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Sunday, January 09, 2005

GMAT 

GMAT seems to be the first thing that people focus on, so it seems like a good place to start. Please read the disclaimer in my previous post, but here are my thoughts, for what they're worth:

1. If you can, get it over with early

Studying for the GMAT takes time. Writting application essays takes time. Trying to do both at the same time must be a nightmare. So if you can get the GMAT out of the way early on you'll be able to focus on the rest of your application, and maybe manage to have a social life too. You'll also have time to re-take if you feel you need to , and you won't find yourself panicing about getting scores to schools before their deadline. I also suspect that it's much easier to schedule an appointment in late winter, spring and early summer than it is in the period leading up to r1 and r2 deadlines.

2. Prepare

There are lots of resources out there to help with the material the GMAT covers and with test taking stategies. Find one (or more) that works for you and practice till you feel you're doing as well as you can. And don't forge there are non GMAT specific resources out there as well - I wish I'd picked up a decent generalmaths revision guide when I was preparing to refresh my understanding of some concepts. Taking complete practice tests gives you a fell for the length and deamnds of the test, helps to develop your pacing and stamina, and lets you get accustomed to the format if you're not used to this type of test.

3. Keep it in perspective

The GMAT is only one part of you application. Exactly what role it plays will, I guess, depend on where you're applying and what's in the rest of your application. Yes, a 'good enough' score is important but don't obsess. Schools could fill their classrooms with people with 750+ GMATs if they wanted to, but there are plenty of people with 99%ile GMATs who don't get to sit in those classrooms, and plenty of people with much lower scores who do. To parpahrase from a Wharton information session, the GMAT helps to define if you are admissable, it's the 'other stuff' that gets you admitted.



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