That Guy Who Got a 740 GMAT Score

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If you know a lot of people headed to business school, odds are you know someone who spent about three days studying, stayed out late the night before the test, and scored a 740 on the GMAT.

If you're reading this site, odds are you're not that person, and it's also probable that you're going to spend a lot more time preparing for the test. For some people, it's difficult to accept the fact that some "really smart" people can waltz in to a test center and get a gold-plated GMAT score while other "really smart" people don't do that well after three months and multiple attempts.

There's only so much I can say to make you feel better, or to help you stay motivated. But I'm going to try anyway.

First off, put "that guy" out of your mind, and remember that your score, and your chances at acceptance at the business school of your choice, are dependent only on you. That's easier said than done, but it's the most important thing to remember.

Next, consider the overall population of your peers. "That guy" is getting talked about so much because he's an anomaly. If everyone got a 95th percentile score with zero effort, nobody would think it worth mentioning. (And it wouldn't be a 95th percentile score, but that's a different subject altogether.)

Your peers don't talk about the folks who spent two or three months working with a tutor or taking a class because...well, that's what just about everybody does. The GMAT is a difficult test. If success for you equates with a 680 or better score, it may be the toughest exam you'll ever take. From my time at a major test prep company, I can tell you that a lot of people who spend weeks or months studying for the GMAT never even take the test.

Finally, to the extent you think about "that guy," focus on what you can do to be more like him (or her). After months of studying, you'll have a lot of nerves to control of test day. A person who spends two days studying doesn't.

Again, this is something easier said than done, but once you set foot in the GMAT testing center, all you can do is relax and do your best. The more you try to really focus and try extra hard, the more difficult you'll make it for yourself. Try to emulate the laid-back test-taker who has nothing to lose and let your months of diligent studying shine through on the exam.



About the author: Jeff Sackmann has written many GMAT preparation books, including the popular Total GMAT Math, Total GMAT Verbal, and GMAT 111. He has also created explanations for problems in The Official Guide, as well as 1,800 practice GMAT math questions.

Total GMAT Math

The comprehensive guide to the GMAT Quant section. It's "far and away the best study material available," including over 300 realistic practice questions and more than 500 exercises!
Click to read more.