Should You Retake the GMAT Exam?

You can train in order to achieve a higher GMAT score

You have the time to prepare & study to achieve a higher GMAT score

There’s no yes or no answer here, but I will give you some points to consider that will help you make your decision.

You probably should retake the GMAT if…

• You have other weaknesses in your profile and you feel a high GMAT score will help you compensate for them.

• You have the time to prepare, study hard, and change the outcome.

• You are a reapplicant who has received feedback that suggests you need to boost your GMAT score.

• You blame you’re not-so-brilliant score on a bad day and know that if you retook the GMAT you’d have a meaningfully higher score.

You probably shouldn’t retake the GMAT if…

 • You proudly overshot the 80-80 hurdle. (Note: If you scored above the 80th percentile in both the verbal and quant sections of the GMAT, then you generally don’t need to retake the GMAT, even if you apply to a school at the tippy top of the tier.)

• You’ve already taken the GMAT 3+ times. (Think about the law of diminishing returns.)

• You are aiming too high and know deep down that you should probably just apply to b-schools with lower average GMAT scores at matriculation. If your GMAT is high enough for schools that you would be happy to attend, then you don’t need to retake it.

Join our upcoming webinar: How to Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats! Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

GMAT & MBA Admissions: True or False?
MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Terrific Tips
Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One

The Test Prep Guru Speaks

In honor of Thanksgiving, we’ve decided to repost one of the podcast episodes that our listeners have been most grateful for.

If you didn’t hear it the first time or you just want to review, now is the perfect time to listen to our highly informative (and super-popular) interview with Bhavin Parikh, CEO and founder of Magoosh, the leading online test prep company for the SAT, GRE, GMAT, and TOEFL. 

Click here to listen to the show!

*Theme music is courtesy of

Related Links:

• Magoosh
• The Hansoo Lee Fellowship
• How to Put Your Best Foot Forward on Test Day
How to Get Accepted to B-School with a Low GMAT Score

Related Shows:

• The GMAT Score Preview and Application Boxes
• The GMAT, the GRE, and the Guy Who Knows them Well
• Which Graduate Schools Should You Apply To? 

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International GMAT Test Takers Score Higher than Americans

Got low stats? Find out how you can still get into a top b-school!

U.S. GMAT-takers performing poorly compared to test-takers from Asia-Pacific

U.S. GMAT test-takers are performing poorly compared to test-takers from Asia-Pacific reports a recent Wall Street Journal article. In response to this growing performance gap, adcom at U.S. schools are seeking to implement new evaluation metrics to make domestic students appear better.

Here’s an example of how things have changed: For the quant section, in 2004, a raw score of 48 would put the student in the 86th percentile; today, that same score would yield a ranking in the 74th percentile. More students (outside the U.S.) are scoring higher – especially in the quant section – making it a lot harder for U.S. test takers (whose raw scores have remained relatively flat) to hit those higher percentages. That is, their test scores haven’t changed, but their percentile rankings are falling.

Here are some additional stats from the WSJ article:

•  Currently, Asia-Pacific citizens make up 44% of GMAT test-  takers, compared to 22% a decade ago. U.S. students comprise only 36% of all test-takers.

•  Asians averaged a mean raw score of 45 on the quant section, compared to a raw mean for U.S. students of 33.  The global mean was 38.

•  10 years ago, the Asian students’ raw score was at 42; for U.S. students it was still 33.

To address concerns about the shifting global rankings of the test, this past September GMAC introduced a bench-marking tool that “allows admissions officers to compare applicants against their own cohort, filtering scores and percentile rankings by world region, country, gender and college grade-point average.” Adcom explain that they need a way to measure applicants against other test takers in an applicant’s region. They explain that they don’t just want to “become factories for high-scoring test-takers from abroad.”

Others respond by suggesting that American students need to receive a more intense math education, similar to the emphasis put on mathematics in Asia. But is lack of math education the problem or is it the amount of time Americans invest in test prep? GMAC reports that U.S. students only spend an average 64 hours prepping for the GMAT, compared to the 151 hours put in by Asian students.

