Should I Retake the GMAT: Is It Worth It?

Graduate Management Admission Test is aimed to find out how analytical your thinking is and how proficient you are in writing and verbal expression. It is a computer adaptive test. Undergraduate programs, MBAs, and Business Schools require GMAT as a part of their application. MBA admissions consulting can accompany and guide you over the process of presenting your application and getting ready for your GMAT test. As any assessment GMAT is not a pleasure to take and especially retake.  

At Admissionado, our team hears this question time and time again regarding the GMAT:

“I have taken my GMAT twice and I’m still not happy with my score. Should I accept this last score and move on, or can I retake the GMAT? Does it look bad to the schools if I’ve taken the test several times?” 

Before you consider retaking this assessment some points should be considered. 

  • Where are you applying and which is the average GMAT score for that degree? Most of the US degrees, MBA programs require Gmat. Meanwhile, in European Universities, you are not always supposed to have a high GMAT score to be accepted. European colleges and MBA Programs in European colleges require a bachelor’s degree. They offer some alternatives in the ability tests. You can take a GMAT test or GRE, you can also apply for the admission exam and take it. 
  • Are you ready to score higher in your assessment or do you just hope to? Wouldn’t it be better to focus on other requirements (essays, resumes, interviews)?

Who Should Retake the GMAT?

You are a hard-working student and your score is lower than you thought it would be, hence you are most likely to repeat the test. Have a look at your score: 650? 680? and you are sure you will accomplish higher goals. In this case, the choice is made just take the chance and improve your application status. 

If you have worked hard and did your best to get the score you got, there is no reason to stress more and repeat the GMAT. It will make you feel anxious and reduce your concentration from other application requirements. 

Let’s consider that the degree you apply for shows a higher average for the GMAT than you have got. For instance, MD/MBA programs require quite high scores in the GMAT test. 

If you fit in the question of who is the MD/MBA program for then you will probably retake the test. Healthcare specialists who aim to combine their profession with their own business or be part of any administrative team are likely to take the MD/MBA degree. However, don’t hurry. Take a long breath and prepare better for the test. Follow some tips on video essays or interviews. 

Thousands of students take GMAT online. 

There was a big doubt on how many times you can retake the GMAT test. Now, from October 20, 2021, a GMAT online retake is possible. The conditions are pretty the same. They can take up to 5 GMAT tests per year and 8 in their lifetime. There must be a gap of 16 calendar days in between the exams. This GMAT retake policy is attributed to the on-site testing also. 

Indian Applicants and the GMAT

Indians score really high in their GMAT exams, they study hard before taking the test. Numbers speak for themselves: Indians’ average GMAT score is at least 4% higher than the worldwide score. But it is also a fact that Indian students retake the GMAT test at least twice. 

Having a high mark on your GMAT test can be a distinctive feature in your application. Nevertheless, it is only one out of many weights in your college entry process. Let’s suppose your GMAT score is 700. Retaking the test and raising your score from 700 to 710 or 720 will not make an impact on the admissions committee, meanwhile, if you concentrate on other parts of your application you may have more chances to achieve your goal. But if you are sure to score high then do not hesitate, it’s your moment, take it and triumph. The best MBA programs in the US, Business Schools consider GMAT as an important part of their admission program. If you want to get your MBA at the best colleges you need to make an effort and score high.

How Much Time is Needed to Prepare?

Before taking any assessment you need thorough preparation. Even if you are sure to possess the skills and the knowledge for the test, consider some extra practice, choose the effective GMAT test preparation books. The best bibliography for 2021 is:

  • Official Guide 2021
  • Kaplan
  • Veritas Prep Complete GMAT Course

Some courses offer GMAT preparation

  • e-GMAT
  • Economist GMAT Tutor
  • Magoosh

These and more courses not only prepare you for the exam but also work on your psychological state and keep you calm. 

