I’m not happy with my GMAT score. What will schools think if I’ve retaken the GMAT?

Jan 6, 2011
Tags: Admissions Committees, Admissions Process, Admissions Requirements, Applications, GMAT

Written by Peggy Conway, Director of MBA Admissions, TCU - Neeley School of Business

Should I repeat my GMAT? Even though it’s a question that admissions officers frequently hear, it’s not one that has a quick single answer. The GMAT is only one of multiple criteria used in admission decisions, so the answer will depend on your unique situation. 

To make your decision, you may wish to start by reviewing the class profiles posted by your target schools. How does your test score fit into these profiles? In addition to the average GMAT, take a look at the range of scores for admitted students. Most schools will post this information on their own websites, but it can also be found on the “Find a School” program profiles on mba.com

As you review the class profiles, think about your full application and how it fits into those profiles. How does your application compare on qualifications such as past academic performance and professional experience? Keep in mind that candidates admitted on the lower end of the GMAT range probably have exceptional qualifications otherwise. 

Also consider whether repeating the test is likely to yield a significantly different score. Based on your past performance on other standardized tests, does the score accurately reflect your testing abilities? Did you prepare for the test as well as you could? Would more study time benefit you? Would a different study method be helpful? Did you struggle more with one portion of the test that might require additional review? Have you previously repeated the GMAT? If so, did your score change? 

With all of that in mind, consider your score and how it represents you. You want to put together the most competitive application you can, one that best represents your abilities and talents. While GMAT is not the only criterion considered by schools, it is the only standardized measure that schools have to compare all candidates, and for that reason is an important piece of the puzzle for most schools. 

If you decide to repeat the test, how will schools view that decision? Most schools will be glad to see that you have taken steps to improve your application. It shows motivation, willingness to work hard, and a desire to succeed.  Repeating the test more than once, or in some cases twice, would not necessarily have the same positive implications.