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All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same...

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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 09:13
neither of our opinions matter, really. it matters what the adcom believes. based upon their comments, there is no significant difference between any 20 point spread irrespective of the %ile. you may choose not to believe the statements that various top school adcoms have repeatedly made, but that is the only info. we have to go on.

ncprasad wrote:
It is a question of %iles. 740 is 98% and 760 is 99%. Simply speaking, once you get 760 all test takers fall under the same category because you are better than 99% of the people taking the exam. Again, this is something you can choose to disagree with. If you do disagree, then it does make my point that since there are so many opinions around it is always in the applicant's best interest to maximize GMAT scores.

sudden wrote:
ncprasad wrote:
For instance, I believe there is a big difference between a 740 and 760.


I don't understand why people believe that 20 points is such a large difference. Can you explain it to me? Twenty points represents a handful of questions on a randomly generated exam. Your score will almost certainly fluctuate 20 points every time you take it.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 09:13
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I hate to bring this up but I think the importance of GMAT score depends a lot on the demographic. I believe for highly competitive groups like Indians, it is pretty important to have higher GMAT scores. Our backgrounds tend to be pretty similar and hence every bit of differentiation is critical. There have been cases, especially at a top 12 school, where applicants with a 720 have been asked to retake their GMAT. Our own ozmba being one of them if I remember right. If you are from a "rare" demographic or a group that a school desperately wants to admit, your scores are not the most critical.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 09:14
yeah sure you could do that, but you would do that not because you thought a 760 was an academic achievement significantly better than a 730. And thats the way the 2 scores should be viewed - similar in what they mean and represent.

dosa_don wrote:
Or I could take the guy with 760 and take TWO interesting candidates with slightly lower GMAT.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 09:15
pandeyrav wrote:
if i were the adcom, i would choose the one with 730 ... [to] keep the average GMAT in check.


Please tell me this is a joke based on the fact that you received a 730. If this is satire, it was pretty funny. If not, I'm not sure where to even start.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 09:16
i think you guys underestimate how much harder scoring a 790 is than a 730
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 09:17
livehard wrote:
pandeyrav wrote:
if i were the adcom, i would choose the one with 730 ... [to] keep the average GMAT in check.


Please tell me this is a joke based on the fact that you received a 730. If this is satire, it was pretty funny. If not, I'm not sure where to even start.


It just was meant to show that a 730 or 760 make no difference. Please be assured, I understand how averages are calculated :)
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 09:19
dabots wrote:
i think you guys underestimate how much harder scoring a 790 is than a 730


That i will agree to and i think others should as well. The point is for scores that arent too far away. like 740 and 760 or 770 and 790. Those 10-20 points can be explained because of a host of factors, intelligence or academic capability being just one.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 09:22
i misread your statement. if you meant quality vs. quantity of work ex, that is a major difference. i wonder about quality, though. how is this evaluated? based upon the content of the essays and letters of rec (most of which are written or heavily influenced by the candidates?). this must be one of the sources of brand preference.

higher GMAT scores definitely imply better candidates. i think everyone would agree with this, and based on the discussion here, it does not seem that we are any closer to quantifying the impact of a difference in GMAT scores based upon the available data. we are back where we started -- higher GMAT scores are better. we will have to disagree on the impact of 30 points though since i still do not believe that 30 points makes a shred of difference between most applicants. the possible exception here would be the difference between a 690 and a 720 since having a six handle in front of your GMAT score has a psychological affect on the person reviewing your application. this is hard to prove, but i believe it is human nature. anyone who has spent any time watching the stock market knows that prices begin to act differently once they approach psychologically important round numbers.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 09:37
Since apparently you were serious, I'll go ahead and respond.

pandeyrav wrote:
I believe that GMAT is nothing more than a verification that x years out of school you can / can not successfully handle the quantitative rigor of the program. As also can you effectively communicate as a leader and as a member of student community in a lucid and correct language. I believe that once you score above 700, you establish that fact to a large extent.


