Here’s the deal. I haven’t completely abandoned the b-school application process. In “not” doing so, I still encounter many articles, many of which are repeats from last year and the year before and the year before. I wondered why these topics were being repeated and then realized that, each year, an entirely new set of applicants have the same questions. So let me start with what I learned about the GMAT.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This exam sucks! It’s the worst thing ever… I hated every moment of it – except taking the actual test. That was kinda fun. Now of course those of you who are taking the exam now and/or studying for it are completely obsessed about it, right? I mean I was…we all were. Just think of it as a barrier to entry into business school and you’ll be fine.
Do not obsess over a certain score. I suggest that you obsess over a RANGE instead. Here’s why. Let’s say you tell yourself “Ok I need to score a 720.” What if you score a 710? Do you then obsess over taking it again to improve 10 points? NO, do not do the opportunity cost of studying for the exam vs. putting the time and energy into your application.
What do I think the GMAT is for? well… other than just to annoy people? Well it’s not a sign of true intellect. It does give the adcoms a standardized way to compare you to others. Okay fine.. we can all accept that right? I mean we’ve been through it before all throughout school. I think people obsess over scores because they think it’s the MAIN thing that adcoms look at. I’m here to tell you that it’s not. I know of a couple admissions consultants who will tell you otherwise, but I don’t care what they say. It’s NOT the main thing. In reality the MAIN thing is the whole application, but that’s a vague statement. The MAIN thing that they will evaluate is your essays. Just bang the GMAT out… get a score 600+ and move on from there. If you’re in the 500 range, then it will be difficult – not impossible – but difficult. I know that’s easier said than done, but whatever.. you have to get through it.
It’s completely frustrating… I know. Here is a post from my GMAT tutor back in November that I had him write. I think this sums up my journey quite well. Post from my GMAT Tutor.
What’s funny about the GMAT (yes there is some comedic value in it) once you get over that hurdle, is that it will stay with you for a loooong time whether you like it or not. I don’t mean it’ll stay with you in that you’ll always be doing DS or RC questions, but the way you think about things will stay with you. Now let me caveat that by saying that if you were already at the point where you thought the way that one must think on the GMAT then my previous statement does not hold true. FOR ME it does.
I cringe whenever I hear people say “them” instead of him/her in a sentence. In my head I instantly correct him/her. I also now think of the assumptions when I either read something or someone is telling me a story. And yes, I’ll mention it to them. I frequently find myself saying “well the assumption in that theory is…” or “but you’re assuming that…” and if I’m talking to certain people I’ll end by saying “…I’m not saying that it may not be true, but I just wanted to throw that out there to give you something else to think about.” or “…just so that we think about that when evaluating the next steps.”
This report is adapted from Richard Battle-Baxter’s blog posts at “Ellipsing My Way…To Business School.”
Previous posts by Richard at Poets&Quants: