I thought I was ready. Caffeinated, fresh off a spin class, I sat down Saturday morning to take my GMAT diagnostic test, the first step in my Kaplan GMAT Test Prep’s Classroom Anywhere course.
More than three hours later, I felt like I had been punched in the gut.
A little stunned, I traveled home (I took the test in the solitude of my office space on a weekend) not sure whether I should cry, give up, crawl in a hole or move on.
In my initial consultation, Kaplan GMAT instructor and director of pre-business programs Andrew Mitchell told me “students can feel like it’s a brutal experience, but know that going in there’s no place to go but up.” I rolled those words in my dulled brain, but in a much louder voice was insecurity. ‘If I can’t get a better score, than there is no sense in applying to business school.’ It got worse once I realized I’d have to reveal these scores to more people – a lot more people – than my confidants. I don’t think I’m an overly optimistic or negative person – I guess as a reporter, I fall along the lines of realist. The reality is that I knew I was going to struggle with the quantitative portion of the exam, have a stronger performance on the verbal, and probably fall in the middle for the mysterious integrated reasoning section. While that, to an extreme degree, is what happened, Mitchell was absolutely correct. There is a brutality of facing three digits that make every previous accomplishment – academic or otherwise – seem paler, dimmer.
So after a nap and cracking a favorite Riesling, I examined why I chose to take on this assignment. I want to correctly inform readers about the challenges of getting a good GMAT score. Like anything worth having, it is going to take hard work. A big, ugly 470 on Saturday drove that point home like none other.
I’m a sports girl at heart, and competition helped me put this in perspective. In September, I competed in my first five 5k, running the entire distance, alongside a great co-worker, who is running a marathon later this year. It took hard work and discipline to train to get to a point where I did not feel like I was going to keel over from exhaustion or pain. I actually love running now. Now I highly doubt I’m going to fall in love with data sufficiency or sentence correction, but this GMAT is a marathon, not a sprint (sports metaphors, love ‘em). Like running, I’m going to need the support of those around me, but in the end, it is my responsibility to put in the work.
So here we go. In six days, I kick off the Classroom Anywhere experience, with a serious, concentrated effort.
You can follow me on this GMAT marathon on Twitter at @AlannaTweets