a crazy Q4 to meet expectations at work, commitments with my volunteer projects, attending information sessions, GMAT studying, and of course updating this oh so wonderful blog.
And for any of you just starting out, I have listed the important things I’ve learned from my GMAT studying thus far. If I’ve even helped one person see things a bit more clearly, I have done well.
1. Timing is key
This was probably my biggest mistake, I waited really late in the game to start making sure I could solve most problems in the given time constraint. This will HAVE to be improved.
2. Learn what works for you
I absolutely love reading the Share GMAT Experience forum on GMAT Club. I’ve found alot of the tricks and tips that people used to get those top scores very helpful, but make sure you remember that everyone is different, and you must assess your own personal strengths and weaknesses in order to score high as well. Some people are just naturally gifted and need only a few materials for prep, and some people may be weak in a subject that you are not or vice versa. Definitely read advice from others, but never take it as the end all be all.
3. Be prepared to spend
This might not apply to everyone, but for me, I know I spent alot of money on not just paying for the exam, but also in all my prep materials, and probably a lack of research of my own fault on what I should be using that led to overbuying. I tend to operate under the assumption that I have an endless supply of money in my bank account, so I never really plan out things before I buy them, I just spend and hope for the best. Now don’t get me wrong, most of the materials I purchased definitely helped me in one way or another, but I probably could’ve gone with less options if I knew what I know now, then.
4. Stay organized
Kind of going along with the previous bullet point, I was very disorganized in my studying. What I thought was a good plan, really was just a big mess. I would set a schedule but never follow it, had spreadsheets and notes and scratch work everywhere. The key to staying organized for me was using online question banks. I used Magoosh for a majority of my studying, which I loved because not only did they have video explanations for each problem, but I could also track what questions I missed, how long I took to complete, difficulty level and the subject material it covered all in one place. When the time came to start assessing my weakness, this was a tremendous help. My work in the OG books on the other hand, while I loved how they were accurate representations of what questions on the GMAT would be like, I failed at keeping my error log filled out and organized and never really went back to review the ones I missed.
5. Quality over quantity
I’ve been studying since the middle of May for the GMAT. I know so embarrassing. But I probably didn’t really start effectively studying until the middle of July. I mean, I was definitely “studying” for hours in the library before then, but I can honestly say that comparing my productivity from study sessions back then to now, there is a world of difference. Practicing 1000s of problems does not make you any more prepared for the test than practicing 200 problems and using the rest of the time to make sure you understand not only what you’re doing, but also why.
6. Take the GMAT as early as possible
Balancing GMAT prep and all the other facets of the MBA application can be extremely overwhelming. I’ve hardly started the next stages, but just thinking about it makes my head hurt
7. I’ve gained some serious face fat.
Like OMG no kidding you guys. When I selected “yes” to take the first optional break after IR and my photo popped up on the screen, I was scared by what I saw, the straight on headshot of my face with incriminating evidence of one too many twizzlers during GMAT studying. YIKES!!
I apologize for the lengthy post. Definitely was not my intention, my fingers just can’t stop typing sometimes. But I’m off to give my brain a much needed rest. I’ll be at the pool tomorrow for the first time since beginning of July.. woohoo.. so my plan is to resume studying after the Labor Day weekend. I need some me time, before I can dive back into all that again. My apartment needs to be cleaned badly, errands I’ve been neglecting need to be ran, and shopping needs to be done. And if any readers out there have been successful retakers, would love to hear from you!! Damn GMAT… when will you stop consuming my life.