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Do you address below average GMAT score in optional essay?

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Do you address below average GMAT score in optional essay?   [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 18:27
Hi all,

I feel I'm in a bit of a bind with my b-school applications. I'm applying round 2 which for many schools is in the next 2-3 weeks.

However, I scored below the average GMAT on my first attempt - 600. In some cases my score is within the middle 80% range but should I address my GMAT score in the optional essay or don't mention it at all? If so, how should I go about addressing it?

And what about in the cases where my GMAT is both below the average and outside the middle 80%? How should I treat that?

I have a pretty strong GPA of 3.9 in int'l business and finance from an accredited 4yr US university. Could this help to balance out my low GMAT score - particularly in quant (34) as I aced all my quant courses in undergrad?

Appreciate any honest feedback!

Thank you.


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Re: Do you address below average GMAT score in optional essay?  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 19:05
Are you taking the GMAT again? Or you have taken it twice? is that what you mean by "my first GMAT attempt"?
Usually, if you have several scores and unless you get 600 and 750 on the second one, you don't really need to explain anything.
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Re: Do you address below average GMAT score in optional essay?  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 19:26
Hi bb thanks for your reply. I've only taken the GMAT once but I'm planning to take it again but since the exam is in two weeks (there are only 2 exam dates in January at my test centre) and I'm working on apps - 3 of which are all due 1 week before the test and 1 on test day itself, I'm not confident in being able to dedicate the amount of time I need on GMAT in order to really improve my score.

I'm considering rescheduling to the later exam date - Jan 23rd but will need to confirm with the schools if that's fine first. Beyond that, there are no other dates until end of February which is too late.

That being said, I'm applying with the 600 as that's the score I have and if I manage to significantly improve my score on the retake - I will submit my updated score. By that point though I wouldn't be able to add anything to my optional essay so was wondering if I needed to address the 600 score up front now...?


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Re: Do you address below average GMAT score in optional essay?  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 19:31
Not an expert here, but something to consider - do you have anything else worthy of needing explanation in that optional essay? Is the GMAT truly your biggest application weakness?
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New post 26 Dec 2017, 19:47
Yes, I believe it is my biggest application weakness.

I plan to mention choice of recommender in the optional essay as some schools ask for that if current employer isn't used.




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Re: Do you address below average GMAT score in optional essay?  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 20:08
Here are couple of quotes from GMATClub MBA Guide on this topic. In a nutshell, you should address low GMAT in the optional essay only if you think your current GMAT score does not reflect your caliber and explain the circumstances that affected your exam score.

Page #101; Reapplicants.
Quote:
The Optimal Approach to Your Optional Essay
When brainstorming ideas for that optional essay, make sure that you cannot address the material elsewhere in the application. I frequently see the topic, “What I can contribute to your program.” This is an example of a topic that really should be addressed all throughout your application, and often fits well into the primary essay about goals and program selection. As a result it feels superfluous and redundant when used for the optional essay. In the second scenario described above you really need to be careful to follow their directions. The following is general advice and needs to be taken within the context of your overall strategy and the school that you are looking at. However, in GENERAL, the following topics are good material for this type of optional essay:
1) Explaining gaps in work experience
2) Explaining choice of recommender
3) Explaining extenuating circumstances effecting GPA, GMAT or other aspects of your profile. This does not mean that you need to explain why you received a 3.5 one quarter as opposed to your usual 3.8. Extenuating circumstances means that something happened that significantly impacted your application. Perhaps there was a family crisis, or you were experiencing health problems. If your GPA dipped during this time, it would be very important for the admissions committee to know this.



Page #106; When to submit an optional essay.
Quote:
Topics to include in most optional essays
There are some topics that a school will expect you to address in the optional essay and examples of these are poor grades in college (or in other higher ed programs), low GMAT score, breaks in education or employment, and recommenders who are not your managers. Hopefully you have an explanation for these, especially poor grades, which does not come across as an excuse. You should keep these explanations brief and if there’s something that you have done to address these issues, this is the place to include that information.

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Re: Do you address below average GMAT score in optional essay?  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 20:40
Thanks for sharing Narenn! That guide looks extremely helpful.

With respect to the low GMAT score, I'm struggling as to how would I go about explaining it without it sounding like an excuse?


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Re: Do you address below average GMAT score in optional essay?  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 20:50
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Hi JAE18,

if you do not have a compelling reason for your GMAT score, I would recommend you to simply state that the score does not represent you well, and that you are planning on retaking the GMAT. You could use your outstanding GPA to support this. If possible, in the optional essay, share the dates of your new test as well.

Good luck!
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Re: Do you address below average GMAT score in optional essay?  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 21:24
alexruizlee wrote:
Hi JAE18,

if you do not have a compelling reason for your GMAT score, I would recommend you to simply state that the score does not represent you well, and that you are planning on retaking the GMAT. You could use your outstanding GPA to support this. If possible, in the optional essay, share the dates of your new test as well.

Good luck!


Thanks for your feedback!


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Re: Do you address below average GMAT score in optional essay? &nbs [#permalink] 26 Dec 2017, 21:24
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