A little after 9pm California time on New Year’s Eve, 2018, I sat next to my best friend who’s in law school, and I registered for the GMAT. Because psychologically, it’s more bearable to suffer one large loss than a series of smaller ones, I also registered for the GRE, and figured I’d write both off as business expenses for 2018. In reality, the charges didn’t post until the next day, so I’ll be writing them off for 2019, if I itemize this year.
Anyways, you want to know how I did, right? Not yet. Be patient. I like telling stories. Fine, all right.
It was about what I expected, not what I’d hoped. That’s okay. It’s a tough test, and all the studying I did prevented me from getting a worse score, so that’s good. All in all, when I look at what I was studying before the test, I have to admit I wasn’t really aiming for a perfect score. I wanted a perfect score, but I wasn’t really prepared for it. My score range going into the exam was 750-770. What did I expect? My preparation was good, but not good for a 750-770, not for an 800. I have a list of things to do for the next time I take the exam. One of them is to focus on getting faster in key quant areas, and another is to really, really figure out what’s going on in SC. Shaking one’s head and swearing at hard SC problems will not lead to a better score, though it probably did help me relax an hour or so before I took the test.
By the way, I got perfect scores on AW and IR: 6.0 (88th percentile) on writing and 8 (92nd percentile) on integrated reasoning. To give you perspective, though, my 5.0 (out of 6.0) on the GRE AWA was 92nd percentile. GMAT has lower standards for writing.
Was I nervous? Unlike my Feb GRE, the day before which I started feeling nervous at 4pm, and only managed less than four hours of sleep, I only started feeling nervous for my 11:15am GMAT at 10:55am, when I was two minutes away from the testing center. People say the second child is always the easier one, and the GMAT was my second test this year. I’ve never had a baby, but I’ve taken the GMAT.
Why do I even take the tests? A lot of tutors don’t even bother to take the tests, since you technically don’t need to compete to coach. However, I take these tests because it’s important for me to make sure my methods and materials are still relevant, so that I can empathize with students, and also, because I like competing, and practice test scores aren’t real scores. Every athlete knows that no one cares who you beat in practice. You have to do it under pressure, in front of what you perceive is your audience (your score recipients), when it’s real.
Next time, I’ll actually be aiming for the 780-800 range.