This blog is a milestone for every blogger who starts documenting his MBA journey, and I have been itching to write it since I registered with WordPress. So finally sat for the GMAT today. I will try to recount here my complete experience including pre-day rituals, as a guide for future GMAT takers.
I had wound up all my preparations on Saturday. For Sunday, I had written down outlines for Analysis of Argument and Analysis of Issue essays for revision. Around the middle of the day, I went out and checked the location of the examination center and the travel time. Got back cooked a nice meal (helps me relax, you should do whatever soothes you down). Selected what I would wear the next day, collected all the things necessary for the appointment:
1. Passport (id proof)
2. GMAT appointment letter
3. 2 Kit-Kat bars (breakfast and exam-break)
4. Water bottle
Happy with my preparations, I talked to my wife and friends and had a nice night’s sleep.
On the D-day, woke up nice and early. Did a few stretching exercises, got ready, had a talk with wife and set out for the exam center. As luck would have had it, all the transport systems were running like clockwork and I reached at 8:25 for a 9:30 appointment. The center wasn’t even open :(. Finally a guy walked in at 8:30 and told me that I had to wait outside as they had to clean the premises. Cue … it started raining!!! Had to wait outside under an overhanging roof to save myself from the rain, for a good 15 minutes before I was allowed to enter.
Anyways shook myself for the test, went through all the pre-test checks – emptied the pockets, removed the wrist watch, removed the Kit-Kat and water bottle from the carry-bag before putting everything in the locker, did the digital signature thingy, had the palm veins scanned and was ushered into the examination center. Took a deep breath and settled myself for the exam. I don’t know what are the other exam centers like but I felt really nice about this one – nice comfy chair, good height for the PC screen, nice keyboard, temperature controlled – overall the best exam conditions I could have asked for.
My exam started with the usual info screens. Clicked through them like a breeze, entered my choice of 5 schools, stretched my fingers and got ready for business. I was well prepared for the AWA section, having written something like 7 essays of both kinds, and to make matters easier both the topics were extremely easy to write about. There were gaping holes in the argument and a no-brainer of an issue. I think I completed my argument essay with 4 min left on the clock and Issue essay with 8 min on the clock.
Took a small break after the essays to gather my thoughts before the Quant section. Was really confident about this one and seemed to be doing quite well. But my bubble was burst by a question similar to cuberoot(125)/squareroot(25) = ?. I really panicked when I got such an easy question. Thankfully, I was solving the questions really fast and had a lot of time to spare. So calmed myself again and and attacked the questions with a renewed vigor and greater concentration. There were fairly simple problems on geometry. There were a lot of problems on number properties but everything else was fairly evenly distributed.
Took another break after Quant, had a Kit-Kat drank some water and felt ready for the Verbal part. Nothing spectacular, except the fact that despite the preparation I put in, I was still stuck with two answers choices after elimination, in nearly half the CR and SC questions, and both the answer choices seemed equally plausible. In my practice tests I had always had 10-15 minutes left after Verbal, so I consciously slowed myself down, spending more time on each question. By the last two questions, I just wanted to get the test over with, and clicked on the answers without much thought. I do not remember the idiom they tested in Verbal, but what I do know is that it was not there in the Manhattan SC book. That is why it was difficult for me to judge the right answer. One RC passage was on biology, one on history and one on geology. All were pretty simple.
I had a feeling I had screwed up in Quant and never really expected something great in Verbal. Did ponder for a few seconds on the screen to cancel the scores, but decided against it. I was never going to prepare again anyways :D. Mildly surprised at the final scores, as the test had dimmed my expectations a little.
Quant – 50 (93%)
Verbal – 44 (97%)
Overall – 760 (99%)
This is exactly the score and the break-up which I had in my GMAT Prep I retake. I would have to say that the GMAT Prep Tests are a pretty good judge of your final score. Anyways that’s the easier part of my MBA journey done :D. Now a summer break in India and then back to the grind with the essays and recos. Would like to add a few more posts on my blog about GMAT prep strategies and Do’s and Dont’s, but more on that later. For now, a month away from the books and the constant checking of MBA courses’ websites beckons.
Update : received the official score card from GMAT today … happy to have scored a 6.0 in the AWA section :). I think this covers all bases on the GMAT side of things and I have above 90 percentile in Quant, Verbal and AWA. Now on to school selection.