(Read pt. 1 HERE)
So, at this point-- mid-September-- I felt like this whole idea of taking the GMAT was very terrible. My study plan was falling apart, I wasn't interacting with my family very much, and I can't even say if I was retaining the information I was studying. It all became one big blur. But instead of abandoning it all, I trucked through the rest of September and October as best as I could.
Finally, test day (November 8th to be exact) rolled around. I woke up with the slightest hint of a sinus headache, but I didn't pay it much attention. Magoosh, my major study resource suggested I eat a carb heavy breakfast and take plenty of protein rich snacks with me to the testing center. I didn't eat like a lumberjack, but I did have some oatmeal, yogurt, toast with Nutella, and hot tea. I packed some granola cereal, a bottle of water, and some peanut butter to take with me to munch on during my testing breaks.
I drove about 25 minutes south to the testing center for my 8am exam. I had a small praise party along the way, blasting lots of Hillsong, Bryan & Katey Torwalt, Kari Jobe, and Will Reagan all while praying to God to calm my nerves and allow me to score as well as possible. Upon arrival at the federal government building, I had to be buzzed in by the testing coordinators (super official, I know) and take a number behind the other 12 test takers. The nice thing about the testing atmosphere is the alloted number of testing stations.There was probably no more than 15 people testing during the 8:00 hour. But before I could even be seated at my testing computer, I had to sign in using my driver's license, review and sign off on the testing center's rules and regulations, have my picture taken, have my palms scanned about 4 times, and lock all of my belongings in a locker. And after that, I had to be patted down by the testing coordinators. Not as serious as TSA, but I did have to uncuff my flannel button down, fold out the pockets on the front, lift my hair up off my neck, and reach fold out/reach down in each of my 5 jean pockets. Serious stuff to say the least. By this time what I thought was a small sinus headache began to gradually grow.
I was given a dry erase board, marker, and two cotton things to cover the ear pa, not to be used or confused as tissue to erase my dry erase board with. Then, I was given one last time to opt out of the test. To run. To run far, far away. Instead, when the coordinator asked me if I had anymore questions and if I was ready to take the test, I said "yes". *Le sigh.
She walked me over to my computer, typed in a password and the test began. You start out by selecting the schools you want to attend. I kept searching and searching for my school and could not find it for the life of me. Finally, the test coordinator saw me struggling and came over to assist.If I couldn't even find the right school to send my scores to, how in the world would I even be able to complete the test?! It was a sign. I'm convinced of it. After finally finding and selecting my two choice schools, I finally began the actual exam. After a few months of studying, I knew each section's directions by heart. AWA- write an essay critiquing the argument presented... Integrated Reasoning- complete each component of the questions, you must complete each component before being allowed to move to the next question...Quantitative- you have 75 minutes to complete 37 questions...Verbal- you have 75 minutes to complete 41 questions. I clicked passed each sections set of instructions (after glancing over them juuuuust to make sure I hadn't missed anything) and went to work.
The AWA wasn't too bad, but instead of critiquing the way the article was written, I instead agreed that it was written well! Mistake #1. I already knew the argument was flawed to some extent, so agreeing with the way it was written kind of did me in. The kicker? The Official Guide to GMAT review gives you ALL possible AWA prompts. Seriously. All AWA prompts are listed in the back of the book on purpose.
Once I floated through the AWA section, I made my struggled to finish the Integrated Reasoning section in the 30 minutes I was given. There are only 12 questions in this section, but each question has 3 tabs of information and practically a question for each! I did the best I could and hightailed it out of the section. At this point, I took my optional 8 minute break. I made my way out of the computer lab and over to my locker to down some water and stuff my face with some granola and walk around the room to get the oxygen flowing back to my brain. Did I mention my headache had increased at this point? Like to the point that my head felt it was swelling. After my 8 minute break, I went back through the pat down routine and sat down at my testing computer to start the second half.
I'm awful at math, but I felt like I handled the questions pretty well. I was able to do a lot of work in my head and only relied on the dry erase board for a handful of problems. Needless to say, I clicked the answer I felt was best and moved on. I know answering 37 questions in 75 minutes sounds easy, but when you're practically quantitatively challenged, it's pretty hard. With my headache really intensifying, I began the last section of the test, my strong point-- verbal. Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction, and Critical Reasoning comprise this section. I didn't know this until I took the test, but trying to read with a severe headache is very, very difficult. I mean, my eyes began to hurt, my ears began to ring, and my head felt like it was about to explode. Honestly, by this point, I was just ready to get it all over with. I wanted to get my score, go home, and crawl into my bed and sleep for months. But what happened next blew my mind.
Why is it that whenever you think you did fine on something, it's usually the complete opposite? I knew I wasn't going to get a 700+ or anything, but I didn't expect to get such a low score. I didn't even make a high enough score to apply for my safety school! I cancelled my score on the spot, took all my things out of the locker, walked downstairs to my car, and cried. I was so defeated. But I said a prayer, called my mom, and headed home. Well, I headed to my second home - Chipotle. If I never needed burrito bowl before, I sure as heck needed one now.
By the time I got home, I crawled into bed, began to devour my burrito bowl, and laid in bed watching Nightmare Before Christmas while I sulked and hoped for my headache to dissolve. I don't think I got out of my bed until late that night.
So that's my experience with the GMAT. It was rough and tough and pretty nasty. But because I know what I want out of life and where I want to go in the future, I'm back on the saddle. I'm studying again (just about 2 hours each day) but I'm not stressing myself out about it too much. I take it one day at a time and try to really focus on the task at hand. I've got until February to lock in some serious studying before I test again.
Tell me about your GMAT experience! Tips, tricks, and advice are more than welcomed!
Hello, I'm Margo.
25 year old laid-back lady currently pursuing my MBA in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Just using my blog to share my growing faith, evolving style, favorite recipes, and exciting travels with you!
Shop love...Kenedie on Etsy!