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Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!?

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Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2010, 19:55
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I am 43 years old, and returning to B school ater getting laid off in the finance world after 20 years o experience. Out of expediency took the GMAT without review and scored 550....and was depressed for days. scored a 6 on the AWA, 36 on Verbal, and 29 on Quant. I honestly have not taken a standardzed test since the paper based SATs and GREs 20 years ago, when I was consistently in the 95% range and had admission offers from most of the top schools.

Do 40 year olds take the GMAT, how do they approach studying, (actually do most 20 somethings study...or just do they just "wing it") and have a just become stupid in my "old age", or is it simply 20 years in the work world without really utilizing the skilss on the test.

I have purchaased the OG 12 and Princeton Review guide.

Thanks so much!
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2010, 21:11
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Ha-ha. Yes, 20-year olds have it easy, don't you remember? You've been there :)
Actually, everyone has issues. Getting more familiar with the test can usually get 20-50 points, so you will get up to 600 after taking a few tests and reviewing your mistakes for a few hours.

However, no secret that brain is more open to learning when you are younger.
You also don't remember some of the basics that GMAT throws out at you in the Quant section. If you can improve your quant to 45 and your verbal just a few poinst to 40, you will get 700 - would that be enough?

Would suggest you pick up either MGMAT guides (if you have time) or Kaplan Math Workbook.

I would estimate you will take 2-3 months to get there. Most will be spent on refreshing arithmetic and other math question types.

Let me know if need any additional recommendations.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2010, 21:56
l02g060 wrote:
I am 43 years old, and returning to B school ater getting laid off in the finance world after 20 years o experience. Out of expediency took the GMAT without review and scored 550....and was depressed for days. scored a 6 on the AWA, 36 on Verbal, and 29 on Quant. I honestly have not taken a standardzed test since the paper based SATs and GREs 20 years ago, when I was consistently in the 95% range and had admission offers from most of the top schools.

Do 40 year olds take the GMAT, how do they approach studying, (actually do most 20 somethings study...or just do they just "wing it") and have a just become stupid in my "old age", or is it simply 20 years in the work world without really utilizing the skilss on the test.

I have purchaased the OG 12 and Princeton Review guide.

Thanks so much!


550 in first attempt is a great score.... you should be proud of it. I dont see any reason why youcan't score into 90th[ercentile. Good luck!
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2010, 10:59
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You must be kidding me. 43 is old?

Listen, in my old age (a whopping 38), I have discovered that I grasp things musch faster than I used to in my twenties. It's that retention that has become a problem. My memory has definitely worsened with age.
I was in management for a major airline for twelve years which I recently got away from (at will) and decided to explore the option to pursue my PHD. I am now an independent consultant for my former employer and I have two kids (one of them is a toddling 15 month old). My ADD doesn't make things easier either. I postponed my GMAT three times so far since December '09. I started studying in October but got really about 60 hours of study all together (up to this poing). If you see my previous posts, they are filled with frustration and desparation. I just cannot find the time to study. But you know what, I'm determined to make it work regardless of the circumstances. Also, one of the reasons for my procastination is the time I have before the 2011 deadlines. They are not until February of next year.

Buy all 8 Manhattan GMAT Guides, OG12, OG Verbal and Quant. That's ALL you need. You'll probably find them at a discount on ebay or Amazon. GMAT Prep Tests and MGMAT CATs should be all the tests you need to take. Give yourself about two good months. You'll score way over 700. Granted, I haven't followed my own preaching. But I plan on doing it starting next week when I have a full-time nanny for my kids.

So, old man, you are not alone in this journey. There are other riders with you. Best of luck to you and MYSELF.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2010, 11:19
^ inspiring post. I concur (as do the tons of posts on this forum) that the MGMAT and OG guides are the way to go for a high score. You put those tools in your hands and the rest is up to you.

