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As I showed last week, following commonsense GMAT strategies sometimes gets you hosed.

One example of a popular but very bad strategy: "Don't go it alone." In other words, your common sense probably suggests that you use the GMAT community to get oriented and figure out what it's all about. Then you cop their strategies. You commiserate when you fail. You use them as your support group.

Of course we want to be able to think and act and study like the bottom 99%... but all of us want to somehow magically land in the top 1%. This is bogus. You study in a herd, you fail in a herd.

If you're a chick, be doubly vigilant about this kind of thinking. Ever notice that the chicks who eat lunch together (in groups, not just 2-3) often seem to gain weight together? It's because this herd becomes our reference point, and it tells us what's good enough, rich enough, thin enough. This is slightly more common for chicks than for dudes, but it goes for both genders: where willpower is concerned, friendship (often) facilitates failure.

So how do you use this fact to land in the one percent?

I don't know how many of you guys have studied martial arts, but you've all probably seen someone break boards. There's a trick to it. If you punch the board, you typically hurt yourself and get nowhere. If you punch four inches beyond the board, it breaks.

What's that have to do with the GMAT? Let's say you go on some forums and notice that a whole lot of people (at least some of whom must be smarter than you) say that they can't get through some big notional wall at 720 or 750 or whatever. And you check the official averages and see that there does appear to be a cliff at 720 or 750.

Should that worry you? No. Be happy about it. Your 99th-percentile strategy depends on a majority of very smart people perceiving that there is a wall there. The wall has to be real for them. But not for you.

Performance barriers are viral. This is a critical basic lesson for performance in almost any area. Take the four-minute mile. A ton of people could have broken the four-minute mile before 1954, but didn't. They were all focused on how much they had to do in order to get from 4:14 to 4:06.

After Bannister broke 4:00, everyone started breaking it, even high school kids. So I don't think he was truly the world's fastest middle-distance runner in '54. He just didn't stop at the wall.

And neither will you. Because focus directs force; whatever's on your mind becomes part of your strategy.

Most people will hear about performance barriers from other GMAT students, then train against it and typically lose to it.

But you are going to quarantine yourself and play a pure 760+ game. Don't read advice or questions targeted at the sub-750 set. The strategy that helped that guy get from 680 to 710 could knock you from 790 to 740 (this happened to me in practice tests).

And don't talk to or count/measure people who got into top programs but had low scores. Those people are irrelevant because you will never be like them. They were checking their email every twenty seconds on the day decisions went out. On the other hand, you'll probably do what I did: wake up two hours late, remember what day it is, read admit decision on phone, then roll over and go back to sleep.

To sum it up: Punch the wall and it hurts you. Punch four inches behind the wall and it breaks clean. There's no pain.

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Comments (39)

  • wannabeaballer's picture

    I'm gonna start a 6 week series on how to get guys to call you back.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Ok, I think four essays on the gmat is enough.

    Bankerella, I am happy you did well on your GMATs and got into b-school. However, if you keep making posts like this, folks will assume that you got in on test scores rather than professional success or on being an interesting person.

    Test scores are helpful, but they aren't something worth a four or five post series. Buy a Kaplan GMAT 800 book, spend a good 60-80 hours practicing for the exam, get a 780, and go home.

    Standardized tests are worth studying for. But if you're obsessing over it, you're doing something wrong. I spent a week and a half of vacation studying for the GREs in between waterskiing and wakeboarding, I got a 780 GMAT equivalent, I forgot about them for two years, I applied to a few graduate programs, I got into my top choice. It shouldn't be this hard.

    The Q section is incredibly easy. All you have to do is understand every question they can throw at you and know how to solve them. There is really no excuse for not getting a perfect score on the Q if you are a highschool graduate and know basic algebra.

    The V section is a little bit tougher, but you just get out the flash cards and go over words and definitions, then cover the analogy problems over and over again. Again, not too hard to score in the top 1%.

  • onedumbmonkey's picture

    I enjoy the motivational essays Bankerella,

    IlliniProgrammer is probably jealous he didn't read your posts before he took the GMAT.

