If you’re thinking about going to business school, you have multiple options in terms of which entrance exam to take, but nowadays, you may also have the option not to take any exam at all. That might seem like a no-brainer decision—after all, who wants* to take a standardized test? But it turns out that there are still good reasons for some people to choose to take the GMAT, even when their target schools don’t require them to do so. The question is just whether any of those reasons apply to you.
(*Cough. Besides me and my colleagues…)
First, do all of your target schools have either test waivers available or test-optional policies in place? If some of your schools do require an exam, and you don’t want to take those schools off of your list, then sharpen your pencil and get ready to study.
If, though, all of your desired schools really do allow you to make this choice, now we’ve got some analysis to do.
Applying to MBA programs would be simpler if there was just one “good GMAT score.” If you scored above that mark, you’d be done with the GMAT; if not, you’d know you needed to keep trying. As with most of life, though, it isn’t that simple. In this article, we’ll break down what counts as a good GMAT score and how to know whether you’ve achieved one.
Many schools care the most about the Quant section of the GMAT, but Integrated Reasoning has become more important since it was introduced in 2012. And employers who care about test scores are often very interested in your Integrated Reasoning (IR) scores. Follow the below 3 Keys to Success and you’ll be sitting pretty on test day. Read more
The GMAT Online now allows test-takers to use physical whiteboards (yay!). Here are the official requirements. You’ll also still have access to the online whiteboard—and there are great reasons to use both, actually. This post has been updated accordingly.
When you take the GMAT Online, you’ll have access to both a physical whiteboard and an online one. The key is going to be knowing when to use which and practicing ahead of time so that everything feels seamless on test day. (Math? Definitely the physical whiteboard. Time management strategy? Probably online whiteboard. We’ll figure it all out in this post.)
Considering taking the GMAT online? My colleague Eric Garthoffner and I did just that on the very first day it was available. We have a lot to tell you!
The GMAT is not a math test. Nor is it a grammar test. Sure, you have to know something (well, a lot of things!) about these topics in order to get a good score. But this test is really testing your executive reasoning skills.
The term might be unfamiliar, but you already have—and use—these skills every day. Here are some examples: Read more
As an admissions consultant, I am asked frequently, “How do I get into a top business school?” Many candidates believe schools want a certain “type” of candidate—perhaps one with a stellar GMAT score or a certain kind of job. Yet, in my seven years of admissions consulting, I have seen candidates with all kinds of backgrounds receive offers from top business schools. In my experience, schools are not looking for a “type.” Rather, they are looking for a diversity of industry experience, functions, countries of origin, ethnic backgrounds, and also personal interests. As you approach the upcoming MBA application process, consider the following ideas to help you be successful.
Getting a 700 GMAT score isn’t easy, and it’s not the right goal for everyone. But if it wasn’t tough to get a 700, it wouldn’t be such an accomplishment! Here’s how to get a 700 on the GMAT and add something really special to your MBA applications. Read more
GMAC, the organization that makes the GMAT, has just announced some great news regarding the GMAT Online!
Beginning April 8th, we’ll gain a bunch of features that currently exist only for the testing center-based GMAT:
- You’ll be able to choose one of three section orders for the exam (Quant first, Verbal first, or Essay first); currently, you’re locked into the Quant-first testing order.
- You’ll get two 8-minute breaks (placed at the usual times that we get our breaks in the testing center); currently, there’s only one 5-minute break.
- You’ll see your scores on screen at the end of the exam (for everything but the essay); currently, you have to wait several business days to get your scores for the GMAT Online.
You might have noticed one other change that I snuck into that list without making it explicit: You will have to write the Essay section. (Currently, that section doesn’t appear on the GMAT Online.) This is a tiny drawback, really, compared to the goodness of all of the other updates.
So, starting April 8th, the test center GMAT and the GMAT Online will be almost identical. The only substantive difference will be the scratch paper. It’s still the case that you’ll get the laminated yellow pad in the testing center, but when you take the test at home, you’ll use your own dry erase whiteboard and have access to an online whiteboard.
I’m really excited about this news because it means that your preparation for either version of the exam is basically the same. So you can just get down to the business of studying and decide later whether you’ll take the exam in the testing center or at home (or both!).
We still have a few questions for GMAC about some other implications of this update—we’ll update this post as we learn the answers.
[Note: I first wrote this right after I took the official Executive Assessment Online in May 2020. At that time, we had to use an online whiteboard for all of our work. In June 2020, they fixed that: Now, everyone can use both a physical whiteboard and an online whiteboard. I’ve updated this article accordingly; otherwise, the post is exactly what I wrote right after I took the exam.]
I took the GMAT Online about a month ago and I was getting restless (nothing to do during the pandemic!), so I signed up to take the Executive Assessment (EA) Online. The EA Online was a much better experience—I’ll tell you why below. (And since everyone always asks: I scored a 166 overall: 15 on IR, 13 on Verbal, and 18 on Quant. Verbal is usually my best section, so I was surprised by that score. My score also dropped on the Verbal when I took the GMAT Online, but my Quant and IR scores were fine / what I usually get.)