Are you arguing that there is no advantage for business executives to be above a certain threshold in their ability to deal with numbers and written word? I'd love to hear an explanation of why this would possibly be the case. Adcoms aren't just looking for candidates who can successfully complete the program, they are looking for the best and brightest.

pandeyrav wrote:
So far as the example was concerned, if both A and B came out even and equally well suited for the program, if i were the adcom, i would choose the one with 730, as it keeps my deviation low and allows me to recruit more interesting candidates with slightly lower GMAT (going too low would mean candidate would not be able to take the rigor of the program). This would also keep the average GMAT in check so that when prospective students are evaluating schools they are not intimidated by high GMAT average and choose to not apply assuming it was a long shot. And i believe this is corroborated by the 80% GMAT range for all M7 schools.


Here is where I believe you are seriously mistaken. The Adcoms don't need to actually choose candidates with lower GMAT scores to get others with low scores to apply. They merely need to say that GMAT scores above a certain threshold don't matter. Applicants, because they are so desperate to believe, are more than willing to lap up the BS.

It is in the Adcoms best interest rankings-wise to:

1) choose candidates who will be the most successful post-mba,
2) choose candidates with the highest average GMAT score, and
3) convince as many applicants to apply as possible in order to lower the acceptance rate.

The best way to achieve all three criteria is to take the top candidates, using GMAT scores as a valuable data point, and at the same time tell future applicants that their low GMAT scores are not an obstacle to entrance. Given this contradicting agenda, it makes sense to look at the raw data. As the top schools' average GMAT scores are going up significantly faster than the average GMAT scores of all test takers, it seems clear that some precedence is being given to candidates with higher GMAT scores.

Last edited by livehard on 17 Mar 2008, 09:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 09:39
sudden wrote:
i misread your statement. if you meant quality vs. quantity of work ex, that is a major difference. i wonder about quality, though. how is this evaluated? based upon the content of the essays and letters of rec (most of which are written or heavily influenced by the candidates?). this must be one of the sources of brand preference.

higher GMAT scores definitely imply better candidates. i think everyone would agree with this, and based on the discussion here, it does not seem that we are any closer to quantifying the impact of a difference in GMAT scores based upon the available data. we are back where we started -- higher GMAT scores are better. we will have to disagree on the impact of 30 points though since i still do not believe that 30 points makes a shred of difference between most applicants. the possible exception here would be the difference between a 690 and a 720 since having a six handle in front of your GMAT score has a psychological affect on the person reviewing your application. this is hard to prove, but i believe it is human nature. anyone who has spent any time watching the stock market knows that prices begin to act differently once they approach psychologically important round numbers.


In this case, I misunderstood your argument. I agree with your entire post (well except for 30 points not making a "shred" of difference). Higher GMAT scores have a positive effect, however, the degree is impossible to know.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 09:49
sudden wrote:
higher GMAT scores definitely imply better candidates. i think everyone would agree with this, and based on the discussion here, it does not seem that we are any closer to quantifying the impact of a difference in GMAT scores based upon the available data. we are back where we started -- higher GMAT scores are better. we will have to disagree on the impact of 30 points though since i still do not believe that 30 points makes a shred of difference between most applicants. the possible exception here would be the difference between a 690 and a 720 since having a six handle in front of your GMAT score has a psychological affect on the person reviewing your application. this is hard to prove, but i believe it is human nature. anyone who has spent any time watching the stock market knows that prices begin to act differently once they approach psychologically important round numbers.


Bingo sudden!! I completely agree.

The reason I concur with on why 30 points do not make any difference is this: a candidate who scored 750 on GMAT is worth anywhere from 730 to 770 - the actual spread may be more. GMAT is an exam where your reliance on lady luck is quite high. A high score may be an +ve outlier, similarly a lower score, say 720, that may be a -ve outlier for someone who deserves 750. I m sure the adcom take this into consideration.
However, anything with a "six handle in front of your GMAT score" is unlikely to be an outlier for a candidate worth a high GMAT score.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 10:08
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livehard wrote:
Are you arguing that there is no advantage for business executives to be above a certain threshold in their ability to deal with numbers and written word? I'd love to hear an explanation of why this would possibly be the case. Adcoms aren't just looking for candidates who can successfully complete the program, they are looking for the best and brightest.


