When I wrote my GMAT exam to gain acceptance into an MBA program, I didn’t do a very thorough job studying. Well, actually, I spent a whole bunch of time reviewing practice exams from books I purchased from the UVic Used Book Store. But I neglected to consider that perhaps the GMAT people had changed the format of the exam and the exams I was reviewing were down level.
Because it turned out it was so – the GMAT people added in a whole new section – 2 written essays. The GMAT is a long exam, I think I had to write 5 sections that counted and then 1 section that would possibly be used in the future exams – assuming of course that it tested appropriately. And you don’t even know which section doesn’t count!
There is a section on the exam that you could fill out to ask GMAT to NOT score your exam. In the face of a total meltdown, you could just pretend like you never took the exam – but no refund of course. Just fill out a couple of bubbles, and sign your name. Voila! It never happened.
The exam was so long that you got a break part way through. I was nearing the meltdown stage – the questions weren’t as easy as they seemed at home with the answers in the back of the book. And those damn essays! I overheard a couple of conversations about how easy everything was. OMG! If I don’t rock this exam, then I am not going to business school. And if I don’t go to business school, I don’t have a plan. If I don’t have a plan, the world will end.
I returned to the room and finished that exam. My pencil hovered for several minutes above the opt out section. But my very competitive nature would not allow me to not find out how well I did – I needed to know even if it was terrible.
I left that room feeling defeated and over the next couple of weeks came up with a back-up plan to get a second B. Sc. in Economics/Statistics to go with the one I already had in Psychology. What? What good would that do me? And people think one is capable of making good decisions in your 20s.
I got my scores and honestly, I cannot remember what they were precisely. They were pretty good, higher than average, but nothing amazing though enough to get me into McMaster University. But what I do remember is the essays I hadn’t even considered until I walked into the exam room – on those I scored in the 99% percentile. What did I write about? Well, I cannot remember the subject of one – but the other asked you to write for or against progress.
I about how progress is important in many aspects (ie, medical treatments), but in others, we need to consider what we have before we progress on the next stage. I used the example of the old Post Office building here in Cranbrook – it was a beautiful building (as most turn of the century buildings are) with a tower at each corner. It was torn down to make way for a more modern – read ugly – post office building. But then we realized what we were missing. The Rotary club fundraised and built a replica tower in our town square so we could remember.
Each time I see the clock tower in the town square, I remember:
July 19th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Progress is good, but consider what you’ve got. (And study the current revision of the exam)
(Photo Credit Emile)