    "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid"

  • Abdel's picture

    Not sure what the big deal is with this GMAT thing. My friends who took it here in mtl all got 770 and + and they're not even native english speakers.

  • In reply to onedumbmonkey
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    onedumbmonkey:
    I enjoy the motivational essays Bankerella,

    IlliniProgrammer is probably jealous he didn't read your posts before he took the GMAT.


    Eh. I got into my top choice program. I am all for studying for the GMAT. I studied for the GREs. What I am not for is obsessing over the GMAT. It's one exam that helps provide a decent basis for your intellect if there are any questions about it.

    It is fairly easy for a banker to get a 780 and have a shot at an 800 on the exam. You learn to do the quantitative questions carefully, you spend about 50 hours studying words, and you're there. Then you get on with your life. Go kitesurfing. Buy a motorcycle and learn to race it on the track. Volunteer with inner-city kids. Run a marathon.

    A couple posts on the GMATs are helpful. A series of four posts pretending it is the most important factor in b-school admits is an unhealthy obsession, IMHO. This is a banking forum that happens to care a little about b-school admits, not a GMAT forum. Let's not obsess too much.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    onedumbmonkey's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    onedumbmonkey:
    I enjoy the motivational essays Bankerella,

    IlliniProgrammer is probably jealous he didn't read your posts before he took the GMAT.


    Eh. I got into my top choice program. I am all for studying for the GMAT. I studied for the GREs. What I am not for is obsessing over the GMAT. It's one exam that helps provide a decent basis for your intellect if there are any questions about it.

    It is fairly easy for a banker to get a 780 and have a shot at an 800 on the exam. You learn to do the quantitative questions carefully, you spend about 50 hours studying words, and you're there. Then you get on with your life. Go kitesurfing. Buy a motorcycle and learn to race it on the track. Volunteer with inner-city kids. Run a marathon.

    A couple posts on the GMATs are helpful. A series of four posts pretending it is the most important factor in b-school admits is an unhealthy obsession, IMHO. This is a banking forum that happens to care a little about b-school admits, not a GMAT forum. Let's not obsess too much.

    I see your point IlliniProgrammer, however I would agrue that your situation is different than a lot of other people reading posts about the GMAT. We have not yet applied to business school and I know that for my personal situation I will have to get a great score to go to my top school. I feel that if I obesse over the GMAT I will accomplish my GMAT score.

    I am not even sure why you would choose to waste your time reading this post if you already got into your top school? Sounds like an inefficient use of your time IMHO.

    "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid"

  • In reply to onedumbmonkey
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    onedumbmonkey:
    I see your point IlliniProgrammer, however I would agrue that your situation is different than a lot of other people reading posts about the GMAT. We have not yet applied to business school and I know that for my personal situation I will have to get a great score to go to my top school. I feel that if I obesse over the GMAT I will accomplish my GMAT score.

    I am not even sure why you would choose to waste your time reading this post if you already got into your top school? Sounds like an inefficient use of your time IMHO.


    I have some surplus time right now. So does bankerella, apparently, given that she has also gotten into her top school and has posted five essays on the need to get a decent GMAT.

    Spending the time to get a 760 or 780 GMAT is worth it. However, this should not require obsessing. Give it 60 hours of study and you'll get there. This is more like running a seven minute mile, not a four minute mile. You give it a week or two of practice, and you just do it. Then you get back to the important stuff- like the essays.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    bankerella's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    onedumbmonkey:
    I enjoy the motivational essays Bankerella,

    IlliniProgrammer is probably jealous he didn't read your posts before he took the GMAT.


    Eh. I got into my top choice program. I am all for studying for the GMAT. I studied for the GREs. What I am not for is obsessing over the GMAT. It's one exam that helps provide a decent basis for your intellect if there are any questions about it.

    It is fairly easy for a banker to get a 780 and have a shot at an 800 on the exam. You learn to do the quantitative questions carefully, you spend about 50 hours studying words, and you're there. Then you get on with your life. Go kitesurfing. Buy a motorcycle and learn to race it on the track. Volunteer with inner-city kids. Run a marathon.

