Today is a one year anniversary of my first attempt on GMAT. To be more precise, it was not on the same date, but the same day- Saturday after Thanksgiving a year ago.
On Friday before the test I knew it was not one of my brightest decisions to schedule the test for that Saturday. Thanksgiving I spent enjoying the day with the family, overloading on turkey and accompanying holiday fare. Needless to say an idea of doing anything for the test preparation did not cross my mind. My original thought was that I would have some time on Friday to do last minute cramming. But Friday was pretty much a day to get back to my normal self. So before the exam I did not do any preparation on Thursday, not much on Friday and Saturday.
On Saturday my exam was in the afternoon. I did some very light review, as every source on preparation for GMAT recommends you to stop cramming for exam on the night before the test (I agree it is a good advice in general), so your brain has time to settle all the facts and be fresh and alert for the test itself. Since I did not want to do real cramming, and there was nothing else I could really do before the test, that time on Saturday was basically lost. It just gave room for building more test anxiety, which is never good. GMAT Preparation -Click Here!
By the time I sat fot the test around 4 PM I was already burned out. At the test I knew I was not doing very well, particularly on the quant part which had been my biggest challenge to begin with.
I did not have a temptation to cancel my score without looking at it. My rationale was that if I paid $250 for the test and even did not do well, I at least wanted it to be learning experience, and I had to know my score to have a proper benchmark. Otherwise the money would be total waste. Also, taking GMAT was one of the testing points to see if I even was cut for the MBA in the first place. I thought, if my score was not acceptable for the part-time MBA program at my target Business Schools, then I would just have to accept the fact that it was not for me. At that point in time, and even much later, I was not yet sure that this MBA route was the right thing for me, given the serious financial and time commitment, and my age. In some way I was looking for a reason why I should not or could not do the MBA.
Using my teenage daughter’s language, the revealed score for my test was epic fail. But regardless what lingo you use it was miserable:
- Total score – 550/ 51 percentile
- Verbal score – 36/ 78 percentile
- Quantitative – 29/ 25 percentile
I considered my verbal score reasonable, but quantitative was killing me.
My first reaction to the score was: “OK, this is what I am worth. I will submit my application with this score (which I did anyways before the start of the test, by selecting the four Business Schools I was planning to apply to), get rejected and put this whole MBA adventure behind me.”
Frankly, even with this score I had a very reasonable chance of acceptance to at least three of the schools I was considering at the time, based on the class profiles of part-time MBA programs.
My full list of target part-time MBA programs was as follows (in the order of my preference at the time):
- Smith part-time MBA, University of Maryland (GMAT mid 80% range: 510-690)
- McDonough evening MBA, Georgetown University (most selective of the four, GMAT mid 80% range: 620-700)
- Professional MBA, George Washington University (GMAT mid 80% range: 480-650)
- Kogod part-time MBA, American University (GMAT mid 80% range: 490-610)
The GMAT ranges data are taken from this year’s Businessweek ranking of part-time MBA programs. These scores are very close to what I knew from research about the programs last year. As you see, I was very well qualified for George Washington and American University part-time programs, and my chances for Smith part-time MBA were very reasonable.
Nevertheless, I considered my score a failure, as I was shooting for at least 620, in order to get a shot at Georgetown McDonough School of Business, even though it was my second choice. And even more than effect on my chances of acceptance, that score was a blow to my self-esteem. Based on the practice tests I had taken from various GMAT preparation sources, even with the awareness about my quantitative lacking, I was expecting, and would be consent with the score of at least 620.
This was one of the reasons I decided to take a second attempt on GMAT, after I recuperated from the first failure in a week or so after the test.