Scott Edinburgh
September 26, 2018

Your GMAT/GRE Questions Answered

Testing, testing, testing! For better or for worse, GMAT/GRE is a key topic of conversation throughout the application process.

Below are the 5 questions I am asked most often about the GMAT/GRE.

Q. How important is the GMAT/GRE?

A. 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 overrepresented applicant pool, differentiating yourself with a strong GRE/GMAT will be even more important.

Q.  What score do I need to get?

A.  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).

When determining your target score, researching average scores is a great way to start. While those with a very strong profile, a unique background or from an underrepresented applicant pool could enjoy success with a below average score, it is becoming less and less common to see large numbers of applicants with scores more than 20-30 points below average succeed.

In addition, in some cases such as the ones discussed in the previous questions you may need to score 20-30 points above the average to even be on the same playing field as other applicants.

Q. What should I take, the GMAT or the GRE?

A. 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 and 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 trying the other test. Of course, you will need additional preparation for this new test, but this may be worth the effort!

Q. How many times should I take the test?

A. 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 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.

Q. How should I prepare?

A. 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? There are countless support options available for the GMAT 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 you can get targeted support in the areas where you struggle most. For this reason, we offer a variety of one-on-one tutoring packages. Check out our offerings.

If you have other testing questions that were not covered here or need help with any aspect of the MBA application process, 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 and top 10 interviewers on our team.

Personal MBA Coach has been guiding candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for over 10 years with a 96% success rate. Call us today at 617-645-2424 or email for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your career dreams a reality!