Ask Kate: GMAT Study Not Helping

Think the GRE is easier than the GMAT? Think again.



I just took my second GMAT and am disappointed with the results, 39 quant, 44 verbal, for a 680. This score represents only a 30 point increase from first attempt (39q, 41v), with no increase in quant. I purchased study software and completed approximately 200 hours of quant studying in between attempts. I am targeting top 20s. Is this hopeless? I have an A in college calculus and work in finance. Should I try gre?

Little ImprovmentHi Jessica, bummer on the static quant. Top 20s is not hopeless. I would not spend any more time on the GMAT unless you seek professional input. A 39 points to foundation deficiencies. You need someone to observe you in action to pinpoint the major issues.

Regarding the GMAT vs GRE? GRE isn’t as “easy” as it may seem as the schools seem to prefer higher percentiles for the quant**. The quality of the GRE quant is lower, but you must execute faster. If you are able to memorize problem types, you may be able to pull a win on the GRE. GRE problems are more 1-2 punch whereas GMAT problems benefit from greater logic application, more like 4-5 steps.

Remember, the nice thing about Business School admission process is, if the school really wants you, there are ways around a mediocre to lousy GMAT results. My lowest scoring student, literally . . . ahem, is at HBS. My second lowest scoring student (actually a decent score) is ALSO at HBS.


**A student recently reported that his 68th percentile GMAT quant was considered average, but his 80th percentile GRE quant was considered below average at one of his programs. The expectation is for a higher percentile on the GRE. Certain schools (Columbia for example) will not consider a GRE if a GMAT has been taken. Current through 2015. This can change year to year so please read what the current adcom is saying for your top business schools. Don’t rely on your friend’s advice or blogs published 4 years ago….


Dragon Drop – GMAT Study Habits


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