This is the final installment in a series of posts on GMAT/GRE testing. We encourage you to review previous posts, if you have not already.
The Texas MBA Admissions Committee recognizes that you might be putting a lot of pressure on yourself to achieve a high test score. After all, you’re competitive and driven enough to want to pursue an MBA! It’s important to remember that your test score is only one piece of your story, and it’s considered in the context of your overall application. We review your scores with the knowledge that a test is only one day in your life, and your academic and work history span many years.
Nevertheless, the test is an important component in evaluating your application.
“Quantitative test scores, in particular, have proven to be predictive of success in an MBA program, and taking the GMAT or GRE gets you back into the practice of preparing for exams. The preparation you put into the test sets you up for the mindset you’ll have to bring to your MBA– setting aside time to study on a nightly basis and working your way through problems analytically.”
– Sharon Barrett, Director of Working Professional MBA Admissions at Texas McCombs
This is the third in a series of posts on GMAT/GRE testing. We encourage you to review previous posts, if you have not already.
Before you make a final decision on which test to take, it’s best to research some of your target companies or industries and determine two things:
- The extent to which they evaluate a test score in reviewing job candidates.
- Whether they have a preference for one of the tests. At McCombs, we have found that most consulting and investment banking firms do look at the candidate’s score, and both industries historically have favored the GMAT.
Regardless of which test you take, you should consider it as another opportunity to not only impress the Admissions Committee, but also potential employers.
Once you’ve done your research on the format and content of the GMAT and GRE tests, you’re ready to settle on which one you want to take and start your preparation.
If you still need a review of each test to help you navigate the details, see our previous post examining both test options.
Test preparation is critical. The tests are rigorous, but your prep has the advantage of getting you in the right mindset for entering a top MBA program– where the exams and workload will be just as challenging, if not more so.
Prep tools include books that take you through the format of the test and offer practice exams, as well as formal prep classes (in person or online) and tutoring that can cost hundreds of dollars. Going with a more affordable option can work for some candidates.
“If you did well on the SAT or if you have a rigorous math background, you might be able to prepare on your own.”
– Jamie Nelson, an instructor with Manhattan Prep, which offers test prep classes in Dallas, Houston and Austin.
Here are some top prep tips from students and test prep instructors:
It can be the most stressful part of an MBA application-– the requirement to take either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
At McCombs, the Admissions Committee does not waive this requirement for any of our Working Professional MBA programs (Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, or the Austin Evening programs) or for our Full-Time program.
So your first question will be: Which test do I take?
Like coffee vs. tea, or vanilla vs. chocolate ice cream, the choice is entirely yours. We have no preference, though more of our students end up choosing the GMAT because it is designed to prepare candidates specifically for business school. And some professions, like consulting and investment banking, do prefer that you have a GMAT score to report. (We’ll have more on this in a future blog post.)
While both tests have quantitative and verbal sections, they have noticeable differences. We encourage you to do your research and take practice tests to learn each test’s points of emphasis, and how they are scored.
Here are some key differences between the GMAT and GRE: