The GMAT or OH MY GOD Can People Really Do This?

I am so pissed at myself right now. I can honestly say that in all of my higher education, standardized tests, credentialing exams—and there have been plenty of them—I have never done poorly on a test of any kind.

So it starts with me trying to prep for my GMAT for a couple of months. Honestly, there was just never time. There was always work. Or an appointment for one of the kids. Or John had class. Always something. But I tried half-heartedly to prepare. And by the time I was finished with all of the tasks I had to do, I was too exhausted for anything that could be considered optional. I mean, the GMAT doesn’t sign my paycheck. My grades do not depend on studying it, so it had to be moved to the back burner. And then I found out that the required score for my top-choice program is not that difficult, and I blew off studying altogether.

Holy shit.

On test day, I was nervous as hell. Butterflies and nausea. Heart-racing, palm-sweating nervousness. I tried to pump myself up with an iPod full of pump-up music. Lots of Eminem and other I’m-Kickass tunage. I chugged a venti mocha from Starbucks. Then I squared my shoulders and marched my happy ass right into that testing center as if I owned the place.First of all, let me tell you that Fort Knox could learn a thing or two from the security of a GMAT testing center. Palm-vein scans. Digital photos. Audio and visual recordings of the entire test. Pockets turned inside out and sleeves rolled up before entering. You have to put everything into a locker. EVERYTHING. All you are allowed to have on your person is your photo ID and the key to the locker they give you. No pencils or paper. They give you a dry-erase notebook for scratchpaper, and you aren’t supposed to erase it. When you run out of room, they bring you a fresh one. They provided me with earplugs, but I wasn’t even allowed to have the wrapper they came in. Please explain that one to me. How does one cheat with an earplug wrapper they get from the testing center? Because if they can figure that out, they deserve to ace the damned GMAT.  I had to unwrap them before I even entered the testing room and give he wrapper to the proctor. And when you leave the room for any reason, the entire process happens all over again.

And then I sat down to take the test.

I whizzed through 2 writing assessments. I gave responses that were well-developed and organized in thought. Grammar was perfect. No spelling errors. If anything, I can churn out a paper for anyone and anything, so I am sure I nailed those, though it will take a few weeks for the powers that be to determine my score on them. It gave me a chance for a scheduled break, which I declined. I mean, I finished the writing assessments with time to spare, so I was in the zone. Ready to go for the net round. Bring it on, Bitch!

Next came quantitative. I’m not allowed to tell you about any of the questions. I swore on my children and my future as a human being in this world that I would not. But I will tell you that this math can suck a big one. Algebra, geometry, and arithmetic organized into either problem-solving or data sufficiency questions. The math concepts were not hard at all. What was hard? The way it was organized into the problem. Each problem solved by a long chain of steps, and then the solution is not at the end of those step, but rather some portion that relates to it. And then the answer choices! Normally, when one takes a multiple-choice math exam, they solve the problem and if their answer doesn’t match the choices, the know they have done something wrong, they go back and work the problem again and find an answer that matches. Well, the GMAT bases incorrect choices on common mistakes. Say you forgot to divide the number in step two of fifteen by 2. One of the answer choices will fit that error, so you see your answer among the choices and have no idea you were wrong and are completely oblivious. But then you don’t just get the problem wrong! Your score goes down and the subsequent questions are easier because the test then figures you are a fucktard and need easier questions. Incidentally, the easier questions are worth less, so then it takes forevver to get back up to the score you need. But if you get the first few problems correct, the exam propels you into the difficult questions. And for me, these were insanely difficult. And then there is data sufficiency. I can’t even….Just Google that shit. The GMAT prides themselves on the fact that they invented this question type. If I were them, I would not be proud of the fact that I tortured poor college students seeking advanced degrees. And they are a big fricken part of the quantitative secion. Whatever. Shake it off, because after another body cavity search after a potty break, it’s time for the verbal reasoning.

