Yes, it's official...I've survived the GMAT and you know what? It wasn't so bad after all. Being an over-prepared nut like myself, I wandered to the test site yesterday as I was getting my car serviced(as it happened, the two places are just down the street from each other) just to get a feel for where I'd be headed on my happy and glorious test day. I'm so glad I did b/c as I was driving against the glare of the horrendous early morning sunshine today, I could barely see anything, much less street signs. Luckily, I remember landmarks and got to the test site with 30 minutes to spare amidst the early morning rush hour commute.
I have to say I'm pretty fortunate to have taken the test at such a clean and professional site--it makes all the difference in the world for anxious test takers everywhere. And not only that, but the room was cozy, carpeted and as luck would have it, set at a perfect temperature. The night before, I took it easy and looked over a few math concepts to refresh my memory, but other than that, I told myself that if I didn't commit any formulas to memory by now, God knows that shit won't be happening in a night. In any case, I did manage to memorize the MGMAT testing timetables to pace myself throughout the exam and yes, it helps a great deal!
So, after going through all the security mumbo jumbo that comes along with taking any standardized tests, I was left to my own accord. The 2 AWA essays were a complete joke and nothing that I even attempted to study for, but I was glad it dealt with current issues that were very much close to my heart. On one of them, it felt like I was writing an op-ed for a newspaper, so that left me with some comic relief. I really wished they'd grade and factor our AWA scores into our overall GMAT score for if that were the case, I know my crystal ball would give me a shot at seeing the likes of a 700. Aside from that and after excusing myself for my first allotted 10-min break, the quant portion wasn't anything I hadn't expected. However, the thing that did surprise me was that my MGMAT CAT exams seemed A LOT more difficult than the one staring at me on the screen. Of course, I did the best I could. I opted out of my 2nd break and instead, felt pretty good to head into my verbal portion. My biggest issue with verbal going into the exam was the careless time I spent sketching the long reading comp passages only to get half the questions correct. I decided to cut my losses early and instead, focus my attention on problems I knew I could correctly answer, namely the sentence completion ones. Otherwise, I'd be fighting with time and please believe I'd lose that battle in a heartbeat.
All in all, the final verdict wasn't bad (I'm good enough for my last choice school) but it also wasn't "WHOAH! HBS here I come great!" In other words, my final score was well above average but well below the median at the top Bschools and I'll just leave it at that. The silver lining on this cloud is that it gives me hope that I can definitely increase my score 2nd time around, which I intend to take full advantage of. For me, this is great b/c after taking 2 CAT exams from MGMAT, my scores were so dismal, I was so disheartened through it all b/c even though my learning curve peaked, my performance had much to be desired. Thus, my overall GMAT score has left me content for the amount of effort I've put in, but it also leaves me with the knowledge that I am capable of a lot more than what I initially thought possible for myself. Essentially, the GMAT is far from being a precise mechanism for measuring one's aptitude, but rather, a measure of how well one can perform under pressure when equipped with lots of studying, content knowledge, test-taking strategies and an intense desire to pursue an MBA. Go figure. That's standardized testing for ya!
And just for the record (and also so I can hold myself to this later), I will schedule my next GMAT for early November. Gotta stay committed!
6 months ago