When to Retake the GMAT

Few things are crystal clear in the MBA application process. At most good programs you will be evaluated on far more than just your GMAT score. At mediocre programs the score is more likely to be a deciding factor.

So how do you decide when to retake and when to just accept your gmat score as is?

My basic guidelines:

  1. Is your overall score over 730? If so, you are almost certainly just fine score-wise. 730+ is above average at each major program and can certainly compensate for a non-awesome (but maybe not a “horrible”) GPA.
  2. For scores below 730, is your quant score at least 48 – the scaled score, not the percentile?
    1. Yes
      1. Is your Verbal >38 and your GPA at least 3.6? If so, it’s okay, not great, but okay.
      2. If your Verbal is <38 and your GPA is 3.8+ in a strong major at a competitive US undergrad, you may be okay. If your GPA is not 3.8+ you really should get to work on verbal in order to retake.
    2. If no, then you would be wise to get your quant to 48+ and make sure your verbal isn’t dragging you down.

Thoughts if you need more prep:

  1. Good GMAT prep is not a quantity game. Think quality over quantity. Work problem sets that are retired GMAT test questions, not private label materials. It makes a difference. We only use retired GMAT materials here. (As long as you have an official guide from the gmac, you have retired test questions).
  2. Ask experts with skin in the game – actual teachers who have students judging them on the outcome – for feedback, but not the forums. Forum responders are not likely to be legit educators. If they were, they wouldn’t have time for the forums. Stick to real experts when you have GMAT questions. I’ve worked with thousands of students 1-1. Not every problem solving technique works for every student. Find an expert who gets you and gets the test.

Want your own personal assessment? Ask Kate!