The GMAT is an unhealthy obsession for many people. As the founder of one of the largest GMAT discussion communities on earth, I have encountered thousands of test takers who have allowed the GMAT to take over their lives (myself included). Somehow this test strikes at the core of our own insecurities, and we become worried about the minutiae of GMAT test performance.
The truth has to be stated-the GMAT is not that important. Here's why:
What really matters in life?
In my opinion, family and friendships matter most in life. Think about this-if you completely bombed your GMAT, would your family and friends love you any less? Would they choose to disassociate from you because of a bad test day?
In all likelihood, your family and friends love you because you are...you!
I may be isolated in my opinion here, but I think that relationships should matter even more than your career. Take comfort that regardless of outcome there will be people to support and love you, regardless.
You control your own destiny-not a test
In the last few months, I've seen some interesting studies correlating GMAT score with post-MBA salary. Jose Ferreira, the founder of Knewton, presented these data recently in a video for Beat The GMAT.
While there may be a valid correlation between the GMAT and salary, let's remind ourselves about a critical fact: at the end of the day, your career/salary depends on you!
If you are motivated to succeed in your career and are willing to work hard to reach your goals, then that matters more than the GMAT or even an MBA degree. Success depends on the individual; if you perform like a rockstar, your career trajectory and salary will come naturally as a result.
MBA Admissions is more than just the GMAT
Let's say that you didn't score well on your GMAT and there's no time for a retake. Just let it go. Don't waste any more time worrying about your score and move onto the other elements of your MBA application.
The GMAT is just one criterion that MBA adcoms consider in your candidacy. You will have opportunities to compensate for a poor score with your work experience, academic performance, recommendations, interviews, and essays.
I'll say it again: business school admissions is not about just the GMAT!
Final advice: Don't freak out!
I wrote this article today because I feel for so many of you who are struggling in your GMAT prep. I empathize with your fears and frustration, which often lead to tremendous nerves and stress on your test day (potentially affecting your score).
Of course you should do your best to prepare for the GMAT and get the highest score possible. And of course a great GMAT score will help you get admitted to your dream MBA program. But I challenge you to seriously examine what's really important to you. With some introspection, you may find that the GMAT is trivial.
And when you realize that the GMAT is not that important to your life, hopefully that will calm your nerves and allow you to do even better on the test.
About the Author: Eric Bahn is the founder of Beat The GMAT, one of the world's largest resources for free GMAT prep and MBA admissions advice. To read more articles on the GMAT and applying to business school, visit: http://www.beatthegmat.com