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When to Re-take the GMAT?

When to Re-take the GMAT? - JobTestPrep's Blog
People tend to obsess over their GMAT score, but more often than you might expect, re-taking the GMAT isn't necessary. This is the case for three major reasons:

1) The GMAT is a bit less important to MBA program admissions than many realize – the GMAT is just one of many factors. For example, the personal essays are probably as important. 

 As a reminder, those factors include:

  • Undergraduate school, major, and GPA
  • GMAT score
  • Personal essays
  • Recommendations
  • Business, leadership, and community service experience
2) Most applicants don’t have unlimited time to study for the GMAT – there are always trade-offs in deciding to take the test again, including being unable to spend that time working on your aforementioned essays.

3) If you've already done a good amount of studying, especially if you’ve already worked with a private tutor or taken a good class, you have to be realistic about how much runway you have to improve your GMAT score.

Ultimately, this article will provide 5 potential reasons that you should consider re-taking the GMAT. However, to hammer home the above three points about why you may not need to, I’d like to provide a personal example.

I worked with an individual, let’s call him Frank, who had attended Northwestern University and majored in Mathematics, was promoted rapidly at our consulting firm, and scored a 760 on the GMAT. He was also a genuinely great guy and a natural leader who was also involved in a variety of community service related activities. He was not accepted into Kellogg’s MBA program at Northwestern University. I worked at the same firm and was promoted less rapidly, attended Indiana University, and scored a 710 on the GMAT. Frank, in fact, was sort of my boss. However, I was accepted at Kellogg, and Frank was not. The difference, I suggest, was clearly the essays. I somehow must have better explained why I wanted an MBA from Kellogg and what I was going to do with it in my essays, even though Frank went to a better undergraduate school, had a similar job, and scored significantly higher on the GMAT.

That said, I recognize the GMAT remains an area of intense focus and a source of significant stress for many applicants. Certainly it is important, and it’s one area where the playing field is level. No matter where you went to school or what your job is, everyone takes the same GMAT, and thus MBA schools can easily compare readiness for their MBA curriculum across applicants by using this test. Here are five reasons to re-take the GMAT:

1) If your score is not in the middle 80% of accepted applicants at your target school (s), you should consider re-taking the GMAT. For example, at Kellogg, 80% of individuals score between 660 and 760. So, if you scored a 640, you will be at a disadvantage, and should consider retaking the GMAT.

2) Your scores on timed practice tests were significantly better than your actual score. If you know you scored 700+ on all of your practice tests, but scored a 660 on the actual test, you’re still in the middle 80th percentile range, per point 1. However, there is clear evidence you can do significantly better. So, you should consider retaking the GMAT.

3) You didn't really study. Some people can perform really well on the GMAT without much studying. However, most can’t. When I sat down to study for the test, I couldn't remember the rules of triangles well enough to answer most of the trigonometry questions on the test. If you haven’t taken a class, worked with a tutor, or at least dedicated 2-4 hours a week for at least 6 weeks and taken several practice tests, you can probably do much better on the GMAT after study appropriately for it. It’s not an IQ test – you can and should prepare for it.

4) You are trying to compensate for other areas of weakness in your application. If you are an English major and have not taken a class that’s quantitative in nature since high school, you need to score well on the quantitative section of the GMAT. In that case, if you’re trying to go to a top 20 US MBA program, you should be scoring in the 80th percentile or better on the quant section.

5) If you have a really imbalanced score on the GMAT, you might consider re-taking it. Business schools are looking for well-rounded applicants who can think critically, engage with data, and communicate well. If you scored reasonably well on the GMAT by completely acing one section and struggling through the other, you might consider re-taking it. Schools may not accept your overall score at face value if your scores on each section are really imbalanced.

What are your thoughts on the GMAT? Do you have any questions about whether/when to re-take the test? Let us know.

About the author:  Mark Skoskiewicz is a graduate of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL near Chicago, one of the top 10 MBA programs in the U.S. He’s also the Founder of MyGuru, a provider of in-person and online 1-1 tutoring and test prep. MyGuru maintains a GMAT blog and provides customized, GMAT tutoring. Mark can be reached at

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New Video Tutorial Guides for Ratios, Percentages and Tips

New Video Tutorials for all Numerical Reasoning Test Preparation -
Here at JobTestPrep we know that learning is done through two important tools – practicing and learning. At JobTestPrep we are always looking for new ways to make learning easier – so we have created new video tutorial guides. Here we talk you through concepts such as ratios, percentages, time saving tips and advanced topics such as inflation.

What is does a video tutorial contain?

