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Please help! Should I take the GMAT now or wait???

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Please help! Should I take the GMAT now or wait??? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2012, 07:13
I am leaning towards taking the GMAT before the IR section hits, but I am having doubts. I have been studying seriously for about a week, which gives me around 9 weeks of total study time. I am using the MGMAT books, and so far I'm only about halfway through the first book. I was planning on spending 3 weeks on Math 2 on Verbal and 3 on practice tests.

I have yet to take any practice tests recently, but I did 5 years ago I believe I scored around 470. I have only looked into one local college which requires a 550, but I would love to score 670-700 and try to get into a better school.

A lot of blabber, I know but I am so confused. Should I take more time and really get comfortable with the material, or get it out of the way? I am studying now 3-4 hours 6 days a week.

Background info:

Graduated 2006 with low gpa
English native
5+ years work experience
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Re: Please help! Should I take the GMAT now or wait??? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2012, 07:38
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Well first, I must critique one part of your study plan. I do like how you are splitting up quant and verbal, but make sure once you start your verbal to continue working with quant so you don't lose everything you've learned. Also, it does not make sense to set aside 3 entire weeks for practice tests. Instead, you should take a practice test every week so that you continually apply your skills, hopefully continue to increase your scores, and continue to figure out your weaknesses and learn them. 3 full weaks of practice tests will not allow you to study and learn from each test. Plus, taking a test each week will slowly teach you about timing which is a huge part of this test!

Now, the general guidance is that you SHOULD take the test before the new IR section hits. The reason for this is that the new IR section will take another approx 50 hours of studying to learn. Why wait and make things harder on yourself? BUUUUT some people will already know how to do IR because of their work experience. For example, if you are a financial analyst, and contantly work with manipulating figures, and have good business sense, then IR might be a breeze. My advice is to go to GMAC (www.mba.com) and take their practice IR section. See what you think about it, see if it will be easy or hard for you. Then you can decide if you want to wait or not. Also, look to see what the test availability is at the testing centers closer to test day. These dates might be filling/filled up, so the decision may already have been made for you.

Generally, 9 weeks is slightly on the shorter side of how long you should study for, although that's how long I studied for and took my score from 570 to 710. I recommend that you take a practice test soon and see where your score is. Then you can see how much studying you really have to do to reach your goal. If you previously scored 470 5-years ago, the test has only gotten more competative. So it could be justified that you might need 150-400 hours of studying to reach 700. In this case, 9 weeks might not be enough. You might need 3-4 months or maybe longer depending on how much studying you are able to accomplish per day/week. But before you make your decision, you really need to take a practice test to see where you are at. A 470 5-years ago really means nothing b/c you may more knowledgeable now, the questions are different, and the scoring is different. Update us, and we can offer some more guidance. Good luck in your journey! You have come to the right place to help achieve your goals.
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Re: Please help! Should I take the GMAT now or wait??? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2012, 07:40
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Vixen wrote:
I am leaning towards taking the GMAT before the IR section hits, but I am having doubts. I have been studying seriously for about a week, which gives me around 9 weeks of total study time. I am using the MGMAT books, and so far I'm only about halfway through the first book. I was planning on spending 3 weeks on Math 2 on Verbal and 3 on practice tests.

I have yet to take any practice tests recently, but I did 5 years ago I believe I scored around 470. I have only looked into one local college which requires a 550, but I would love to score 670-700 and try to get into a better school.

A lot of blabber, I know but I am so confused. Should I take more time and really get comfortable with the material, or get it out of the way? I am studying now 3-4 hours 6 days a week.

Background info:

Graduated 2006 with low gpa
English native
5+ years work experience


Hi Vixen,

Given your background, with a low GPA, you should look at the GMAT as an opportunity to turn that around.

I'd say get a sense of your progress in the next week or two. If you're pretty confident you only need to take the test once and you're making good progress - shoot for a test date before June. You don't want to take it now and then again after June and have to study for a new section again.

On the other hand, if you intend to apply to business schools in more than 2 years and aren't making the progress you'd like right now - I would suggest waiting til later.

Also note that a lot of people are trying to cram their exam dates before June. So make sure you reserve a spot if you do intend to do this option.

You might want to take a look at this article about when to take the GMAT: http://www.gmatpill.com/gmat-prep-about ... ly-better/

The bottom portion of the article talks about the pros and cons of taking IR before/after the release date on June 5, 2012.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Please help! Should I take the GMAT now or wait??? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2012, 07:46
IR scoring won't have an established baseline for what is good for top programs for some time.

The main difference is the prep you will need to give for IR. If that doesn't matter, then schedule the test when "you're ready". If you'd rather avoid the extra prep, then try to get through and schedule a test before the new test is released.

In any case, you should take a practice test, as the best way to prep is move from your weakest section up, as your score is only as good as your weakest section.
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Re: Please help! Should I take the GMAT now or wait??? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2012, 07:53
Is the diagnostic in the OG good enough to be considered a practice test? I was planning on taking that today.

By the way, thanks everyone who has responded.
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Re: Please help! Should I take the GMAT now or wait??? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2012, 07:56
Let me also note that I currently work in Marketing/Advertising, so I don't really deal with numbers or logic. I don't have a specific timeline on when I want to go to grad school, but the sooner the better. Maybe next fall.
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Re: Please help! Should I take the GMAT now or wait??? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2012, 07:57
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Vixen wrote:
Is the diagnostic in the OG good enough to be considered a practice test? I was planning on taking that today.

By the way, thanks everyone who has responded.


It's good enough to get a sense of the types of questions you'll see and where you general comfort/discomfort is.

Best measure would be the GMAT Prep software - for which by the way - a new version was just released.

You can download the software here: http://www.gmatpill.com/gmat-prep-about ... reasoning/
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Re: Please help! Should I take the GMAT now or wait??? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2012, 08:02
Okay.. I will take the test by tomorrow and post updates. Thanks again!
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Re: Please help! Should I take the GMAT now or wait??? [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2012, 05:45
So I took a GMATPrep practice test, which pretty much answered my question. I will be taking the IR section. I scored a 350 (20Q, 19V). It has been a long time since I've seen a lot of the material, so I just need to refresh my memory. Stay tuned for my comeback story. I am more determined than every to crush this test.
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Re: Please help! Should I take the GMAT now or wait???   [#permalink] 07 Apr 2012, 05:45
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