3 GMAT questions you shouldn’t be asking

If you’ve been in any instructor led class (corporate HR presentations, soft skills program, technical training), at some point of time the master of ceremonies will open up the floor for questions. ‘Go ahead, ask your questions,’ she’ll say. And then add. ‘Don’t feel shy. There are no stupid questions.

Nice way to make the audience feel comfortable. But imagine what would happen if one guy in the class takes that suggestion too seriously and starts asking questions that are very basic, irrelevant or completely wrong?

The same is true for several GMAT questions as well. The questions aren’t stupid (too strong a word) and neither is the person asking them. Often there are valid reasons why that question comes up frequently. Here’s a quick list of GMAT questions that don’t exactly make the discussion productive for the others who are part of the audience.

3 GMAT Questions you shouldn’t ask

Can I use CAT material to prepare for the GMAT exam?

The roots of this question can be linked back to our CAT preparation days. Most applicants prepare using the CAT material and then attempt other domestic MBA entrance exams.

Unlike in the case of Indian MBA entrance exams (the 2 year variety), for international MBA programs there’s less confusion. There’s just one – GMAT. Well, GRE is trying to catch up too, but it’s still got a long way to go.

You wouldn’t prepare for the GMAT using GRE material. So why would you want to use CAT material for GMAT preparation?

If you have taken competitive exams earlier, your GMAT learning curve may shorter and less steep. But don’t complicate things by training your brain with the wrong material.

The short cuts aren’t worth the trouble.

Read this post to understand the GMAT vs CAT differences.

What’s the average GMAT score for [ISB, IIMs, INSEAD, Harvard etc]?

This one comes up frequently during MBA fairs and meet-and-greet events. Some over zealous applicants think it’s a great way to get noticed by Admission Officers. The sad part of that strategy is that they do get noticed, and remembered by the Admissions Committee. For the wrong reasons.

It can give the perception that you are lazy, inefficient or just incapable of carrying out basic research (perfect MBA material, some sarcastic ones might say).

This information is easily available on the websites of almost all bschools. Do your homework before you come face-to-face before the one person who may have the power to change your professional life.

What GMAT score should I aim for?

This is one of the favourite GMAT questions on free MBA profile evaluation threads. It is also another one that can be linked back to our CAT hangover. Most bschools accepting CAT scores do have some kind of a minimum cut-off. So it’s natural for applicants who’ve gone through the CAT exam and haven’t made it to the IIMs or any other Indian bschool that accepts CAT scores (or variations) to assume that the GMAT score works the same way.

In case of the GMAT, when someone asks ‘what GMAT score should I aim for?’ there’s only one answer. Aim for an 800 score.

Will you get it? No, you won’t (I can say that with confidence as I know there aren’t any perfect 800 scorers reading this post). So why aim for 800?

Reason 1: Because you can’t technically aim higher.
Reason 2: Because aiming for anything lower would mean you are giving up before the fight has started.

Like they say – If you aim for the stars, you’ll at least reach the tree top. Aim high, prepare well and based on your aptitude for such tests, you’ll get the score that you deserve.

If you combine that with a good application strategy, even the average GMAT score can work in your favour.

There are many truly relevant GMAT questions that you can come up with if you just do your homework well. Questions that not only give you more clarity, but those that can show you in good light in front of the people who matter.

Use the Question & Answer session as an opportunity to show them that you are a serious candidate.

What are the other GMAT questions that you think folks should stop asking on forums, blogs, chat sessions, live events?

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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. For professional Admissions Consulting or Career Counselling, connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook


  1. Ajay says:

    Thanks a lot; this is just what I needed as I’m heading out to the QS MBA Fair later today.

  2. Sameer Kamat says:

    Hope you spent some good, productive time at the fair, Ajay. Good luck with your applications.

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