    A couple posts on the GMATs are helpful. A series of four posts pretending it is the most important factor in b-school admits is an unhealthy obsession, IMHO. This is a banking forum that happens to care a little about b-school admits, not a GMAT forum. Let's not obsess too much.

    Wait, are you talking about your GRE score as if it were a GMAT score equivalent? Because you study words on the GRE, not the GMAT.

    IMO, there's no comparison. I never studied for the GREs but took them while studying for my GMATs to keep me sharp. Got a perfect GRE long before I broke the 99th percentile in GMAT. They are extremely easy in comparison. There's just no time pressure, and the verbals follow far simpler rules.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    I think your comment here is really helpful to my point. It seems like you're saying it's a lot easier for these kids to do the GREs and submit them for b-school. (Most of the M7, including HBS, Stanford, and Wharton, accept GRE scores instead of GMATs) It's fairly easy to get a 760 GMAT equivalent on the GREs- I spent about 60 hours studying for them, and the schools go off of ETS's GMAT algorithm:
    http://www.ets.org/gre/institutions/about/mba/comp...

    Standardized tests aren't that complicated. Study for them, get a good score, and go home. Folks can use the 140 hours they save to do something they enjoy, write their essays, or become more interesting people.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    WallStreetOasis.com's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    So then why not just save yourself all the hassle and take the GREs? Most of the M7, including HBS and Stanford, accept them for GMAT equivalency these days, anyways.

    Take the GREs, get a 780 GMAT equivalent, go home and work on your essays. Why spend 200 hours trying to get a 760 GMAT when you can spend 60 hours getting a 780 GMAT equivalent? You can spend those other 140 hours on something a lot more fun.

    Actually your comment here is really helpful. If you're saying it's easier to get a 760 or 780 GMAT equivalent on the GREs, that's great. Let's steer these kids that way. There's no more need to obsess over this and devote weeks of your life to an otherwise meaningless exam. Spend a week studying for the GREs, get a 760 GMAT equivalent, go (hang gliding) (kitesurfing) (volunteer) for the 140 hours you save.

    Interesting point here...so do adcoms view the GRE as favorably as the GMAT though? Isn't that a risky assumption...maybe things have changed since I graduated in 2010, but at Wharton I don't think there were too many people that just took the GRE.

  • cinnamontoastcrunch's picture

    these...posts...must...stop...

  • In reply to WallStreetOasis.com
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    WallStreetOasis.com:

    Interesting point here...so do adcoms view the GRE as favorably as the GMAT though? Isn't that a risky assumption...maybe things have changed since I graduated in 2010, but at Wharton I don't think there were too many people that just took the GRE.

    I dunno. I see an increasing trend towards allowing the GRE by schools- with my favorite school- Booth- being one of the few holdouts. I think it is sort of turning into an ACT/SAT thing.

    They all use ETS's algorithm as a basis for comparing scores. ETS had a similar algorithm for ACTs to SATs. But frankly, I'd much rather submit a 750V/800Q GRE (770 GMAT equiv) than a 750 GMAT, and it looks like ETS is already factoring some conservativism on the conversion (Converting an 800Q/800V GRE as a 790 GMAT).

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    WallStreetOasis.com's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    WallStreetOasis.com:

    Interesting point here...so do adcoms view the GRE as favorably as the GMAT though? Isn't that a risky assumption...maybe things have changed since I graduated in 2010, but at Wharton I don't think there were too many people that just took the GRE.

    I dunno. I see an increasing trend towards allowing the GRE by schools- with my favorite school- Booth- being one of the few holdouts. I think it is sort of turning into an ACT/SAT thing.

    They all use ETS's algorithm as a basis for comparing scores. ETS had a similar algorithm for ACTs to SATs. But frankly, I'd much rather submit a 750V/800Q GRE (770 GMAT equiv) than a 750 GMAT, and it looks like ETS is already making conservative assumptions on the conversion (Converting an 800Q/800V GRE as a 790 GMAT).

