Sept 2006 had to be the most humiliating moment of my life. Just couldn't go down like that...No way! Six weeks of consistent daily prep between lunch hour breaks, on the subway to and from work, followed by bi-weekly CATs on Sundays and Thursdays (after work).
The past seven practice CATs were all in the 640-660 range (without AWAs) so I decided to take the test as a warm-up a month early to gauge my current standing. Knowing that Dec 17th was still available, I was able to keep the stress and anxiety under control.
Walked in 30 min early refreshed from a good night's sleep and ready to exchange blows with PVue. Got fingerprinted, digital photographed, guzzled half a red bull and started ten minutes early at 12:10pm.
Essays were a breeze. Despite my original strategy of "putting minimal effort in the writing section and saving the stamina for the Q-V," I actually had a clear mind and few bones of contention to pick with the topics. Probably due to the red bull caffeine, I ended up writing 5-6 somewhat compelling paragraphs for each of the Argument/Issue topics. Writing essays has never been a problem area because it is the one aspect of the exam over which we have almost complete control. I hope to get the same as always 5~6.
Quantitative started out tricky. The first question was a work problem masqueraded as a multiple circuit motherboard involving the manipulation of three different, but not impossible, ratios. It was a four step problem that I simply could not decipher; even after five minutes and three futile attempts. When the clock read 69:59, I made an educated guess and moved on. The second problem was much easier (basic geometry) so I assume I must have been immediately dropped into the lower bin. After that, I literally BLAZED through the next 20 or so consecutive problems until I encountered something like this:
3^6*33^16 is approximately 10^x What is the value of x?
That has to be a mid 40s range make or break problem, because immediately after that the CAT gave me alternating problems that I either could or could not answer. It ultimately dialed in my Q range at 42.
Incidentally, I did get one problem on combinatorics and one problem on geometeric progression. Also encountered the old faithful "distance between the surface of a sphere inscribed in a cube of given length n." Yep, PVue is still testing that question after all these years
Took a 9
minute break, emptied the bladder, gobbled five or six oreo cookies and washed them down with that last 1/2 a red bull. Wrote out the grid A-B-C-D-E for the verbal and did a one minute meditation after the proctor signed the test back on (we have one minute to read the verbal instructions page).
Verbal began with two challenging SCs. One actually was testing the passive voice against two very tempting active alternatives and the other was a tricky S-V using the gerund verb as a subject (make sure you know this is singular!). Took extra precaution on these and finally saw the traps after 3-4 rereadings. Got two back to back RCs from question #6, both about economics (you lucky econ majors!!); one very lengthy (80~90 liner) on the change in worker productivity since the industrial revolution, and the other a convoluted stacked two paragrapher on the elasticity of demand in an emerging market. Swear it must have come straight out of a microecon textbook. Had to make a few 50-50 guesses, and then was faced with one extremely difficult statitistic CR inference question that probably required a venn diagram. As I have been practicing with LSAT CRs lately, I definately discovered that GMAT questions are easier, but get much more dense as we start to approach the V40 threshold. That being said, my abilities are still a little too fuzzy to single out that one "good looking answer choice." Finished the last SC, a modifier, with 2 seconds on the clock!! Phew
Blue ink smudged all over the table and right hand, and the test center was starting to get dark as the sun was beginning to fade off.
Confirmed those eight survey questions and clicked "report scores."
Now here is where I need to make a distinction: I am not an IT engineer and I did not study social sciences in undergrad. Born to a single high school mother and on my own since 16, I payed my way through undergrad by first washing dishes and later selling goods to Japanese tourists in Hawaii as I had to acquire the language to survive. The more I studied the language the faster I switched jobs and ultimately landed a Japanese MOJ full scholarship here in Osaka. Consequently, I majored in Japanese (East Asian Languages) at UH Manoa and took the language all the way back to Japan and beyond. I never took either a technical or reading intensive course in college, and because Japanese is completely divergent from anything tested on the GMAT, I have been at an inherent disadvantage from the beginning. Nevertheless, it is not only an important predicter of b-school success, but is also an unavoidable prerequisite.
I now have to take the full gamut of courses: from stats to calculus between now and next fall in order to convince the adcoms that I can handle the rigor of the B1 core courses. This has been, and will continue to be a brutal uphill battle all the way, but here are the results of today's performance:
Sept 2006: 500 Q38/V22
Today: 640 Q42/V35
Nothing to brag about. As a matter of fact, whereas 99% of GMATClub members would use such a score report as toilet paper, I am actually going to squeeze it, with a 3.8 undergrad GPA, for everything it's worth and see if I can convince a few Trans-Elite adcoms. Indeed, my chances are slim, but if I get knocked back or waitlisted, then I have no fear of retaking in spring '07.
If however, by the grace of god and good fortune, I do happen to slip through a crack somewhere, then I would like to donate ALL of my GMAT Prep resources to an economically disadvantaged testaker from a third world country.
Over the course of the last 16 months I have collected and amassed almost every possible GMAT prep resource available.
From Arco to Manhattan to Zutto (Japanese prep company), I have a library
of books and CDROMs, paper tests, passcodes to question banks, etc... that I want to donate to a somebody from one of the following countries: Sub-Saharan Africa (not including South Africa), Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, or Afganistan. If you are a citizen from one of those countries and can somehow access GMATClub and read this message, and are even struggling to break the 550 barrier, please PM me with your contact details and I will send you everything I have free of charge after the new year. I made this promise in my prayers, so I am committed to helping those who lack the financial resources to make an MBA a reality.
Finally, I would like to extend a special thanks to a few people in particular.
@Praetorian: Thank you for creating this site and bringing together some of the most talented minds on our planet. I will meet you in person one day and shake your hand for all that you have done.
@Laxie: Thank you for all your support over the past year. I still owe you a gift since last summer. By the way, in case you all don't know already, Laxie is a stunning supermodel (with brains)!!!!
@Jon: Your coaching and private messages kept the fire burning after that humiliating defeat last summer. Good luck at Johnson buddy
@Rudy: You (along with Honghu and Kevincan) are undisputably one of the most multifauceted and intelligent people I have ever met. I look forward to communicating with you more in the b-school application forum. Give your mixed retrievers a friendly scratch on the belly for me.
@Dahiya: "Sharp arrow," your math skills are awesome. Best of luck in all your future b-school endeavors.
@Vivek: Give that cute baby girl of your's a peck on the forehead for me. She's gonna be the next Laxie
@Haas: Thanksfor the software you sent a few months ago! It really helped in these past couple weeks.
@Antmavel: "Mi sasa es su casa" Still waiting for you to come over to Japan before I head back to the states next summer.
@U2Lover: Wax those skiis and do a couple of powder sprays at Kirkwood for me. U2 will score above 80-->90%. Believe in yourself, becuase you are next.
@Tomoko, Ken, Takehisa, and Ryo (my Japanese studdy buddies here in Osaka): Good luck at Emory, Cornell, and Columbia. I love you guys!
@Paul: Stay in touch with the verbal forum
because your explanations are unparalleled. We all miss you.
@Comrade Yurik, Jaynayak, Buzz, Karlfurt, AK, Yezz, TeHCM... and many more: Good luck guys! Whatever you need, and however I can help you, just ask. Always glad to be of service
R2 deadlines are around the corner so it's time to start burning up the keyboard.... that is before the powder snow falls