Joined: 15 Feb 2014
, given: 0
It was about three years ago, I had been happily working as an Avionics Engineer with Airbus Military in Alabama, USA, thoroughly loving the work life and obviously the money I was making (Aerospace industry pays well…very well). But something hit me one day, someone asked me what my future plans were and I could not come up with an answer. It forced me to dig deep within myself and ask myself the question….I realized that I had been doing the same thing for the past five years and I had gotten very comfortable with it, indeed there was a slump in my learning curve. I needed to change things up and challenge myself to do something different, something bigger.
I had known about MBA for a long time, a few of my friends had done their MBA and accelerated their careers to great lengths. I decided to contact them and have a long one on one conversation with them in order to gauge if MBA will be the right path for me. They gave me a lot of insights into their lives after MBA and how it will be worth the investment of time and money for excellent returns in the future. Convinced I embarked on my MBA journey and the first hurdle was the dreaded GMAT exam. I had heard that to get into any decent school I needed to score 700+ and it would be an uphill climb.
First of all, I really thought that it was just another Mathematics and English test, even though I had heard that it actually had little to do with the knowledge of those subjects. Now, after having prepared for and taken the GMAT, I know that this is actually the case. And even though, at first, I was skeptical about going to an expert coaching methods of teaching “strategies” to “crack” the GMAT, I am now convinced that this is the simplest and most efficient way to get the score you need on this self-adaptive test. There is an ocean of material out there to help you prepare for the exam and it can be quite overwhelming to pick the right for yourself. I did plenty of research online and read hundreds of reviews to gauge the plus and minuses of various course material and surely I was indeed overwhelmed!!
Faced with similar situations at work, I remembered to get back to the basics and so I decided to start with the ‘Official Guide for GMAT’ – the book was very well written, clear and concise with the concepts and it provided a clear learning path for someone who had been away from academics for a long time without piling on the creative and nifty shortcuts to crack the exam. It slowly broke me into the study mode and brought me back to the days of school when studying came naturally and learning was actually fun. I had been into project management at work so I knew that I needed to draft up a plan in order to do justice to my preparation. I decided to dedicate two hours every day to study after work and laid out a clear time table with what to study and on what day.
I studied like this for about 6 months and around two months before I was scheduled to take the exam, it was time to work on my speed and hence I started taking practice tests. I found it quite discouraging that I could not complete a single test within the allotted time but as I practiced, I got better and better. It almost turned fun doing the practice exams and I did a lot of them….I mean A LOT of them. On the day of the exam, I was really nervous (common reaction of mine before any test) but I remembered to take deep breaths and have faith in myself. It was quite intimidating the number of checks you have to go through before they actually let you take the exam. But undeterred by the formalities, I entered the room and kept telling myself that it was just another practice exam I was doing in order to keep myself under control. The GMAT is unlike any other test. In the end you do not compete with other players, you compete with yourself and with the handicap you have achieved the last time. When you are in front of the screen with just another question about “a train leaves from point A to point B”, you should not think about formula, about geometry r any other complicated mathematical issues. You should know that the GMAT is like fighting against yourself: the better you are, the harder it gets. But the harder it gets the more satisfied you are in the end for having “cracked” it! It all comes down to your creativity in seeing the same problem from a different angle, to your determination to strive not for 650 but for 800, to working under pressure, and to quick decision making.
If I have any piece of advice for future applicants it will be these:
• Keep it simple, don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of prep material out there
• No prep material is a sure shot way to a 700 or 750 score
• Make a time table of your study – AND STICK TO IT!
• Take it slow – do not rush your prep – Aim to get it right the first time
• Be true to yourself – study like you mean it.
• Try and find a group to study with – it is amazing how quickly you grab concepts in group study.
• PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE….and oh PRACTICE!