The R2 Deadline Clock is Ticking…Should You Retake the GMAT?
With Round two deadlines just 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. On one hand, if your undergrad GPA was 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.
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 just fine taking tests over the course of your academic career, a poor GMAT score may just be a fluke. Or perhaps it was the result of insufficient preparation, lack of sleep leading up to 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. AdComs respect the efforts of candidates who make multiple attempts to bump up their score 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.”