There is no arguing that a superior SKILL quantitative or otherwise is desirable. What is argued is the accuracy with which a test measures the difference. GMAC admits to a deviation of +/-38 points (if i am not mistaken). And that is why the rest of the application becomes important. Transcripts re-enforce that you are very good / average with numbers / language in conjunction with the GMAT score. I will have to disagree a little with the sipirit in which you say "Adcoms are looking for the best and brightest". I say i disagree a little because, the concept of best and brightest is not determined by numbers alone. The vision that people demonstrate, the kind of learning they show from past experiences, maturity, larger purpose in life and other soft skills matter a lot which i think most would agree. So while they are looking for best and brightest, it does not "necessarily" mean higher GMAT and higher grades.

livehard wrote:
Here is where I believe you are seriously mistaken. The Adcoms don't need to actually choose candidates with lower GMAT scores to get others with low scores to apply. They merely need to say that GMAT scores above a certain threshold don't matter. Applicants, because they are so desperate to believe, are more than willing to lap up the BS.

If you are implying that adcoms are willingly misleading applicants, i would say its not entirely true. Because if it were a complete lie, the numbers wouldnt just add up. But again, i am fairly new to all this, so its possible that they misrepresent or reword stuff to create ambiguity.
livehard wrote:
It is in the Adcoms best interest rankings-wise to:

1) choose candidates who will be the most successful post-mba,

Agreed 100%. Correlation of GMAT to post-mba success is hard to establish though. In fact it is hard to quantify success as it is because people have varied goals. How do you quantify the success of someone who wanted to do some non-profit work and how do you compare that with the success of a banker. Tough.
livehard wrote:
2) choose candidates with the highest average GMAT score, and

Do not agree. There is no dearth of people with high scores being rejected for people with lesser scores. The other parts of application probably were the overriding factors. I am fairly confident that someone who scored a 750+ would put up a decent application. The fact that he was rejected for someone with lesser score but a little extra "something else" re-enforces that the difference in GMAT is less important compared to what is in essays / work experience etc
livehard wrote:
3) convince as many applicants to apply as possible to apply in order to lower the acceptance rate.

While more applicants would surely lower the acceptance rate, it would also give them more to choose from making the resulting class better. So. it would not be fair to "assume" that adcoms encourage more people to apply based on a single point agenda of lowering the acceptance rate.
livehard wrote:
The best way to achieve all three criteria is to take the top candidates, using GMAT scores as a valuable data point, and at the same time tell future applicants that their low GMAT scores are not an obstacle to entrance. Given this contradicting agenda, it makes sense to look at the raw data. As the top schools' average GMAT scores are going up significantly faster than the average GMAT scores of all test takers, it seems clear that some precedence is being given to candidates with higher GMAT scores.


I agree with the fact that GMAT is a valuable data point. Although i do not necessarily think that it contradicts adcom encouraging lower GMAT candidates from applying. Why would they do that ? for the application money ? If their lies raise the app volume by 5% , a school like harvard (assuming 10k applications) would earn $125,000 a year. I doubt that is their motive. If they wanted to create an aura of exclusivity, it would be much easier to say that anyone with less than 700 need not apply. That would make them stand out and out of reach of majority, giving them the aura of superiority / excellence etc etc. I think they encourage people because they genuinely find good candidates from that group. After all GMAT is just a test. You could have had a bad day or spent too much time on one question or missed a few at the end and not scored that extra 20-30 points. or you could just be a bad test taker. I would agree though that scoring high never hurts your chances and probably that is why schools do not look at how many times you took the test. If there was more significance to the test scores, they would only look at the last attempt or look unfavorably upon people who took the test 5 times to score 750+ which is not the case.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 10:13
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I do not know how you say that a 30 point spread does not make a difference. There has to be some difference, if not a lot. We have heard stories in the past where a school has an applicant with a 7xx score to re-take GMAT in order to get off the WL. All of our opinions are colored in some fashion or the other. People with a 730 may say that a 770 is not different from 730 and those with 770 may argue that there is. If anything, there is this fashionable tendency to bash people with high GMATs. People need to get real, the applications game is all about maximizing every aspect of your candidacy. If you think a 30 point difference does not matter, then you are at the least risking your chances of admission. Countless people with 710s and 720s say that they were dinged because of their GMAT. The same people before submitting the application said vehemently that 30 points doesnt make a difference. For admission to good schools, you cannot be merely average. Thats why saying I met the schools average, and the rest doesnt matter makes no sense. Just my opinion. No offense meant.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 10:15
wow... great discussion, kudos to livehard and many of you for your thoughtful posts.

