Should You Retake the GMAT?

retake the GMAT
With round two deadlines just over six weeks away, you may have some doubts about the strength of your test scores. Is it a good idea to retake the GMAT this late in the process? That depends. If your undergrad GPA is high and you have a solid GMAT score, you can rest assured the admissions committee will presume you can handle the program’s curriculum. In that case, they will move on to weighing other aspects of your candidacy.

But a low GMAT score—especially when combined with a poor GPA—could pose a red flag. So, what should you do if a) you’re an awful test-taker or b) you’re not happy with your initial score? When does it make sense to try again?

Your GMAT score is just one data point out of your entire package for the admissions committee to consider. But it’s often seen as proof of academic prowess and, therefore, worth improving if the circumstances are right and time permits.

Partner with Stacy Blackman’s best-in-class GMAT and GRE experts and significantly increase your score. Check out our test prep services here. To request a free game plan chat with SBC’s lead test prep coach, email

retaking the gmat

Some applicants have had trouble taking tests throughout their lives. If that sounds familiar, try a test prep class or private tutor to see if dedicated guidance helps. Also, think about taking the GRE instead of retaking the GMAT (assuming your target schools accept it). Many SBC clients have submitted GRE scores and gotten into top business schools. Take a few practice tests and see if you fare better.

If you can’t improve your standardized test scores despite your best efforts, then we’d advise using the “Optional Essay/Additional Information” field within the application. Here you can provide context that shows the AdCom why you can handle their program, despite a poor test score. Point to your career success or specific quantitative or analytic achievements.

Does it Look Bad to Retake the GMAT?

On the other hand, if you’ve typically done well on tests throughout your academic career, a poor GMAT score may be a fluke. Or perhaps it was the result of insufficient preparation, lack of sleep before the test, or nerves. Then you should regroup and try again.

You won’t get penalized for taking the test more than once. So, if you know in your gut you can do better, it’s worth a try. Just be sure to take a different approach to test prep and test-taking this time.

Finally, don’t worry a bit about how retaking the GMAT multiple times might look to the admissions committee.  “Most students take the GRE or GMAT test two or three times—and that’s fine,” says Anthony Ritz, SBC’s Director of Test Prep. “Schools will take your highest score, and you can even cancel a bad GMAT score without a trace if you want total reassurance that it won’t count against you.”

Don’t miss The GMAT Test: Expert Tips, Tricks & Advice

That said, applicants should know that some AdComs respect the efforts of candidates who make multiple attempts to bump up their scores until they are satisfied.

“We encourage you to share new scores with us even if your score doesn’t improve when you retake it,” shares Amy Mitson, director of admissions at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. “We will appreciate and view positively that you recognized this area for improvement and were persistent in trying to increase your score.”

Get our Cheat Sheet!

Before you leave, don’t sleep on this test prep resource, Anthony’s GMAT Math Cheat Sheet, which is a must-have for any GMAT test taker. This comprehensive 9-page compendium is the only cheat sheet that includes absolutely every rule and strategy you need to know on topics such as Geometry, Data Sufficiency, Algebra, Word Problems, Statistics, and more.


Stacy Blackman Consulting offers multiple services to meet your MBA application needs. From our All-In Partnership to interview prep, essay editing, resume review, and much more, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today for a free 15-minute advising session to talk strategy with a Principal SBC consultant.

Here’s a snapshot of the caliber of expertise on our SBC team.

Did you know that SBC offers test prep services? We’ve recruited a team of best in class instructors who will help you recognize your individual learning style, discover holes in your foundation knowledge and set manageable yet ambitious goals. We focus on a deep understanding of the content, and later a grasp of smart test strategies. Let SBC’s long tradition of excellence support all aspects of your application process.

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