We explain the basics of a concept and show you how it applies in numerical reasoning tests. That is, after an explanation of each concept we will present you with relevant examples from our practice packs. We work through the example using the material pre-explained, so that you can be sure how to get to the answer. The examples get progressively more difficult as you work through the tutorial – from beginner to advanced difficulty levels.

Where can I buy these packages?

These video tutorials will be added to all relevant packages for free! This includes all numerical reasoning test preparation packages, including out numerical reasoning package, numerical and verbal package and all full packages.

We are confident that this extra help can make a change in the way you perceive numerical reasoning concepts. Looking forward to having you on board!

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How to Sell Yourself Effectively in an Interview

How to Sell Yourself Effectively in an Interview - JobTestPrep's BlogIt is easy to have a casual attitude towards interviews, particularly if you have attended many in the past. However, you may find this isn’t working anymore. Why?

The jobs market has changed drastically since the recession forcing recruitment to take a new form. Of course, CVs are still the backbone of any job application, but there are also ways in which to stand out amongst other candidates when it comes to your interview. First impressions count and you will get a very small window to show off what you can offer.

This is why it’s important now more than ever to learn how to ‘sell yourself’ as effectively as you can. Think of it as if you were selling a product to a customer in a store. Remember to keep in mind what you are selling, who you are selling to, and what the unique selling point is.

What are you selling?

Remember that in this situation it is yourself that is the product up for grabs. You want to highlight your strengths to maximise the conversion rate, like you would do if you were selling an item on eBay.

So, how do you make yourself look as good as possible? Firstly ensure that you have the correct qualifications needed for the position. It is true that more employers are looking for people with experience, but for many academic careers, a minimum educational level is a must. If you don’t have the formal qualifications to argue that you’re knowledgeable on a topic, why do you think you’d be good for this position? Make sure you have adequate experience to make up for this.

Alternatively, turn to the internet. There is a wealth of free information online, so although you may not have the means to attend an education establishment, it doesn’t mean you can’t advance your knowledge.

In terms of experience, get out there and get some! It’s important to bear in mind that employers will consider your past performances as an indication of your potential future accomplishments.

Phil McCabe of the Forum of Private Business lobby group has stated that the education system doesn’t produce the right level of work-ready young people.

More than one million 16-24 year olds are now unemployed in Britain and study after study has shown that employers would rather hire someone with some work experience under their belts, than a degree.

If you’re new to the jobs market, try some unpaid work experience. The fact that you have sacrificed your time and money to advance your career prospects speaks volumes to an employer. They don’t always want the finished package. They want someone who will develop and grow within a company. If this is you, state it explicitly in an interview. The employer will be impressed at your straightforward approach and willingness to progress.

What’s most important to a company is proven results. Whether you get this from a previous job or from an unpaid internship, it doesn’t matter. Better yourself, not just for the interview, but for you career in the long term.

Who are you selling to?

Make sure you research the market you are looking to enter. The majority of interviews fails due to a lack of preparation or because of nerves. Kill two birds with one stone here by over-preparing. If you are well researched, you will come across as more confident.

Also think about how you match up against their criteria? Is it a small business? If so, they may want someone who can multi-task and take on more responsibilities from the beginning.

If there is a minimum requirement for the position, then it would be necessary to make sure you pay attention. Recruiters prefer when their instructions are followed. Saying this, if you feel you have ways to make up for a lack of experience, for example, make this clear in your covering letter, and it’s worth a shot.

One way to stand out in your interview is through questions. Look through the job description and other company literature to find relevant questions you could ask.

This shows enthusiasm and confidence. If you ask about the company’s plans, it shows you are thinking about long term plans. Furthermore, asking questions in reference to their website, or business strategy, or press they have received, is evidence that you’ve done your home, and makes a fantastic first impression. You’d be amazed how many people don’t research prior to interviews. Make sure you’re not one of them.

What’s the USP?

Put yourself in the position of the interviewee. What is it that you offer that someone else can’t?They might see a large number of candidates in one day, so find a way to be memorable, whilst professional.

When discussing experience, you don’t always have to reference an employment example. Perhaps an unusual hobby of yours has given you some desirable skills for the job.

There are three Ps to think about when it comes to your USP: Performance (what have you achieved so far in your career?), Potential (what are you capable of in the future?), and Perseverance (enthusiasm can speak volumes).

Go through these prior to the interview and think of evidence where you have shown these traits. If you have any documentation or a portfolio to back it up, always bring it with you.

But most of all, relax and be yourself. Just because the situation is formal, doesn’t mean you can’t be cheerful. Most people are so nervous, showing your smiley bubbly side could be the easy solutions to stand out amongst the crowds.

About the author: This guest post was written by Karen Asbury from The Coaching Academy, the world’s largest training organisation for coaching.

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