    Yeah, I guess my question is if allowing the GRE really giving it the same weight/importance/trust? even after using the ETS algo to compare (in the minds of the adcoms).

    cinnamontoastcrunch:
    these...posts...must...stop...
    nobody.....forcing.....you......to......read

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    Abdel's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:

    I dunno. I see an increasing trend towards allowing the GRE by schools- with my favorite school- Booth- being one of the few holdouts. .

    Buddy of mine got a perfect GRE score and is headed to Booth for a double Ph.D Econ/Finance (part booth, part U of chicago).

    Found on their website for the PhD program:

    ''GMAT and GRE
    Applicants must also complete the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). For most areas of study, applicants may take either the GMAT or GRE. Exceptions are:

    For Economics - GRE is required.
    For Finance - GRE is preferred; GMAT is acceptable.
    For the Joint Program in Financial Economics - GRE is required.''
    http://www.chicagobooth.edu/phd/admissions.aspx

    If they prefer the GRE for the PhD, does it mean that the GMAT is easier?

  • M Friedman's picture

    I would honeslty rather hear about what its like to be a woman in a male dominated industry than the GMAT

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Yeah, I guess my question is if allowing the GRE really giving it the same weight/importance/trust? even after using the ETS algo to compare (in the minds of the adcoms).

    I think so. ETS gives a reasonably rigorous statistical analysis of their comparisons:
    http://www.ets.org/s/gre/flash/bschool/comparison/...

    I also don't think the GMAT is the most important factor in a b-school application for most programs. The core of your application is probably your professional experience. I guess the next thing the eastern schools look at is some combination of how interesting a person you are and your academics. I guess the reason Chicago keeps the GMAT requirement is that the school is very focused on metrics while many of these other programs are less concerned about that.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    bankerella's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    I think your comment here is really helpful to my point. It seems like you're saying it's a lot easier for these kids to do the GREs and submit them for b-school. (Most of the M7, including HBS, Stanford, and Wharton, accept GRE scores instead of GMATs) It's fairly easy to get a 760 GMAT equivalent on the GREs- I spent about 60 hours studying for them, and the schools go off of ETS's GMAT algorithm:
    http://www.ets.org/gre/institutions/about/mba/comp...

    Standardized tests aren't that complicated. Study for them, get a good score, and go home. Folks can use the 140 hours they save to do something they enjoy, write their essays, or become more interesting people.

    Hey, Illini. First off, total respect for you and your contributions. I think your points are good, but I don't think that the GREs are good differentiators for someone from a wall street background. If you're a programmer (are you?) or en engineer, or from some other technical background, or if you're going into an alternative program, perhaps the GREs would be the way to go.

    Regardless of whatever algorithms are being bandied about, I don't personally believe that you can reach a 780 GMAT equivalent (which is what I think you were first mentioning) on the GREs.

    My data is obviously limited -- I compare the GRE sitting in which I got a perfect score to the GMAT sitting in which I got a 750, and I feel that the GRE sitting was a bit easier than that specific GMAT sitting.

    I propose the theory (not stating a fact here) that adcoms know that the GRE is easier and thus that the GMAT is a more powerful differentiator. Thoughts?

  • In reply to bankerella
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    bankerella]<br /> My data is obviously limited -- I compare the GRE sitting in which I got a perfect score to the <a href=http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/gmat-pill-promo-code-333-off-gmat-prep-discount rel=nofollow>GMAT</a> sitting in which I got a 750, and I feel that the GRE sitting was a bit easier than that specific <a href=http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/gmat-pill-promo-code-333-off-gmat-prep-discount rel=nofollow>GMAT</a> sitting.[/qyuote]<br /> Hey Bankerella. ETS studied 893 students, including several who got 790s on the GMATs. Running a linear regression, they found that an 800Q + 800V roughly translates as a 790 <a href=http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/gmat-pill-promo-code-333-off-gmat-prep-discount rel=nofollow>GMAT</a> with a significant number of data points north of 760.</p> <p>More importantly, though, is what the b-schools think. They have decided to accept the GRE and use ETS's conversion algorithm.</p> <p>[quote:
    I propose the theory (not stating a fact here) that adcoms know that the GRE is easier and thus that the GMAT is a more powerful differentiator. Thoughts?

