“The day” arrives..

Well, after all those months of preps and many mock GMATs, I guess I was ready for my encounter with the beast.. 13th was the day. And though 13is an often cursed number, it has never ever proved unlucky for me.. And I hoped that 13 will be good for me this time too..

I had an unusually good sleep the night before.. Normally, I have butterflies in my stomach a day before any crucial exam, but perhaps this time the “Art of Living” exercises helped (I had recalled those back last week and practiced every morning for the last 2-3 days) and I surely was in better control of myself. This did ease my nervousness a bit, but unfortunately just a bit. 🙁 Woke up at about 6 in the morning.. Had a quick look at my idiom-list.. Another quick look at my essay template.. And then decided not to strain my mind any further.. As usual, I could not eat anything for the breakfast due to test-anxiety. 😐

At the test center
So I was at the Pearson center a good 10-15 minutes before time.. Bought some kit-kats for the break and then headed for the examination-center…All the time, I was thinking that the only thing that could kill me was nervousness.. So kept on telling myself “Don’t panic!! Don’t panic” and this was creating all the more tension in my mind.. 😐

Anyways, I was 8th of about 10 candidates registered for the 9 AM slot. I was asked to hand-over my passport for verification purposes. Next was the bio-metric scan. Finger-print were taken, my signatures were recorded on a digital pad. Then a digital snap of mine was taken. Later on, I got to know that this snap will be the one that will be sent to all the schools, which receive my GMAT scores. Boo-hoo!!! Why wasn’t I dressed in my best shirt? Even my hairdo could have been better 🙁 After all the basic formalities, I was taken to the test room..

Pre-test confusion:: Which schools do I send my scores too?
Before entering the room, the Pearson guy asked me if I want to write down the list of schools or I had them in my mind.. I told them it was latter. But the fact was that even at that time, I had not finalized the names 😮 As I sat on the screen, I quickly selected ISB and NUS: the two Asian schools on my list. From US, I had Emory and Fisher.. Was confused about my fifth choice.. Should I go with another mid-tier school.. Vanderbilt and Purdue were the names in my mind. Or should I aim higher and go for Berkley or Chicago GSB.. Finally, I settled for Tepper. The Carnegie-Mellon brand name and its MBA(IT) course tilted the scales in its favor…

At this point, the other guys in the room had already started their stuff and the room was really noisy with their keyboards strokes echoing throughout. 😡 At this stage, the ear-plugs came handy. I just plugged those in and I was in my own zone.

AWA:: Panic killed me here::
I knew that I have not had much practice for this section.. Most of that little practice was not under timed conditions. But yes, the previous day was almost entirely devoted to this section. No real time practice, but I had a look at the list of AWA prompts of both kinds and pondered over each one for some time so that I have at least I have something for each topic. I find this really strange:: If there were no such list, perhaps I would have felt pretty much confident after writing down 9-10 essays and thinking points for 10-15 others, but actually having one such list creates all the more insecurity if you leave out even 3-4 topics. Anyways, coming back to my G-day experiences, I was targeting at 5.5 or 6.0 in the AWA section.

It started with the argument section.. The prompt that I faced didn’t seem familiar. How could that be? I had scanned the entire list just the previous day, but surely, this was a new topic. Still, I had prepared the argument part well.. And I guess I was able to write a reasonably good essay. Found a number of flaws in the argument, wrote about 5-6 para essay. I was more or less satisfied with this one.. Later, I found that my prompt wasn’t in the copy of the official argument list I had.. Perhaps they have expanded the original list and you can find the longer list here..

Next was the issue prompt. Aha.. this was a familiar one. 🙂 And I had spend some minutes thinking on that just the previous day. I have a lot of points and I’ll surely churn out a 5.5 or 6.0 essay. Or so I thought.. As I started writing, I felt that perhaps I’m missing the more crucial ones.. As I started arranging my half-written points up and down, I realized that I was falling short of time.. As if that was not enough, the guys around me, who had finished their AWA section, started leaving the room. 😐 Sure enough they had started before me, but still this had a psychological effect and I was in a state of panic.. I ended up making a mess of my essay. 😥 Though I knew, I had put some good points, but I wasn’t satisfied at all with the presentation. In the last 90 seconds, I decided to proofread at the cost of adding more content and that was really a good decision as I caught at least 6-7 spelling errors.

In the break, I kept cursing myself for the blunders in the issue essay. 😡 Tried to remain focused, but now all the strong points and relevant examples that I could have put on my issue essay kept cropping up in my mind. Anyhow, nothing could be done now. I paid a quick visit to the rest room, used the famous “splashing water on the face” technique, had my kit-kat, rested for 2-3 minutes and then proceeded for the test room.

<< To be contd……>>

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