Students concerned about their GMAT percentile may want to consider taking the GRE which is now accepted at 85% of b-schools.

Watch our free webinar: How to Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats! Helping You Write Your Best
Related Resources:

•  MBA Admissions Tip: Dealing with a Low GPA
•  Low GMAT Score? Don’t Panic…Yet.
•  Admissions Offers to International Grad Students Increase 9% Since 2013

Can You Get Into B-School with Low Stats?

Yes! Not everyone who goes to Harvard scores a perfect 800 and has a GPA of 4.0 (in fact, very few actually hit those perfect scores).

If you’re stats are less than ideal, that doesn’t (always) mean that you need to cross your top schools off your list!

Yes you CAN get accepted to a top b-school with low stats!

Now’s your chance to catch up on valuable information you may have missed during our webinar, How to Get Accepted to B-School with Low Stats. B-school applicants with low GPA and/or GMAT scores – you don’t want to miss this!

View How to Get Accepted to B-School with Low Stats for free now!

Watch the webinar Helping You Write Your Best

Analyzing Your GMAT Score: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

Click here for more GMAT info & advice!

Will your GMAT score destroy your admissions chances?

Do you need a perfect score on your GMAT to gain acceptance to a top-tier business school? No. But you definitely need your score to be high enough so that your application is seriously considered, so that the rest of your application isn’t fighting an uphill battle to overcome a sub-par GMAT score.

So, is your GMAT score good enough? To figure this out, you’ll need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who am I?

Who you are matters because admissions decisions don’t follow a strict formula or algorithm based entirely on numbers. You need to evaluate your score in the context of your demographic profile.

For example, if you’re a guy from India in the IT field who just spent the last five years sitting at a desk coding and crunching numbers, then you’re going to need a more competitive GMAT score than if you’re a gal from Chile who spent the last five years working for a energy-related non-profit that shuttled back and forth between Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica.

Again, even our Chilean social enterprising world explorer will need a score high enough to get her application looked at, but once she makes it past that point, she’ll have no trouble keeping their attention.

2. What does the rest of my application look like?

It is possible to recover from a not-so-ideal GMAT score, but that is if and only if the rest of your application is flawless (or nearly so).

If you have an almost perfect GPA, stunning application essays, amazing letters of recommendation, and a resume that shows that you’ve worked hard and succeeded, then you’ll be in a position to prove to the adcom that you’re a fantastic candidate and that the GMAT is just not your thing (again, it still needs to be good enough to get your app looked at).

3. Which b-schools am I applying to?

It goes without saying that some GMAT scores will be highly competitive at some programs and not even close to competitive at others. To see if your score is “good enough,” you need to visit your target schools’ websites and see what their GMAT range is. Don’t just look at the average; the range will give you a better idea of how low they’ll go before weeding out an application based on GMAT score alone.

4. What is my score?

If you scored above the 80th percentile on both the verbal and quant sections of the GMAT then you should consider yourself in the clear and good to go to apply to highly ranked MBA programs (assuming that the rest of your application is top-notch as well). If you received lower than that, that doesn’t mean that you need to retake the GMAT (necessarily), but does mean that you need to look at your GMAT in the larger scheme of things and consider retaking the GMAT if you feel your profile needs it and you are aiming for those top programs.

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions and done some serious soul-searching, you’ll have a much better idea of what your next steps should be – going ahead and applying to your target b-schools this year, waiting and applying to your top choices next year (or even the following year) while you work on improving your profile, applying this year, but to lower ranked programs, etc.

Last but not least, please be in touch if you need help analyzing your stats and determining where and when you should apply to b-school. We’re here to help!

Join our upcoming webinar: How to Get Accepted to Top B-Schools with Low Stats! Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• That GMAT Score: Implications for Your MBA Application
• Low GMAT Score? Don’t Panic…Yet.
• GRE vs. GMAT: Trends