Ask Kate: Engineer with Low Quant on GMAT Score

If your quant on the GMAT was low, you probably need to retake.



Hi Kate,

I recently took the GMAT for the first time, and I scored a 710 – 6.0 AWA, 7.0 IR, 41Q, 46V. Strangely, I actually have a quantitative background, as I am a former engineer who now works in finance. My undergrad degree is in electrical engineering, and I recently earned my CFA charter. Unfortunately, I took an engineer’s mindset into the GMAT, which was not good, as I focused too much on calculation and ended up running short on time. I am aiming at top 10 programs (HBS, Stanford, Booth, possibly Columbia, Wharton, Haas, and Tuck). My question is whether or not I should retake the test. I have had a couple of people tell me that my time would be better spent putting together the rest of my application, but I would love to get your opinion. Given my background, will my lower quant score be an issue?

Thank you for your feedback!


EngineerHi Matt, as a first time test taker you did fall into some traps. It happens and won’t be held against you with a decent second test. You should need very little re-work to get your GMAT score across the 760 threshold. If you were my student I would have you cranking on the essays for apps and spending a few hours on GMAT quant each week. If you focus on the right stuff, you may be able to get the quant from 41 to 48 in 4 weeks. That would put you in 760-770 territory.

There’s no way I’d let an engineer with “quant” background apply with a 41 on quant and only one test under his belt. No way. It looks foolish – as though you did not understand the instructions on quant. The total GMAT result isn’t really the problem, just the foolishness that led to a low quant.



P.S. If you want to come “in” (online or NYC) for an evaluation that can point out exactly where to spend your quant time, reach out to my asst: We can fast track you so you can get that second take knocked out at your 31 day mark.



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