Published Sep 24, 2003

For many years, I imagined that my next test would be the GRE, either in Poli Sci or Psychology, depending on whether I wanted to be a spook for the CIA or an industrial psychologist modeling workplace behavior. Well, it turns out I’m taking the GMAT instead.

Being entirely unfamiliar with the GMAT, I was able to approach the coming of the test with no apprehension whatsoever. After all, I got a good score on my SAT and, in fact, was pretty good at standardized tests starting in junior high, when I figured out that I should actually care about these fill-in-the-bubble tests they made us take. But it’s a big test, so I figured I should prep a little.

My first step was to determine how hard-core I needed to be about my prepping — did I need to take a course, or would the small improvement I got from a prep book do the job? To answer this, I went to and downloaded their POWERPREP software. Then I sat me down for an afternoon and took one of the two practice tests.

The results? Not bad — 660 total, in the 97th percentile on language but only the 50-somethingth in math. Okay, so math needs a bit of work, I’ve always had a bit of trouble with the math on standardized tests (but not, surprisingly enough, that from programming or from statistical analysis).

I bought myself a GMAT prep book from the Princeton Review, the kind folks whose book got me an extra 100-some points on the SAT. Now it’s time to crack it open and dive in. I’m looking forward to the practice! And I’d better work hard, because that GMAT is in about three weeks.