Should I wait to take the GMAT?

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Should I wait to take the GMAT?

by gmatbschool » Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:11 am
Hello

I am not applying to schools this year. And many more people are applying and taking the GMAT right now.

Should I wait till next year? Will it be harder to get a good score if more people take the test?
The test is curved so it makes sense that if only 1% of the people can get 760+, then it is better to wait till fewer people are competing for those spots right?

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by eccentric » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:56 am
And how would you know few people are appearing in an year ????
:)

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Re: Should I wait to take the GMAT?

by Ian Stewart » Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:21 am
gmatbschool wrote:Hello

I am not applying to schools this year. And many more people are applying and taking the GMAT right now.

Should I wait till next year? Will it be harder to get a good score if more people take the test?
The test is curved so it makes sense that if only 1% of the people can get 760+, then it is better to wait till fewer people are competing for those spots right?
gmatbschool is definitely correct about the number of people taking the test this year; after a bit of a dip in GMAT registrations over the past four or five years, the number of GMATs taken this year is approaching the all time high.

That said, gmatbschool's description of how the test is 'curved' is not correct. GMAC does not force scores onto a curve; the fact that scores are approximately (but certainly far from exactly) on a bell curve is a result of the scoring algorithm and the fact that the ability of the population taking the test is distributed in a certain way- many more people in the middle than at the extremes. To give concrete numbers, and rounding off for convenience, about two years ago roughly 200,000 GMATs were taken, with about 7% scoring 700 or higher- that is, approximately 14,000 test scores were 700+. Now, with about 250,000 tests this year, and 10% scoring 700 or higher (the percentiles have shifted), closer to 25,000 scores will be 700+. Not only is a higher proportion of test takers scoring 700+ now as compared to two years ago, but almost double the number of test scores are 700+.

Long story short, you will be no more likely to get a high score next year than this year, assuming you invest the same amount of preparation.
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