The other doubt is how long you should practice before taking the test. It is individual, however, a preparation from 2 to 4 months can be more than enough to score quite high in your exam. Do not consider too short a practice period to avoid stress and anxiety.

You’re “Not Happy” with Your Score

You can have reasons not to be happy with your GMAT score in these cases:

  • You were getting higher marks while practising and the exam was not what it should be. If you are really sure that you are a 750 score student and not 680 for example, then retake your GMAT and give yourself the pleasure of flying higher. But if you are relying on miracles and hope to score 780 by chance, stop dreaming, come back to reality and focus on the rest of the application stuff. 
  • You are sure that if you practice for some more months you will get a higher score. Go ahead! 

If this “I’m not happy” is just because the miracle did not happen, then just leave it the way it is. Change your focal point into other assessments and requirements.

Common Reasons to Retake the GMAT

Scroll down if you consider retaking your GMAT test and see if your case is similar:

  • Anxiety Got the Best of You on Test Day 
  • Exams are always stressful. Anxiety affects your ability to concentrate. You get stuck and start to get even more nervous. Your state affects not only your comprehension ability but also your time managing competence.
  • You Mismanaged Your Time During the Exam
  • Time management is essential in these types of exams. GMAT, SAT and similar assessments estimate your capability of being quick, analytic and precise. One of the most important things while you practice your GMAT test is to time yourself. If this was the reason you scored less then you could then retake the test and improve your mark. 
  • You Had Higher Scores on Practice Tests
  • Many students have higher scores during their practice tests and when it comes to the “crucial moment” they score below their capacity. It can be the consequence of stress and tension.  
  • You Didn’t Use Thorough GMAT Prep Materials
  • Any exam has its tricks. You can be a very prepared student but not be able to score high on GMAT for a single and sometimes stupid reason: just because you didn’t use the adequate material to study. Books and materials of GMAT not only give you knowledge on the assessed areas but also make you acquainted with the structure of the exam. Get into the framework of your GMAT and be loyal to it!
  • You’re Targeting Scholarships
  • Are you targeting scholarships? In this case, retake your GMAT test but make sure to do it correctly. You have limited opportunities to take this test.

Strategies for Retaking the GMAT

Strategies to Triumph

Once you consider retaking the GMAT make a list of strategies to follow. It is not an option to just review everything and go back to the assessment. Find out your gaps. You have two alternatives:

  • to strengthen your weak points, work hard to make fewer mistakes in these sections where you are not a pro.
  • to focus on your strong points and raise your grade in these sections.

GMAT is an ability test. It adapts to your level and chooses questions depending on your answers. Accuracy is important here, but the quick reaction and coherent answers will make the program take you to the next level of complicity.

  1. Target the score you want to achieve and take a sample test to see where you are. This will help you decide how much time you need to study and practice. Manage your studying time and improve. If you are taking a course do not just fulfil the tasks but enter to the depth. 
  2. It is always a good idea to make a study plan. Create the plan according to your abilities and interests. Do not devote too much time to one particular section. All the sections should be studied and practised. You can have your favourite one which can be your potential bonus supplier, however, do not rely just on one chunk.
  3. Follow up on your progress. Take mock tests but find an alternative to them as well. A good way to see your achievements is to consider ability quizzes.

Does Retaking the GMAT “Look Bad”

You work hard to study the degrees of your dreams, your stress, and take exams, you suffer and doubt. To all this is added the doubt if it is frowned upon to retake the GMAT exam. Will retaking the GMAT make me a worse candidate?

The answer is no.

The admission committee can see your scores for the last five years but they will consider the highest one. You also have the option to delete the score you do not want the adcom to see. However, retaking GMAT does not affect your application negatively. It can be considered as hard work and readiness to create the future you deserve.

In some cases, the adcom even chooses the highest score of each section in different GMAT exams you took. 

To sum up, the GMAT is your ability test and the Icing on the cake of your college application. If you work hard and do not achieve the score you desired or you are “unhappy” with the results, retake the test.