    Well, again, the B-schools are using ETS's conversion algorithm, and ETS's analysis shows that for every bankerella who gets an 800Q/800V on the GREs and 750 GMAT, there are other folks who get a 790 on the GMATs and a 750Q/650V on the GREs. Note from the algorithm that a lot of the impact comes from the verbal section on the GREs.

    So a 750 GMAT is going to beat a 750 GRE equivalency, but probably not a 760 GRE equivalency.

    Had HBS accepted GRE scores when you were applying to school, you might not have needed to spend that extra time on the GREs.

    Furthermore, most of the top finance and econ PhD programs have a 1-2% admit rate while still requiring GREs rather than GMATs. So you can get a much tougher selectivity than the top b-schools off of programs that require the GRE. I had always thought that the GRE/GMAT was one component of a big picture. The GMAT can be used to weed out 95% of the applicant pool if you want it to, but then you do most of your selection on personal attributes and professional/academic background anyways.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    Going Concern's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    It's fairly easy to get a 760 GMAT equivalent on the GREs- I spent about 60 hours studying for them, and the schools go off of ETS's GMAT algorithm:

    If it's easier to get the same type of score on the GRE vs GMAT, then why would an admissions person treat it the same? Are they just clueless and haven't stumbled onto the trick?

  • In reply to Going Concern
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Going Concern:
    If it's easier to get the same type of score on the GRE vs GMAT, then why would an admissions person treat it the same? Are they just clueless and haven't stumbled onto the trick?

    ETS's analysis of nearly 900 test-takers, including large numbers who scored a 700+ on the GMAT, shows otherwise.

    My view is that work on the trading floor is a lot tougher than anything you'll have to do on any standardized test, short of maybe the GRE II Math exams. If you can price a call option in your head while folks are shouting at you, high school algebra in front of a quiet computer screen really isn't that difficult.

    My point is that the function of test scores to time spent studying for the exam is a logarithmic function. Sure, you can spend an extra 140 hours to get an extra 10 points on the exam, or you can just spend 60 hours to get a 50 point boost from a 720 GMAT to a 770 and be done with it.

    If you're a banker, you're already starting with a pretty high basis for the exam- you could probably walk in and get a 700+ after practicing for eight hours. So it may be difficult for the public, but for someone qualified to work in banking, hitting bankerella's 760 threshhold is pretty darned easy. The fact that the GMAT has no vocab requirement actually may make things even easier.

    An 800Q on the GRE is a joke- the figurative equivalent of tying your mathematical shoelaces. An 800V is a bit tougher and requires a ~100K+ word vocabulary (I am a bit surprised Bankerella got that without studying.) Both are used on the conversion, and an 800Q alone with a 600V only gets you a ~700 GMAT conversion.

    So my view is that if the GMAT is really that difficult compared to the GRE, just take the GREs instead and use the statistical equivalency. I think they're both very easy exams- the GREs just give you more opportunity to differentiate your vocab; the GMATs give you more opportunity to differentiate your quantitative skill.

  • 21 Lives's picture

    bankerella:

    To sum it up: Punch the wall and it hurts you. Punch four inches behind the wall and it breaks clean. There's no pain.

    I think the focus on the GMAT overshadowed the actual lesson here. Humans were made to do amazing things. Every day people go on to achieve new firsts. The important thing isn't wanting to get first or to be the best. The important thing is thinking about "what is the best I can do" and then doing more.

    When you're running a 10k, and your legs start to burn with 2k left, don't slow down. Run faster, and get a personal record.
    When you're about to jump off the 20 foot cliff into the lake, don't just run and jump. Do a flip, stick it, and laugh at your friends who only jumped.

    People aren't impressed by 99.99%. There is a reason we have the phrase it's all or nothing.

    My WSO Blog

    "Unbelievably Believable" -- RG3

  • WallStreetOasis.com's picture

    Illini - thanks, interesting points....although I wouldnt say it's easy to hit 760 for most bankers, even those that study a lot. I studied a LOT more than 4 hours to get a 730 (90%V, 95%Q), but that wasn't 99%. If I had improved my verbal, sure I could have gotten there, but given how much I had already studied, I think I was really hitting diminishing returns.

