An interview with Hubert Silly, Founder of the MBA Center.

The GMAT, like the application process itself, does not test specific knowledge, nor sets forth precise standards to be met. Rather, the GMAT gives schools an accurate measurement of an applicant's ability to perform under certain situational constraints.

If not achieving a “passing” score, what can be done to maximize one’s chances of being accepted to an MBA program?

The GMAT is not meant to be "passed" in the traditional academic sense of the word. There is no certain score that guarantees your acceptance into the program of your choice. Likewise, it is impossible to say that a lower score will certainly bar your admission. So it is better not to think in terms of absolutes. MBA programs usually have a minimum GMAT score required of applicants, however, they rarely publish these. Nevertheless, they commonly publish the average GMAT score of students who were accepted to the program. In general, the minimum is far lower than the average. When prospective MBA applicants consider programs, taking these averages into account can help eliminate certain choices, while at the same time identifying more suitable programs. For example, School A's average GMAT score is 625 and School B's is 710. Obviously, in this case an applicant with a lower score (example, mid-500s) stands a better chance of being accepted into School A than School B.

Is a good GMAT score the major factor to determine a possible acceptance?

It is clear that while the GMAT can profoundly affect your chances of being accepted into the program of your choice, it is by no means the only determining factor. Simply put: neither the GMAT nor the applications process can be thought of as pass or fail. The concept of "pass of fail", while effective at the university level and lower, is simply not a good standard for business school to use in determining possible success in candidates.

Do you really need to prepare the test?

Preparation is the best way of doing your best on any test, and this is also true for the GMAT. While the GMAT does not test you on subjects you can study for in advance, you can practice successful test-taking techniques and strategies to maximize your thinking skills. There is no better way to do this than through a structured preparation course, which walks you through techniques and strategies, then giving you ample opportunity to test them in a simulated test environment. Many who study on their own are usually unable to analyze question patterns and the nuances of the English language that ought to be mastered before taking the exam. Finally, remember that although high scores will always help, you don't need a 700 to get into a top business school! Unlike your earlier school days, when you are thinking about MBA programs, in the end you are not hoping to say "I passed the test!" but rather "I got into the program!"

About Hubert Silly

Dr. Hubert Silly is regarded as a world expert regarding standardized tests.He is the author of several test preparation books for the TOEFL, TOEIC, SAT and GMAT. His methods are used by leading publishers such as Delta Publishing, Attica, Colibri, Penguin and MBA Center. Each year Hubert Silly's publications are used to help thousands of students enter the university of their choice.