"Try till you succeed: How I got a 780 after 5 tries"


Jessica’s dream school has always been Stanford, she knew she wanted to get his MBA since her first business related class freshman year of college, and being a UC Irvine student, she was well acquainted with Stanford’s reputation and what the school had to offer her.


With this goal in mind, she majored in management and started prepping for her GMAT early on.

Jessica felt like she was a strong student and used prep apps (Ready4GMAT) and the official GMAT guide to study before her first exam date. On her first try she scored a 650 (V39 | Q40). For a top program, she knew she needed to do a lot better. She thought maybe with some more studying and practice questions she could increase her score. On her second try, she scored a 650 again. She was very discouraged, having made no more progress despite having studied an additional month.


Jessica changed routes a little and decided to buy a prep book from a test company that was more in depth than the official guide. She studied this way for another month in preparation for her third try. On her third take, Jessica improved a little, but not enough: a 670 (V39 | Q43). At this point, Jessica realized she wasn’t going to be able to get a Stanford level score unless she seriously changed her study habits.


She decided to look into more comprehensive GMAT courses and realized the prep app she used offered a hybrid course where she  could take the classes on her own time while still finishing up her undergraduate degree.


After completing the 4 week course, where Jessica felt like she was understanding the timing and tricks of the GMAT much more, she went to take his GMAT for the 4th time. This time, Jessica scored a 720 (V44 | Q45). But she knew that realistically her math score was too low for her target program and she needed one more shot to increase her math score.


She specifically studied math tricks and practice problems for a couple more weeks in prep for her 5th and final try. On her 5th try, Jessica was able to focus her prep on her weak areas and score higher than she thought she ever could: a 780 (V46 | Q50). At last.


Jessica’s advice to students:

  1. Even though I studied management as an undergrad, this didn’t mean I was prepared for the GMAT innately!

  2. My process took a long time! Months of taking an retaking the GMAT, slowly changing my study habits and plans in order to figure out my weaknesses and make use of my strengths.

  3. Don’t give up. I was super discouraged particularly after getting the same score twice - it happens. But look where I ended up.