A Student Perspective: My Jump From a 580 to a 750

Matt Hamilton is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point where he was commissioned as and engineer officer in the US Army. He has served in Afghanistan and is currently preparing to transition to a full-time MBA program. He just completed the GMAT and with the help of Veritas Prep, he raised his score from a 580 to a 750!

How did you hear about Veritas Prep?

 I signed on with Veritas Prep via Service to School, a non-profit that helps veterans make the transition from the military to both undergraduate and graduate school. Veritas Prep has teamed up with Service to School and is awarding free GMAT prep scholarships to select candidates. My Service to School Ambassador, a fellow veteran who is an MBA candidate at the Booth School of Business, thought I was a good fit for the Veritas Prep program and that’s how the process started! I ended up using Veritas Prep and only Veritas Prep to prepare for the GMAT.

What was your initial experience with the GMAT? How did you first feel going in?

I took the diagnostic CAT a week before starting the Veritas Prep course and walked away with a 580 and a bruised ego. Not that I expected a great score on my first test, but it was still a good reality check, and it let me know how much work I had ahead of me. I know I’m definitely not alone when I say this, but finding study time with a busy work schedule is tough, even more so if you have a family. It took me a few weeks to nail down my rhythm. I also took a little longer than I should have to schedule the official test, so by the time my appointment came around I feared that I had forgotten a bunch of material I’d learned in the Veritas Prep course. Regardless, my CAT scores were right around my target range (710-730) and this gave me enough confidence going into the actual test. Even though I’m still a ways off from beginning the school application process, I honestly wanted to be “one and done” with the GMAT as I’m about to take a job with a significantly higher demand on my time.

How did the Veritas Prep course help prepare you?

In my opinion, one of the most devilish aspects of the GMAT is that it stresses thought processes more than concept mastery. The Veritas Prep course hammered that fact home within the first five minutes of study and continued to stress it in each of the lessons. I feel that the value in prep courses lies in the foundation of fundamental concepts for future individual study that they establish. In that regard, the Veritas Prep course (and instructor) did a great job in developing my ability to think through questions so that when I eventually moved to self-study I could look at all the math and verbal concepts through a more logical lens. I should also mention the quality of Veritas Prep’s materials – the lesson books, online problem sets (with solutions), and CATs are all extremely easy to use. In particular, the CATs were pretty spot-on in terms of difficulty and content when compared to the actual GMAT.

Tell us about your test day experience and how you felt throughout the experience?

I had a healthy mix of nerves and confidence. I’d already scouted the test location so I didn’t have to worry about finding the place in the beehive that is downtown Honolulu. Once the test got started I felt like I was back at my house doing another Veritas Prep practice test: equal amounts of “I’ve got this” reactions and “I’m screwed” reactions to the questions that came up on the screen. I didn’t notice too much test fatigue – I did a few full practices on the Veritas Prep site – although about halfway through the verbal section I really wanted nothing more than to finish and see my score. When I clicked past the last page of admin data verification and saw the 750 on the screen I was so excited that I couldn’t get out of my chair for almost three minutes.

Veritas Prep is a proud sponsor of Service 2 School.

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Compiled by Colleen Hill