I beat the GMAT!

I wrote my GMAT at 9 AM this morning:

  Scaled Score Percentile
Quantitative 47 82
Verbal 45 98
Total 740 98

YAY! I knew from practice tests that I was going to be up in that range, but I wasn’t sure how much the actual test was going to differ from practice tests. To give you an idea of where a 740 is: it’s generally understood that you’re expected to have above a 700, or at least a high 600s with substantial work experience, to apply to the ranked American business schools like Stanford (average 707), Harvard (712), and Wharton (700). The maximum possible score is 800, and the maximum theoretical score on each section is 60, although the maximum score they actually give out on each section is 51.

Now, I’m not applying to ranked American business schools, though; Canadian schools are a bit of a different world, because Canadians who want a Stanford-class MBA just try to get in at Stanford. The top-tier Canadian b-schools are a bit lower: Schulich (York)’s is 670, Ivey (Western) is 660, and Queen’s‘s is 650.

Even then, the University of Ottawa isn’t quite top-tier, although it’s respectable enough, and that’s where I’m hoping to head. Average GMAT there was 615, with the middle 80% range falling between 550 and 700. (Carleton is out of the question, because their program is… atypical.)

So a 740 is very good for my application. It’s not all I need to get in, of course; they also assess my work experience (should be fine, I think), academic transcript (shiny, with one dull spot that I’m not too worried about because it’s before I switched from music into honours sociology), reference letters (need to nag people, but otherwise good), and letter of intent (haven’t started). But it will certainly help.

The test itself went pretty well. The math section seemed a bit easier than it did on the practice tests, but since my math score was a little higher, I think that was more because I’d got over a bit of a plateau in my last few days of studying than because it was actually feeding me easier questions. (Easier questions mean you’ve got more hard questions wrong, which mean a lower score at the end.) Only one of them completely, utterly stumped me, and I think it was an experimental question that didn’t count anyhow; it was just too ambiguously phrased to be otherwise. (The testing company inserts potential future questions into current tests, so they can tell what difficulty to put it at.)  Verbal was always easy for me, and I consider 45 to be a bit low, but I’ll take it.

I should list my practice test results here, for other GMAT students who come across this in Google or something: I only did two, both GMATPrep, and got 730 both times: one 45Q, 46V and the other 42Q, 48V. Incidentally, if I’d managed that 48V today, I’d have probably got a 760. I’ll take my 740 anyway.

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