Should You Retake the GMAT?
Retaking the GMAT is more common than you think. More than 60% of all GMAT test-takers retake the GMAT, usually within two or three months of their previous attempt. The fact that GMAC also allows students to take the GMAT 5 times per year (and 8 times in a lifetime) is enough proof that it is common among students to retake the GMAT. So, if you are considering a retake because you scored lower than you anticipated or your chosen B-school requires a higher score, it is perfectly okay to consider reappearing for the test. Several questions may run on your mind before you finally retake the GMAT. For instance,
- Is it worth retaking the GMAT?
- What if your score drops further?
- When should you retake the GMAT?
- Will your score improve after retaking the GMAT? and more.
In this article, we will attempt to answer several possible questions that you may have regarding your decision to retake the GMAT. Let us start by considering these three questions first –
1. How much did you prepare for your last attempt?
If you prepped well and gave your 100% in your last attempt, you might need to change your strategy this time. On the other hand, if you were well-prepared but could not perform due to test-day anxiety or if you were underprepared and you see a decent scope for improvement, you might need to put in some sincere efforts into prep and work on managing your anxiety before taking the GMAT again.
2. What is the range of scores that your target school accepts?
A good score is one that your target school accepts. Students may consider retaking the GMAT if their score is lower than what is required or if their target school asks them to retake the test. If you are unsure, you can compare your scores with the students who received an admit from your target school to know whether you stand a chance. If your score lies within the range, the better thing to do would be to focus on improving other aspects of your profile.
3. Are you seriously considering retaking the GMAT?
If you could not do well in your previous attempt and are confident that you can do better than you previously did, then you must seriously consider retaking the GMAT. If you were well-prepared the last time but still got a low score, revisiting concepts and reappearing is the better thing to do. Focusing on the gaps you had in your prep the last time and working on them is important to make your next attempt count.
Some Common Reasons Why You Might Consider Retaking the GMAT
1. You Are Retaking the GMAT Because of A Low Score
Before you retake the GMAT, it is important to understand the reason why you want to reappear for the test. If getting a low score in your previous attempt is your primary reason, you need to identify why you are getting a low score in the first place. Let’s discuss some of the common reasons why you got an unsatisfactory score and how you can fix it –
I. Can you apply what you learn?
Learning basics is one thing; learning to apply them is another. GMAT is a test of logic. This means that you will never be asked to define what Prime numbers or Tenses are. It will rather ask you to apply those concepts to solve questions accurately. So, if your basics are weak, you may still be able to solve the easy and medium-level questions, but if you are struggling to solve the harder questions, chances are high that you need to work on your basics again.
II. Were you nervous before the test?
Performance pressure during exams like GMAT is common. Students often get anxious before the test and are not at the top of their game. This affects their performance greatly during the exam. If you got nervous before the exam or could not perform up to the mark due to performance pressure, there is a high chance that you marked your answers in a hurry or without thinking adequately. If that is the case with you, you must consider retaking the GMAT with confidence.
III. Are you targeting a particular section?
So, there are cases when you get a decent overall score, but your performance in an individual section did not match your capability. Suppose you got a decent score in Quant, but you scored lower on Verbal or vice versa, and you are confident that you can score better in that particular section; taking the GMAT again can help improve your score significantly.
IV. You were not mentally prepared to take the GMAT
Were you distracted before taking the GMAT? There are cases when students are not having a good day, and then they take the GMAT under massive stress or distraction.
V. Your basics are weak
2. You are trying to compensate for your low GPA
A low GMAT score along with a low GPA may not be the best combination when seeking admission in your dream B-school. While there is nothing much you can do about your GPA, there is always the option to retake the GMAT and improve your score. A higher GMAT score can easily help you compensate for your low GPA.
3. You have only taken the GMAT once
If you have only taken the GMAT once and your first score was not exceptionally high, do not shy away from retaking the GMAT. Even though there is no rule, schools are likely to accept a candidate with a lower GPA if their GMAT scores are above the average and they have a strong profile.
4. Your top score is lower than your practice test scores
If your previous GMAT score was lower than what you were consistently scoring on your practice tests, it is a good indicator that retaking the GMAT will be a good decision for you. There is still scope for improvement, and you must take the chance.
Some Reasons Why You Must Rethink Taking the GMAT Again
I. Are there other aspects of your profile that can compensate for your lower score?
Retaking the GMAT is not always the only resort. You can minimize the impact of a lower score by other aspects of your profile. A multifaceted candidacy, such as an upward trending career graph, performance indicators that convey your strengths, and other aspects outside work that can convey that you genuinely play an active part in your community can enhance your scope of seeking an admit from the school you are targeting.
II. How much time do you have before application deadlines?
Is there a deadline approaching? Do you have less than 20 days to get your score in? Let’s reconsider the options. If you are sceptical about your new GMAT scores arriving at your target school before the deadline approaches, there is no point taking the GMAT again. The better shot would be to take a look at the other options available at hand.
Retaking the GMAT: Some Frequently Asked Questions
I. Why should I retake the GMAT?
Some of the reasons why you should retake the GMAT are –
- You are confident that you can do better than you did the last time
- The need for a higher score to seek admission to your dream B-school
- You scored better on your mock tests than you did in the actual test
- You were anxious on the day of the test and can manage your anxiety better now
II. When should I retake the GMAT?
Usually, students retake the GMAT within 2 or 3 months of their previous attempt. However, GMAC requires you to wait for 16 days before retaking the GMAT. If you are facing a tight deadline and you think you are prepared enough in 16 days, you can easily take the GMAT again after 16 days. We already mentioned above that students can only take the GMAT 5 times in a year and 8 times in a lifetime, which should be more than enough for you to reach your target score.
Two things that you must keep in mind before choosing a date for your GMAT retake are –
- Time you require to prepare for the retestOn average, for every 10-point improvement in the GMAT score, a student requires roughly 10 hours of effort. Therefore, the time you need to prepare for your GMAT retake will depend upon your current score and target score. For instance, if you score a 650 in your last attempt and are aiming for a 720 in your next GMAT attempt, you need a 70-point improvement. So, you need to put in at least 70 hours of effort.
Please note here that since you are seeking a 700+ score, you will need to add at least 20 hours of additional effort. So, to score a 720 in your GMAT retake, you must devote somewhere around 70 – 100 hours to prep. Once you know the number of hours required, you must calculate the number of days it would take you to complete those study hours and accordingly finalize your GMAT retake date.
- The Round you wish to apply to.
Normally, you must take your GMAT at least 2 months before the application deadline of your target school. There are several other components of an MBA application, and you need to have ample time to focus on these aspects as well. In case the deadline is fast approaching, and you already have a decent score in hand, you should focus on creating a strong application rather than devoting your precious time to retaking the GMAT.