This is a difficult question because there are a lot of factors to consider. There are certain situations where there is a very clear cut answer. For example, if you scored in the 90th percentile or higher, there is no reason to take this exam again; the other parts of your application will be much more important. But, provided you scored lower than that, let’s talk about when it might be worth it to take the MAT again.
The Point of Graduate Exams
Most people considering a retake want a higher score. While a certain prestige comes with a high score, it is important to remember the point of these exams. They are just one part of your overall graduate school application, and many would say they are not the most important part. Most schools simply want to see that you score is at least at the “average” for students they normally let in.
If you have scored above average for the school you are applying to, there is not much reason to retake the exam (see What is a “Good” MAT score). The only time someone with an above average score should retake the MAT is if they need to make up for glaring weaknesses in their application: low GPA, markedly bad grades in certain courses, etc. But if you’re not compensating for a weakness like this, a slightly above average score is sufficient. If you have a strong application, even just an average score will often be fine for any school outside of the Ivy League.
When It’s Worth It
If you have scored below average for the school you are applying to (or have a weak application), then it is time to consider a retake. Before you make the decision, you should consider several factors. First, do you have the time to actually improve your score? Unless your low score was due to sickness, freak accident, or just a terrible test day, you are going to need at least four weeks of dedicated studying to see a noticeable score increase. If you cannot commit to this, then a retake will probably result in a similar score—which would be a waste of time.
Just as important, you need to be able to identify what went wrong the first time you studied. We have a great article on retakes in our GRE blog. Unless you take the time to identify and correct your previous mistakes, a retake won’t necessarily lead to a better score.
So Should I Retake the MAT?
If you scored above average for your school, it is probably not worth it to retake. If you scored below average, decide if you have the time to retake, identify what went wrong the last time, and go from there–maybe with our 1 month study schedule.