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When to take it?

One of the most important things for taking the GMAT test is to ensure that you have plenty of time to prepare. Many candidates take the test as soon as they graduate from university. The benefits of doing so are to take advantage of your studying habits (it gets harder after you have worked for a while) and to make use of your free time. Nothing worse than spending your yearly holidays closed in a room studying for GMAT.

Timing is crucial

Many MBA programmes set the application deadlines for their R1 intake 10-11 months earlier than when the MBA programme starts. You should add another 6 months to allow yourself the chance to take the GMAT, up to three times if necessary, before you submit your application.

Don’t rush into it!

I strongly agree with the idea of taking the exam only after you feel absolutely comfortable with it. If you feel more time will do you good, then hold off.

Once or twice?

Most applicants take GMAT more than once. I took it twice. I improved my results by 120 points, which is a significant difference in GMAT terms. I truly believe that your success on GMAT depends a great deal on how much you practice. You almost need to programme your brain to think in GMAT format.

Key ingredients

Practice, practice, practice.. After a while, you will start to pick up patterns in questions. Most importantly, you will develop an eye for the detail and much needed stamina, which are of utmost importance for succeeding in GMAT.

So when is too many?

Schools tend to look at multiple exams in an unfavourable light but this begins to happen only after the 3rd or 4th time retaking. If you can score mid to high 600’s, have a diverse background, and ensure that you can put together a good application package, then stop! Don’t let GMAT disqualify you but at the same time don’t be a slave of GMAT. Remember your background and your essays are as important as your scores.

Special prep courses

I attended an intensive course from one of the ‘elite providers’ to prepare for GMAT. Frankly, it was a waste of time and waste of money. In fact, I wasted a lot of money that I could do with saving for the MBA.. And I am not alone. Nobody else in my class had a positive opinion about it either. A group of us kept in touch afterwards, and all of us had to retake the exam after a couple of months of self studying.

Prep courses, especially intensive ones, may help you remember the basics. But by all means, don’t expect a magical transformation. I took the GMATPrep mock test before attending the course. After the course I took the official GMAT test for the first time and I improved only 40 points. You could do much better if you allocate your time for good old disciplined self-studying.

Online Resources

Here are some of the online resources I used during my preparation:

Coming soon…

Recommended Books

Coming soon..

GMAT Test Centre Regulations – You have been warned!!

Coming soon..




1. LP - August 9, 2006

Hi, seems like this is going to be a really useful information source. I’m taking the GMAT in the coming month and plan to apply to the b-school where you’re starting. What I’m hoping right now is to be admitted, and I’m looking for any piece of information which might prove helpful for that purpose…
Anyway, thanks for any information you’d feel like posting here.

2. Nisheeth - October 28, 2006

Hello ,

I am Nisheeth from India.

I have given GMAT and TOEFL exam

640(Q-50,V-26)- 80 percentile overall

270 Essay 5.5

About me:

Excellent engineering performance
I have worked for 3 years on missiles IR seeker in one of the premium defence establishments in India. Got an outstanding promotion from scientist’B’ to scientist’C’ in 2006 for my contribution.

Will be joining ST Microelectronics a chip designing company soon in nov 2006
Got an international paper that is under scrutiny for publication

I would like you to advice me considering my scores and profile whether it would be good decision on my part to apply to Insead Or consider giving gmat next year…

Please give a frank advice..

3. InvisibleInk - October 28, 2006

Hi Nisheeth,

GMAT is not the only thing the adcom looks at but you can significantly improve /reduce your chances depending on your score. Based on your profile, I think you would improve your chances of acceptance if you gave yourself more time and took gmat again. 640 is below INSEAD’s desired GMAT score range. They may consider 640-650 (as long as it has a balanced Q/V breakdown), if you have been working for 5+ years and have substantial personal achievements, or if you have unique background that would help increase diversity in the classroom in a way that is not easily achievable otherwise. Even so, there is no guarantee.

INSEAD MBAs have on average 5 years work experience. This means, you still have two more years in front of you before you hit the average. So, take your time. Work for another year, get your publication out, take the GMAT again and use this time to plan your essays. You can then apply on the first round. Since you come from a country with a large pool of applicants, applying early would serve you well.  

