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Hello, I'm new here, and just want to vent a little...

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Joined: 11 Oct 2006
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Hello, I'm new here, and just want to vent a little... [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2006, 00:14
Hello everyone,

I'd like to introduce myself. I'll go by boggin. Let me warn you, this might be a bit lengthy. This post might be more for me than for you. I'm a senior in college, preparing for applications to top 5 business schools. That might be a bit of a surprise to some of you, but there has been a trend in some of these schools looking for straight out of college applicants. I'm hoping to ride this trend. I will be a round 2 applicant, therefore I must take the GMAT once this month, and once during december.

That said, I am completely alone in my application preparation. I don't know anyone who is thinking about business school, let alone the GMAT. It is quite difficult spending so much time on something without a person to understand the demands of the test or the effort you put in. I guess that is what has made reading this forum so comforting.

let me first say that I never was a great test taker, I scored somewhere around a 1100 on my SATs. I never pursued advanced mathematics in highschool, in fact I'm borderline learning disabled in regards to math. However, I am very ambitious and persistent, particularly for something I care for. The GMAT in my eyes is my achilles heel in my application. With that in mind, I have pursued preparation vigorously.

So where am I with my GMAT studies? I started this summer July with an extremely shakey foundation in math and arithmetic (I had to relearn the kind of basics that I'm embarrased to mention in this forum). I have been using the Official guide and seeing a tutor when I need to. With each passing month, I have devoted more and more time to my GMAT prep. My routine is typically 5 problems per section, everyday roughly. I have also completed three official Practice tests with varying scores.

So tonight, I decided not to go out and take a practice test. I scored roughly a 560. I am disappointed to say the least. It can be so discouraging sometimes, especially when I receive a handful of Problem solving questions that I have never encountered before. Let me say that this score is on the lower end of my past scores, however it just doesn't feel good knowing that I have less than a month left before I take my first gmat exam. To know that I can still score so inconsistently is scary. I have two attempts at this test before I apply, and it just feels awful still being surprised by some quant questions.

If there are some things I regret so far, it would be spending too much time testing and not reviewing what I got wrong and taking the effort to COMPLETELY understanding why, to the point where you understand the concept behind the question, the formula to apply from front to back.

Some strange things I have noticed about myself personally in practicing for this test. The questions I get wrong almost 100% of the times are the ones I am just a tad uncertain (I am NOT referring to questions that I just guess on). Usually when I am not confident, I'll just leave a mark by the question after putting down my answer. And when it comes grading time, the ones I get wrong will always have a mark by it. This applies to both verbal and quant. So what does that tell me? I have a good sense for when I am wrong, I just don't know how to exploit this. Any suggestions?

Something else I noticed was that in the Quant section, I typically get a row of problems wrong, I wonder if becoming unconfident disrupts my ability to tackle a problem.

Well, thanks for listening. Sorry for the length but it is a bit theraputic It is the first time I have been able to put together my thoughts on this test. When I first began reading this forum tonight I was very upset about my practice test, now I feel energized to start again tomorrow.


PS. This might be a generic question. How many problems wrong can I get before i am out of the 700 range in the quant section? same question for verbal.
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New post 05 Nov 2006, 02:53
There has been a trend at a select few business schools of accepting students straight out of college. The students that are able to get into these schools (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, possibly UCLA and a few others) straight out of college are exceptional in all areas of their applications - except for work experience of course. But even there, they are able to show leadership and experience in other activities (elite level activities - not volunteering at a soup kitchen or something like that). Of course, they are generally from pedigreed universities (because they have the best students to begin with), and have elite level GPAs & GMAT scores, as well as tremendous recommendations and flawless essays.

That's what it takes for a college student to gain entry into an elite level business school. If that is not what you are targeting, my question is, why bother? If you're not looking at one of the handful of elite schools that accept people directly from college, why not just get a job, gain work and leadership experience, and then get an MBA 3-4 years down the road at an elite level school? The simple fact is that an MBA will not help you much if you have zero work experience. There was a recent article that suggested even Harvard has come to realize that their early career candidates are more difficult to place.

Take a look at the stats for the top schools - the average salaries of incoming students at the top schools is higher than the average salaries of graduates from lower ranked schools. Consider for a moment why that is. Average pre-MBA salary at Harvard is 79k, Wharton 80k, and 70k+ and the other top schools. These people were high-achievers before they got to business school - that's one reason why they are so employable afterwards.

It's the same for any applicant. If one part of your application is weak, then other parts must be strong to make up for it. At elite level business schools, if one area is weak (or non-existent as in work experience) then all other areas must be exceptional. We're not talking about 3.5 GPA from State U and 700 GMAT. With zero work experience we're talking about 3.9 GPA from an Ivy/near Ivy & 750+ GMAT - at minimum - plus elite level leadership & activities. Consider also that business schools almost exclusively want work-related recommendations. So without work experience, it's hard to imagine that your recommendations will be stellar (in terms of usefulness to a business school).

But, if you're hoping to improve on the GMAT, then this is the right place. Several people have gone from the 400s to the 700s. If are not targeting the elite schools, you should really consider carefully. Most, if not all, business schools do not accept students that have MBAs, so you won't have another chance down the road if/when you realize two years spent on an MBA from a lesser school combined with zero work experience is probably less valuable than 2 years of good professional experience.
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New post 05 Nov 2006, 09:43
Thanks for the reply, but I must say my post was a discussion about my GMAT experiance, it did not reflect once on my achievements elsewhere, employment/financial scenario or GPA/undergrad. That said, I am confident in my accomplishments and desire for an MBA, particularly from an elite school.

My application to a graduate school is fitting for my unique position, it is well thought out and I am in a far better position applying to a elite school now to test the waters then later. Why is this? If I apply as a senior graduate, I am privledged to some great offers: waiving application fee, option to postpone enrollment for one year and most importantly I receive feedback on my rejected application. if I am rejected I will take their advice, work on what I need to work on and build a case for myself.

Your post could be discouraging to others in my shoes, I'd like them to see that there is a method to the madness.
  [#permalink] 05 Nov 2006, 09:43
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Hello, I'm new here, and just want to vent a little...

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