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Gyrating Mechanical Arseload Tank-tops (GMAT)

Guess what!? I’m baaaaaaaaaaaack! Time to call off the 200 German Shepherd search party led by the 3 not 4 star Army General, because I’m back bitches!

[Sigh! It’s times like these that I really wish that I were famous and/or relevant enough to get AC/DC to follow me around playing ‘Back in Black’ as I walked up the halls at work, whilst also wearing a leather jacket, over-sized black leather Doc Martens, dark sunglasses and basically anything else that Nicholas Cage generally wears in movies where he calmly walks away from large explosions. I could also enter work on a Kawasaki motorcycle so that all the people at work are like “Woah…she’s so hardcore she brought a motorcycle up the lift to Level 8 and now she just rides to the printer to collect her printing and then I turn around the gathering work crowd, lower my sunglasses and just say “Stay cool” then wink and ride back to my desk].

Ahhhh that side thought felt so good. [Note that with the benefit of hindsight I also realise the above side thought could also work with Britney Spears singing ‘It’s Britney Bitch’ and then I’d also change my name to Britney, so that everyone could assume that I’m Britney and that I’m back…but not in the fake-comeback-in-Las-Vegas-desert actual Britney Spears sort of way…no mine would have to be far more successful for the side thought to work.]

Ok so where have I been? What have I been doing? Who have
I seen? What exciting stories do I have to relay back to you? Wow I have so many answers, all of which are equally boring as the next. Basically my long absence is best explained by the fact that I sat the GMAT – or General Management Admission Test, or General Motherfucking Arsecrap Test…depending on how you went.

An example of my exemplary GMAT preparation notes:

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But I can already hear you asking…why did you sit that test? What Business School do you want to go to? Will you live on campus? Have you secured funding or scholarships for your MBA? Have you applied for a consulting job post completing your Harvard MBA? General answer is “no” for all of the above. I have no answers to any of these questions.

Essentially it started because I’m Gen Y and had yet another quarter-life-crisis of “what am I doing with my life?” [which seems to be occurring far more often than Tony Abbott makes diplomatic blunders which is worrying….]. Anyway rather than try to think about what I might like to do, I  decided to fall back on an old tried and tested method that in the past I have relied upon. And whilst this method has had its issues, it has generally held me in relatively good stead – getting me through Year 12 subject choices, stumbling in and out of law school and then nose diving into investment banking: That’s right, I decided to do an MBA if I got the marks for it.

So then I decided to embark upon roughly three months of “studying”. I use the “” rabbit ears because as I’m sure many people would understand, after 18 years of studying, any further study is really just code for spending 73% of the time stalking people on Facebook/Instagram then feeling upset that your life does not involve any overseas travel/study/work/lounging by a beach playing ‘hot dogs or legs’; another 7% is spent organising “study snacks” which for me ended up being Mission Chilli and Lime Tortilla Chips with Philadelphia cream cheese….that combination is the shit and possibly the greatest afternoon snack invented [although to keep it in context my mum used to give me dry Weetbix with vegemite and I lapped that up…so I may not have the best gauge of what constitutes an appropriate snack]. And obviously the last 20% of your time is spent worrying about whether you can actually add 73% + 7% + 20% without a calculator in the GMAT exam.

Anyway like with most activities nowadays, I decided to Google “GMAT” to see what they recommended in terms of spending time to prepare, what areas to focus on and what books to buy as preparation….given I did all this research, as a bit of public service [which I will no doubt include on any future Business School application under the “Community Activities” section] I thought I would summarise my findings and experience below…[I have labelled them as “rules” but think of them more as Psalms of GMAT Life]


For anyone contemplating doing the GMAT, the worst thing you can do is actually Google “GMAT”.  There are a few issues associated with Googling “GMAT” – firstly and most obviously, Googling “GMAT” means that from that day forth, every single internet ad that you ever interact with will be about “Scoring 800” or “Getting into to Harvard” or buying the “Best GMAT Preparation books” and you will soon find yourself missing the lady urging you to get laser hair removal at the Minoos Laser Hair Clinic who once inhabited the side bar of my internet browsing.

Secondly and most importantly the internet is crammed with literally every known human who has sat the GMAT giving other people their opinions on the test. There are millions of blogs dedicated to criticising the person who has a great Quant score and has put a lot of effort into the Verbal section, but how they’ll still do badly because Business Schools just aren’t looking for those types. There are people saying that you need 30 weeks of practice, there are people saying you need 7 hours of cramming, there are people saying that you need to spend at least 7 months with a Tibetan tribe meditating and practicing Sentence Correction. But guess what…it’s all bull shit.

