The GMAT: Should You Take it Again?
So, you’ve taken the GMAT, received your scores, and are wondering whether they are good enough…whether you are good enough…or, if you should go through the whole horror, preparation, and stress of taking the GMAT again.
It’s true that, on average, the MBA & EMBA applicants that get accepted to the most competitive “Top Ten” and Ivy League MBA programs have scores of 720 or more. Does that mean if your score is below 720 you should without a doubt try again?
As with most everything in life — that depends. Not everyone takes standardized tests well, but that does not necessarily make you a lesser candidate which is my entire point.
If your score is over 720, more than likely there is no added benefit to taking the GMAT again in my professional opinion. Yes, the higher the score the more impressive it looks, but you need to really ask yourself if getting a 740 or a 760 is truly where you want to put your time, because even more impressive than a score in the upper echelons, is your actual day-to-day life experience and what you are bringing to the table.
That said, if your score is below 720 and you’re truly shooting for a Top Ten business school or the Ivy League, you should probably take it again. However, before you sign up for your next GMAT test date look at the range of test scores that your targeted MBA program accepts. My general overview opinion, is that instead of focusing on the very tip top end of the scale is truly only going to possibly push you over the edge (in a good way) if you’re trying to get into HBS or Wharton, as in that case you don’t ever want to give them a single reason to say no.
If you do plan on taking the GMAT additional times though make sure you don’t rush into it. Value your own mental energy. Take the time to study and focus on the areas that were the most difficult for you in previous attempts — though don’t completely overlook the sections where you did well. Consider taking some online courses to help you prepare (as they tend to get your brain thinking in a different way than just studying from a book). Or, if you did all of the prep already on your own consider a GMAT tutor that will be able to customize your focus to boost your scores just that little bit higher. GMAT tutors, or at least good ones, can zone in sometimes on what exactly you’re having problems with and create a bespoke plan-of-action in terms of studying and prep to help you get over that wall. Preparation can also help to reduce your stress if you experience test-taking anxiety, which is why it is always recommended to take practice tests as part of your plan.
Keep in mind that you are able to take the GMAT as many times that you want. You aren’t penalized by MBA programs or admission committees for multiple attempts and the perseverance is even appreciated by some admissions committees (if not in excess). Just pay attention to those Ivy League and “Top Ten” program deadlines so you’ll have your scores in time to submit.
All this said, if you need more guidance and insight please reach out for a free MBA or EMBA consultation at www.MBAIvy.com where you can also check out my MBA Admissions Blog for lots of free advice. As a former Harvard admissions interviewer and Harvard grad myself, I specialize in helping people get into the top MBA and EMBA programs around the world.
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