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Worth Studying Extra for 800 Score?

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Worth Studying Extra for 800 Score?  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2019, 15:41
Hello, I have a question for those of you with opinions and experience regarding M7 admissions. I have plans to perhaps apply to business schools in a year or two, and I have have scored highly on the two free official practice GMATS. I have quite a bit of free time, and I am considering studying my butt off to get a perfect 800 score. I believe this score will be possible if I put some serious study time in and perhaps take the test a few times (and cancel the non-800s).

I know the conventional wisdom is that beyond 760, your score doesn't matter much, and it's not worth the extra effort to go from say 760 to 800. I have seen many experts say this online and I don't mean to question their judgement, but does anyone have evidence that this is indeed the case? Top schools publish their score ranges online, and tend to care a lot about these statistics. This past year, Harvard reports at least one incoming student with an 800 whereas Stanford's highest is 790. My naive assumption would be that Harvard is pretty happy to have that 800 on their page and Stanford would like to have one. An 800 score vs a 780 might make up for an otherwise average application... I know schools care a lot about their published statistics. Could it be worth putting in hundreds of hours just to move up higher in the 99th percentile?

Is my thinking at all reasonable, or am I being totally silly? Thanks for any opinions or advice!
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New post 20 Aug 2019, 16:05
WPark wrote:
Hello, I have a question for those of you with opinions and experience regarding M7 admissions. I have plans to perhaps apply to business schools in a year or two, and I have have scored highly on the two free official practice GMATS. I have quite a bit of free time, and I am considering studying my butt off to get a perfect 800 score. I believe this score will be possible if I put some serious study time in and perhaps take the test a few times (and cancel the non-800s).

I know the conventional wisdom is that beyond 760, your score doesn't matter much, and it's not worth the extra effort to go from say 760 to 800. I have seen many experts say this online and I don't mean to question their judgement, but does anyone have evidence that this is indeed the case? Top schools publish their score ranges online, and tend to care a lot about these statistics. This past year, Harvard reports at least one incoming student with an 800 whereas Stanford's highest is 790. My naive assumption would be that Harvard is pretty happy to have that 800 on their page and Stanford would like to have one. An 800 score vs a 780 might make up for an otherwise average application... I know schools care a lot about their published statistics. Could it be worth putting in hundreds of hours just to move up higher in the 99th percentile?

Is my thinking at all reasonable, or am I being totally silly? Thanks for any opinions or advice!


For MBA programs that spend their time and money in advertising and market relations, GMAT numbers may matter. This is more true of business Masters programs.

PhD programs do not look for perfect scores or anything close to perfection. Although a "higher" score is preferable to a "lower" one, the definitions and scope of these terms vary. In these programs, research abilities are very important. Indeed, an applicant who has spent much of their time and money obtaining a perfect score may raise questions in committee meetings.

A larger question is why do people focus on a single number? Such focus reveals that many people do not understand the statistical nature of the test. The test has +-40 points margin of error (which could fluctuate). This means actual scores are only approximations to "real" scores.

It is frustrating to see people and even programs focus upon and highlight single numbers in tests. It is alluring to believe that somehow a single number defines a candidate or a situation.

This is simply false from scientific and philosophical perspectives (among others). And this causes harm.

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New post 20 Aug 2019, 16:19
I don't think anyone believes that a GMAT score "defines a candidate" or that the test is somehow a perfect, zero-error predictor of student performance. But scores are correlated with success and admissions offices certainly pay attention to it. All I'm wondering is how much of a leg up an 800 could give over a lower score.
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New post 22 Aug 2019, 17:20
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Hi WPark,

The simple answer is that if you believe that you can score 800, then go for it! However, if after studying for some time, you score, say, 760 or 780, you’ll need to decide whether your time would be better spent continuing to study for the GMAT or working on the other parts of your application.
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Re: Worth Studying Extra for 800 Score?  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Aug 2019, 15:01
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WPark wrote:
Hello, I have a question for those of you with opinions and experience regarding M7 admissions. I have plans to perhaps apply to business schools in a year or two, and I have have scored highly on the two free official practice GMATS. I have quite a bit of free time, and I am considering studying my butt off to get a perfect 800 score. I believe this score will be possible if I put some serious study time in and perhaps take the test a few times (and cancel the non-800s).

I know the conventional wisdom is that beyond 760, your score doesn't matter much, and it's not worth the extra effort to go from say 760 to 800. I have seen many experts say this online and I don't mean to question their judgement, but does anyone have evidence that this is indeed the case? Top schools publish their score ranges online, and tend to care a lot about these statistics. This past year, Harvard reports at least one incoming student with an 800 whereas Stanford's highest is 790. My naive assumption would be that Harvard is pretty happy to have that 800 on their page and Stanford would like to have one. An 800 score vs a 780 might make up for an otherwise average application... I know schools care a lot about their published statistics. Could it be worth putting in hundreds of hours just to move up higher in the 99th percentile?

Is my thinking at all reasonable, or am I being totally silly? Thanks for any opinions or advice!


Well, I guess, there is some truth in what you say: 800 is an outstanding result, and it definetely has a higher weight than 770 for example. However, it requires way to much effort, which can be spend on improvement of your CV and letters. The latter two thing are more likely to bring results.
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Re: Worth Studying Extra for 800 Score?   [#permalink] 26 Aug 2019, 15:01
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