I already have read many debriefs here, so the first thing I promised to do after my exam was to write my debrief. My story with GMAT started right 2 years ago, when I decided to apply for PHD. At that time I did have no idea what GMAT looks like, but two of my friend, one of them now studying PHD in finance in south carolina, and the other now studying master of science in psychology in new York university decided to take GMAT. I did not study hard, so I only did some tests of official and read spiley and 800score notes. I took part in GMAT in Armenia; actually since I am Iranian and Iran is under sanction, I had to trip to one neighbor country to take the exam. Huge cost for each trip, around 3 times the cost of the exam itself was the huge suffering. The first surprise in Armenia was my 470 score. One of my friend reached 680 for his second attempt and the other one 620 for his first. They made fun of me at that trip, but I did not conceal my score when I came back, since I believe you need to face the problems instead of erasing them, and although many people may laughed at me I revealed my score to anyone who asked me about it. My AWA was 4 out of 6. And the whole incident was a big disappointment and also a nightmare to me!
I started to study English and GMAT at the same time from the spring 2010, around 4 month later, and went through official guide 12
and Manhattan GMAT
. The on October I took another exam with my third friend, so we traveled together to Armenia. It was the second trip to Armenia for me, and I hoped this time I could make it. However, two of us were totally disappointed, but I was more, since this time I reached 560, and he reached 650. The whole trip was really disappointing. I came back and found out that this GMAT is really important for business schools. My AWA was 5.0, showing that my English was not really bad. Consequently, with my third friend I decided to study two month more, and this time we set an appointment in Dubai. I studied Kaplan
with my friend this time, and went trough OG 10
, and OG11
. It was kind of hard for me, since I finished my MBA from Sharif University of Technology, and were to work from 7:00 am to 18:00 p.m. in my new position in telecom industry. This time the score was promising to my friend, since he get 700, but another disappointing incident to me, since I got 590, and there was no considerable progress. Huge cost for the trip was really another suffering, since I already had invested 2 month salary in another GMAT exam.
As I came back again I checked whether I could apply to any university for PHD in marketing program; the main burden was that I also needed tuition waver and fund, since I were not rich enough to pay the whole myself. The result of investigation was not promising, for I found that the effect of GMAT was so much higher than I expected. I decided to take GMAT again for the fourth time, and this time I found GMATclub. I read about the way I could improve my score, and I found out that Critical Reasoning Bible was a proper choice. As I said, I work in telecommunication company, and as a result I should start at 7:00 am and finish work usually at 6:00 p.m. From my home to work it is around one hour and as a result the time I would be at home ready to study normally would be 8:00 p.m. I started studying critical reasoning bible, around 2 hours a day. I taught at university three courses including electronic commerce, fundamental of information technology and high technology marketing for information technology BS students on Fridays, since I have another MS in computer engineering. I only had Thursdays to study more, and of course preparation and studying teaching materials were another burden in studying GMAT on Thursdays. I took part in another GMAT in Dubai for the fifth time, and got 640. Studying OG, and critical reasoning bible was really handy for this attempt. I was really happy and I thought finally I got the score that I could get admission on Marketing PhD. I remember the girl at the center that asked my do you travel this much distance from your country right for taking part GMAT, and I replied yes! The point is I did not gained anything other than my score in these trips, due to the high level of stress. In other word there were no place to enjoy the trips for me.
As you see I am not a good standard test taker. Let me elaborate more about myself. I have B.SC. in information technology engineering and in software engineering (since I were double majored), and have Bronz medal in national mathematics Olympiad, showing that I am not dumb, but I really have problem with standard tests. I applied for 8 universities for PhD in marketing, including Arizona university, texas at dallas, Virginia tech, florida university, York university, Rice and Syracuse university. At the end I were rejected from all of them, with nice letters. I do not forget the last thing I read on Gradcafe.com before my last rejection, which was the guy's comment saying that "things are good here, but better things are to come". The other one said that he was also rejected from universities but he continues to hope, and the he will pray and smile.
