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GMAT disappointment of 450

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Joined: 06 Jul 2011
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GMAT disappointment of 450 [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2012, 06:25
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REPORT OF THE GMAT EXPERIENCE
450 (Quantitative Score 28, Verbal Score 24)

INTRODUCTION
On Thursday 31st May 2012, I sat to take the GMAT in Accra, Ghana (precisely at the Pearson-Vue testing center in Total House, Accra). My testing session began at 9:28 am and ended at 1:27 pm, for approximately 4 hours.

REACTION AT THE SCORE
At the end of the test my score was a disastrous 450 (Quantitative Score 28, Verbal Score 24). After witnessing the score, I was really stunned and disappointed. I had spent close to 3 and a half months preparing for the test, putting my heart and soul in preparing for this exam. This was clearly one of the worst days of my life.

LENGTH OF STUDY TIME
I used 3 and half months in preparing for the test

MATERIALS USED FOR TEST PREPARATION
1. Manhattan GMAT Set of 8 Strategy Guides
2. Official Guide to GMAT Review 12th edition
3. Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2nd edition
4. Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review 2nd edition
5. Aristotle SC Grail
6. Veritas Prep Critical and Data Sufficiency Guides
7. GMATClub and Beat the GMAT
8. Afex 3-Month GMAT prep course (local test preparation center). Ronald and Albert, the instructors for Quantitative and Verbal respectively were very helpful.
9. 800 score.com CATs and GMATPrep CATs

GENERAL STUDYING
I mainly spent my days studying for the GMAT at Afex Test Prep Center. I started studying in March with Albert for the verbal section. I learned the nuances of each question type, and I started to aggressively practice for the section. In March, I received the following scores for my GMAT Practice CATs:
800 score.com CAT 1: 470
800 score.com CAT 2: 380
800 score.com CAT 3: 580
In April and May, I attacked the quantitative section, especially the Data Sufficiency section and I later noticed that I was improving on a previously foreign section to me. In May, I did not study for a week, because I attended the funeral of a cousin in South Africa, who passed away on 30th April. In fact, I regained my composure 5 days after I returned from the funeral (around 2-3 weeks before writing the test). That could have been an unsettling factor during my test prep.
GMAT Prep Scores for May:
GMATPrep 1: 350
GMAT Prep 2: 420

TEST DAY EVENTS
I arrived at the test center 40 minutes before my scheduled appointment. I checked in at around 9:25 am and I went through the registration process, before I was handed my test booklet and I sat down at my workstation and went through the tutorial, and then proceeded to the AWA essays. I received an Argument essay first and I was able to write the essay in the allotted 30 minutes. Then I got to an Issue essay, which also I wrote confidently.
After spending one hour on the essays, I took my first 8 minute break and I ate half of a chocolate bar and I returned to start the Quantitative Section. I checked in and to my dismay on the screen, I had spent 2 more minutes on break, meaning that I had 73 minutes to answer 37 questions in the Quantitative section, which unsettled me a bit and brought my confidence down. I was able to answer the questions in the section confidently, but I sort of noticed that after a few moderately difficult questions, I was getting some easy questions, and I took this to mean that my quantitative score was not good at all. Nevertheless, I kept pushing on and I answered all the questions before time was up. At the end of the section, I took my second break and had the rest of the bar of chocolate. In hindsight I may have rushed a few math questions.
After my break, I began the verbal section, which started off with 2 sentence correction questions, which I was able to clear with ease, before the other part of the test reared its head. I felt that the critical reasoning questions were not too bad. Majority of them were in the mould of strengthen the argument. Reading Comprehension passages were also fairly balanced and not too intimidating. After I finished the tests and saw the scores I received I was disappointed.

REMARKS AND OBSERVATIONS
Here are the things I have noticed about the GMAT and what I could have done:
1. Practiced more quantitative and verbal questions and completed more full CATs. This is a key to improvement on the GMAT. I also want to know which is the best practice CAT apart from the Official GMATPrep Software.

2. Had a life apart from the GMAT and not in some cases over studied. As I am unemployed, I took this to be my full time job. Sometimes I wish I was able to do other stuff apart from studying. There were certain times I was clearly in no shape to study, but I forced myself to study, especially spending late night. Sometimes I used to get agitated doing certain things over the GMAT. It seems that my enthusiasm for achieving a 700 score may have been an unhealthy obsession.