Also, very good to keep it objective and not have any personal attacks. Bravo! :)

This will be stored in the knowledge vault. :)
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 10:45
ncprasad wrote:
I do not know how you say that a 30 point spread does not make a difference. There has to be some difference, if not a lot. We have heard stories in the past where a school has an applicant with a 7xx score to re-take GMAT in order to get off the WL. All of our opinions are colored in some fashion or the other. People with a 730 may say that a 770 is not different from 730 and those with 770 may argue that there is. If anything, there is this fashionable tendency to bash people with high GMATs. People need to get real, the applications game is all about maximizing every aspect of your candidacy. If you think a 30 point difference does not matter, then you are at the least risking your chances of admission. Countless people with 710s and 720s say that they were dinged because of their GMAT. The same people before submitting the application said vehemently that 30 points doesnt make a difference. For admission to good schools, you cannot be merely average. Thats why saying I met the schools average, and the rest doesnt matter makes no sense. Just my opinion. No offense meant.


Well said!
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 11:08
i may have been overdramatic in saying that it does not make a "shred" of difference. i think it probably, in fact, makes just that -- a shred of difference for MOST people in MOST demographics (which is to say that it hardly matters for most folks). however, if you are in an uber-competitive demographic with a very limited number of seats, then it might make all the difference. for example, Indian IT guys probably should sweat a little over a 30 point difference. why? because their profiles are very similar. i know there are differences that come out in the essays and so on, but on the face of it, it must be difficult to choose between a large group of apps from people with similar engineering (IT) experience, similar top grades, and similar top GMAT scores. 30 points here could be make or break, i will admit that.

i doubt heavily, though, that this applies to all other demographics. it specifically applies to groups where the rest of the application, in general, is weaker than average. i could be wrong here, but i am willing to go out on a limb and say that most Indian IT guys have limited leadership and little or nothing in the way of ECs. i am aware that exceptions in this area exist, but clearly if you come from a group that is competing primarily on academic merit, then your academic merit relative to others in your demographic is of the utmost importance. in this case, the school's average GMAT is largely irrelevant -- this applicant must meet or exceed the school's average for his own demographic (which is unpublished but can be approximated by reading extensively -- my guess is around 750). further, someone coming from this demographic would probably do well to simply meet the average GMAT and then focus on other aspects of their application, such as maximizing demonstrated leadership. retaking the exam for a few extra points probably will not help as much as creating an outstanding accomplishment in one or more of the other criteria.

in other words, perhaps our opinions are colored by the demographics we come from and have researched. it is possible that we may both be right. in any case, this may appear to somewhat contradict my earlier opinions. i don't think it does per se, but i should correct myself for being overdramatic and saying that it makes no difference whatsoever. saying it makes a small difference, excluding certain unusual demographics, is probably more accurate.

ncprasad wrote:
I do not know how you say that a 30 point spread does not make a difference. There has to be some difference, if not a lot. We have heard stories in the past where a school has an applicant with a 7xx score to re-take GMAT in order to get off the WL. All of our opinions are colored in some fashion or the other. People with a 730 may say that a 770 is not different from 730 and those with 770 may argue that there is. If anything, there is this fashionable tendency to bash people with high GMATs. People need to get real, the applications game is all about maximizing every aspect of your candidacy. If you think a 30 point difference does not matter, then you are at the least risking your chances of admission. Countless people with 710s and 720s say that they were dinged because of their GMAT. The same people before submitting the application said vehemently that 30 points doesnt make a difference. For admission to good schools, you cannot be merely average. Thats why saying I met the schools average, and the rest doesnt matter makes no sense. Just my opinion. No offense meant.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 11:18
ncprasad wrote:
I do not know how you say that a 30 point spread does not make a difference. There has to be some difference, if not a lot. We have heard stories in the past where a school has an applicant with a 7xx score to re-take GMAT in order to get off the WL. All of our opinions are colored in some fashion or the other. People with a 730 may say that a 770 is not different from 730 and those with 770 may argue that there is. If anything, there is this fashionable tendency to bash people with high GMATs. People need to get real, the applications game is all about maximizing every aspect of your candidacy. If you think a 30 point difference does not matter, then you are at the least risking your chances of admission. Countless people with 710s and 720s say that they were dinged because of their GMAT. The same people before submitting the application said vehemently that 30 points doesnt make a difference. For admission to good schools, you cannot be merely average. Thats why saying I met the schools average, and the rest doesnt matter makes no sense. Just my opinion. No offense meant.


