One Step Forward

I wanted an MBA. But I don’t have any money. So what’s a girl to do?

Wait.

Hmmm. That doesn’t sound right. But that’s exactly what I did. I waited. I worked. I lived. And a couple of years later, I was still waiting. Until during one of my Japanese classes, my instructor mentioned some scholarships offered by the Japanese Embassy to go to Japan particularly for those who wish to be fluent in Japanese. So I googled the Japan Embassy site, saw the scholarships offered and lo and behold, they had this Young Leader’s Program that offers and MBA. It was around February, and I’ve decided to apply. So I called the recommending authority to ask how to apply. I was told that the application period was over, and that I should try around September. So what’s a girl to do?

Wait.

Wait? Nah, that doesn’t sound right. But that’s exactly what I did. I waited – for a time. Then I searched for the requirements. This time, I’ll be ready. They required GMAT, TOEFL, recommendations and essays.So around June 2016, I decided to take the GMAT and TOEFL.

GMAT

Graduate Management Admission Test.

An entrance exam? Sounds easy and straightforward enough. Well it’s not. I no longer have no idea what the different types of triangles are (Pith-, Path-, oh, Pythagorean Theorem!), the quadratic formula (there’s a “b”. a “4”. a “2ac”. and a square root somewhere. I give up!), the properties of angles (vertical angles – huh?!),  formula of a circle (all I know is that there’s a pi and an “r”), permutations, blah blah. Even the verbal section was no where easy. I probably would have scored higher had I taken this exam before university.

Either way, when I took it all I did was:

  1. Registered online and paid USD250.
  2. Downloaded and took the sample exam (I’ve got an embarrassing score of 530).
  3. Took two sample Kaplan exams.
  4. Panicked.
  5. Took the actual exam at the nearest testing center.

The score pops up right after the exam. It’s an adaptive exam, meaning questions are actually designed based on your answers – so the difficulty level is actually based on your previous performance. It is valid for five years, so I suggest you take it as soon as you could the moment you decide to apply for an MBA.

In hindsight, here’s my advice:

  • Start reviewing six months in advance (not a month, like me)
  • You can register for the free daily questions c/o Kaplan
  • Register and maximize the free Magoosh registration
  • Sign up for gmatclub.com and refer to their explanations
  • Start reviewing six months in advance (it’s worth repeating. Haha)

TOEFL

Test of English as a Foreign Language.

Either I take the TOEFL or prove that English was the medium of instruction in my university. I wanted to be sure, so I just decided to take the TOEFL. According to my friends, the TOEFL was fairly simple if you are fluent with the subject, so I only had to take a sample exam to prepare.

So here’s what I did:

  1. Registered online and paid USD200 (not sure if I remember correctly)
  2. Took a sample exams off the Internet (just random results of Google)
  3. Took the actual exam at the nearest testing center.

I was a bit surprised because it was noisy at the testing center and it was weird speaking in a mic when nobody’s listening, but the reading comprehension etc was nothing compared to the verbal section of GMAT.

In hindsight, here’s my advice:

  • Take it after GMAT

 

So. These two exams were my first huge steps for graduate school. Expensive steps that I hope I’ll never have to go through again. Fast forward 10 months, and I learn I won’t have to.

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