It was on spring 2011 that I read couple of debriefs here. The were really motivating, so I decided to try again. Good quotations I remember from those debriefs was "keep calm and carry on", "you can make it like me no matter how dumb you are", and that "when things are hazy let the creator guide you". I studied 1000SC, 1000RC, 1000CR, the first one to the end, and the second and the third one parts of the GMAT questions only. I restudied Manhattan GMAT
, and Critical reasoning bible also. It was only 2 month ago and I remember the friend of mine with whom I went to dubai for the third time. The girl there recognized me, and told me you were here 2 month ago, and I said actually it was 9 month ago; how fast time passes! Before this time I did whatever I could, I took 5 complete test of 800score, 5 complete test of Manhattan GMAT
, and all tests of kaplan
CD. The miserable night was right the night before the exam. I could not sleep, since I had short sleep in the afternoon, and I were full of stress. My third friend who was with me on the previous trip got admitted at Texas at dallas, and now I were with my fourth friend who also were to take the GMAT for the second time. At the midnight an Indian guy came to our room and brought us mineral water. I took that and put that into fridge. My fourth friend woke up and asked me what was it? I could hardly concentrate, and told him that it was water that a waiter brought; then he said he may bring it by mistake, and I said probably since we did not ordered it. I went to the center in the morning, with my brain hardly worked; actually it was working but the clock rate of its processor was so slow. I went over the AWA, Quant, and Verbal. I made the big mistake since I wanted to pass over some of the questions with some patterns, and peruse a strategy to take higher score on GMAT, but it was really a mistake. Don't do it guys, and try to make as much question as you can. I also had the mistake in that in order to increase my precision I tried to write all my calculation of Quant section on the sheets. This time I got V23Q46 with total score of 560 in comparison to previous one V26Q51 with total score of 640. Huge disappointment. I heard that the focus of GMAT is changed in SC questions to more meaning questions. My friend got 650 like his previous time. My fifth friend who attended there with here wife took 620. We were really astonished, but me and my fourth friend really enjoyed the trip after it, and wandered in different shopping malls, from Ibn Batute to Dubai mall, and it was really a good trip full of making fun out of ourselves and our destiny.
I really wanted to write a debrief about how I wasted my time on GMAT, but to be honest I really learned many thing from GMAT, and many of these things were really life lessons. I returned back to my country telling myself that I will never every took GMAT again! My father called me on the next day's morning when I was at office. He told me I am sure you could make it this time, but I told him daddy I will not put a single penny more on GMAT, since I had already invested $5000. In summary, at this time I accepted my father recommendation, but started to find a course, and I found Knewton online course. The 50 score guarantee was the most promising part of it, although it was from the previous score, but since I thought previous score did not reflect my real score, I counted it from my other score which was 640. By the way before the previous score I had 640, 660, and 700 on MGMAT complete tests, and 640, and 680 on preps, which I took for the 3rd time each. Consequently, I watched all of the course clips of Knewton from Joseph,Phil, Jane and Jess. They were really promising; the most important one was the one for the second session briefing about the GMAT, and its structure. I also took Aristotle new SC tests. This time I tried to understand how GMAT questions are created. This time I tried to create tests from OG tests in different area that was used for other tests, such as psychology, sociology, economics, biology, archaeology, geography, and astronomy. This was really helpful! I did every test of knewton, and did the error logs of OG12
with my new methodology on last days. I also tried to do the same with RC99 of Aristotle ten last questions (which I did on my previous attempt). I did not get enough time to go over my error logs on Knewton (except 2 last sessions), and 1000's and kaplan
, but I went through tests of CR bible.
Today right 4 hours ago, my test finished. Me and my fifth friend took part on GMAT in Istanbul, Turkey. I thanked GOD from deep in my hearth when my 680 score appeared on the screen, although at the end of the exam I were really full of stress, since during it I did not even reached my normal performance, and were not convenient with the monitor (since it was kind of high). I thought the exam was miserable while it was not. It was really sense of relief, andI hope this time I could get accepted in Marketing PhD program of one university. By the way my friend got 740, and it was 120 score increase from his last time. My highest AWA was 5.5, but this time I skipped AWA, since that made me full of stress, and made me really tired. At the end I want to tell everybody what I read in previous debrief. Although GMAT became a really difficult story for me, but if I did not left anything unturned from the first time my trip for GMAT started, this story would not happen. In other word I went on evolutionary and did not finished all the job at once and then take the exam. I hope everybody would reach higher score than me, and hope nobody have the same story that I had, since it was really frustrating, although really promising at the end.
Finally I could recommend all of you to work hard, hard and hard to your bone, since if I made it, I am sure you could make it too. At the end I want to thank specially Joseph, Phil, Jane, and Jess from Knewton. You guys really mean to me. When I was doing quant part of my last GMAT, I whispered "don't forget question part of question", and that was why I reached Q51; although I was really tired when I went over verbal, and full of stress that stopped me from thinking and understanding, I remembered that what standard test mean, and understood its relation with my previous test, and it was the only thing that helped me get the score.
Guys many people put blame on me that I do not think structurally, and I am sure I did not do that on my debrief, but hope you excuse me for that. I wanted to write about this hard story, and hope that someone reads it, and that it would be helpful for some of the people who read it. I understand that this writing was not good, at least as much as Chinese AWA, but it was due to the fact that I wanted to write everything roughly and wanted to finish it in two hours.