GMAT: take two

Well I’m no longer stressed, got better scores in practice exams and got the same result in my GMAT exam as last time. Truthfully I’m at a bit of a loss.

What Went Well
Not stressed, so brain worked.
Finished all sections of exam
Quant better than last time but not where it should be
Got a really good score on integrated reasoning. 82 percentile! Look at me.

What Went Badly
The verbal bombed from 80 to 60 percent. Have no idea why.
There is an obvious performance gap between what I can do and how I’m performing on the day.

Next Steps
I have no clue what to do next.
Do I either say bye to GMAT and study overseas and focus on studying for a part time MBA in the UK?
Resit at end of December?
Throw money at the problem? Though it looks like my problem is exam anxiety. How do you sort that?
Or take business schools at their word that GMAT is just one piece of information?

Suggestions anyone?

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5 responses to “GMAT: take two”

  1. Lucas says :

    Sorry to hear that.

    Depends on how far below the median GMAT scores at your target schools you are. Obviously the further you are from that median score, the tougher it is going to be, particularly if any of the schools you’re looking at are particularly fussy about GMAT scores.

    Alternatively, you may have to adjust your target schools to include schools where your “hard statistics” like GMAT, GPA, etc. are closer to their median.

    If you think you can really bring up your game in one month, I’d suggest taking the GMAT one last time (3 times is pretty much the most you really should do it, if you can’t manage to get it up after 3 tries, you’ve probably reached the maximum you can manage in actual tests).

    Throwing money at the problem only works if you’re able to precisely articulate what you are lacking and the money goes to hiring a tutor that can help you with that area. (I took a GMAT prep course, and found that the verbal lessons were utterly useless because I could handle those in my sleep, but the quant lessons were worth every penny, because it had been more than a decade since I last looked at any of these things. I ended up supplementing the prep course with some one-to-one tutoring due to my work schedule and needs.)

    • sarahrs81 says :

      Thanks, some useful pointers. I know that both Harvard and Duke have no minimum score requirement. But GMAT score of 510 is low, even by GMAT standards. So I’ve whisked an email off to Duke to find out whether a 510 score would work in practice before I fork out money for a resit.

      Like the idea of three goes is the max and after that I may need accept that I don’t get on with standardised tests.
      I have a maths tutor to help with the GMAT along with on-line prep course and both have really been worth the money and my practice scores shot up no-end. Downside I can’t seem to convert the knowledge in my head and all my practice into a good test day score. So yeah…I’m not quite too sure what I’m throwing money at apart from my test day experience needs to improve.

      • Lucas says :

        Yeah, 510 is asking the admissions committees to really take a big risk on you, especially since GMAT scores are one of the few measures that are common to all candidates (college & graduate school GPAs, work experiences, etc. can’t be easily compared across applicants). Also, they know from prior experience that there’s a strong correlation between GMAT scores and performance in 1st year MBA classes (that’s why they use the GMAT, not because they like torturing us, oh, wait, they probably do like torturing us, too). And finally, there’s the worry that if they admit candidates with lower GMAT scores, it can negatively affect their rankings and perceived selectivity. All in, makes it a fairly tough sell.

        Take a bit of time away from the GMAT, just because you’re probably still too close to it to look at it objectively, do something that takes your mind off this, and figure out if there’s something that triggering the low performance (nerves, pressure to perform, etc.). I’m probably the worst person to advise you on standardised test taking, since I tend to score highly on most standardised tests, but maybe reach out to others who have been in the same position and see if they have advice and/or coping strategies that could help.

        That being said, the GMAT is just one component of the application — the fact that the 80% range for most top schools goes down to 640 or thereabouts suggests that they do take people below 640, but those are probably people who have something else in their application to make them stand out from the crowd. Someone like this person, perhaps (http://poetsandquants.com/2013/04/06/veritas-helped-570-gmat-applicant-get-into-harvard/). You should do a self evaluation and see if the rest of your application (academic performance in college/graduate school, work experience, career trajectory–i.e. upward mobility) balances out the GMAT.

        And good luck!

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