Wharton | Mr. Indian VC
GRE 333, GPA 3.61
MIT Sloan | Mr. Tech Enthusiast
GRE 325, GPA 6.61/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Midwest Dreamer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Young PM
GMAT 710, GPA 9.64/10
Foster School of Business | Ms. Diamond Dealer
GRE 308, GPA Merit
NYU Stern | Mr. Low Undergraduate GPA
GMAT 720 (Expected), GPA 2.49
Stanford GSB | Ms. Try Something New
GMAT 740, GPA 3.86
Darden | Mr. Military Missile Defense
GRE 317, GPA 3.26
Wharton | Mr. Army Bahasa
GRE 312, GPA 3.57
Harvard | Mr. Consulting To Public Service
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Strategy To Real Estate
GMAT 750, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Standard Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. 1st Gen Brazilian LGBT
GMAT 720, GPA 3.2
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
NYU Stern | Mr. Customer Success
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Industrial Goods To MBB
GMAT 650, GPA 3.35
Stanford GSB | Mr. Family Biz From Chile
GMAT 710, GPA 5.5/7.0 (Ranked 6 out of 181 of class)
Tuck | Mr. Military Communications Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.45
Harvard | Dr. Harvard Biotech
GRE 322, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Global Connector
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
London Business School | Ms. Tech Researcher
GRE 331, GPA 3.17
Kellogg | Mr. Nigerian Engineer
GRE 310, GPA 3.5/5.0
Harvard | Ms. Indian Business Analyst
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. National Table Tennis
GMAT 720, GPA 4
INSEAD | Mr. Petroleum Engineer
GMAT 690, GPA 3.46
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Aspiring Consultant
GMAT 690, GPA 3.68

Timely Advice From The Guru Of The GMAT

The Guru of the GMAT has some important advice to offer MBA applicants: If you haven’t yet taken the exam but plan to do so, go and sit for it before the launch of the newly revised test in three months. Doing so, says Andrew Mitchell, Kaplan Test Prep’s director of pre-business programs, can mean the difference of scoring a 680 or a 710 with the same amount of prep time.

The Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT, is adding a half-hour “integrated reasoning” section to the test starting June 5th. The time to take the test will remain the same: three and one-half hours. To make room for the new section, GMAC is cutting the analytical writing portion of the test in half from one hour to half an hour. GMAC says it is changing the test because “today’s managers need to integrate data into meaningful information” and the new section measures your ability to work in a more data-driven world.

“To do well in an MBA program,” believes Mitchell, “you have to be a little bit of a poet and a quant. These new questions may reflect that more accurately than the total score on the GMAT.” He says the new section won’t make the test harder, per se. But generally test takers will have to spend more time preparing for the new test if they want to get the same score they would be able to achieve on the existing exam.

WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE THE TEST BEFORE THE NEW SECTION DEBUTS IN JUNE

“If you spend the same amount of time practicing for the test, you are therefore spending less time on quantitative and verbal practice, assuming you spend any time on integrated reasoning,” believes Mitchell. “So on average, you won’t do quite as well on your total score. This is true regardless of how you do on integrated reasoning.

“You could call this an arbitrage opportunity–because you have the opportunity to get a 710 with an amount of overall effort that will only get you 680 after the test change,” he adds in an interview with Poets&Quants. “One way to think about this is that you are buying your 710 with X amount of practice. The price is cheaper because to get a 710 on the new test will require that you study more. Someone who has 100 hours to prepare before June actually has a little advantage over someone with equal skill over someone who prepares after the test change.

“Is it a crushing advantage?,” asks Mitchell. “No. But it is a significant advantage if you have time to prepare before the test change. It’s also true that when June comes around it will be moot because no one will be able to exercise this option anymore.”

THE GMAT PREP COMPANIES AREN’T AS GOOD AS THEY WILL GET IN PREPARING PROSPECTIVE TEST TAKERS FOR INTEGRATED REASONING

Add to all this the fact that test scores tend to go down slightly when a change is introduced. “It might be the fact that there is always some uncertainty when the test changes,” believes Mitchell, “and it also takes us a little bit of time to truly perfect our own prep materials until we know more about the new questions on the test. It’s very true that we have to extrapolate and draw some inferences, which are not guaranteed to be correct about what we think the questions will be like.” Translation: It will take a little time before any GMAT prep firm can best prepare a test taker for the new section of the exam.

Mitchell is the grand Pooh-Bah of the GMAT at Kaplan, which has been preparing prospective MBA students for the three-and-one-half-hour test for more than 40 years and is acknowledged as the market leader among GMAT prep companies. Over the past few months, ever since attending a Test Prep Summit put on by the Graduate Management Admission Council last September, he pulled together a team of more than 100 experts in text design, psychometricians and computer types to bone up for the changes in the test. The work of that team will come out in changes to Kaplan books, prep courses and online efforts. On Friday (March 2), the firm launched its update to the GMAT prep courses to help prepare test takers for the change.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.