How do you make a GMAT taker feel like a complete pansy? Just put him in front of someone who’s already taken the LSAT or the MCAT.
I recently went on vacation to my hometown and ended up meeting a number of my younger brother’s friends. My brother went straight out of college into one of the top med schools (if not the top med school) in the country. Many of his friends went straight from college into law school and are currently finishing up their degrees.
When I told them about how I was studying for a big test to get into grad school and how stressed I was over the whole ordeal, it seemed like such a distant memory to them. I don’t think any of them were so consumed by their test that they wrote a ton of blog posts about it. When I saw how quickly they brushed off the subject, I almost felt ashamed at how much I was stressing about my test. Both the LSAT and the MCAT have much more content (physics anyone?) and memorization than the GMAT does. Keep in mind that my brother took his MCATs when the test was still 8 hours long; the GMAT is only 4 hours long. He also scored in the top 1% that year.
People who go into law or medicine have to take these tests as a requirement. They can’t say “Oh, I’ll just use my experience and my network to develop my career.” The test is a requirement for the degree which is a requirement for the profession. Therefore, they do not view it as so much of a burden.
The GMAT for us is a choice. Everyday we see tons of people who never took the test and never went to a top school, but have excellent business careers. And each one of us has gone through that ambiguous period where we wondered whether or not this was worth it. The fact that most of us did not take the test during our college years and have to shift gears to accommodate this test during our full time careers is viewed as a huge disruption.
Additionally, the school you go to matters much more for MBA aspirants. If you’re looking for a doctor or a lawyer, you rarely ask about what school they went to. But if you’re hiring an MBA, it’s typically the first question.
One thing I did learn though this experience: we GMAT takers complain a lot about it. (I’m probably one of the best examples) I’ll probably think twice before I write another post about how much my life sucks while studying. (But I’ll probably write it anyway)
The second thing I learned: I really shouldn’t make the GMAT my life. I know right now it is, but there are just so many other more important things in life. Seeing my family again during this vacation reminded me of this.
And yes, my brother is a juggernaut when it comes to high-pressure standardized tests. Let’s hope that runs in the family.
This post is adapted from Random Wok, a blog written by Mako from Silicon Valley. You can read all of his posts at Random Wok.
Previous posts by Mako at PoetsandQuants: