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Should I talk about the GMAT in my application?

Today, Yael Redelman-Sidi, founder of Admit1MBA, explains when it’s a good idea to mention your GMAT scores in your b-school application, and when it’s best to leave this info out of the conversation.

You’re done with the GMAT, and now it’s time to put your best score on your application for Harvard, Columbia, UNC or Tuck and let the admissions committees at these school make their decisions. If your GMAT score is below the average for the school, or if you aren’t happy with the results, you’re probably considering writing an optional essay about it and explaining why you didn’t score as high as you should have.

Here are a few rules to follow:

GMAT score above 700

If your GMAT score is above 700, there’s really no point in writing an optional essay describing the difficulties you had with the test. This is a decent score, and while it is a little below the average of some top schools (Stanford with 730, Wharton with 718), this score does not require any explanation, so don’t annoy the schools by forcing them to read another essay.


GMAT score close to or below the 80% Range

If your GMAT score is in this zone, you are right to be worried that it is going to have a significant impact on your chances of being admitted to the program. If the school offers a space to talk about additional considerations and factors impacting your profile, you should use this opportunity to explain why you didn’t do well on the exam, and find other ways to show your strengths in areas such as analytical skills, academic aptitude and decision-making (all of which are tested by the GMAT).


What if I took the test multiple times? What if I’m an engineer? What if I’m applying from a super-competitive pool (India, China)?  

Yes, there are special conditions that might require you to look beyond your GMAT score and the average data for your target schools. Try to get an objective evaluation of your chances, taking into consideration your academic performance, work experience, and the trends and breakdown of your GMAT score.


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