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Masters Success Story - HEC Montreal (Canada)


If you are reading this post to know how to get the perfect GRE score, then I think you should stop right away. This post does not unwrap any secrets for a perfect score but rather this post is for all those people like me who physically and mentally struggle while just not only preparing but also while taking this exam. My struggle story starts in 2016 after my arrival in Montreal, Canada. Just right one month after my arrival my father passed away, it was a tough time for me and I tried to keep myself busy by looking around for jobs but Montreal being a bilingual city was not an easy catch for jobs for a new immigrant like me and that time I decided to take a journey of integrating in this society by starting from the basic. I started finding schools that were just not locally but also internationally recognized along with best supply chain program. I found HEC Montreal, a French business school with the best supply chain program in Canada and ranked among top supply chain schools in the world.

All the other requirements for this program were abreast with my qualifications all I was lacking was a good GRE or GMAT score. With no guidance and with not knowing the trouble I was getting myself into I started studying for the GMAT. I did everything wrong I could do, I purchased hard copies of the official guides, did not brush my basic concepts, did not attempt any diagnostic test and even did not weigh myself properly. Though I used to spend an average of 14 hours per day studying excluding the time I was busy solving questions while sleeping and hence waking every other morning entangled in a spell of heavy headiness and grumpiness. This journey was not only mentally challenging but also physically alarming too. With my step count per day reduced from thousands to hundreds and with my weight pointing towards the third quarter of the scale dial, I became a heap of health problems. I can still recall the time that I used to burst in tears and used to question Allah why I am not smart like all those people who get such great scores by just studying for few weeks. I was never able to complete any mock test used to pause the test in between, the mock timer was a strong attraction in raising my heart beat. And hence with everything I was doing wrong I also produced wrong results on the actual GMAT exam. With a score, even below the average I rushed out of the examination building with tears in my eyes and biggest failure of my life in my heart. I remember of walking the streets alone in -10°C and questioning every bit of my abilities. With this score I could not apply for the fall 2017 term, I wrapped my bags and went back to Pakistan.

It was at this time the scholar den mentor Faisal just not only motivated me but also guided me to start again but not with GMAT but GRE this time. With having spent a year of not achieving anything I was surrounded by people concerns of me not doing anything in Canada to trying for so long to burdensome questions and expectations from a newlywed. I decided not to watch the clock and keep doing what I am doing i.e. trying harder than before. The Scholar Den platform was a blessing in disguise for me, with easy access to all the necessary resources for the GRE along with productive groups for discussion, I felt I was not alone in all of this. With expert advices and tips from the admin himself, helped me to entangle the wool ball of positivity in my mind. By this time, I had a very strong grip on my basic quantitative concepts and having an engineering background was an additional help. I started practicing from Manhattan official guide series and then later switched to Magoosh for further practice. In the meantime, I started making flash cards from Magoosh vocabulary app and in a total memorized 850+ words. Having invested a sufficient number of hours every day in preparation I felt far comfortable with GRE than GMAT.

It was summer time of the year that I felt it is now time for me to start giving mocks but as you say old habits don’t end so quickly I was again reluctant in completing the mock tests without pausing. To infuse some confidence in myself I started actively participating in scholar den WhatsApp group but with the introduction of different concepts from different participants it was not long when my fragile mind was again trapped with doubts and everything rewind back to the old times of heavy headiness and grumpiness. Getting out of this phase was not easy process, I used to google for exercises and pills to relieve my stress, but nothing can get you out of this phase until you don’t will too. Slowly and gradually I started attempting mocks with one section at a time under timed conditions I moved forward to two and then three and then so on and so forth.

My performance in these mock tests started getting better and I attempted a total of 18 mocks to help me beat my anxiety. I practiced with all the possible resources available and put on all the courage I have and got a good score in the actual exam. The moment I saw this score on the screen every drop of blood in my body smiled.

I was always a good student and employee. I got many acknowledgments and rewards during my academic and professional career. No struggle for me was more brutal then this journey of being an applicant to a student at HEC Montreal. This January I have started with my next academic chapter. The reason for writing all of this is because I see a lot of my friends and people around me going through the same excruciating phase as me but remember ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. I may not be able to explain everything to everyone, but I can explain one thing you cannot judge and weigh the struggles that one goes through in achieving their dreams. So, keep motivating others and keep learning.