    Remember Bankerella and Illini, not everyone can sit down and score a 680+ cold. :-)

    One thing I've noticed on the GMAT is that scoring really high does on the quant section doesnt boost your overall score as much (because more people score ridiculously high there - thanks engineers). So I got a 730, but I think it would have been 760+ if my percentiles had been reversed.

    Maybe my score would have been more impressive on the GRE? Or would my verbal weakness been exposed more?

  • sayandarula's picture

    hey bankerella~

    thanks for another great post. these are actually pretty motivating now that i'm finally starting my GMAT journey.

    keep 'em coming!

    Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

  • sayandarula's picture

    double post.

    Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

  • In reply to 21 Lives
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    21 Lives:
    bankerella:

    To sum it up: Punch the wall and it hurts you. Punch four inches behind the wall and it breaks clean. There's no pain.

    I think the focus on the GMAT overshadowed the actual lesson here. Humans were made to do amazing things. Every day people go on to achieve new firsts. The important thing isn't wanting to get first or to be the best. The important thing is thinking about "what is the best I can do" and then doing more.

    When you're running a 10k, and your legs start to burn with 2k left, don't slow down. Run faster, and get a personal record.
    When you're about to jump off the 20 foot cliff into the lake, don't just run and jump. Do a flip, stick it, and laugh at your friends who only jumped.

    People aren't impressed by 99.99%. There is a reason we have the phrase it's all or nothing.


    No, people care about results. If you can deliver results that blow the competition out of the water without trying too hard, why go above and beyond? Save your effort for personal stuff.

    Spend three weeks studying for the GMATs. What do you get to carry away? A bigger vocabulary?

    Spend three weeks learning hang gliding. What do you get to carry away? A lot of fun stories. An understanding of aviation. A rollercoaster without a track. The human experience.

    One of these pursuits, you aim for everything you are capable of. The other pursuit, you simply aim to beat the competition and devote the energy you save to the pursuit you care about.

    Get a 780 on the GMATs. But only spend 60 hours studying for it. That's enough to be in the top decile of HBS admits and devote the rest of your time to something you are more passionate about.

    When you're about to jump off the 20 foot cliff into the lake, don't just run and jump. Do a flip, stick it, and laugh at your friends who only jumped.

    My point is that a 770 GMAT is the equivalent of a two and a half twist against a 720 GMAT average, and for a banker, you're like an olympic diver when it comes to taking these exams. That two and a half twist is only at 80%, not 99.99% let alone 100%.

    Use the 20% of the energy and effort you save for something more fun than GMATs. You don't need to get an 800.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    sayandarula's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    Get a 780 on the GMATs. But only spend 60 hours studying for it. That's enough to be in the top decile of HBS admits and devote the rest of your time to something you are more passionate about.

    LOL you're basically asking me to be smarter than i am.

    Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    labanker's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:

    The Q section is incredibly easy. All you have to do is understand every question they can throw at you and know how to solve them.

    Thanks for clearing that one up. I think a lot of posters here were missing the fact that to do well on the GMAT you have to know how to solve the problems. Good insight.

    IlliniProgrammer:

    There is really no excuse for not getting a perfect score on the Q if you are a highschool graduate and know basic algebra.

    The V section is a little bit tougher, but you just get out the flash cards and go over words and definitions, then cover the analogy problems over and over again. Again, not too hard to score in the top 1%.

    These kind of statements (Abdel made a similar comment) astound me in their ignorance. If everyone with a high school diploma could walk in and get a 760, it wouldn't be a top 1% score then would it? And whether the content is basic algebra or not, the upper range questions are designed such that 99% of test takers will get them wrong essentially EVERY time. Things get even more ridiculous when you start talking about "no excuse for not getting a perfect score." You are basically saying "no excuse for not doing better than all but like 100 guys on the GMAT." Get real.

  • In reply to labanker
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    labanker:

    Thanks for clearing that one up. I think a lot of posters here were missing the fact that to do well on the GMAT you have to know how to solve the problems. Good insight.