4. PrepForTests - November 24, 2006

Great advice, thanks for sharing it.

I’ve added a link to this post to “Tips from successful gmat takers” (http://www.prepfortests.com/gmat/info/tips/successfultakers)


5. M'hamed Chebil - January 2, 2007

i would to take test GMAT quickly ,what i can will do?

6. suri - January 29, 2007

I took my GMAT in Sep 2005 scored a 640 and retook it this Jan, scoring 740. I am an IT Indian candidate. I applied to INSEAD for Mar’06 but was rejected. I wish to reapply for Jan’08 intake. My academic record in Engineering is very average. Over the past 3 years, I have taken professional development courses in business & management and scored well in them.

I would like some tips to ace my application this time to ensure I succeed this time. I find it difficult to find unique points to distinguish myself from the group I belong to.

Any tips would greatly help.

Thanks in advance,

7. InvisibleInk - March 9, 2007


Congrats on your GMAT score. 740 shows that you really wanted to give your best shot. It is obviously very difficult for me to say how should distinguish yourself without knowing anything about you. Try to emphasise any international experience you might have, languages you speak, any achievements you have. You are dead right, just a good GMAT score won’t cut it.

8. Rakesh - March 19, 2007

Dear InvisibleInk,

I took GMAT last week and scored 680(Quant 50, Verbal 31, AWA 4).
I have an engineering backgraound and I am working for a Indian IT company for past 5 years(my total work-ex is 6 years). I have spent >2.5 years out of my home country and have good international experience.
My college grads are not good, just about average.But I was very active in college sports and extra-curricular activities.

It would be great if you could share your thoughts on whether my GMAT score is good enough to get me into Top European B schools such as LBS or INSEAD ..or should I consider taking the GMAT again.

Thanks in anticipation.


9. araby - May 30, 2007


I applied for Insead jan 2008 in R1, but unfortunately i scored 600 on gmat. I have 10 years of experience all in a multinational major, in oilfield, between field engineering to management, and currently working for HQ as global technical consultant for two technologies.

I recieved an answer from Insead, requesting me to retake GMAT on 17th of May, for which i crash coursed and retook GMAT to score 650, with 71% on Verbal and 78% on Quantitative.

I really do not have any time to invest more on GMAT, and i do have to admit that my decision to apply for insead came in too late, only Jan this year. I did not take my time to prepare for the GMAT.

Do you think 650 as above stands a good chance?

10. Sophie - June 15, 2007

This is a helpful blog, so thanks for writing it!

I can’t say I share your negative opinion on prep courses. I took a GMAT prep course with Kaplan, and I am glad I did. It helped me be disciplined about studying, and as you say, it’s all about practice, practice, practice. Prep companies give you access to more practice tests than you’ll be able to take, and I found that to be a very good thing. That said, I did have an excellent instructor — and when I sat in a couple of classes with other instructors, they were not nearly as good. I’d recommend doing your research & asking for recommendations for particular instructors. It’s more about the instructor than the company you’re working with.

In any case, I scored a 760 on first attempt, so it worked out for me. If anyone who reads this is in New York City, the instructor’s name is Max Zener @ Kaplan.

I am applying R1 for INSEAD J’08 intake, so I have 2 more weeks to wait for the final decision. Wish me luck — hopefully it will all for the best.



11. Amith - September 4, 2007


I gave my GMAT last year and got a 620. I wanted to improve on my score and I gave it again this year. But I got a very disappointing 570 (M48, V23). This verbal score is not a true indicator of my ability.

I am a project manager in an IT industry with a 5 year work experience. Infact I have done very well in at work. I have excellent acads and extra curriculars too.

Could you please advice me if I should give my GMAT again?


12. Subodh Mandaokar - September 9, 2007

I have appaeared for my gmat on 13aug 07 and scored 600.
I am an engineer(mechanical) and have done MMS in finance. I, also have a work experience of 1.5 yrs.in stock market. I want to go in for International Business,in this direction I have taken a depolma in Import / Export from a reputed institute.
Will the good universities in USA will consider my diverce background as positive aspect ?How will they look at my application?

Your advice will be a guiding light for me.

