How Retaking the GMAT Can Help You

Reasons to Retake the GMAT

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Did you know that nearly one-third of test takers retake the GMAT? It's true. About 30 percent of individuals take the GMAT two or more times, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the makers of the GMAT. In this article, we're going to look at how retakes work and then explore the ways in which a retake could benefit your business school application.

How GMAT Retakes Work

Some people worry that they are only allowed one retake, but that isn't the case. After taking the GMAT the first time, you can retake the GMAT once every 16 calendar days. So, if you take the test on May 1, you can retake the test again on May 17 and again on June 2 and so on. However, you are limited to just four retakes in a 12-month period. In other words, you can only take the GMAT five times in a single year. After the 12-month period has ended, you can take the GMAT again. It is important to note, though, that there is a limit to the number of times you can take the test. In 2016, the makers of the GMAT instituted a lifetime cap that allows you to take the GMAT just eight times total over the course of your life. 

Getting a Better Score

There are a few different reasons why people choose to retake the GMAT, but the most common reason is to get a higher score the second or third time around. A good GMAT score is especially important for applicants seeking admission to competitive full-time MBA programs. Part-time, EMBA, or specialized master's degree programs can be less selective because there are fewer people competing for the seats in class, but a full-time MBA program at a top business school is more discerning.

If you hope to compete with other MBA candidates who are applying to the program, it is important to set a target GMAT score that gets you within the score range of other applicants. Since it can be hard to determine the score range for fellow applicants, your best bet is to research the GMAT score range for the class most recently admitted to the school. This information is generally found on the school's website. If you cannot locate it, you may be able to get the information from the admissions department.

If you don't achieve your target score the first time you take the GMAT, you should really consider a retake to boost your score. Once you have taken the test, you'll know what to expect and how you need to prepare for the questions. Although it is possible to get a lower score the second time around, with the right amount of preparation, you should be able to improve on your past performance. If you do get a lower score, you can always cancel the second score and stick with the first score. You also have the option of taking the test a third time.

Demonstrating Initiative

Another reason to take the GMAT is to demonstrate initiative. This can be especially helpful if you are waitlisted. Retaking the GMAT not only gives you something to do while you wait to hear back from the admissions committee, it also gives you a chance to show admissions reps that you have drive and passion and that you're willing to do what it takes to make progress both academically and professionally. Most MBA programs will accept updated GMAT scores, additional recommendation letters, and other supplemental materials from applicants. However, you should check with the school you are applying to prior to putting the effort into retaking the GMAT.

Preparing for an MBA Program

Retaking the GMAT has another benefit that many applicants don't think about. The primary reason why business schools ask for GMAT scores is because they want to make sure that you are up to the quantitative rigor of an MBA program. All of the work that you put into preparing for the test will also help you prepare for the work in an MBA class. GMAT test prep helps you learn how to think analytically and apply reason and logic to problems. These are important skills in an MBA program.