From all my colleagues that are applying for MBA, no one has ever told me that the GMAT was going to be easy. And they were right! Reaching a score of 740 as an international applicant was the result of an intense process, which also gave me moments of joy and realization.
During this tough journey, I gathered three pieces of advice to share with other women.
Run away from your comfort zone.
Usually, people like to do what they are good at. For instance, if you are not good at biology, probably Natural Sciences was not your favorite class at school. And, in most cases, people like to study the type of questions that they are already good at. In my case, I like numbers and the quant part of the GMAT was not a pain for me.
As a result, I spent the first months of preparation just doing math exercises. You can probably guess my final score at my first GMAT test: high quant score and low verbal score. I had 40 days to study for my second try and I really focused on studying verbal.
This time, I had the same quant score, but increased significantly my verbal percentile. This difference in one session resulted in additional 40 points! In sum, leave your comfort zone and work on your weaknesses!
Don’t study like you were preparing for a school test.
My favorite Disney character is Mulan. In the movie, her trainer says that strength and discipline are powerful only if combined. This could be an analogy to the GMAT test day: your quant and verbal skills need to be strong enough, but you must have the discipline to follow the test strategies.
In the beginning of my preparation, I dedicated most of my time to read textbooks. I did only a few practice tests and I didn’t have the habit of timing exercises. I was studying like I was going to take a school test!
I only improved my performance in practice tests after finding the best GMAT test strategies for me and practicing under similar situation as the one of the test day.
Find a motivational element.
I believe that motivation should be something generated by yourself, not transferred by others. This internal motivation was crucial to keep me studying every single day before work.
My suggestion to help generating internal motivation is to select an element that will remember you to stay focused. It can be a song, a shirt, a bracelet. It is important that you state your goals and connect them to this element. Then, when you are feeling demotivated, play that song, dress that shirt and get re-energized.
Rebeca Dauscha is Brazilian and currently works as a Project Manager in Bayer Business Consulting. After more than four years of experience in strategic consultancy covering topics from growth strategies to organizational restructuring, Rebeca decided to apply for a full-time MBA to help her achieving long-term goals in Marketing and Sales. Rebeca will apply with the support of Forté MBALaunch.