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750: Non-native, Non-engineer. GMAT's not just for geniuses!

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Joined: 19 Dec 2017
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Location: Spain
GMAT 1: 660 Q44 V38
GMAT 2: 750 Q48 V44
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750: Non-native, Non-engineer. GMAT's not just for geniuses!  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 20 Apr 2018, 07:28
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BACKGROUND


I have been thinking about this post for a while. It is targeted to all GMAT strugglers, but most specifically to the students who think stellar scores are only for native english speakers, engineers or geniuses. As an international with non-engineering background and initial mediocre Quant skills, believe me when I say it is possible to achieve your dream score. That said, if you want to achieve the maximum of your capacity, you have to be willing to work harder than others and make outstanding efforts.

I started my GMAT journey in October 2017. Studied many hours, focused only OG materials for a couple of months, gave the exam a shot in December and scored a disastrous 600 (Q35 V37). This was after getting decent scores at my last Official GMAT Prep simulations: (Don't trust these guys too much) 620; 640; 670; 680.

I initially felt devastated and depressed, thinking I would never fulfill my dream of attending a top business school in the US. I took a month off to think clear, gain my confidence back and realize how lucky I was to know that I had the capacity to do well on this test. But first, I needed a RADICAL CHANGE in my prep. I was definitely approaching the exam the wrong way.

COURSES


I came across Math Revolution, a fairly new company with miraculous stories, in this forum and decided to give their "All-in-1" online course a try. Best decision ever. Their somewhat "revolutionary" approach changes the game for all the quant strugglers like myself. I'll write a more specific review on their course very soon. I completed their course in two months and gave the exam a second shot by mid-march. This time I managed to score a 660, Q44, just getting there.

But what worried me was my score of V38 - I had left my strength aside. WRONG thing to do. I had managed to score V44 in one simulation, how could I have not seen that a good verbal score was the key to my dream score?! - Plus, on a personal note, I noticed that I had kept beating myself for not being "good enough" all those months. My mind was not clear, I used to meditate before (Headspace app) but had totally left it aside. I needed to regain consciousness and a peaceful state of mind if I wanted to score to the maximum of my capacity.

The three following weeks I completed most of the egmat verbal online course (Amazing - I'll write a review on that too), and went through the Math Revolution online course again. But what made the difference this time was my awareness, peaceful and happy state of mind. I started reading "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Olle, it helped a lot to regain consciousness, and started giving myself credit for all the hard work and for not giving up. Do things you like, eat well, sleep well and do not beat yourself up. Reward yourself for working towards being one step closer to your ultimate goal! I see the GMAT a marathon, not a sprint.

TEST DAY


With all that in mind, I managed to score 750 (Q48 V44) and 98th percentile last week. My exam was scheduled for 4pm (there were no other slots available) so I made sure I acquired the habit of being mentally active in the afternoons by prepping the previous weeks. I had heard that in my city, the test center usually has free time slots even if it does not show on gmac's website, so as it is near my home I passed by to ask if I could go in a bit earlier. The staff there was super nice and told me that I could come whenever. Passing by the test center calmed my nerves a lot.

TIPS:
- START WITH YOUR STRENGTH. I cannot believe I did not do this until my last exam last week. In all my simulations and two past exams I had started with Quant, finished feeling I never did too well, and started with Verbal feeling anxious and impatient. However, starting with verbal this time made a total difference. I felt like I nailed it, came out happy and relieved, ready to take on Quant. (Thanks Hee Jean from Math Revolution for the tip!!!)

- LISTEN TO STUFF THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. I am an absolute music freak, and I believe music can have a strong impact on someone's attitude and state of mind. Lord of the Rings soundtrack song "The Breaking of the Fellowship- feat "in dreams" (on Spotify) is one of the most peaceful yet lively (that flute!) songs ever, gave it a listen to calm my nerves and it worked..

- WATCH, LOOK FOR THINGS THAT MOTIVATE YOU. I was happy, confident, and in good shape. I had prepped a lot, I had been constant and I knew I deserved my grade. Rocky Balboa's speech in Rocky 7 was a good motivation and reminder of how winning is done ;)

"But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!"

The GMAT is only an test, you get many chances to prep and score well, so with solid prep and confidence, you can get there. And if you can't get a stellar score, it is NOT the end of the world. Be aware that how good/bad your grade is regarded depends HEAVILY on your background! I know people with a 690 in HBS and Stanford, as well as I know +750's rejected in both. As business schools say, the admissions process takes a holistic (they love that word!) approach to MBA applications, meaning the GMAT is only one ingredient of your application. So chill, but ensure you do your absolute best on prepping and maximizing your chances to get in.

I wish the best of luck to all the students out there struggling with speed rate problems or the use of "like" and "as". Remind yourself that "there are no barriers to our progress except the ones we ourselves erect". You can do this!!!

Best,

Sal

PS: I gave up a lot to get here. Rejected job offers, stopped earning a salary, and focused full-time on the GMAT for three months. I won't tell you to quit your job, but if you want this above all things, you must give up other stuff. It's up to you. In my case, I look back and I could not be more proud of the choices I have made to get where I am today.

Originally posted by salysalsal on 17 Apr 2018, 12:06.
Last edited by salysalsal on 20 Apr 2018, 07:28, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: 750: Non-native, Non-engineer. GMAT's not just for geniuses!  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2018, 13:06
Congratulations! Seems you took the test just before the switch (I was hoping this was something you gotten with the new shorter format)
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Re: 750: Non-native, Non-engineer. GMAT's not just for geniuses!  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2018, 18:40
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Hi Sal! Congratulations on the great score, it is a good story of a score increase.

I am curious to know what type of study strategy have you implemented for this score?

What did you start with at the first place?
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Re: 750: Non-native, Non-engineer. GMAT's not just for geniuses!  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2018, 03:14
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Re: 750: Non-native, Non-engineer. GMAT's not just for geniuses! &nbs [#permalink] 23 Apr 2018, 03:14
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