So, I just finished my GMAT some three weeks ago. Three months of arithmetic, algebra, sentence correction and comprehension and all of three hours to show for it! And of course a score of 600 and 5.5. Not the greatest score…but not exactly the worst either.
But, that’s not the point here. The point I’m trying to make here is that if anyone, that is, anyone, comes to you and tells you that GMAT is an easy test…Do.Not.Believe.Them! They might tell you that it’s a comparative statement comparing other CAT tests to GMAT, but whatever it is…Do.Not.Believe.Them! Come what may.
The GMAT, short for Graduate Management Admission Test, conducted by the GMAC, short for the Graduate Management Admission Council, is not an easy test! In fact, it is one of the hardest, well, definitely the hardest that I’ve ever taken! Don’t believe me? Well, that’s what this article’s for. Read on.
I never really thought I’d take the GMAT. In my dictionary, the GMAT, and in effect, MBA means a lifetime in, say, investment banking. In one word, boring! Not for me! But then, when I was looking for different MFA courses, I came across the MFA/MBA in Film Production at NYU. It was perfect. It was the perfect amalgam of the creative and business side of the art of filmmaking. So I decided to apply for it. The downside…they wanted my GMAT scores.
Now I hadn’t touched Maths since high school. And even then, I wasn’t exactly some kind of a Maths Whiz Kid. Far from it! And on top of it, I had just about two months to prepare myself for the test. The application deadline was looming nearer and nearer everyday. To say I was worried would be a terrible understatement. I wanted the course, I needed to get in, but my maths skills seemed to stand right in between. But frankly speaking, little did I know that maths would be the smallest of my worries.
As I said earlier, I was mega worried. So I decided to enroll myself in some GMAT prep classes. Upon googling, the only two good, credible prep classes in Mumbai were at the American Centre for Education, which was in Town and Edstar, a part of WLC India, in Lower Parel. I live in Lokhandwala, which is in the western suburbs. It would take me two hours to go to Town. Not exactly an option. Not that Lower Parel would be much faster, just about half an hour less. Not much, but still the better option. So, after much deliberation and consideration, it was decided that Edstar, Lower Parel was where I would go.
I visited them the first chance I got and enrolled for ‘weekend classes’ (apostrophes used because my weekend classes almost always got cancelled and I would have to go in on weekdays!). I was happy! I was getting professional help, and hopefully, this meant better scores on the GMAT. So it was obvious that on the day of my first class, it was with some jubilation (more than for any class till date) – to say the least – that I started out.
The lesson itself was quite uneventful. Just a two hours lecture on integers and their properties. The real surprise lay just outside the walls of Mahalakshmi Mills Compound (which is where Edstar is situated at). Like everywhere in Mumbai, parking is real headache in Lower Parel. I’d first realized this when I was working at Tinkle. I had just bought my car and needed a parking slot at office. But, despite all efforts, a parking slot just could not be found for me. There was an MMRDA Pay and Park nearby, but parking was never available there. There were just so many offices nearby! My only option was to park on the streets or park at Phoenix Mall, which was pretty expensive, especially on a 20000 rupees a month salary.
So, when I drove to Edstar, I checked out the MMRDA pay and park (full as usual), and not finding a place there, parked on the road. I didn’t really even think twice about it. Everyone, but everyone in Mumbai, parks on the road.
But obviously, I was wrong. I came out after two hours of grueling integeral properties and what do I find? A wheel lock on the front right wheel of my car!
I had no idea what to do. I checked for the slip that they’re supposed to leave on the windshield, but there wasn’t any. The wind must have blown it away. I remembered vaguely about towed cars being taken to Worli. So I figured I should go there to sort this out. There was just one tiny problem. I didn’t have my license on me at the moment. I had just changed my bag that morning and had forgotten to keep my license and my registration card in my bag. So it looked like I would have to go all the way home, get my license and registration, go to Worli, get my car freed, go back to Lower Parel, collect my car and drive back home to Lower Parel. It was going to be a long day! I had started out at 8: 30 am…by the time I got my car and came back home it was 8:30 pm. Needless to say, I got nothing else done that day. I guess I’m just lucky that the officers at Worli were friendly and helpful, without me having to bribe them.
But this wasn’t an isolated event! The next time I had a class, I decided not to park on the road (obviously). I thought I’d try and park inside the compound. Most probably, that wouldn’t be allowed, but no harm in trying, is there?
I drove inside the compound, only to be stopped by the security guard at the gate. He told me I couldn’t park there, just as I had expected. But I told him my situation and asked him for a place that I could park in. It was right opposite Edstar. I couldn’t have been happier. So I parked there and went it for my lesson.
So it should have been a happy ending, right? Nope, not really. I finished my lesson after two hours and came out…and what do I see? Two of my car tyres punctured! Not a pretty sight…
I had no idea what to do! I had never had a puncture before and I had frankly no idea as to how to deal with it! Somehow, I managed to drive the car out of the compound (not one of my best ideas, in hindsight, and why I did that, I still have no idea!) only to park it again on the side of the road.
Then I messaged practically everyone I knew to ask them if they knew of a garage nearby. I could have gone to look around myself but I didn’t want to risk having my car towed away again! Surprise, surprise! No one had any idea. I even called up my ex-boyfriend to see if he knew, that’s how desperate I was.
Minutes passed, hours passed and I was no closer to finding a way out of this mess. Finally, my dad called me up with number of Hyundai Roadside assistance. I called them up and they promised to send someone across as soon as they could. They took their own sweet time, of course but at least it meant the problem solved.
That having happened, we’re still not at the end of the story. The next weekend was another disaster just waiting to happen. I’d learnt my lesson from the past two weekends and decided that I would park in a nearby mall this time. It would mean starting out 15 minutes earlier, but frankly, it would be worth it. Oh boy, was I wrong or what!
I managed to start out not 15 minutes early, but 15 minutes late, which meant, by the time I reached the mall, I was already late for class. I gathered my stuff quickly, got out of the car, slammed the door and hurried down the elevator. Suddenly, I felt like I’d forgotten something. I immediately checked for my phone. But that wasn’t it. I’d forgotten my car keys. Inside the car! And the car was locked!!
For a moment, I debated going back home and picking up my spare key and coming back. It would take ages, but it seemed like the only viable option. Except that it wasn’t. Viable, that is. My house keys hung on the same keychain as my car keys. So my option of going back home to get my spare key was pretty much blocked out. So once again, I turned to Hyundai Roadside Assistance, who, this time, I have to say, turned up pretty quickly. But that of course didn’t mean I was spared a headache.
So, yes, moral of the story is, GMAT is not easy. If anyone tells you it is, don’t you believe them. The obstacles along your path to GMAT success might be in the guise of co-ordinate geometry, quadratic equations, critical reasoning or as in my case, simple plain car problems for which the solutions are neither simple nor plain. Either way, get ready to struggle and endure. All the best! And remember, you have been warned!