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When should you give the GMAT?

by Emel

Students, who plan to visit the Business School in the immediate or far away future, often face the dilemma of when they should give the GMAT. In fact this is one of the most frequently asked questions by those eyeing Business School. The answer to this depends on a number of factors.

One of the above-mentioned factors is, looking into what the GMAT tests. GMAT is the Graduate Management Admissions Test. It measures an individual’s ability, to think and recall under pressure, to remember and apply various problem-solving strategies and to navigate through a novel arrangement of somewhat familiar patterns within the given time constraints.

Thus, it is not an IQ test; neither is it a cultural test. By no means does it gauge your knowledge of economics, accounts, marketing, management or finance. It cannot test your soft business skills in terms of your work ethics or your ability to negotiate either. It just measure your ability to solve problems within a given time constraint and under pressure; consequently it requires no business knowledge. Most of the quant section of the GMAT is composed of the topics covered in high school. Thus, it does not really require the knowledge of College level math courses.

The other important factor to consider when making this decision is considering how long it remains valid. Since the GMAT remains valid for five years, even if you take it during your second or third year of college, you can still apply to business school more than a couple of years after graduating. Thus, even if you have given the GMAT while still in school, you still have a few years window after graduating, to acquire crucial work experience.

Moreover, the earlier you take the GMAT, the fresher the concepts that you studied during your high school will be. Thus, relearning the concepts will be easier if the test is given early on. The basic math principles of algebra, trigonometry, geometry and statistics, which are tested in the GMAT, may also be revised in the early years of college granted that you take some intro level math courses.

Conclusively, it is best to take the GMAT while you are in your second or third year of college. This will not only mean that the concepts tested are likely to be fresh in your mind, but given the five year validity of the test, you will also have the time to gather ample work experience that may be required for you to apply to business school.