To Retake or Not to Retake the GMAT?

Few people leave GMAT test centers feeling thrilled with their score. But, that does not necessarily mean it is time to start studying again. Here are a few factors to consider before logging back into Magoosh:

1. How far off is your score?
If you scored within 20 points of your GMAT practice tests, it is unlikely that another half day in a test center is going to significantly alter your score (assuming you thoroughly prepared). It is disappointing when test scores don’t meet or exceed practice levels, but, if your score is close, it may be more strategic to focus on the other elements of your application.

2. What are your opportunity costs?
It is August, so the first round of application deadlines at schools like Stanford and Berkeley (Northern California bias noted) are only ten weeks away. Do you have the bandwidth to study for the GMAT and write essays and keep your day job? If not, it may be time to accept your score and move on.

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3. Is your score out of alignment?
Will your score raise eyebrows with the admissions committee? If you were an electrical engineering major, but scored poorly on the quantitative section, it will look as odd as an English major bombing the verbal section.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons to retake the GMAT, as well. To name a few of the most common:

  • You didn’t study hard enough (Magoosh can help here);
  • You messed up your test timing and had to rush through one (or both) of the sections; and
  • You freaked out when asked whether to cancel your scores, pressed yes, ran away from the test center, hopped a flight and are reading this post from a hostel in Belarus.

So, it may be best to retake the exam, but make sure to think carefully before you do! And let us know if we missed any good reasons to retake (or not retake) the GMAT.

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