Retaking the GMAT: Pros and Cons

Retaking the GMAT: Pros and Cons

Ensure that you conduct some research before sitting down to take the test. Having a plan ahead of time can save you from regret later on.

GMAT overview

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is a standardised test used (along with the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE) by most B-schools and universities as a factor in evaluating a candidate for admission to a post-graduate business programme, like a Masters in Management or an MBA. Scores range from 200-800 and some schools require a minimum score for programme admission. The GMAT is computer-based and can be taken at over 600 testing centres throughout the globe. The Graduate Management Admission Test Scores are valid for five years.

GMAC policy change

In recent years, GMAT test-takers were required to submit a list of schools to which they wanted to send results prior to taking the test or even receiving their scores. In 2014, the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), makers of the GMAT, issued a policy change that now allows test-takers to receive their scores immediately after the conclusion of the test. At that point, they are allowed to decide whether or not to proceed with releasing the scores to the designated schools.

This can be quite an advantage to you if you understand how the process works and know what will benefit you the most. Even as university business programmes and B-schools proliferate, entry into these programmes is still quite competitive. If a university requires a minimum GMAT score, this does not mean that a score at least that high will guarantee admission. The GMAT is the only part of the package an admissions agent considers, so the higher the score you get, the better your chance of acceptance.

One additional change in GMAC policy allows a retake of the GMAT test in as little as 16 days after the first test, whereas previously a test-taker had to wait 31 days before retaking it. This makes it easier to schedule another test if you are up against tight admissions deadlines.

Check out: How to Prepare for GMAT – Essential Guide

Weighing your decision

If you decide to retake the GMAT, reports indicate that you can expect an average of 30.3 points added to your score.

That is an average only, so there is no guarantee that your score will increase. Since GMAC requires a minimum of 16 days in between test attempts, you can increase your chance of improvement by using that time to study the areas in which you were weak the first time. Also remember that there are many practice tests available online that can help you prepare.

Some suggest that retaking the GMAT shows an admissions officer that a candidate is committed to strong performance, and may be a good addition to the programme. Hopefully, the retake will be worth the time and money, and your score will be improved. The best way to increase the odds of your score going up is to prepare thoroughly and take multiple practice tests.

Plan for the decision

Now that you know you will be required to make an immediate decision on whether or not to release your GMAT scores to your short list of B-schools, use that to your advantage. Develop a plan for how to decide when that moment comes at the close of your test.

First, establish a threshold ahead of time, a score above which you will release your scores and below which you will cancel the release of the scores. Research the schools on your short list and find out if they have the minimum score required for the programme(s) in which you are interested. Then, decide if you want to aim for a score some amount higher than that to give yourself a competitive edge. Know the minimum score you will accept, not just the schools.

Second, as you are taking the GMAT, if you know you are having trouble with a particular section or two and may want to retake it, make a mental note of the topic(s) that are difficult for you. These are the areas you will need to work on before retaking the test.

GMAC has made it easier for a test-taker to control the distribution of his or her scores, and that is – for the most part – a benefit. Just remember to take into consideration how much time you have before admissions deadlines and whether or not you plan to prepare well enough to make it worth your while. If you invest the appropriate time and effort, odds are in your favour that your score will increase.

Check out: How to Start GMAT Preparation



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