STANDARDIZED TESTING is part of a bigger series of posts: Applying to Harvard Business School
The GMAT or the GRE? Top business schools accept both so don’t just limit yourself to the GMAT. If you’re not worried about the exam registration fee, then register and take both. Submit the one that you do better on - that’s what I did at least (although my own story was less practically thought out and more a crazy whirlwind of spontaneity).
The only problem with taking both is that you have to prepare for both.
Personally though, I think the GRE is much simpler to prepare for, so if you’re short on time then that’s the one to pick. The GRE reminds me of the SATs in format and certain question types. There’s less prep work needed because it’s almost like any other standardized test you’ve taken growing up. Everything considered, the GRE is the easier test when considering structure and content.
The GMAT, however, is generally more difficult for students. During the test, questions get progressively harder, and if they’re getting easier, then it means you’re getting questions wrong and your score is going down. You can’t skip around if you get stuck, and if you don’t finish the section, then you get heavily penalized. It’s a really odd structure, and one you probably haven’t faced before. Also, the question types aren’t the usual SAT types. There’s a lot to learn and prep for IMO, if you want to take the GMAT. It might months to start doing well on the GMAT; it’ll take weeks in comparison to prep for the GRE.
One sidenote: I think the one writing section on the GMAT is easier to get a good score on in comparison to the two writing sections on the GRE. However, that doesn’t really matter because none of the scores care about your writing score - by submitting an application to an MBA program, you’re already providing them with a few writing samples. So don’t take the writing sections into account when deciding which exam to take.
Now if you do about the same on both the GMAT and the GRE, submit your GMAT score. It’s the test score that the business school wants to see. The GRE seems like its an easier and less relevant exam whereas the GMAT shows your commitment to getting an MBA and your determination to deal with and do well on a difficult exam.
But at the end of the day, its your score that really matters. SO if you’re short on time and find yourself doing better on the GRE, then take the GRE.
For your application, you just want the best score possible for you, regardless of which exam you take.
So it’s that time of year where seniors in college are trying to figure out what’s next. It’s a scary time, I hated being there myself two years ago (it’s been that long?!?)
One of the biggest weights on my mind September 2012 was applying to Harvard Business School’s 2+2 program. I had known other people who had applied there and gotten in, and to me it seemed I could not dare to dream the same dreams. I’m not sure where that doubt in myself stemmed from - maybe because I’m a girl in tech or because Harvard’s acceptance rate had just dropped to 10% or because I knew the caliber of fellow MIT applicants I’d be competing against.
Regardless, it seemed a pipe dream. I used to think to myself, is it even worth applying and stressing myself out? Why apply just to get rejected?
I’m sure you’ve all heard it before, but if you don’t apply at all, then the chance of getting accepted is a guaranteed 0%.
So, since I was accepted to HBS, I’ve encouraged each and every person I know to apply because not applying is an automatic rejection. Because of that, last September and this past month, I’ve been getting emails and calls from younger friends looking for advice on how to apply in the best possible way.
And I’m more than happy to help by divulging on my own experience. To make it easier for everyone, I think documenting all my thoughts is probably better than having the same conversation over and over again orally.
So, there are five main parts to applying:
- Standardized Testing
tl;dr: take the GMAT and the GRE; submit the one you do better unless you do about the same in which case pick the GMAT
- Essay/the Application
I’ll just go in order. Posts to come, and then I’ll link them here.
I don’t know much about Edge of Tomorrow but first Pacific Rim and now this movie… I’m so glad action movies are starting to make women main characters as well, and not just sexualized main characters. The next step is to add more women (seriously, do action movies realize they can have more than one female character?) and to add way more WOC of all types. Keep moving forward, Hollywood.
— My friend Emma on Facebook
— Emil Ludwig