…retaking the GMAT or GRE?
Now, we totally don’t wish this test on anybody. We know that it’s not much fun.
If you applied in Round 1 and have not yet gotten at least two interview invitations…
OR even if you did!!
It might be an opportune time to look at the totality of your application strategy.
Obviously if you already have a 164+164 GRE or a 750+ GMAT then no, this advice does not apply to you.
A score being “good enough” is a subjective call that depends on all the factors that go into your profile. (If you want to know how those factors play out for you specifically, our Comprehensive Profile Review is designed exactly for that.)
There are lots of moving parts with GMAT and GRE and this year, more parts than ever are moving!
Some schools, as you know, aren’t even requiring a standardized test as part of your app.
In addition, the admissions teams know that test centers aren’t open for testing in all places, and that at-home tests may not be as reliable as the test-center-administered versions are.
Because of all of these realities, test scores are being evaluated differently this year, and should not be the be-all/end-all datapoint in admissions decisions as they seemingly have been in past seasons.
But if you’re someone who, for example, submitted to a school that has a late-test-accepted policy such as Harvard implemented this season — what we called a “test extension” where you got your Round 1 app in and told them you would send in a test score later…
OR if you informed the admissions team on your app that you were retesting and you still haven’t quite managed to get the retest accomplished…
Well guess what?
NOW IS YOUR TIME!
This is the ideal window of opportunity for anyone who has:
a) submitted in Round 1 knowing the test score wasn’t quite as high as they wanted, and vowed to knuckle down and re-do the test in order to improve chances for Round 2
b) not submitted anywhere yet and have been planning for Round 2 all along
We’re at the end of October people.
The end of October!
Can you believe it??
The season is moving quickly.
If you’re going to put in the effort for studying for a test score improvement, THIS IS WHEN YOU NEED TO DO IT.
If you’re going to be applying in Round 2, then you’ll need to be kicking into essay-writing gear in the near future — especially if you haven’t submitted any apps yet at all. If Round 2 will be your first experience writing essays, then you need to plan for it to take longer than you expect.
In other words: Now is your time to recognize that there isn’t actually as much time as you thought!
The other big caution is for anyone who’s got apps in for Round 1, and even if you’re already interviewing, we’re expecting the waitlist to be used liberally at all of the top schools this season. That’s going to hit lots of BSers really hard in December. You cannot count on anything until it’s done. No matter how strong your essays turned out or how quickly that interview invite showed up in your inbox, or how much you connected with your interviewer over zoom, you just don’t know if it’s going to turn into an admit in your pocket until it’s arrived.
No chicken-counting when all there is are eggs.*
Anyway. This is officially putting those of you on notice who are likely not wanting to be notified: If you know you have a GMAT or GRE test in your future, then that future is likely closer than you expect. Getting crackin’ on some test prep, starting now, would be advised!
If you’re in the U.S., then the ramp-up to Round 2 may be easier for some of you this year than it typically is for Brave Supplicants, because your family may have already decided that there will be no big Thanksgiving or holiday gatherings — which could mean that you will be staying home and not interrupting your study/writing schedule with travel multiple times before the January deadlines are here.
Staying home does not automatically equate to putting in productive time studying, but at least you might have more uninterrupted stretches of time to leverage for the tasks at hand.
And also we obviously hope that your Round 1 apps turn into straight-through admits, and no further applications will be needed!
This is just the requisite warning, to put you on alert that the calendar pages are indeed turning, and at some point coming fairly soon, even this seemingly endless year of 2020 will be at an end.
If you have been planning in the back of your mind to take another shot at the GMAT or GRE, then move that plan to the forefront. The time is here to get in the groove and make that bad boy happen.
*English is weird; that sentence seems like it might actually be grammatically correct but it’s possible that it totally is not! In case it waasn’t clear, it’s our attempt to play cute with that idiom about counting chickens before they’re hatched.
Tell us what you think.