A guest blog post by David-Anthony Gordon, a journalist working for BusinessBecause.com, a professional networking and news site for the business school world. Check out the site for info on MBA rankings and MBA jobs and daily business school news.
The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is probably the most important entrance exam you’ll take. Every major English-speaking MBA program requires applicants to take the GMAT. Top business schools such as Cornell, the London Business School and HEC Paris view your score as ‘very important’, and you’ll need at least a 680 or higher to be accepted.
Standing out from the thousands of MBA applicants is difficult but the best way to help yourself is to prepare effectively.
There isn’t a set way to prepare. Everyone has their own techniques and preferences. However, there are a few key things you should do so that you don’t end up wasting the $250 you paid to take the test.
- Study hard. You get what you put in so don’t expect to do well if you haven’t put in the hours of study. You can find practise exams on the MBA.com website or, like many applicants, you can get private tutoring.
- Relax. Your score is important but remember that it’s only one part of the MBA admissions process. You can further enhance your application with your essay or interview and there are cases of low-scoring candidates impressing in other ways.
- Arrive early. You can’t be too early, especially on test day. To prevent cheating, you have to go through various security checks and this takes time so if you arrive less than 15 minutes before your exam, don’t expect that you’ll start on time. It’s a good idea to make a trip to the test centre in advance so that you can figure out traffic and travel times. It can also calm you to know what the building looks like.
- Eat and sleep well. Last minute cramming and binge eating will hinder your chances of doing well. Remember that you’re not a teenage college student anymore and the GMAT isn’t your average test. Take care of your body and give your brain the best opportunity to perform to its optimum.
- Send out your results. You are allowed to send your results to five schools for free so make use of them and increase your chances by paying to send a few more. If you feel you haven’t done well, you can stop your results being sent to schools as soon as you’ve finished. However, you will have to make this decision before you see your scores so be rational before you roll that dice.