This may seem hard for some test-takers to believe, but sometimes even the high-scorers contemplate retaking the exam. It’s not unheard of for someone with a score of 700 – or even higher – to retake the GMAT to see if they can hit a higher number.
But should they? As is usually the case with admissions issues…it depends.
Who are YOU? An MBA applicant with a distinctive background
Were our applicant here a Latin American brand manager or an African pharmaceutical salesperson – that is, if their demographic had little representation in the business school applicant pool – then there would really be no reason to retake the exam. Once they’ve demonstrated competence in each section of the GMAT and present a total score of 700+ – meaning, their quantitative and verbal scores placed them above the 80th percentile in each section – then their GMAT score really becomes a (nearly) non-issue. Retaking the test becomes a waste of time that could have been better spent elsewhere.
Who are YOU? An MBA applicant with a standard background
But here’s the thing: if you have a more typical background, and especially if you find yourself in an over-represented part of the applicant pool at top business schools that require the GMAT, then the above advice may not apply to you.
You do need a higher score.
Who might be in this group? Indian males in engineering and computer science. Investment bankers. Management consultants. All these groups tend to do well on the GMAT and send lots of applications to business schools.
Are YOU applying to top 10 MBA programs?
The U.S. News top-10 MBA programs all report GMAT averages or medians of over 720 in their class profiles for the Class of 2023. Although several schools experienced a sharp drop in average GMAT scores for the Class of 2022, i.e. the class that applied during the pandemic and started their MBA in 2020, that development has largely reversed itself with this year’s entering class. At most schools you see a return to pre-pandemic scores with perhaps a slight boost. That boost represents a return to the rising average GMAT score trend that has existed for the last twenty years. It may also reflect the fact that some schools (MIT for example) waived the test or gave applicants the option to request test waivers.
However, these stats also show that some schools seem to be de-emphasizing the GMAT (Berkeley Haas, Booth). Their scores for the class of 2023 remain at roughly the same level as that of the class of 2022.
Regardless of whether the scores went up or down a few points, they are, as noted above, all above 720. A few years ago you could talk about a balanced 700 being competitive in the top 10. No more – unless you are from an underrepresented group:
|U.S. News Ranking||Program|| Avg GMAT Score|
| Avg GMAT Score|
| Avg GMAT Score|
[Class of 2023]
|7||UC Berkeley Haas||725||727||726|
What should YOU do?
So, if you score a 700 on the GMAT, should you retake the exam? It depends on the schools you’re applying to, and it depends on your demographic, not to mention the strength of the rest of your application. If you are applying from a common sub-group in the applicant pool with a fairly typical background and extracurricular profile, and you are aiming for a top 10 program, a 700 score will be a negative for you. You should consider a retake. For other applicants, that 700 will be just fine.
Do your research, be as objective as possible, and figure out the target score – and the target schools – that are best for YOU.
Not sure if your stats and the rest of your application will get you into the best b-school for you? Check out our MBA Admissions Consulting Services and learn how your personal advisor can help you get accepted. You can also test your readiness to apply using Accepted’s free MBA calculator quiz!By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted. Linda earned her bachelors and MBA at UCLA, and has been advising applicants since 1994 when she founded Accepted. Linda is the co-founder and first president of AIGAC. She has written or co-authored 13 e-books on the admissions process, and has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News, Poets & Quants, Bloomberg Businessweek, CBS News, and others. Linda is the host of Admissions Straight Talk, a podcast for graduate school applicants. Want an admissions expert help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!
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• Should You Retake the GMAT?