Not satisfied with your GMAT score? Are you thinking of retaking the GMAT? We will explore the pros and cons of retaking the GMAT and how you can plan for it. But before we get into the details, let’s give you a brief overview of the exam. 

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardised computer-adaptive test for admission into a post-graduate program like a Masters in Management or an MBA. This exam tests a candidate’s logical reasoning, analytical writing, critical thinking and problem solving skills. The test is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) and can be taken multiple times in a year. The score range for the GMAT exam is 200-800 and most B-Schools insist on a good GMAT score for admission purposes. The score for the GMAT exam is valid for five years. More than 7,000 programs at nearly 2,300 graduate business schools accept GMAT scores worldwide.

You are allowed to access your unofficial GMAT score immediately after the exam is over. You have the option to either accept or cancel scores within two minutes. If you accept the scores, then your scores (official) will be sent to the universities you have selected. In a scenario where you feel that you have not performed well,  then you can consider retaking the GMAT to increase your chances of obtaining a better score. However, if you wish to retake the GMAT, you need to conduct an in-depth research and plan in advance, as the GMAT preparation process can be rather arduous. 

Recent Updates in the GMAC Policy

Before we weigh the pros and cons of retaking the GMAT, let us take a look at the recent changes in the GMAC policy. 

Initially, test-takers could opt to automatically report the scores to the universities of their choice but this they had to do before they knew their unofficial scores (had to be done before the exam). This was very risky as test-takers had no clue if they would be turning in a satisfactory or unsatisfactory score. However, in the year 2014, GMAC made a change in this exam policy. Candidates could accept or reject scores after they saw their unofficial scores after the exam. 

Another change in the GMAC policy is that now you can retake the GMAT after a gap of at least 16 days from your previous attempt. Initially, candidates had to wait for a minimum of 31 days before retaking the test. The new policy has made it easier to schedule another test if you have tight deadlines for your university applications.

Things to Keep in Mind When Considering Retaking the GMAT

Now, let us consider a scenario, where you are not happy with your GMAT score. If you are considering retaking the GMAT, you should be aware that the GMAC lets you take the GMAT five times a year. You should consider the GMAT only if you are dedicated to improving your GMAT score. In addition, you need to make sure you have enough time, energy, and funds to be able to take the GMAT again.  Since you have taken the test once already, you can now identify where you went wrong and work on those areas.

If you have decided on retaking the GMAT, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. To begin with, you need to include more practice tests in your study regime. This will help you work on the sections you are struggling with. Besides, you need to be thorough with the fundamental concepts. While taking the practice tests, make sure to attempt advanced questions as well. This will help you tackle the computer-adaptive nature of the GMAT. The best way to score high in the GMAT exam is to prepare vigorously and take adequate practice tests. Finally, you must be committed to improving your GMAT scores so that you don’t regret investing your time, energy, and funds later. 

Pros of Retaking the GMAT 

Let us have a quick look at the pros of the GMAT retake, to help your decision of taking the GMAT again. The pros of retaking the GMAT are as follows: 

  • Organised Approach: Since you have already given the GMAT, you are aware of how the exam takes place. You are also aware of the areas and sections you most struggle with. Hence, to cope with these sections, you can adopt a very clear and structured approach to scoring well in your next attempt. A well-structured study plan will lead to a better GMAT score but you need to be consistent in your preparation. 
  • Preferred University or Top Business School: Most business schools list a good GMAT score as a necessary requirement. A common notion among candidates is that if they achieve the GMAT cutoff score set by universities, they are likely to be admitted into their preferred university. While this might be true for some universities, with the current competitive scenario, you are eligible only if you score high and have an edge over the other applicants. Hence, your chances of getting admitted into your preferred institution increases if you have an excellent GMAT score. 
  • Depicts Strong Will: Retaking the GMAT shows the admission committee how driven and passionate you are to get into a particular institution. It also depicts your perseverance to perform better. In addition, it showcases your ability to identify your errors and work on them earnestly.
  • No Penalty: The GMAC does not penalise you for attempting the GMAT the second or third time around. This means you can take the GMAT till you are satisfied with your scores. Although, keep in mind that you are only allowed to take the GMAT five times in a year and eight times in a lifetime. 

Cons of Retaking the GMAT Exam

Now that you are aware of the pros of retaking the GMAT, let us take a look at the cons of retaking the GMAT.

  • Expensive affair: If you are planning on retaking the exam, you need to repay the GMAT exam fee of $250 which is approximately INR 19,000. This proves to be an expensive affair as you have already invested the same amount of money when you attempted the GMAT for the first time.
  • Creates a Negative Impact: While there is no penalty for retaking the GMAT, retaking the exam might reflect badly on your application. If you have taken the GMAT more than twice or thrice, the admission committee would begin to question your intellect and might wonder if you are the right choice for their institution. This will harm your application. Hence, it is advisable to seek proper guidance before you consider retaking the GMAT.

We have listed the pros and cons of retaking the GMAT and we hope it helped. As you can see, the pros of retaking the GMAT exam have outnumbered its cons. However, if you are truly interested in retaking the exam, try to schedule the exam according to your convenience and prepare thoroughly for the exam. And, since you do not want to go wrong with your second attempt as well, it is advisable to reach out to an online coaching service, such as CareerLabs for assistance. 

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