NC, i agree there is a difference. But that difference does not necessarily mean that a candidate with 760 is intellectually or academically superior to one with 740. Of course someone with a 760 did something better than the one with 740, no arguing there. My point is it can also be "other" circumstances including the accuracy of the test. I am sure if adcom start saying that a higher GMAT makes your chances better, you would see a whole lot of people retaking the test and i have no doubt that there would be several more with 750+. as Dosa pointed, it might be a differentiator for a demographic such as Indian applicants where other parts of the app are very similar. But in my opinion, for such groups too, the differentiation is largely through essays and if someone put their mind to it, they could differentiate more through essays than the 30 points(unfortunately, i learned the lesson late. but oh well).

As far as thought process of people with a higher or lower GMAT is concerned or bashing of high scorers is concerned (although i dont think there is any bashing. If anything there is admiration), my point is do you think your current GMAT, whether it is 680 or 790, is the absolute best you could ever do? I bet not. Most people know that if needed they can score more than what they have, and that includes people who have a 770 or a 620. Of course, the more you score the better it is. But the question then arises that at what point do you stop? people find it convenient and safe to stop when they have scored beyond the school average and i think thats as good a strategy as any. Otherwise, people wont stop until everyone had a 780/790 irrespective of whatever it takes to get there. That is also supported by the fact that people do retake and score higher when asked by adcom to get off of the waitlist(which shows that they had the ability to do it in the first place). And that is why i believe that a 20-30 point difference is not *that* big a deal. Having said that, i would reiterate that there is "something" extra / better that the person who scored those extra 20-30 points did and that should go to his / her credit.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 11:21
oh, i see that dosa already made the point above. kudos to you, dosa!

dosa_don wrote:
I hate to bring this up but I think the importance of GMAT score depends a lot on the demographic. I believe for highly competitive groups like Indians, it is pretty important to have higher GMAT scores. Our backgrounds tend to be pretty similar and hence every bit of differentiation is critical. There have been cases, especially at a top 12 school, where applicants with a 720 have been asked to retake their GMAT. Our own ozmba being one of them if I remember right. If you are from a "rare" demographic or a group that a school desperately wants to admit, your scores are not the most critical.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 11:30
pandeyrav wrote:
Otherwise, people wont stop until everyone had a 780/790 irrespective of whatever it takes to get there.


This is where our significant difference lies. I believe that there is a maximum level that a person's abilities allow them to score on the GMAT, irregardless of preparation. Hence, a high GMAT score shows that someone possesses a certain ability level. Conversely, a low GMAT score either shows that someone doesn't possess that ability level or shows that they did not put in adequate preparation. Either should be a negative for someone's profile.

I think your assertion that anyone can get a 790 if they take the test enough times is ludicrous, not supported by facts, and denigrates those who were able to pull off such an impressive feat.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 11:36
livehard wrote:
pandeyrav wrote:
Otherwise, people wont stop until everyone had a 780/790 irrespective of whatever it takes to get there.


This is where our significant difference lies. I believe that there is a maximum level that a person's abilities allow them to score on the GMAT, irregardless of preparation. Hence, a high GMAT score shows that someone possesses a certain ability level. Conversely, a low GMAT score either shows that someone doesn't possess that ability level or shows that they did not put in adequate preparation. Either should be a negative for someone's profile.

I think your assertion that anyone can get a 790 if they take the test enough times is ludicrous, not supported by facts, and denigrates those who were able to pull off such an impressive feat.

i agree with livehard, that you cant suppositions about whether or not an applicant did his or her best on the test, or could do better if he or she took it again. if you could, then why not apply that logic to the rest of the application. "this applicant has a 2.9 gpa, but if he tried harder he could have had a 3.9." "this applicant has had no career progression, but if she tried harder she would have been promoted many times over." where do you draw the line? i think you have to take the score at face value. students have a choice on what score they accept, they are given the option to take the test over if they did not do well, so why make excuses?
Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same...   [#permalink] 17 Mar 2008, 11:36
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