The GMAT and GRE are standardized tests required by business schools that measure a person’s verbal and quantitative aptitude relative to others. Together, the testing score and the GPA, form a better picture of the person’s commitment to excellence. Applicants who are on the fence about which exam to take should reference this article.
Unless you’re an all-star at taking standardized tests, you will need to get your brain familiar with the exam format, including the quantitative sections. Consider the following strategy to help you plan properly and reduce the stress of the application process.
The rule of thumb is you will want to apply to the earliest round, as long as you don’t compromise the quality of your application. Applying in Round 1 offers many benefits, but not if you don’t have optimal test scores. It is imperative that you create a study plan consisting of test preparation and practice tests.
Following a consistent study plan is key to conquering the GMAT. Most GMAT takers are people early in their careers, so they are worried about long hours, pressured deadlines, and getting a promotion. Studying a little every day, even for short periods of time is better than studying intermittently for chunks of time. Get in the habit of investing at least one hour per weekday and four hours per weekend day.
Hire an Expert
Self-studying is doable, but hiring a tutor will provide more efficiency during the entire studying and test taking process. A qualified tutor will educate you on how the exam works, and teach you how to strategically study and navigate the exam on your test day. Tutors will provide a much more focused and tailored approach to diagnose your weaknesses and help you improve in those areas.
Preparing for a high-stakes test creates a lot of pressure, making it easy to procrastinate. Engaging a private tutor will keep you accountable. With an individualized approach, efficient work, and consistent structure your exam preparation will go quickly with the support from a tutor.
Set a Goal
At the end of the day, your overall GMAT goal is a number. It is a score you need to feel comfortable with, a score that will positively contribute to your chance of admission into a top MBA program.
Let’s say your target MBA program is Harvard Business School (HBS). The average GMAT score at HBS is about 730. But it’s worth to point out that “average” does not mean “guaranteed to be accepted.” Often students have the mentality that “higher the score the better”. It’s more important to take a step back and consider your weaknesses and strengths and then establish a target score – specifically when it comes to acknowledging your strengths in the quantitative and verbal sections. MBA programs don’t admit applicants just because they’re high scorers who perform well in an academic setting—they need well-rounded people who will become leaders in the business world.
Book a Test Date
Your GMAT score is one area of your application that you can change significantly.
Book a test date so that you have a milestone to work towards. Immediately after taking the GMAT test, you will be able to preview your scores and have a 72-hour window to cancel the score. If you cancel your score, it will not be reflected in any of the reports sent to the schools.
This means that taking the GMAT more than once could be relatively low risk. Once you have studied for a while, it’s worth it to see how you are doing on a real GMAT sitting and help you set realistic expectations.
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