710 to 760 GMAT (99th percentile) on a shoestring budget
Harriet came in with an impressive profile and a bold goal: 760 GMAT or bust!
She’d taken a big box test prep class and done some tutoring with them but found the program was too broad in its approach and the tutoring lacked structure (it was more of a HW QA). She’d hit a very respectable 710 twice but then regressed to a 690.
Don’t worry if you’ve peaked at a 690 BTW. A 690 is an excellent GMAT score and good enough to get you into great MBA programs.
Still, Harriet was seeking perfection and was looking for some extra help to push her over the top to a 99th percentile GMAT score.
760 vibes but not a 99th% GMAT tutoring budget
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She was positive and polite and provided all of the intake information we needed to assemble a solid tutoring plan. Included in that package was a request that we not exceed $2500.
Of course, 2 and a half grand is nothing to sneeze at BUT in terms of GMAT tutoring, especially going for a 99th percentile GMAT 760, it’s not an extravagant amount of money to work with. Could we come up with a plan to hit a 760 GMAT score for 2.5k?
Side note on GMAT tutoring plans and how we try to save you money with guided self-study
Our guided self-study program can dramatically decrease the number of tutoring hours needed. Most often we use self-study on quant fundamentals (at the start of the preparation) and on GMAT retakes (once we’ve already gone through our curriculum and just need organized studying and access to our awesome materials). It’s not uncommon that we support people for months for a few hundred dollars. We’re always aiming to do as much as we can with as little budget as possible.
For self-motivated high achievers with plenty of time we can be very creative with planning.
Small-ish budget, no problem?
We put together a plan that leaned heavily on guided self-study. Of course, we let Harriet know that with this setup there was much more responsibility on her end in terms of sticking with it and keeping her work high quality. We still monitor the preparation every week and making changes based on progress. We’re still checking in via email if it looks like HW is dropping off or there’s some other issue we need to address.
Still, that’s not the same as having a tutoring session every week. The sessions put more pressure on you to get your work done and provide a much more direct platform for diagnosing and addressing content problems.
Considering her progress so far, we judged that Harriet would excel with this format and save a bunch of cash. She was clearly smart and seemed very motivated to earn her 99th percentile GMAT score.
Getting a 98th percentile verbal score to the 99th percentile
We launched our preparation on the verbal side, assigning our LSAT for GMAT curriculum. This is a staple for us and a great majority of our GMAT tutoring students start with this very challenging verbal workout. Yes, Harriet had notched a 44 on the verbal already (98th percentile) but we were hoping for a point or two more, into the 99th percentile, a subtle difference that can be the deciding factor in reaching a 760 GMAT score.
For instance, q48 v45 is a 750 while a q48 v46 is 760. Yes, we could also get to the 99th by boosting the quant but it’s good to have multiple angles to get there.
Harriet claimed the LSAT work was tough and really made her think. That said, she rang up a whole bunch of perfect scores (we rarely see that on our LSAT quizzes). With that in mind, we skipped all of the critical reasoning and reading comprehension lesson content. She just didn’t need it. We did approach our most high value sentence correction lessons because there’s always something there that even the most refined GMAT verbal maestros benefit from.
Even GMAT superstars can sharpen fundamentals
On quant the initial idea was to skip all of the fundamental work. She’d already scored in the mid to high 40s. We modified things because Harriet mentioned that he hadn’t hit the books for a few months and would appreciate a bit of a refresher. So before tutoring started we had her work through a basic quant curriculum that we use to reinforce all of the fundamental GMAT math content needed to succeed on the quant section.
Once we got through the basics and started sessions we only worked on what we felt would have the highest impact and would be difficult for her to learn on her own. Whatever we though she could learn on her own we assigned for homework.
As you can imagine she cruised through the basic quant content and once sessions began really excelled on the tougher stuff. She enjoyed our lessons and appreciated the type of structure we put on the content, especially our work and rate system.
760 GMAT Score On Hold
We’d planned our first official GMAT the 8 week mark and we’re closing in on the day when plans changed.
Covid hit and it became impossible to get a GMAT test date.
Harriet had a great attitude and felt good about simply taking more time to perfect her GMAT. Part of it was that our self-study system is super affordable but she was also a real trooper. She’d mowed down most of the curriculum and so was ready for tough longer mixed sets and practice tests to bombproof her for test day.
Again, she admitted that the work was challenging but her scores were terrific and we were very confident that she’d bring home the 760.
Anxiety and the last step towards the 99th percentile
After a bunch of months of studying I think Harriet was a little afraid to take an official test. Makes sense. You get somewhat comfortable with practice but there’s a lot of anticipation with the real deal official GMAT. All of a sudden: it matters!
Well. Even with some anxiousness she hit a 760 GMAT score (q47 v48). She’d been grueling for quite some time and was extremely well prepared.
Retaking a 760 GMAT Score??????
She was concerned about the q47. We reassured that a 47 on the quant is great and that generally 45+ on the quant is enough to show an MBA program that you handle yourself on the math side of things.
You’re not going to believe it but Harriet decided to retake to improve the quant percentile!
I felt that she should do it only if she was going to enjoy the challenge, not under any pressure to achieve anything for admissions.
She went for it. But, in reality, I think she was done. After she’d hit 760 there was much less motivation (rightfully so). On the re-take her score went down to a still incredible 740, which she cancelled.
A few months later she got back in touch: In at Kellogg with a scholarship!!!
760 GMAT Score FAQ
What is the 760 GMAT percentile?
A 760 GMAT is in the 99th percentile.
It’s actually the lowest composite score that corresponds to a 99th percentile GMAT score. That honor used to be held by a 750 but as the GMAT has gotten more competitive a 750 has dropped to the 98th percentile.
What is the highest GMAT score possible?
An 800 is a perfect GMAT score and the highest GMAT score possible.
However, the highest percentile is the 99th percentile which starts at a 760. Why is a 760 in the same percentile as an 800? Because the GMAT, unlike the LSAT, doesn’t report decimal percentiles. An 800 is probably 99.9% but GMAT rounds to an integer value.
Do I need a 760 GMAT score for Harvard?
No. The great majority of people accepted to Harvard are accepted with GMAT scores well below 760.
The median GMAT score for Harvard’s MBA class of 2022 is 730 with a range from 620 to 790. So half the class is below a 730 and people were accepted with scores in the low 600s.
A 760 GMAT score isn’t going to hurt but, again, you certainly do not need a 99th percentile GMAT score for admission to Harvard or any other school.