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Personal MBA Coach’s January MBA Planning Kick-Start: Part 3: Planning Ahead for the GMAT/GRE/EA


To give you a head start and keep you on track in the new year, Personal MBA Coach has developed a 4 part series: MBA Planning Kick-Start!

Check out Part 3 today: Planning Ahead for the GMAT/GRE/EA

(In case you missed it, check out Part 1: Making Your Career Work Harder for You & Part 2: Enhancing Your Extracurricular Profile)

If you have not researched standardized tests since you took the SAT or ACT many years ago, a lot has changed. GMAT 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 take the test once every 16 calendar days.

Similarly, you can take the GRE once every 21 days and up to 5 times within any 12-month period. GRE scores are also valid for 5 years. There is currently no lifetime test limit for the GRE.

The Executive Assessment (EA) is a newer test to the party. It has been used for EMBA applications, and recently some full-time schools began adopting it as well. At this time (more can join anytime) Columbia Business School, NYU Stern and Duke Fuqua accept the EA for full-time applications. The EA is a shorter test so if you are crammed for time, it may not be a bad option.

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 even more tries). While this policy may seem great, it has caused average GMAT/GRE scores to rise as more and more candidates cancel low scores.

What does all this mean for MBA hopefuls? The pressure to perform is high and doing so takes advance planning! Personal MBA Coach has 5 tips to ensure you maximize your score.

1) Start earlier than you think! This may seem obvious, but with scores valid for up to 5 years and the ability to re-take the test, there is no reason to wait. In fact, the earlier in your career you take the test, the better. Most of the skills tested in the GMAT/GRE you mastered in undergrad (if not before) so the longer you wait, the less you will remember about reading comprehension and math fundamentals.

2) Take a practice test now to see your baseline. Even if you do not intend to go full force on your studying just yet, take a practice test and see how you stack up. Check this score against your target schools to get a real sense of what it means. Getting a true feel for how much work you have ahead of you will allow you to be more honest with yourself when putting together a study plan.

3) Set a schedule for yourself. Be realistic in terms of how many weeks you will set aside for studying and how many hours in each week you can carve out. Putting pencil to paper on a study plan will make it easier to stick to and less likely that you will need to cram last minute or short-change your prep time.

4) Think about how you learn best and use this to inform your study plan. You know how you learn best. Is it from a book? Is it online? Do you thrive with personal one-on-one support? There are countless support options available for the GMAT/GRE/EA so think about what would be best for you and plan accordingly! Personal MBA Coach tutors who scored in the 99th percentile are available to provide you with customized GMAT, GRE and EA tutoring on your schedule and based on your specific needs. Our tutors can also advise which test is best for you.

5) Read short articles in The Economist or Science every week. This is a great way to sharpen your reading comprehension skills and expand your vocabulary. Pick a few short articles every week and make your life easier come test time with very limited effort.

Need help? Personal MBA Coach is willing to be your guide. Founded by a Wharton and MIT graduate, we regularly help applicants navigate their applications each year. We also conduct mock interviews with former M7 interviewers on our team.


Personal MBA Coach has been guiding candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for over 12 years with a 96% success rate. Call us today at +1 617-645-2424 or email scott@personalmbacoach.com for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your MBA dreams a reality!

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