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Journey to my MBA

Sunday, July 25, 2004

A day after the GMAT

Thanks again for the offers for help everyone.

Well, it's been 24 hrs now and I'm rested again.  I'm studying now for my class.  I need to do very well in this class.  Even more so than doing well on the GMAT.  As much as I know my scores were dissapointing, I have to be completely open about my emotions on this.

I was actually a bit relieved.  I had this terribly dark feeling before going in to take the test.  It was like a deja vu feeling where I thought something bad was going to happen.  Images of the building and the stairs going up to the center seemed like images I had dreamed years before.  As a result, I was actually scared at the end of seeing a 480 score on the screen.

It was like a bitter sweet feeling to see a 600.  I was gasping for relief that a nightmore situation didn't fall upon me and yet disheartened that I couldn't at least get into the 650 range. 

I conclude that my preparation came through in not letting the score be much worse. 

So now, I have a decision to make as to how to attack the GMAT from here.  I've been looking at Veritas and GMAX Online.  Manhattan GMAT doesn't really offer classes in my area.  As I'll be going back up to Northern California in a month and a half, I need to make sure I could continue the class in the San Francisco region.  They really only offer private tutoring at $200+ an hour.  Not something I'm comfortable with right now.

Veritas has the following schedule

Not interested in Kaplan or Princeton.  I'd like something more involved.  Veritas provides 42hrs of instruction vs Princeton at 24hrs and Kaplan at 16hrs.  Gmax onlines video school has about 46 hrs.

Veritas is $1250 with a $50 rebate for signing up early and GMAX is $300.

Problem.  Veritas starts late.  But it starts right in the last week of my last class.  If I went with Veritas, I would ask to take the first week and a 1/2 at the Newport Beach location and then transfer up to the Palo Alto location for the reminder.

Yes, I know all this makes it so that I won't be able to apply during R1 or Early application deadlines.  But in talking with Linda at months ago before I started this whole school and GMAT thing, her advice was.... "Don't try to write the essay, take the class, prepare and take the GMAT only to result in all three being potentially compromised.  In short, Apply when you're ready to apply with a good app." 

Thus, the focus continues to be
1) Kick butt in the two classes
followed by:
2) Excellent GMAT score
followed by:
3) Writing essays in prep for the B-School applications.

Lately, I've been interacting with Graham over at and so I have plans to talk with him about refining this strategy and reviewing other areas to pay attention to that I may not have considered.

As far as GMAT, I'm going to go through Kaplan 800 now and spend time making sure I understand the grammar rules better.  I'm going to review the Quant concepts again and start to perform more Quant drills under timed conditions.  I had no problem with time on the GMAT Verbal.   

I'll be making a decision regarding what kind of strategy to improve my score in about a week.

I just don't have a clear idea whether I won't to go at it again with self-study.  GMAT Club and TestMagic are great for re-working problems and seeing more efficient ways of doing things and understanding concepts.  Also my self created error log reviews have really helped.  But, the question is... as I did use them over the last 2 months to help myself... will continued use really improve my score by that much?  Am I willing to risk it or take a more conservative approach by utilizing a class to make sure I have been approaching my studys effectively enough?

Any suggestions or advice about which direction to take would be much appreciated.  If anyone has experience with Veritas... that would be most helpful as well. 

I have absolutely no plans to let up on my discipline and focus for B-school.  If anything, I'm gearing up to assess, adapt and continue forward even harder than before. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

I'm not a blogger, but I find myself really enjoying your posts - thanks for all of the effort your putting into this!

I think your list of priorities (class grades, then GMAT scores, then essays) makes a lot of sense. I also think that your consideration of a GMAT prep class is a good idea. Personally, I had a great experience with the Kaplan GMAT prep course (I am now a part-time instructor at my downtown Kaplan center). In your post, you mentioned that you weren't interested in Kaplan or P.R. courses because they aren't as involved. This may be true. I actually found all of the self-studying more valuable than the actual classroom time. In fact, my GMAT instructor told our class that being in the classroom represents only about 20% of the total workload, while independant study would make up the other 80% - I couldn't agree more.

Nonetheless, I believe the classroom participation was an integral part of my study plan. In class, you learn about the tricks and techniques, and then after class you exercise what you learned on many, many, many problems. My Kaplan diagnostic test turned out a measley 270 - but after the 3 months of intense study, I was fortunate enough to score a 730. There is no way I could have improved my score by such a significant margin without having been in the $1300 class. Yes, it's damn expensive, but when you get the score you want, it will hopefully pay for itself in the future. All in all, I think that if you enroll in a course (whether it be Kaplan, PR, or whoever), and have the time outside of class to study hard, then it will pay off in the end. Good luck!

7:07 AM  

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