Quick GMAT Question- What Should I Do?

Hey all,

I'm in my senior yr at college and have an analyst position locked up to begin in July so I am thinking now of taking the GMAT before I start work (based on the recommendations of those here).

I decided to take a course but my parents think before spending a lot of money on a course I should study on my own, take the test in January and if I don't do as well as I want (at least 700+) then I'll take the course and take the exam before I start in July.

I understand the benefits of doing this (who knows, maybe if I cram in the next 2 months I won't need to shell out the $ and if I don't do as well then I'll at least have a better idea of what I need to focus on and what the test is like), but when applying to B-School isn't it possible that having the multiple scores will hurt my chances?

Also, what course would you guys take? I've read that Manhattan GMAT is the best? Can anyone verify this? Has anyone taken it (or knows anyone who has and can attest to it)?

The Manhattan GMAT comes with a TON of books... the OGs, all their books as well... what other books would you recommend or what they provide is enough?

Thanks in advance!!

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Comments (18)

Nov 19, 2007 - 10:30am

You can access the tests (theyre call challenges on the site) by posting an insane # of comments. I would purchase the following materials: OG (orange, purple, and green, standard, quant, verbal), Kaplan 800, and Princeton Review Cracking the GMAT (as a warm-up). A class is unnecessary if you are willing to put in the time and already have a strong academic background.

780 in 3 weeks is absurd by the way...The kid is either a boy genius or is lying.

Nov 19, 2007 - 10:44am

Thanks for the advice JBS, but will it hurt my b-school application if I take it multiple times? Because I was going to take the course so I can do the best I can on my first time but if I don't take the course and don't do as well I'll want to take it again with a course you know?

Basically, will it hurt me to take it multiple times?

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Nov 19, 2007 - 11:04am

Based on my experiences, some suggestions:

  1. Plan ahead and take the test early. Don't rush it and wait until it's close to application time. The result will be valid for the next 3 (or 5? I forgot) years anyway.

  2. You don't need to take the specialised GMAT classes/courses as long as:
    a. you know or have people telling you about the format of the tests and techniques to navigate it
    b. you're disciplined enough to study by yourself (time and will power), then self-study from books (Kaplan, Princeton, ETS, etc.) will suffice

IMHO, as long as you don't take too many (e.g. more than 3 tests without much score improvement), you should be alright. Most people take the test more than once. But still, don't sit the test just for the sake of taking it. Study and prepare well.

Last point, remember that stress and test taking management is as important as preparation. Don't want to screw the exam just because you're too nervous on the day. Good luck!

Nov 19, 2007 - 11:41am

given that the test is good for 5 years, if you take it during your last semester of school will that put you at a disadvantage? since the avg work experience is usually 7-10 years, would your application be less competitive since you will only have been working for 4 years by the time you apply?

Nov 19, 2007 - 12:57pm


Average work experience at the M7 schools and top b-schools is generaly 5-7 years. Wharton is an example of a program that values WE very highly while Harvard is more receptive to younger applicants.

Take the GMAT as many times as you need to in order to achieve your best score but do not exceed 4 attempts. Schools take your best score and focus very heavily on your quant/verbal balance and like to see that you are above the 80% range in both.

Let me know if you have any more questions as I have been engaged in the process for the past year but am not applying until next fall for an 09' matriculation date. Good luck.

Nov 19, 2007 - 1:50pm
Average work experience at the M7 schools and top b-schools is generaly 5-7 years. Wharton is an example of a program that values WE very highly while Harvard is more receptive to younger applicants.

yeah thats why i was asking about the work experience. it seems most places want at least 5 and one would barely have that if they took the gmat while in school and wanted to apply before the scores expire. i wonder if they want the experience to be really good if its

Nov 19, 2007 - 9:21pm

take the course. Save your time, you can't buy time back later. When looking at prep materials, don't focus on the quantity of pages in the book. The GMAT is a computer adaptive test. If you do well, you will only see hard questions. Also, you want to practice taking as many questions on the computer as possible to simulate test day. There is a reason why books costs $30 and classes cost $1500, you get what you pay for.

Nov 19, 2007 - 11:05pm

Doesn't it make sense to take the test self-study 1st and then see if I actually NEED to take the course?

I would think that the only negative to this strategy would be if it would look worse on a B-School application. Do you guys think it will?

Also, some background about me: I have a 3.87 overall gpa and 4.0 major gpa (double major in finance & economics). I was awarded a $2,500 scholarship a year ago or so. I tutored math for almost 2 years to high schoolers. I took AP Calc while I was in high school. Does this affect what you guys think I should do?

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Nov 25, 2007 - 12:42am

The GMAT is one of the easiest tests I've ever taken in my life. I studied for a week and a half and got a 750 [the two GMATPrep tests and some SC from OG11]. I was really hoping for a 760+ (99% versus 98%) so I think I'm going to retake it in Jan. (as I regret not really studying for it - I hope that I can get 780+ with a bit more prep).

Anyway, you don't need the GMAT course. I think people attracted to banking and consulting are naturally smart (one of the reasons they can get into these industries) and therefore are able to do well on these types of tests without much preparation. Save your money - take a few diagnostic tests; if you can hit the range where you want to be, then you'll be fine.

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