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New to this forum, just took GMAT yesterday [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 07:18
I'm new to this forum because I had an incredibly frustrating GMAT experience yesterday.
About nine months ago, I took the GMAT after little preparation and got a 680. I saw this as a starting point. The past month, I've had some downtime (I work in Consulting) and so I studied pretty hard and was very confident that I would get over 700. I had consistently been testing between 700 and 730 in my practice tests and typically, I test better than I practice.
There were a number of challenges during test day. I don't know how many of you have taken the test recently, but they've moved from the old pen and paper scrap book to a marker and white board-type booklet. This wouldn't have been a huge challenge except when I got into the math section, my marker immediately didn't work. The proctor of the exam seemed completely interested in whatever he was working on and took several minutes to get me a new marker. Believe it or not, my marker ran out of ink another 2 times. Not only did this waste valuable time, but I think it may have thrown me off my game. I ran out of time on the math (something I never do). Nonetheless, I proceeded and thought I rocked the Verbal section. Turns out I didn't. I should have cancelled the score, but I didn't. I tend to be an optimist, so I thought maybe I had done ok.

I ended up with a 620. I'm incredibly frustrated with the experience because I don't think it's at all an acurate portrayal of what I can do. I know I want to take it again to get that over-700 score, but I'm nervous that I will do worse than my 680 again and then I will have to make a decision whether to take it again and risk dropping my 680 (they only send your last three scores).

I'm excited to work on the questions in this forum and hear any advice you guys might have. Here are some stats on me:

Female
27 years old
5 years work experience in Consulting (both self-employed and with top-tier firms)
Yale grad with ok gpa (3.2)
lots of volunteer experience and leadership at work
should have pretty good recs
some political campaign experience

I think I have a good shot at some top level schools, but I've been told that I really should get that 700. I've never scored so poorly in a standardized test in my entire life as the 620, which is really disheartening because I studied so much. I'm about to start an incredibly challenging role where I'll probably be working 60 hours a week, so I'm concerned about studying.

Any advice or just comraderie would be great! Thanks for reading,

Cheers,
cp
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 09:01
Well first of all cheer up :) looks like it was just a bad day... I can't believe those markers are this bad? this is just not acceptable did you complain after the exam. I myself am taking the exam in 3 weeks and am kind of nervous. Did you feel that the Quant section was much harder than GMATPrep? at any rate any feedback on the difficulty level of the exam will be much appreciated. Good luck on your new assignment
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Thanks [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 09:32
Thanks for your words. Yes, it must have been a bad day. And ofcourse I complained :) I sent a nasty email.
I just took one of the challenges here at the GMAT club and the quantitative in the GMAT is not as hard. This should be a great learning tool for both of us.

Good luck! Keep studying and I'm sure you'll do great.
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 10:39
I have read your story cp,

It seems that it was your unlucky day :) But, that's ok. 620 is still a decent score .. I am sure you can get a better one with some more study if you try once again.

All the best for you :king
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 11:23
Based on your story, I'm convinced it was a bad day. Since you're already familiar with the test, one month of intense prep and you'll definitely get a 700+.

Best of luck on your retake and the applications process afterwards.
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 12:19
I concur with others. The feeling you have on the test day matters the most. You might want to give it another try. This time focus on your weaknesses.
Also note that difficulty level of GMAT has increased a bit. If you decide to take the test again, focus entirely on GMATPrep. The GMATPrep questions are very good and are quite representative of the test.
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Re: New to this forum, just took GMAT yesterday [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 13:28
cpetro29 wrote:
Female
27 years old
5 years work experience in Consulting (both self-employed and with top-tier firms)
Yale grad with ok gpa (3.2)
lots of volunteer experience and leadership at work
should have pretty good recs
some political campaign experience
Lives in Washington D.C.


hmmm... professional female, 27, consulting exp, yale grad, living in Washington DC, probably adams morgan or georgetown or something like that... If I didn't have a fiance already :)

I'd say you had an off day - retake it but give yourself 5 weeks instead of four. This will let you take a week off and then get back to the books.

I'd also second GMATPrep recommendations.

Where are you weak? If verbal, consider Manhattan GMAT SC book. It is excellent. The Reading comp/ critical reasoning book is also a good buy, though less so. I firmly believe improving SC can give you the most bang for your buck.

You had some bad luck w/ the pens. I had to get my procter's attention once and when it took more than 15 seconds, I just knocked on his window. No dozing on my dime.
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thanks, rhyme [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 15:38
for your advice. I'll definitely look at where I'm weak. In the quant, it's definitely those crazy data sufficiency things. I also am not great at probability. On the verbal side, CR gets me and I either nail the RC or I blow it. It totally depends on the subject matter whether I can grasp - with me, it's all about interest and familiarity. I will work on that, too.

Did you get your 700??