Rule 2: DO some preparation but NEVER blame yourself

The thing about the GMAT is that if most people thinking about Business School sat the test immediately post their Year 12 Maths Methods exam, then they would probably smash the test. The GMAT is just Year 12…which is cool right? Wrong. The thing is, by the time I decided to actually sit the GMAT I was 27 and Year 12 was 10 fucking years ago! Now I may have also technically started thinking about doing the GMAT 2 years earlier, when I bought the GMAT preparation books, claimed the tax deduction on the books, then proceeded to leave said GMAT prep books on my desk for 2 years to collect dusk, daddy-long-leg-spiders and any other life-form in need of an emergency shelter.

However in all of this, who is really to blame? What? Me? No way! It was of course all the high school teachers that did not teach me well enough for all the information to stick in my brain and be useful 10 years later for a Business School admission test. I highly recommend seeking out old teachers/tutors [because it wasn’t enough that my parents paid a private school some exorbitant amount to teach me stuff, they also had to pay some other random ‘tutor’ money to spoon feed me exactly what was going to be tested on my Year 12 exams], anyway find these old teachers and berate them for what they did to you. They should know that despite their countless hours devoted to teaching you, using a variety of well researched teaching methods, it was ultimately their fault that you chose to play computer games and “Ask Jeeves” random questions like “are chickens male or female?” rather than listen to a teacher teach you things that might be useful.

Further at this point I feel it is important to address some specific concerns that people might have about the GMAT. In summary, the essay is just to see that you write English good, the Quant section is literally Year 11 Maths Methods [and no you can’t reference your Year 12 study score in an application instead of sitting the test…I tried] and the Verbal section has your standard sections like Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning where it helps to pretend to be interested in the most boring shit ever, like the size and length of arms of sloths – trust me, it will make those “paragraphs” (ie. fucking long, bat shit boring essays) slightly more bearable. The Verbal section also has another section called ‘Sentence Correction’ which is my favourite because it wins the award for ‘Most Useless Subject to Study For EVER”. I could not give a stuff about my grammar and whether I’m using the correct idiom or turn of phrase. The only grammatical rule there should be in English is “does the other person understand you? Yes? Then your grammar is fine”. Seriously who cares if your sentence is parallel or not? I’m pretty sure my sentences are parallel if I manage to write them on two straight lines right?

Rule 3: DO NOT listen to your friends

This one sounds a bit harsh…actually it doesn’t just sound harsh it probably is harsh. But basically I found that every time I mentioned that I was doing the GMAT to a friend (who was not necessarily sitting the GMAT themselves), not only would I be overwhelmed with questions about which Business School I’m going to, but EVERY SINGLE PERSON seemed to know someone who knew someone’s ex-flatmate’s boyfriend who had got 780 on the GMAT. Without fail. There was always some fucker out in the universe that was, by some strange six-degrees of separation, related to me and would come and haunt me with his fucking 780 score.

But guess what? You know those “average GMAT scores” that you hold as gospel to say that “700 is the minimum score to get into an Ivy League school”, an average implies that people get both above and below that fucking average, so why don’t you quit lecturing me about “your mate who got 780” and work on your fucking Quant section.

Then of course there’s the other reason not to listen to any friends. Peer pressure. The number of times I opened my dusty GMAT preparation books because I had found out someone else was studying for it, and then promptly stopped studying when I realised I didn’t know what the difference was between the ‘median’ and a ‘mode’, is countless. DO NOT get peer pressured into it. It’s not meant for everyone. A GMAT is not a ticket to Business School which is a ticket to being the next CEO of Apple…no. It’s just a test. It’s just a test that gives you optionality that if you don’t really value at all is not worth doing at all.

Seriously. Studying for the GMAT is like being told you have to crush a 5-year-old’s dream of being a movie star by telling her that she’s too ugly. It’s painful. Don’t do it, unless you actually have an actual desire to go to Business School, and even if you don’t do well just think of it as cancelling out a crap opportunity that you wouldn’t have enjoyed anyway and internally high five your subconscious for self-sabotaging you from making a terrible decision.

Alternatively if you’re as insecure as me, you can do the GMAT to see if you get the marks to get into Business School, get those marks but then recall how much you actually hate studying whilst studying for the GMAT and swear never to do any further study unless it involves learning how to make fart noises with your hands.

About Arani Satgunaseelan (78 Articles)
Corporate nerd. Wannabe blogger.

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