Thanks and regards,

13. sam - September 16, 2007

I belong to the male IT pool. I took GMAT 2 weeks back and received 640 (49M 28 V 78% AWA 4.5). I was expecting around 680 with maybe 50M 30+V . Right now i am in a fix whether i should take GMAT again or make a strong application that will compensate my low GMAT score.

I come from a business family, stood 9th in a pool of 50k students that appeared for engineering entrance in 2001 , was just an above avg student during engg but did a lot of extra curricular activities and won inter college event and sports awards, was associated with NGOs like Rotract club and Leo Club and made meaningful contribution, was also the organiser of national level college technical fest under the umbrella IEEE. I was also assoicated with the youth wing of a powerful Indian political party.

Have a work experience of 2 years now. Working in an I-bank which is among the top 5 in the world. I am the youngest member in my team. Inspite of having less work ex i was chosen to work in a team which is considered to be the back bone of this I-bank.

I want to know if my profile is strong enough to cove up my GMAT or do you advice me to take it again. My target colleges are among the top 20 and few have their deadlines before mid Oct.


14. Komal - November 24, 2007

Hi Everyone,

I have a bachelors in Business administration.Apart from that I have done International Business Post Graduate program.I just wanted to know when should one start preparing for the GMAT before writing the exam.

I would really appreciate for quick responses.

15. Leo - January 24, 2008

Hi, This is Leo. I have an Engineering degree, topped with a diploma in Business Administration. I have been into Strategy consulting with an Indian MNC for 3 years, including 1 yr of International Exposure. I have also been involved with an NGO since the last 10 mnths.

My GMAT score (Oct 07) was 740.

I want to start wid my MBA in Aug 09. Planning to apply to Stanford, LBS and Insead as my first 3 options.

Please suggest if I have any chances.

16. Flavio Araujo - February 22, 2008

Hi I’m writting to ask my girlfriend and I have of getting into Isead
We are applying together for the Jan’09 intake

My profile

Male, Brazilian, 28 years
Barchelor’s degree in Mechanincal Engineering
Management Consultant for 4 years (in jan’09)
Gmat 720 (90 Verbal /90 Math)

My Girlfriend’s profile

Female, Brazilian, 27 years, Barchelor’s degree in Telecommunication Engineering
Management Consultant for 4,5 years (in jan’09)
She has worked in Brazil at first than was transferred to the Middle East (worked there for 1,5 years)

My girlfriend has takes the Gmat twice, first time 640 (89 Math / 46 Verbal)
Second time 640 (81 Math / 60% Verbal). I reckon Insead recommends candidates to have a 70/70 mix at least, but being a Brazilian woman with vast international experience I wonder if it is necessary for her to take the test once more or if we should apply with this grade.

We are applying together and Insead is our first choice, I would really appreciate a honest evaluation of our combined chances.

Thanks a lot

17. ghurram - April 2, 2008

Hi, I’m Raghuram. I graduated from IIT Guwahati in 2006 with a GPA of close to 2.7 (on a scale of 4). My GMAT and my score is 710. I might take it again in order to boost this score.

I have had a really good experience over the past 2 years now in a company in Bangalore. I plan to apply for the Jan course at INSEAD. I have an impressive record till date (both in terms of academic and extra-curricular activities) and am positive in obtaining good references. Kindly let me know if I stand a chance of receiving a admission from INSEAD.

18. mma - September 16, 2008

okay, everybody in the thread seem to have done very well on their first GMAT and even better the second time. Mine is different, I took the GMAT today, 15th September 2008, and scored 390 and right now I am very sore. I plan on retaking it, but I am not sure how long to wait before I take it again, as I thought I was very ready for the exam before I took it today. I feel like i have exhausted all my efforts, I attended a prep course and took 7 practice tests, the highest of those being 550, and I spent alot of money. What advice can you possibly give me at this point.

19. Cathern - May 7, 2013

I seldom write comments, however after reading through a bunch
of responses on GMAT | Ready for the gentle turbulence?
. I do have a couple of questions for you if you do
not mind. Is it simply me or does it look like a few of these responses come across like they are coming from
brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are writing at other social sites, I’d like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Would you post a list of all of all your social pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

20. MBA Data Guru - February 5, 2014

I did 30 points higher on my actual test compared to my practice GMAT tests.

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