    This is considered a difficult question from the GRE Qs.
    Please tell me how this problem is so tough to solve in less than 45 seconds:

    1. Of the following, which is greater than 1/2 ?

    Indicate ALL such fractions.

    A. 2/5
    B. 4/7
    C. 4/9
    D. 5/11
    E. 6/13
    F. 8/15
    G. 9/17

    IlliniProgrammer:

    These kind of statements (Abdel made a similar comment) astound me in their ignorance. If everyone with a high school diploma could walk in and get a 760, it wouldn't be a top 1% score then would it? And whether the content is basic algebra or not, the upper range questions are designed such that 99% of test takers will get them wrong essentially EVERY time. Things get even more ridiculous when you start talking about "no excuse for not getting a perfect score." You are basically saying "no excuse for not doing better than all but like 100 guys on the GMAT." Get real.

    You work in BANKING. You look at numbers all day long. You can look at equity vs. assets and calculate the liability ratio in your head. You ARE the top 1% when it comes to quant problems. These questions should be very easy.

    When we were in fifth grade, most people smart enough to work in banking learned to estimate fractions in terms of percentages in their head. For instance, you should be able to compute a percentage for the numbers above by observation in less than 3-4 seconds to within 5%, or at least be able to tell me whether the denominator is more than twice the numerator in a second or two.

    If you can do that and follow Kaplan's rules for quantitative test taking, the quant section is a very easy exam. Learn the model and apply it consistently, and you get an 800.

    I have compassion for the folks who can't consistently answer 100 algebra questions. What I don't have compassion for is folks who think they belong in a top MBA program and can't do the same. Getting an 800Q on the GRE is the equivalent of a six minute mile. About 2% of the US population can pull it off. Meanwhile, YOU as a banker are already in the USMC- by definition you can already run a seven minute mile- and you are trying to qualify for the Navy SEALs. You should be struggling with the log roll and hell week, not the six minute mile.

  • In reply to sayandarula
    bankerella's picture

    sayandarula:
    IlliniProgrammer:
    Get a 780 on the GMATs. But only spend 60 hours studying for it. That's enough to be in the top decile of HBS admits and devote the rest of your time to something you are more passionate about.

    LOL you're basically asking me to be smarter than i am.

    Agreed; I don't know how realistic it is to get a real 780 on the actual GMAT in 60 hours for most of us. What IlliniProgrammer is saying makes more sense if you realize that he's thinking in GRE numbers and then using the following tool to translate it to theoretical GMAT numbers: www.ets.org/Media/Tests/GRE/pdf/GRE_Comparison_Too....

    It is quite doable to get a 770/800 GRE in 60 hours, which the ETS claims maps to a real 780 GMAT.

    My experience with both tests suggests that a 770/800 GRE may map to somewhere around a real 750 GMAT, maybe a notch below or above.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    charlie 09's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    Going Concern:
    If it's easier to get the same type of score on the GRE vs GMAT, then why would an admissions person treat it the same? Are they just clueless and haven't stumbled onto the trick?

    My view is that work on the trading floor is a lot tougher than anything you'll have to do on any standardized test, short of maybe the GRE II Math exams. If you can price a call option in your head while folks are shouting at you, high school algebra in front of a quiet computer screen really isn't that difficult.

    I think this is the important point you were originally making before this turned into a comparison of the tests.

    The GMAT / GRE score is only one component of your application - and for most people coming from finance / consulting, it's not going to differentiate you. I'm going to an M7 MBA program from MBB, and what I heard from every admissions person I spoke with when I asked about test scores (I scored ok, not great, so was concerned) is "Based on your background, we assume you can do the work."

    What most people on this board - who can likely score 750+, apparently, since they can do high-school algebra - should really be concerned with is how to differentiate yourself within the (likely) bucket of:

    - White
    - Male
    - Finance / consulting background
    - High-GMAT score

    candidates.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    For the record, women make up the majority of b-school applicants and students these days. So what is this affirmative action thing everyone has been supporting again? :-D

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    charlie 09's picture

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