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Should I Retake the GMAT: Is It Worth It?

June 01, 2023 :: Admissionado Team

For aspiring business professionals seeking admission to top-tier graduate programs, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) plays a critical role in the application process. The GMAT is a standardized exam designed to assess a candidate’s aptitude for success in business school, measuring their abilities in analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning. However, for many individuals who have already taken the GMAT, a common question arises: Should I retake the GMAT? Is it worth the time, effort, and potential expense to undergo the rigorous preparation process once again?

The decision to retake the GMAT is not one to be taken lightly. While a higher score can undoubtedly enhance your application and increase your chances of admission, retaking the exam involves investing additional time and energy, as well as the possibility of incurring additional costs. Moreover, it is important to understand the factors that influenced your initial score, the significance of score improvements, and how business schools evaluate multiple test attempts.

Common Reasons to Retake the GMAT

  • 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, analytical, 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 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.

Pros of Retaking the GMAT

1. Improved Score

Retaking the GMAT gives you an opportunity to improve your score and demonstrate growth. A higher score can open doors to more prestigious programs and scholarship opportunities. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your GMAT score doesn’t define you. With dedication, practice, and a solid study plan, you can raise your score to new heights.

2. Demonstrating Perseverance

Retaking the GMAT shows business schools that you are willing to go the extra mile to achieve your goals. It displays your determination and perseverance, qualities that are highly regarded in the business world. 

3. Enhanced Scholarship Opportunities

Many business schools offer scholarships based on merit. By retaking the GMAT and achieving a higher score, you may become eligible for a more generous financial aid or scholarship package. Who doesn’t want more money to pay for school?

4. Improved Admission Chances

Obviously…we know, but still worth talking about. If your initial GMAT score was below the average range of your target schools, retaking the exam can help you bridge that gap. A higher score will make your application more competitive and increase your chances of securing admission to your preferred business school. 

5. Mitigating Other Weaknesses

Retaking the GMAT allows you to address any other weaknesses in your application. A higher score can offset potential shortcomings in other areas, such as your undergraduate GPA or professional experience. It gives you a chance to demonstrate your intellectual abilities and potential for success in a business school setting.

Cons of Retaking the GMAT

1. Time and Energy Investment

Retaking the GMAT requires a significant investment of time and energy. You’ll need to dedicate hours to studying, reviewing concepts, and practicing sample questions. This commitment can be challenging, especially if you’re juggling work or other responsibilities simultaneously. It’s important to weigh the time commitment against the potential benefits.

2. Cost Considerations

Each GMAT attempt costs money. From the registration fee to study materials and possible tutoring costs, retaking the GMAT can be (and often is) an expensive endeavor. It’s crucial to assess whether the potential score improvement justifies the financial investment, keeping in mind your overall budget for the business school application process.

3. Risk of a Lower Score

Retaking the GMAT comes with the inherent risk of achieving a lower score than your previous attempt. And let’s be real, it can feel downright demoralizing when you achieve a lower score after additional studying. While it’s essential to maintain a growth mindset, there’s no guarantee that your score will improve. And there’s no guarantee you’ll perform as well as you do in your practice tests. In some cases, test anxiety or other external factors may adversely impact your performance. Be prepared for this possibility and evaluate the potential consequences.

4. Diminished Return on Investment

In some cases, the return on investment for retaking the GMAT may diminish after reaching a certain score threshold. If your initial score is already within or above the average range of your target schools, the marginal benefit of a higher score may not outweigh the time and effort required for retaking the exam. Consider consulting with admissions consultants or mentors to gain perspective on this aspect.


Preparing for the GMAT while managing other responsibilities can be stressful and lead to burnout. The pressure to achieve a higher score can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. (Been there, done that). 

Strategies for Retaking the GMAT

Step one: Say goodbye to the “review everything” mentality. It’s time to get real and figure out where your weaknesses lie. Are you an expert in algebra but flail around like a fish out of water in sentence correction? Or maybe you’re a master of reading comprehension but struggle with geometry like it’s your worst nightmare. Identify those gaps, my friend!

Now, you’ve got two options here. 

  • Option A: Embrace your inner superhero and transform your weak points into mighty strengths. Channel your inner Rocky Balboa and train harder than ever to minimize those pesky mistakes in the sections that bring you to tears. 
  • Option B: Play to your strengths, baby! Focus on those areas where you shine like a supernova and raise your scores like it’s nobody’s business.

Remember, the GMAT is like a clingy ex—it adapts to your level and selects questions based on your answers. Accuracy is key, but speed and coherent answers will catapult you to the next level of complexity. 

Now, let’s talk about target scores. You need to set your sights on a specific number, like a bullseye at a carnival game. Take a sample test to gauge your current standing and determine just how much time you’ll need to study and practice. Manage your time like a boss and improve your skills. And if you’re taking a course, don’t just go through the motions—dive deep! It’s time to explore the hidden treasures of GMAT knowledge.

Ah, the study plan. Tailor your plan to your abilities and interests. Don’t spend all your time on one section. Give each section some love and attention. Sure, you might have a favorite section that feels like a bonus jackpot but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Spread the love around!

Now, here’s the fun part—tracking your progress. Take those mock tests, but don’t be a one-trick pony. Mix it up and find alternative ways to measure your achievements. Consider throwing in some ability quizzes for a dose of extra entertainment. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can a higher GMAT score compensate for a weak undergraduate GPA?

While a higher GMAT score can help offset a weak undergraduate GPA to some extent, remember that business schools still evaluate applicants holistically. Other factors like your work experience, essays, recommendation letters, and extracurricular activities MATTER. Aim to present a well-rounded application that highlights your strengths beyond just your GMAT score.

2. How many times can I retake the GMAT?

You can retake the GMAT up to five times within a 12-month period, with a minimum gap of seven days between attempts. 

3. Does Retaking the GMAT “Look Bad”

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 the grand scheme of things, deciding whether to retake the GMAT is a decision that rests on your unique circumstances. It’s like solving a complex equation where various factors come into play. While a higher score can unlock certain advantages, it’s important to weigh them against the investment of time, money, and effort.

Remember, your GMAT score is just one piece of the puzzle that makes up your entire application. Admissions committees consider a wide range of factors, including your work experience, GPA, essays, and recommendations. So, take a moment to reflect on how a score improvement aligns with your overall goals and aspirations. At the end of the day, success in business school is about much more than just a test score. It’s about your drive, your passion, and your ability to contribute meaningfully to the academic community. So, trust your instincts, gather all the necessary information, and make a well-informed decision that will set you on the path to your dream business school.