I was hoping that some of you seasoned admissions consultants can shed some light on the relative importance of the GMAT vs GPA in admissions officers' decision-making. Before delving into the specifics of my question, note that I'm intending to apply to the top 5-7 programs (Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, etc).
I graduated from a Tier 1 (top 15) university with a 3.9 GPA, which seems to be above the mean for all of the top b-schools. I also hold a Masters degree from a top international university, and received honors for my work. (Might also be worth noting that I'll have 3 years of solid work experience by the time I submit my applications, and 4 years by the time I enroll.)
While I'm still planning to give the GMAT everything I've got, I am not particularly skilled at taking standardized tests so getting to 700+ is going to take some serious determination (I'm hitting 670 on practice tests 4 weeks into my prep).
So here's my question: in the event that I score in the 660-690 range on test day, would the admissions office likely overlook this "below average" score given my strong academic performance? Or would you recommend that I re-take the test?
Many thanks in advance for your responses.
690 wouldn't be a low score. Depending on your demographic profile, others like you might score higher but their GPA might not be as strong, or they may have other opportunities in their profile. In your case, a high GPA both for your undergraduate and master's degrees, a good GMAT and solid work experience will work in your favor.
It's also worth noting that a high GPA is a result of years of effort while a standardized test is over 4 hours. AdComs understand that. If your final score is what you think it will be, you might be better served by focusing your efforts on other components of your application.
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