Good luck to you both.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2010, 15:07
Thanks to both of you for the advice...best of Luck!! I will begin tackling the OG and MGMAT prep guides....just ordered at Amazon.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2010, 15:40
And a lot of people have said it here on the forums - save the OG material for last. Work on your Princeton book, Kaplan premier if you have it to sort of get used to solving the types of problems covered, to gain familiarity with the material. This way, you don't "waste" the good questions which are most closely like the exam. Have a decent quant and verbal skillset built up before tackling those.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2010, 00:23
yah i would say go work through the MGMAT and/or the Kaplan stuff first... then maybe do the OG Math and the OG Verbal books...

save the OG 12 book last for your final prep/practice. Also remember to take the GMATPrep1 and GMATPrep2 (older version), a total of 4 CAT exams, and try to space them apart... take the last exam couple days before your official exam. i liked the MGMAT CAT exams (they're online) as well... you get a total of 6 exams if you buy 1 MGMAT book.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 07:11
I don't feel so odd in planning to take the exam at 44. I'm in the midst of a career change and I agree with PHDGMAT2009, I do grasp things much better at this age than when I was 20. And it's good to see that I'm not the only one wanting to go back to school in my mid 40's.

This is my first post... so thanks for the very relevant "thread topic" and tips from everyone!
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 07:51
Go for it old man... wish you the best of luck and remember that this test doesn't come easy... gotta practice and work hard if you want your score to go up... but it ain't impossible... 550 is a nice point to start! :-D

Wish you the best of success...
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 21:44
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I would say that you definitely should be able to raise your score quite a bit. At almost 35 I was able to score a 700 on my first attempt after about 4 months of preparation. I will add that I received very average scores on both the SAT (1070?) and the GRE (990?). It should be noted that I mostly used to "wing it" when taking standardized tests and figured that some people were just better test takers than others. In college I never even took anything higher than the one required math course for liberal arts majors. My BA and MA were both in Spanish, so this did not make me hopeful. Needless to say, when I first started studying I was getting Quan percentile scores in the 20s and 30s. The verbal on the other hand seemed to be easier after years of reading, writing and continuing to use these skills once out of school. In any case, I was able to bring my Quan percentile score up to 63rd and together with a score at 95th percentile in verbal this somehow combined to be 90th percentile overall?! I agree with the previous poster suggesting that you focus on refreshing your math skills and more than that becoming familiar with the math the GMAT tests. Also, TAKE A LOT OF PRACTICE TESTS. When I saw I was strong in verbal I just focused on math and took about 7 tests for the math (while only taking 2 for verbal). One thing you will quickly notice is how getting just a few more questions correct raises your score and your percentile immensely. Also, I took a course, but I attribute my improvement mainly to the practice tests. Next, if you use Kaplan materials you can safely add about 100-150 points to the scores you receive on their practice tests. Lastly, at 43 I would check any meds you might be on to see if they cause sedation or anything else that might impair your thinking even slightly. You might also notice a positive difference when taking certain vitamins and/or supplements, exercising, etc. Hope this helps.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 21:53
^ great post. and i definitely think sticking to an aggressive game plan will get you the score of your dreams.

good luck and keep us up to date on your progress.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2010, 11:21
I am 38, and I gave GMAT last December - 680, AWA 5.5

I have two kids in school, wife works full time and a high-stress job. Used only the official guide (went through it twice). Studied 3 months (Oct thru Dec). Woke early before kids, and worked the exercises.

The most serious challenge for guys at our age is the 3 coniguous hours needed for the mock tests - I snuck off from work couple of times, completed a test and drove back.

It's challenging, but totaly doable.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2010, 11:14
Very inspiring -- glad to have read it. I'm also older than most MBA applicants and have faced the same. It's just not as easy to get through as much stuff. You can't pull all-nighters or memorise things in a second like you can when you're younger. 8hrs sleep is now a must (not an optional). And there's just more stuff that gets in the way.

But what has helped me the most is 2 things:

(1) Routine: Didn't have discipline when I was younger. Now I can much more easilly get up every day at the same time, prioritise my work, and then put in a few hrs' studying. Don't have the luxury of wasting time, so the schedule becomes second nature.

(2) Flexibility: Every minute counts. So I use every minute efficiently. Instead of watching TV during the week, I use Hulu or Netflix to catch up each Friday (when I do all the weekly chores like laundry or cooking anyway). Instead of paying bills with cheques as they come, I set up bill-pay online once a month, track it all in a spreadsheet, and don't worry about it until next month. Etc etc. All of those small shortcuts add up to a lot of time for studying.

Sure it takes me more time to go over something, but I find that with this increased focus that stuff actually sticks. Unlike college, when it was simply memorising before the test and forgetting 100% of it in the 20mins after it.

Bottom line: where there's a will, you can find a way! Thanks to all of you for some great posts.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2010, 21:05
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abhattac5 wrote:

Bottom line: where there's a will, you can find a way! Thanks to all of you for some great posts.


