Every GMAT/GRE Question You’ve Ever Had: Answered!

Testing, testing, testing! For better or for worse, GMAT/GRE is a key topic of conversation throughout the application process. Here are the 5 questions I am asked most often about the GMAT/GRE.

1. How important is the GMAT/GRE?

While these tests are not the “be-all-and-end-all”, and are just one part of the application, they are very important. Further, they will play a more important role for some candidates than for others. If you are applying with a weaker academic record or from a field of study that is less analytically intensive, your score (particularly your quantitative scores) will be key to showing that you can handle the academic rigor of an MBA program. In addition, if you are applying from an over-represented applicant pool, differentiating yourself with a strong GMAT/GRE will be even more important.

2. What score do I need to get on the GMAT/GRE?

While naturally this varies from school to school, it is becoming less and less common to see students earn admission to top 10-20 schools with a GMAT score below 700. As Booth just published, the average GMAT score for the class of 2020 rose to 731, while Wharton’s average was 732 (the average GRE was 163 V/ 162 Q).

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When determining your target score, researching average scores is a great way to start. If you have a very strong profile, a unique background or are from an underrepresented applicant pool, then a score below average could bring you success. Lately, however, the bar has been raised. It’s now becoming less and less common for below-average scorers to experience success. If your score drops beyond 20-30 points below average, chances are even slimmer.

To add to that, in some cases (such as the ones discussed in the previous question), you may need to score 20-30 points above the average score to even be on the same playing field as other applicants.

3. Which should I take; the GMAT or the GRE?

This question is much easier to answer; candidates should take whichever test they can score better on. Schools do not have a preference between the two tests. The GRE is becoming more common and average data is becoming easier to find. My advice is to take a practice test for each and see which one comes more naturally to you. Generally, if quant is a strength, the GMAT may be your friend, while those stronger in verbal tend to prefer the GRE.

Further, if you have taken one test many times and have not been successful, considering changing gears and try the other test. Of course, you will need additional preparation for this new test, but this may be worth the effort!

4. How many times should I take the GMAT/GRE?

GMAT/GRE scores are valid for 5 years AND you can take the exam up to 5 times during a 12-month period. There is also a lifetime max of 8 tests, and you can only take the test once every 16 calendar days.

Further, you can cancel your score and the report does not go to the school if you are not happy with the result. This change has led to candidates taking the exam multiple times. Our average candidate now sits for the exam 2 – 4 times (with some giving the test as many as 6 or 7 shots.) While this policy may seem great, it has caused average GMAT scores to rise, as more and more candidates cancel low attempts.

5. How should I prepare?

Think about how you learn best and use this to inform your study plan.

Do you thrive with personal one-on-one support? Do you learn best from a book or an online course/website? There are countless support options available for the GMAT/GRE. QS-LEAP has both! And for free, at that.

So think about what would be best for you and plan accordingly.

Personal MBA Coach feels that most applicants do best with one-on-one tutoring so that they can get targeted support in the areas where they struggle most. Visit their website to learn more of their approach.

QS-LEAP also understands the virtue of the one-on-one approach (hence, we have paid tutoring services on our website). But, we also advocate free test prep for all. Which is why, by creating a profile on QS-LEAP, you will get complete access to free sample questions for practice and free online preparation classrooms for concept learning and query resolution.

Sign up here for free end-to-end GMAT prep.

Sign up here for free end-to-end GRE prep.

This article has been re-published from Personal MBA Coach’s blog.

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