Critical reasoning, sentence correction, and reading comp compose the verbal reasoning. Simple, right? Ummmm, no. Because the GMAT gives you complex sentences full of modifiers in odd places and odd verbage that one would never use in a normal conversational tone. The grammar is perfect, but the flow of the sentence is completely awkward and clumsy. So you really have to know your grammar. Conjugation is a biggie. The critical reasoning gives you a statement and you are expected to draw inferences or determine ways to weaken or strengthen the argument–whichever is asked. The reading comp is pretty standard, except the passages are verbose and dry, written on topics nobody could give two shits about.

And just like that, you’re finished. And the beauty of the GMAT is that you get your unofficial score right then. It isn’t official because the writing assessments have to be scored by some geek in an office somewhere. But the rest of the test is scored. And they don’t even give you a warning that it is coming. It just pops up on the screen, and you are in a room of other test-takers and cannot blurt out any expletives. I mean, I think I deserve some extra points for not blurting out, “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME!!!!!”, which is totally what I was thinking.

Because here is what the fuck happened: I aced the verbal reasoning. I am pretty sure that I nailed the writing assessments. I bombed the fucking math. Fuck. FuckityFuckFuckFuck. However, I scored so well on the verbal that my scores are competitive anywhere–Wharton, Harvard, Keenan-Flageler—any of the big B-schools. I fucking did it. But then I start revisiting the requirements for my first-choice school. GPA 3.5. Okay. GMAT score greater than 470. Okay. (GPA x 200) + GMAT> or = to 1070. Yeah, okay. I’m good, right?

No. Halt. Big screeching brake sound here. Because they want a certain percentage of the GMAT score to come from math. Fucking math. And my score was so unbelievably lopsided.

I aced it, and yet I still have to retake it.


I am pissed. I want to shout from the rooftops that I have never done poorly on any test ever. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever even gotten a B on an exam. I certainly have never gotten a B in a class. I can write when I have to. I test remarkably well. What the fuck????

Oh and did I mention that the exam was, like, $300? Not counting prep materials. And I have already gone to the store and purchased a program specific to GMAT math. Feel free to take up a collection for me. I have to wait 31 days to retake that fucker, too.

I would rather shoot myself in the eye than take that fucking exam again.


4 thoughts on “The GMAT or OH MY GOD Can People Really Do This?

  1. Ok I laughed out loud at the body cavity search. because that is EXACTLY what it’s like.

    I don’t remember my score. I just remembered it was good enough to get into A&MCC and since A&MCC is the only game in town (that I can afford) I figured no biggie.

    Are you SURE you have to take it again?

    What a stupid question. Of course you are sure. It’s just that. . . well. . .FUCK. Fucking test to get into fucking graduate school which is fucking hard but you HAVE to do it because you fucking need to reach your goals despite the fact that you have a family AND a high stress job already. I hate graduate school.

    But this isn’t about ME.

    Sorry about the test A.

    • Just spoke to the advisor at my dream school. Maybe not!!!!! (Okay, it’s a big maybe, but a maybe nonetheless!) We are sending my unofficial score report to them and letting the dean take a look. With my GPA, overall score, and verbal scores compared to my math, it is obvious to them that something freakish happened with the math. I mean, I got an A in corporate finance, accounting, stats…I have a perfect GPA with a business major–courses in the same shit they will make me take.

      We have three major MBA programs around here. But I’m a brat and don’t want the other two. I want the one that is ranked in the top, damnit. The overall score would get me in ANYWHERE else–seriously even Harvard.

      And I am glad you get me, Mary! Body-cavity search, indeed!

  2. Holy fuckiddy fucking fuck! I’m prepping for the test now and I don’t know how I’m going to do this! I suck at life! Fucking fuck fuck fuck balls shit ass grundle napps!!!!!

    • You’re just going to do it. Take a deep breath and do it. If uou haven’t already, get a good guide and practice the math. I say this because there really has been no other math quite like this in my life. Review the verbal.

      More than anything, just get yourself in the zone. Deep breaths, be one with the test, whatevs. You have to take it, right? So then no sense stressing. I could’ve benefited from this piece of advice.

      In the end, that damned math had nothing to do with my ability in b-school. Other than matching B’s in micro and macroeconomics, I’ve gotten A’s in everything. And come December, I will have finished a nationally-ranked (top 25 in several categories) MBA program in just 16 months.

      GMAT math can suck it. You can do it.

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