The conclusion is ultimate.

........here is another 'oldie' GMAT taker striving hard to cross the barrier of 700. I am 41 and aspiring for an Exec MBA from a Canadian University. I started preparing for the GMAT 3 months back and it took lot of determination to adhere to a schedule, give-up hobbies, reduce first & then nullify TV watching and restrict to all other sorts of pleasures that a person looks forward to enjoying at 40s. Additional distractors are children and work responsibilities which keep popping up every now and then in various forms.

When I first started the preps I had the impression that this is not a very hard kind of test and 3 months of practice would comfortably land me to 700+ level. I considered this to be like any other competitive exam and misunderstood the tricks of CAT, until I took a couple of mock CAT tests. I am now scoring around 600 (typically 47-50 in Quant and 21-23 in Verbal) but I know I will have to keep trying and will be able to achieve what I want.

Taking GMAT at this age is actually juggling with several priorities but certainly possible. The goodies for trying at this age are: (1) one has more mental strength at this age and can force oneself to remain away from distractors (2) can prioritise things more efficiently and plan startegies and (3) spend $$ judiciously to improve performance.

The conclusion is : Where the going gets tough, the tough gets going. It is not a cake walk at this age, but not impossible at all!

Would like to hear from test takers from this age group who have made it at 700+ level.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2010, 10:04
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I took my test (second try) a year ago at age 42.
I did realize I had limitations, namely my memory is not being as sharp as it used to be before, and my being a right-brainer in general, which means inherent math anxiety.

I did not realize I needed some special age-adjusted approach to the test. So, I did it the old-school way: studied as much and hard as I could, given obligations of full-time job and family. I used quite I few books, but from my experience I got the most help from Princeton Review Cracking the GMAT, the OG were quite good as they contain actual test questions, albeit retired. I also purchased a book on VICs from Manhattan GMAT. I found it very helpful. And I did all CAT simulations I could put my hands on: from the books, this forum, MBA dot com

I got the same 550 on the first try as you did. After 2 more months of preparation I got 610 on the second sitting. That was a safe score for two out of my 3 target schools. Admittedly, I was applying to part-time MBA programs.

Now I am a part-time MBA student at George Washington University School of Business. By the way, I am running blog on my MBA experience - the link is in my signature. I know now you can not think of anything, but your application process. But when you have time you can peek on what MBA may be like, once you overcome the admission hurdles.

To PHDGMAT2009: From my experience 38 and 42 is not the same. I have been doing a lot of studying around 38-40 for IT certifications. I can attest that my memory worked better then than now, even though it was just 3-4 years ago. So wait and see in 4-5 years :-)
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2010, 06:45
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I am 37 years old. I plan to take GMAT in an year. I think my brain is functioning exponentially better than it was when I was younger. I am smarter and wiser now than I was 27 and definitely better than 17.

It's all marketing and crappy thought that you cannot do as well when you get older.

B-school and the Corporate america want younger people to Slog and Older people to Clog.

No one should discriminate students on the basis of age.

you score a 700+ and have tons of experience, then most of the major schools will accept you irrespective of your age. So don't let your weaknesses demote your ambitions.

Get that thinking straight so that you will meet your ambition, and you will no longer be you. but that you is going to change into a Top school MBA grad.

It is just a perspective. Some people are dumber when they are young but wiser as get older wisdom and efficincy and performance. Some people get dumber as they get old.

It just depends on which side you are.

My dad is 73's years old. He is smarter and faster in his thinking than when he was younger.

So people I recommend that aging population going to school is better for any country. It is good as people feel going to school at a older age will maintain their mental fitness, and it is definitely true.

A B-school will open the horizons that were closed before.

We can reinvent ourselves at 40. Thats where our strength is.
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Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!? [#permalink] New post 04 May 2010, 04:44
Rest assured that you are not the oldest candidate! :? Sure we are a bit slower than the younguns , and our memories are not as strong as they were once, but slow and steady win the race. I have two college-aged kids, both home-schooled(by me), both did extremely well in O-level and both told me to go back to school- to med school that is. Well, with 2 kids in college, I can't afford med school, so next best thing is MBA. But hey, I dont have work experience! I guess I'll tackle that when the time comes. First thing first, right? SO, for the next three months, i will be combing this forum with fine-toothed combs. Go 40GMATers!
Re: Taking the GMAT at age 43...help?!?   [#permalink] 04 May 2010, 04:44
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