Need Help- Low GMAT. What next?

School selection
  • Posted by mimapplicant123 on 08/23/14 8:27am

    Hello.

    I am a recent graduate in the field of commerce/business. I plan to pursue Masters in Management starting fall 2015. By then I will have one year of full time work experience.

    I gave the GMAT recently and to my shock, bombed the exam. I got a 570 (Q48/V22). This was the lowest score I could ever imagine. My mock range was 660-700 and even the first ever mock I gave 2 months back, I secured a 590. I studied for more than a month and was pretty confident about my test day. According to me, my test went great too. I am still not able to figure out what went wrong. The verbal section got the better of me I guess (I finished that 10 minutes before to my surprise). My other scores were IR-6 and AWA-5. Anyway, having said that I am in the path of really thinking over things now. I have a few confusions and doubts. It would really help me if you could answer them.

    1. Do I take a re-test? I know this is the best option. And just one day after the exam I gave a mock to test myself again and got a 680. I know I can score more. But the question is- Is my time and money investment worth it now?

    2. With such a low score and a comparatively good CV (A lot of extra-curriculars, certificates and international internships) should I go forward with applying to some schools? What kind of schools would expect me with this score? I can prove them that my language skills are good through my AWA marks or my other language tests (which I will give in the future). Also my vocal English skills are good enough.

    I am really confused right now. For me, the reputation and status of the school matters a lot. If I am spending money to educate myself abroad I want to go to the best university I can. Please guide me what to do next. I am ready to give the GMAT again if that REALLY increases my chances of getting to my dream B-school (LBS, IE, NUS, LSE, HEC etc.) otherwise I might as well look for some other universities who would accept my current score. Also, a list of such schools would be REALLY helpful. ( Who do not require GMAT also). Couldn't find any online as of yet.

    Thank you so much for reading this out and please give in your inputs. They are much needed. Thank you.

    • Posted by Thomas Graf on 08/25/14 12:18pm

      Hi there,

      thank you for your message.

      To be short: I recommend you to prepare intensively for another month and then re-take the test (you can schedule the test date already now). And yes, a better GMAT will strongly increase your chances of being admitted at the schools you mentioned.

      Now, here are some more details. First, I understand perfectly how you feel. I did 590 in my first test and then 660 in the second one. Why was the second score higher? I guess it was a better preparation (used the Manhattan Review books after the first test) and luck. Also, at the second test you know better what to expect - could be an advantage as well. From what you tell me, the chances of achieving a higher score are very good. This plus your MIM program criteria reputation and status leads me to the opinion that a second shot is a good choice.

      Next, a preperation of 1 month is very low. I would say, a proper preparation of 2 months with 1 hour per day at minimum during the week plus more hours on the weekend is a must - and many people prepare more. So, preparing intensively for another test makes sense here as well. I personally made the experience that the analytical part is where I could improve much more (in a short time of preparation) than the language parts.

      Keep in mind that the mock exams are always easier than the actual GMAT test. So, don't get blinded by too high scores here.

      As for the admissions criteria, most renowned schools have the previous academic achievements (your final grade in your previous studies) as the main criterion - this is a result of our Global MIM Survey 2014, to be published in September. But the GMAT is the second important criterion among these schools.

      As for the GMAT, I see two different approaches from business schools. One rationale is: You need to have a minimum score just to show some minimum capabilities. And if everything else in your cv is great than they may take you. This minimum score often is 600 - and at very renowned schools such as HEC higher, e.g. around 630 or 640. Now is the rest of your cv "top"? "Top" at London Business School or HEC may mean "best 5%" etc. No one can tell you exactly teh range, but if you really target those top-ranked schools you should make sure that "everything" in your cv is as good as possible - including the GMAT.

      The other rationale is: "We prefer applicants who increase our average GMAT score because it is good for our marketing". Hence, with an above-average score (check the FAQ pages of the schools) you may strongly increase your chances of getting in.

      Finally: There are renowned schools where the GMAT is less important than at other schools. I am thinking of IE Business School but there are others as well or HHL Leipzig (a top ten school in the Financial Times) - but as a guideline, you should target 650 and achieve 600 at minimum in my opinion (and you can do that!).

      I also recommend you to read my MIM eBook carefully, including the admissions criteria section.

      Best wishes
      Thomas

      By Thomas Graf
      Owner MIM Compass
      Author of the MIM eBook