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I posted a thread a little while back about wanting to retake the GMAT. Last year (July '11) I took the GMAT and got a 700, Q48 V38 AWA5.5. I wasn't upset with the score but I wasn't happy. I applied to a number of schools last year (all top programs) and didn't have much luck. I got 1 interview, which resulted in a waitlist, and 6 dings w/o interview. I know this is not purely because of my GMAT, and my GPA was a 3.5, so I think it was more to do with the essays and just entire application. Either way, I felt a higher GMAT wouldn't hurt.
In a bit of a cram, I began studying again and booked a test ~3 weeks out, as it was the last date I could make before the test change. I worked through the Manhattan books, and took the two GMAT practice tests last Saturday and Sunday. I scored a 730 and 740, respectively, with Q50 V40 both times. I expected similar at the rest test this past Thursday.
Unfortunately, it just wasn't a great day or test for me. My timing was off and I wasn't feeling particularly confident. I ended up with a 700 again, but with a Q50 V35 breakdown. I was stunned at how poorly I did in verbal. I always ranged bw 38-40. So, I'm not really sure how to feel. I'm a finance guy (back office hedge fund, 4.5 yrs exp) with a Math degree, looking to go into IBanking and pitching myself as a strong quant guy. Therefore, obviously the Q50 is great. I'm just worried that the V35 will look low. My main question is that if I don't decide to take the test again, would it be better to go with the latter score with the stronger quant but larger gap as opposed to the former, more balanced but lower quant score? I'm leaning toward the new score, feeling that a Q50 is much more impressive than the V35 is negative (compared to a V38). Also, my top programs are Columbia, Wharton, Booth and Stern, all of which I've heard are a bit more quant friendly.
I'd really appreciate some input on this. I do plan to hire a consultant this time around for some of the applications and will eventually discuss this with them, however I'm still in the processes of researching and picking the company to go with.
My main question is that if I don't decide to take the test again, would it be better to go with the latter score with the stronger quant but larger gap as opposed to the former, more balanced but lower quant score? I'm leaning toward the new score, feeling that a Q50 is much more impressive than the V35 is negative (compared to a V38).
It won't really matter. The scores are roughly equivalent and when you send your GMAT score report to all these schools, they will see both scores anyways. That said, think about your profile and decide which score would best round you out. Contrary to your thoughts, if I were you, I'd self-report the higher verbal score since it will be assumed you have good quant chops based on your undergraduate and work experience. Just my two cents.
Not sure if it helps any, but I just got my AWA score and it was a 6.0. That's up from a 5.5 on my first take.
Unfortunately test day throws up some bad surprises!
I agree with your own analysis of the situation- go with the latest test and the higher Quant score. You can prove your good communication skills through the essays, and hopefully the interview thereafter.
You are applying to programs known for their finance specialization, and your career goals are related to finance. Good quant skills will speak volumes for you.
As you are applying to highly competitive courses, I agree that you should underscore the importance of a solid overall application- this could have been the area where you lacked last year. So, go all out in getting this aspect right, with special focus on : career goals, why XYZ school and why you fit in there.
the schools will see all of your GMAT scores. whatever you decide to "submit" is what's used for their own reporting, but the adcom will see everything.
in my judgment, there's not a big gap between the two scores, so the adcom will see this as your "true" set point in this area. given your background, your career goals, and the programs you're choosing, i'd say this is not a huge concern.
your challenge will be to present a truly humanized version of who you are in your essays. you could come across as kind of robotic given your background and career goals, so be sure to include a lot of self reflection and insight into your essays. this will demonstrate leadership potential, maturity, and team skills, which will be what the adcom looks for given your obvious strength with analytics and quant. and even though the programs you're targeting aren't "known" for these traits, they are still foundational across all the b schools.
hope this helps, -James Young
http://www.TheFirstRead.com Former Kellogg adcom member, offering a new approach to MBA Admissions Consulting.