3. Broken down my major goal into smaller bits and achieving them. I was targeting a 700+ score, but I should have had smaller goals which would have made surmounting this much easier.

4. Worked on my fundamentals and basics. I believe that had I worked more on deepening my understanding of the quantitative and verbal fundamentals before studying for the GMAT, my score would definitely be higher than what I received. Success on the GMAT is clearly incumbent on a good understanding of English and mathematics fundamentals.

5. Worked on ironing out my weaknesses more closely. I have noticed that to succeed on the GMAT, one must work to minimize his or her weaknesses in order to earn a high score. My clear weaknesses were Critical Reasoning and Data Sufficiency.

PERSONAL BACKGROUND NOTES
• 26 Year Old Ghanaian male
• Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
• Earned my high school diploma and college degree from the United States (spent a total of 8yrs and 2 months studying and living there).
• Returned back to Ghana to find a job, due to the credit crunch/financial crisis in the USA (2009), but without success, as it was and it is still very challenging finding full time employment at home.
• Only notable job experience was 2 low paying internships with the HR department of a notable international bank (SCB).
• Unemployed for the most of 3 years out of university.
• Wanted to write the GMAT to eventually pursue an MBA at a top 20 graduate business school to help resurrect my career but it seems impossible.
• Currently have no idea of what to do as I feel that my journey into the working world may be over before it started and I may have to change careers or forever remain unemployed.
• Live with parents but I want to be able to stand on my two feet in life and professionally.

CONCLUSION:
In light of my dismal performance, I wanted to kiss my MBA aspirations goodbye. However, there is something inside me that wants to keep going for this qualification. Maybe I may have to retake the GMAT, but at a later date and at a time where I am very comfortable with the basics and fundamentals.
PS: I know this post is long, but if I am to get solutions to some of the issues I faced when I was writing the GMAT, I must freely air out my concerns and worries. Experts and 700+ scorers, feel free to make the necessary remarks and critique where necessary.
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Manager
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Re: GMAT disappointment of 450 [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 13:50
Please can anyone help me with a response? I am searching for new ways to restart my GMAT ambitions. It will be appreciated
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Re: GMAT disappointment of 450 [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 22:12
hmm.. you never crossed 600 in any of the practice tests... and your gmat score is in the range of your practice scores..So you should have taken gmat only when you were consistently surpassing your target score.

from the mocks you can find out your weak areas and then devote quality time on those..
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Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 780 Q49 V50
GPA: 3.99
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Re: GMAT disappointment of 450 [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2012, 14:18
dzodzo85, rni is correct that the practice scores will be indicative for the most part of the actual test scores. If your heart is truly set on getting to a top 20 MBA program, then you will need to study, study, study and practice, practice, practice. You need to be consistently in the range you want to be -- don't expect any miracles on test day. However, there are some schools that do not place much importance or even require a GMAT score in order to be admitted. You should note as well that an MBA is not required for a strong career in business, nor does an MBA mean an automatic job. I recently talked to a graduate of a good business school who has had very little luck finding a job (and is $100,000+ in debt). You might be better served more effectively marketing yourself, getting a job and some strong experience, and figuring out where you want to go from there.

Whatever you end up choosing, don't let this disappointment get you down! Don't resign yourself to an unsuccessful career. Just the fact that you've been working hard on this says to me that you have what it takes to have a successful career. It's never too late as long as you maintain your drive. Keep on going!
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Re: GMAT disappointment of 450 [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2012, 19:15
dzodzo85, I think your remarks and self observations are pretty good. Keep reading this forum and stories of those who scored high - it's really inspiring as well as full of good tips!

Considering your circumstances, I want to echo timchaves comments on thinking hard about what you think an mba will do for you (balancing against taking on that huge debt). On another point, don't forget to work on the non-gmat aspect of your application. I'm guessing the admin committee will want to know if you've done anything interesting during the 3 years you were unemployed. Your life experiences in Ghana can be a real positive, and make you stand out from other applicants. Good luck!
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Re: GMAT disappointment of 450 [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2012, 07:31
Don't give up on your study, you're so close to make it. Especially when you're able to observe your self so detail like that. Practice more! Practice makes everything perfect. Best of luck in your future!
Re: GMAT disappointment of 450   [#permalink] 06 Jul 2012, 07:31
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