As a side note, I actually live on Capitol Hill - I own a cute little row house. And I'm gay, so, even without the fiance we would be nothing but buddies :)
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Re: thanks, rhyme [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 16:36
cpetro29 wrote:
for your advice. I'll definitely look at where I'm weak. In the quant, it's definitely those crazy data sufficiency things. I also am not great at probability. On the verbal side, CR gets me and I either nail the RC or I blow it. It totally depends on the subject matter whether I can grasp - with me, it's all about interest and familiarity. I will work on that, too.

Did you get your 700??

As a side note, I actually live on Capitol Hill - I own a cute little row house. And I'm gay, so, even without the fiance we would be nothing but buddies :)


Lesbian? Figures. The most interesting ones always are.

As for the 700... How much do you feel like reading? :)

Start on page 2 of this thread:

http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic ... c&start=20

Post starts: "I wanted to talk some more about insipiration and overcoming challenges."

Then just read page 1 of this thread, first post.

http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic ... sc&start=0
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 17:17
Wow, Rhyme, that's great! You really did very well for yourself. I have been testing above 700, but I think I really need to have a more focused approach. Let me know if you agree.
I've basically been taking lots and lots of practice tests and reviewing the results.

Sucks about your career stuff - I read your post about studying, puting on weight, the gf and you almost splitting up, etc.

Where do you want to go to b-school?

Also, have you (or anyone) considered using MBA 'consultants'? The theory seemed totally unethical and bizarre to me - I pride myself on being totally naive at least the the admissions process for undergrad. No studying for SATs, only took it once, etc.
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 17:48
cpetro29 wrote:
Wow, Rhyme, that's great! You really did very well for yourself. I have been testing above 700, but I think I really need to have a more focused approach. Let me know if you agree.
I've basically been taking lots and lots of practice tests and reviewing the results.

Sucks about your career stuff - I read your post about studying, puting on weight, the gf and you almost splitting up, etc.

Where do you want to go to b-school?

Also, have you (or anyone) considered using MBA 'consultants'? The theory seemed totally unethical and bizarre to me - I pride myself on being totally naive at least the the admissions process for undergrad. No studying for SATs, only took it once, etc.


List for the moment is...

KGSM
Wharton or MIT undecided
Harvard
UCLA or UCSB possibly, some additional research required.
NYU Stern
Yale
Georgetown

Thats 7. Seems like it might be too much, not sure what the recommended number is. Plus, it seems like a lot of stretches ... KGSM, wharton and harvard are obviously extremely hard. MIT also... Stern more likely, yale also tough, georgetown only one where it is likely. I need to find another reasonable georgetown-level backup, but cant find one that I'm remotely interested in.

As for mba consultants... I'm skeptical...Not that I dont trust them, but the prices seem insane and who knows what you are really getting? I dont know. I've thought about it but... I guess I'll try writing my essays and if I feel like I'm weak, then I'll look to them. Then again, I could run it by the various Chicago or KGSM alumni I know, or the half dozen Kellog professors I know well.. all for free..
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2006, 04:08
Rhyme, those are great choices. I, too, struggle with a back-up. I also struggle with the notion of not having a back-up. I guess I'm fortunate enough not to 'need' an MBA, but I would really like to get one for the extended future. The short-term benefits for me will be minimal. Salary-wise, I probably won't make any more post-MBA than I make now. I will be on the older end of the scale and if I don't get in, I'll probably consider the Executive program, which I will be eligible for in about 3 years.

That being said, it would be a real bummer to go through this entire process and not come out with any tangible benefits. I, myself, am thinking HBS, Stanford, MIT, and two others. I'm big on being in a city that I want to live in - I lived in Boston for many years, so it's my first choice in cities. I'm not really a 'New Yorker', Chicago is not bad, Hanover,NH would be awesome, but I would prefer to be in a bigger city. Philadelphia's ok, its main perks being that it's close to NYC and DC. I wish Georgetown had a better ranking and reputation. I'd be content staying here in DC. I've been looking at not only rankings but what percentage of applicants they let in. For example, I work with lots of people who went to Darden. It's very well-regarded in my industry, top firms recruit there, yet they let in almost 50% of applicants! Maybe that could be your second-tier? Or even Duke.
Yale is also up and coming so I wouldn't be surprised if it cracks the top-10 in the next several years. I have friends who have gone there and are very successful. I'm a huge New Haven fan.

What do you do for work now?
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2006, 07:33
1. GMAT is not the only thing that the ad com looks at. Other aspects ("stats") of yours look quite competitive. I am sure someone will come in and tell you that he heard from a friend that a guy went into Wharton with a 590. (I thought I saw this somewhere in this forum.)

2. Most schools should take your higher score, which is 680. That is not too bad.

Personally, I don't think you have any big weakness that warrants a much higher GMAT score. Might as well spend the time on other parts of the application. Having said that, however, if you have the time and engery to get another score - go ahead. Better to do so now than to wonder whether you should have done so 9 months down the road.

