What’s to the right is ‘the moment’

October 14, 2009

Look to the right of this screen — The fifth column that says “TAG CLOUD” on top. Notice how the tag ‘GMAT’ is the largest among the other tags. Notice how ‘B-School’, ‘Application’ and ‘HBS’ comes second. Of course they are based on the number of topics they’ve been tagged to, and it’s a universal feature on most blogs that I read; and I’m fascinated by the way different tags gradually change their size, and the others who dwarf them. It’s all about ‘the moment’. That leads me to wonder if ever the ‘HBS’ tag would outgrow all others. But before that, the ‘Application’ tag has to shift shape.

The Digit ‘7’

October 5, 2009

When I went for the GMAT two days back, there were eight people who entered the Pearson Vue center in Delhi, and I was one of them. I was assuming that the number would be a lot less, considering that R1 is already over, and R2 is a long way off. It appears that I’m not the only one to have postponed the GMAT and applications to R2. That would mean that forums like BeatTheGmat will continue to be buzzing with activity for at least a few of the coming months.

This post is about online forums, BeatTheGmat (BTG) in particular, and particularly about the posts at the I-Beat-The-GMAT (or equivalent) section in such forums. I have always faced a certain disquiet reading about the experiences of test takers who have scored 700 and above; not because I thought it to be personally unattainable, but because the sheer number of people who appear to score a 700 and above appeared to be a bit too large. In fact, very few posts, even today, on BTG actually talk of a sub-700 score. So, I began to wonder if a 700 and above score was normal, and if that was the way things are.

I am not aware of the percentage of test takers who get a 700 or more in GMAT in a particular year. Perhaps a reader of this blog with the figures can educate me on that. But if I were to believe to what is there on the forums, it would seem that the percentage would be pretty big. Almost as if, anything below a 700, and you’ve failed.

It took me a while to realise that a person receiving a sub-700 score would not write about it in forums. There are a few stories from sub-700 score receivers, and very inspirational ones, but for the most part they tend to stay off, striving till they have received a 700 and above score before they post their experiences. What this does, is it creates a false feeling that a 700 and above score is the norm, and that anything below it either does not exist or is totally unacceptable.

I think moderators need to address this issue, and bring about a parity in the scores posted on their forums. It will lessen a lot of heartbreak among test takers who have now come to believe that they have failed in their efforts if they have a sub-700 score. To be honest, even I thought the same, and it took me a lot of self reasoning to make myself understand and accept the fact that not everyone gets an 800 and similarly not everyone gets a 700 and above score.

[Disclaimer: I scored a 700.]