Published Oct 15, 2003

The quest is at its end. The odyssey is over. I’ve taken the GMAT, and it was, well, not so bad.

The test environment was about what I had been prepared for, quiet and remarkably solitary for a testing center. Thanks to the practice tests, I knew exactly how the questions would look and how to approach them.

And yet I tanked it straight off. The computer-adaptive GMAT is, well, adaptive — the more questions you get right, the harder the questions get. It goes the other way, too — as you get questions wrong, the questions get easier. And, for the first seven math questions, each problem seemed easier than the last. Bad sign!

Somewhere along the way, things turned around, because about question 20 I started seeing problems harder than anything I’d practiced. From there on in, it was smooth sailing. The scariest part was at the end, where they asked me if I wanted to cancel the test or submit my scores. Of course I was planning to submit the scores, but I wondered how many people accidentally cancelled the test. If I hit cancel, would there be a confirmation screen? Would my test disappear forever? Would I have just lost four hours of my life?

When I submitted the test, I got my score back, and it was just about what I was looking for. My prep got me enough points with a reasonable amount of effort, and now I can move on to new parts of the application process. Task the next: getting my transcripts together.