Why You Should Take The GMAT as an Undergrad
Natalie Alvarez spent roughly $2,000 preparing for the GMAT. The Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized test used to admit students into business graduate school. Alvarez took the GMAT in 2009 and wasn’t happy with her score, so she received tutoring– rather pricy tutoring.
“I had found that I have forgotten almost all of the material I learned [as an undergraduate],” said the graduate student at Concordia University in Irvine. “It wasn’t just that I was two years removed from school, but five years removed from relevant math classes I took my freshman year. I am a firm believer that had I taken the GMAT while still in school, with material fresh in my mind, my scores would have been better.”
Recent data shows that she’s probably right. Studies from the Graduate Management Admission Council, the organization that conducts the GMAT, found that undergrads generally do better. Twenty and 21-year olds who are presumably still in school, on average, score 39 points more than 23- and 24-year olds.
“Being in school while prepping for the GMAT might give you an edge because your schedule is much more flexible while in college,” said founder of test prep firm Prepped & Polished, Alexis Avila. “So it’s easier to find time to study, and the test material should be fresher in your mind given some likely overlap with your existing coursework.”
The GMAT isn’t your average standardized test, and most who have taken it would argue that it was the most difficult test they had ever taken. While the majority of students dread the quantitative section, a combination of arithmetic and algebra, David Ingber, a GMAT instructor for Knewton’s GMAT prep course, says students should spend an equal amount of time on the verbal section.
“People still know how to read—and people read all of the time pretty much no matter what your job is—but reading critically, answering critical reading questions, and really focusing on very meticulous grammar can be a really difficult thing for people who are a few years out of college,” Ingber said. “People tend to focus on the math, but reading dense passages and trying to draw information out of them can be just as difficult, if not more so.”
My advice is, if the thought of business grad school merely lingers in your mind, take the GMAT while you’re still an undergrad. The cost to take the GMAT is $250, so study seriously. It may seem pricy now, but it’s better than spending $2,000 in tutoring for those post-grad memory relapses.
Via US News