All the best.
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2006, 09:37
It's a shame that GMAC does nothing about the markers.

I had a similar experience and the proctor frowned at me for asking extra boards and pens.

Perhaps, we must file a complaint together.

Good luck and I hope you (we) won't have this horrible experience with markers next time.
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2006, 09:42
As a side note, I took my test at Vienna, Fairfax (near Washington DC)
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2006, 10:20
cpetro29 wrote:
Rhyme, those are great choices. I, too, struggle with a back-up. I also struggle with the notion of not having a back-up. I guess I'm fortunate enough not to 'need' an MBA, but I would really like to get one for the extended future. The short-term benefits for me will be minimal. Salary-wise, I probably won't make any more post-MBA than I make now. I will be on the older end of the scale and if I don't get in, I'll probably consider the Executive program, which I will be eligible for in about 3 years.

That being said, it would be a real bummer to go through this entire process and not come out with any tangible benefits. I, myself, am thinking HBS, Stanford, MIT, and two others. I'm big on being in a city that I want to live in - I lived in Boston for many years, so it's my first choice in cities. I'm not really a 'New Yorker', Chicago is not bad, Hanover,NH would be awesome, but I would prefer to be in a bigger city. Philadelphia's ok, its main perks being that it's close to NYC and DC. I wish Georgetown had a better ranking and reputation. I'd be content staying here in DC. I've been looking at not only rankings but what percentage of applicants they let in. For example, I work with lots of people who went to Darden. It's very well-regarded in my industry, top firms recruit there, yet they let in almost 50% of applicants! Maybe that could be your second-tier? Or even Duke.
Yale is also up and coming so I wouldn't be surprised if it cracks the top-10 in the next several years. I have friends who have gone there and are very successful. I'm a huge New Haven fan.

What do you do for work now?


What industry are you in? I've bounced around from mgmt/strategy consulting firms, to being on my own in the secondary mortgage market (business rules guy), to project mgmt for strategic sourcing... varied background. Mix of IT and business.

I'm in exactly the same boat as you - I'm 27 next week, so a little "old" for an MBA in some ways, and my income is already post-mba (a few years ago when I was on my own it was two or three times a post-mba figure!)... I've often wondered what the true ROI is going to be - not sure I can really bump up that much - but I want to comlpetely break free of IT, and completely break free of "lead" roles or manager roles that have all the responsibility without the title.

I therefore find myself in the same boat.. I especially need a top school in order to make it wortwhile, but I equally need to find reasonable options if I dont get into the top top schools. My problem is making a list that makes sense. If you look at the acceptance %, A LOT of top the top 30 schools have remarkably similar numbers ... that dont really increase very substantially as you go lower down the list..

For example:

Northwestern, 23%
Wharton, 16%
Harvard, 13%
NYU, 22%
Yale, 25%
Georgetown, 41%

.... Yale, ranked 22nd, is only marginally easier than Northwestern to get into (from a purely statistical point of view).

Darden has one major problem - location.... I cant bring my fiance to a city like that for 2 years. She'll (a) never find a good job, (b) be bored to death.

The problem is that so many of the other options are very much not interesting to me... Indiana? No thanks. Texas? No... Atlanta? No thanks. St Louis, MO? Not really interested... I'm at a point in my life where location - not just rank - matters to me.
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GMAT Krishna [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2006, 10:51
I took the test in the District. The proctor was awful. I sent a nasty email when I got home. I asked for a free re-take because of the issues. I'll let you know if I get it! I complained right away.

They're really horrible. I hope that they change back to the pens and paper by the time we take the test again.
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 [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2006, 07:11
Rhyme, dude, you're 27 and you're old?! Going by that standard I have the following options for myself

a) Enlist myself in the smithsonian museum as a display
b) Have my name entered into the world endangered/extinct species
c) Have my head checked
d) Sell all my GMAT books that I've ordered (started preparing 18 days ago, and I haven't even got all my books yet), and come after you with a baseball bat, cricket bat or other such objects

You're not old!! (OK, now my eyes are blurry and my hands shake ...... what was I saying, again?.... ;) :) )
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 [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2006, 09:59
I am 32 and I still consider myself (relatively) young (for a MBA) and I dont see age being a barrier (as long as one is not older than 60) .
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 [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2006, 14:02
necromonger wrote:
Rhyme, dude, you're 27 and you're old?! Going by that standard I have the following options for myself

a) Enlist myself in the smithsonian museum as a display
b) Have my name entered into the world endangered/extinct species
c) Have my head checked
d) Sell all my GMAT books that I've ordered (started preparing 18 days ago, and I haven't even got all my books yet), and come after you with a baseball bat, cricket bat or other such objects

You're not old!! (OK, now my eyes are blurry and my hands shake ...... what was I saying, again?.... ;) :) )


Oh oh. I'm in trouble... :)
  [#permalink] 20 Jun 2006, 14:02
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