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Journey to my MBA

Saturday, September 23, 2006

GMAT Product Review: The Scratchpad

Many of you know about the replacement of the scratch paper with the laminated yellow legal size boards. I remember encountering them when I took my GMAT, it took me awhile getting used to. In fact, I don't think I ever got fully comfortable with them. I think most people would have similiar opinions. Although, I was annoyed, I've received comments from people who say that the use of the yellow pads truly impacted their GMAT score in a negative way. There is a pretty significant thread at of very upset people who hated the pads.

Well, I doubt the yellow pads will go away. If you're going to take the GMAT, you just have to learn to be comfortable with them as fast as possible.

Recently, I was updated on a company that has come up with a solution. They are offering exact replicas of the yellow laminated pads along with the exact same pen you use when taking the GMAT.

The test
To test the quality of the pad, I requested a set to be sent to me. THESE ARE EXACTLY what you'll get during the GMAT. I was pretty impressed. I was grinning even more as I opened the package because they include the exact same pen that you get during the GMAT too. As much as the scratchpad may be a problem for some, I think the pen is equally problematic.

The problem with the yellow scratchpads is that you tend to write a lot less and take less notes during the exam. Most people would agree with this. My reading comprehension and critical reasoning strategies depend on writing some notes/outlines as I go along to keep the structure of the passages clear in my head. I can see how using these pads during practice time could have improved my comfort with bringing my notes back into the picture after getting more comfortable with using the yellow laminated pads.

When doing diagnostic or mock GMAT exams in prep for the real thing, it's always ideal to mimic the actual conditions as much as possible. For many, it's important to have a computer based exam that has the feel of the real thing. The use of this yellow scratchpad from is a great tool to have as well. Certainly, there will be people that don't really need to have a tool like this. It's hard to say. But, if you're especially concerned about the GMAT scratchpad's impacting you too much or if you desire to mimic the real test conditions as much as possible, then you should consider ordering this product. To check them out, go here


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's all in test takers' mind... In the "real world," people are not going to be able to do their presentations in the most optimal environment. Yet we still have to do our best to make it work.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgot to say that I enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the awsomeness!

5:37 PM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

Thanks anonymous. I agree with you that it could be in the test taker's mind. But some have really been impacted by this change.

So for those that really did have an issue with the scratchpads, telling them that it was just in their mind is actually not very funny.

Some people have honest issues. ADD is a profound problem for many people. And yet, those who have mild or undiagnosed cases of it get made fun of unfairly. People with a variety of learning disabilities get attacked for being dumb or slow. I'm not so sure it is very kind or smart to make fun of them for these reasons. Sometimes, the change of a scratchpad to something very unfamiliar does create a very real problem.

It really isn as simple to say that it is in their head. We need to be far more sensitive than this anonymous. This product is sensitive to the need of many. Whether we realize it or not many products on the market exist because there is a demand and a need. Business is interesting, isn't it?

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh, I didn't think my comment was taken this seriously and triggered such reaction. Oh well, maybe the words didn’t come out right…

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, do you know which company actually makes the erase board?

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Rahul said...

I might be a little late but I got a reply from them only recently. I live in India and so had mailed them asking if they delivered here and what the associated cost would be.
I quote them
"Sorry for the delayed response. In the last week we did enhance our capabilities, and now we do. You can place your order on our webpage. In order to send your shipment, I will need for you to provide your telephone number. This is necessary for all international shipments. Additionally, please be aware that your shipment will arrive within 4-7 days after it is shipped via USPS Global Airmail Parcel Post. Also, this type of delivery is not guaranteed."
I particularly like their last line.
Anybody else interested in taking my money?

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought one at
It arrived within a few days and it is great!!

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

I must speak out in defence of TestDay here. I live in India and ordered one of their scratchpad. Their response was quick and I got the pad in abt 2weeks which i think was fair enough.Unfortunately, they forgot to include the pen and when i askedd, they cheerfully refunded my entire money :-)
Guess that's enough incentive to buy in the first place :-D

6:46 PM  

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