Average GMAT Scores and How to Prepare for the exam
GMAT Exam and Columbia MBA Admissions
With test scores, the applicant has some room to play around in order to increase his or her chances of getting in. The chart below provides data on GMAT scores for Columbia students.
Average 704 273
Deviation 32 15
Range 610 to 740 253 to 293
During the past few years, the continual rise in the number of applicants has been accompanied by a noticeable increase on the average score obtained on the GMAT (704 for the class entering in 2001). 80% of this class received a score between 610 and 740. This statistic is much more pertinent than the average score in trying to evaluate your chances of getting accepted; you should shoot for obtaining a score within this range. A lower score will not systematically eliminate your chances of getting accepted if your application presents other assets, such as significant professional experience and excellent letters of recommendation. In any event, you mustn't make the mistake of expecting a high score alone to guarantee your acceptance into Columbia; it is important to apply yourself in all the content of your application.
When an applicant takes the GMAT several times, the Admissions Committee only considers the best scores. A candidate is allowed to take the GMAT as many as two or three times since many are inadequately prepared the first time. On the other hand, taking the GMAT more than three times without substantial improvement will notably harm your candidacy. My advice is to take the test a maximum of twice, allowing for a long preparation period beforehand.
In my case, I took the exam twice: a first time without extensive preparation, a second time 3 years later after having followed a specific preparation for two months at the Kaplan Institute. The GMAT is an exam which tests not only mathematical and verbal reasoning, but also speed and reflexes. One of the advantages of preparing with Kaplan is that it teaches precise tips for developing an efficient strategy for exam day.
For international students from countries in which English is not an official language, the minimum TOEFL score for admission to Columbia is 253 points, with a minimum of 25 correct answers in each of the three test sections. International students whose undergraduate diploma was granted in an English speaking country are exempt from this test. If you are in doubt as to whether you must take this test, you should consult the Admissions Department.