Effective July 19, 2015, GMAT Test takers will now be able to remove cancelled GMAT scores from their Official GMAT Score Report. And retakes are now possible after 16 days rather than 31 days.
Previously, when you finish taking the GMAT exam at the test center, your score will show up. At this instance, you have to make a decision:
1) Cancel the score
2) Report the score
If you chose to cancel the score, a “C” would be permanent and would show up on all your future GMAT score reports for that cancelled test score. This could be an embarrassment as business schools can see your previous attempts and see that you cancelled some previous scores. The actual score wouldn’t be shown but having a “C” puts doubts in admissions officers’ minds. And as competitive as business school admissions are, you certainly don’t want any doubt for why you should be admitted to their school.
Why did the GMAC/GMAT folks create such an unfriendly system? Well, originally a system like this discouraged test takers from taking the exam multiple times and potentially gaining an advantage. Arguably, it more accurately/consistently measured someone’s base core reasoning skills relative to others by taking that one quick snapshot, removing other variables that could have altered that baseline score such as more practice or more specialized prep.
But things have changed since the old days. GMAT Prep and practice questions abound everywhere on the internet and in books. Students everywhere are getting the specialized prep they need to get a high score. Further, the stringency of the GMAT score report rules make many test takers fearful of the GMAT. What if they score badly? Test takers then start thinking — is there any other way around the GMAT? Can I take the GRE instead — would any schools accept that “easier” test? Certainly, GMAT wants to remain the gold standard for MBA admissions. So with that as some context along with the fact that students with “cancelled” test scores have no correlation with bad MBA candidates, a new change was approved by GMAC.
For GMAT Test Takers after July 19, 2015, Upon seeing your GMAT score immediately after finishing the GMAT exam, you can now know with confidence that canceling your score means that nobody (except you) will ever see that bloody score. You can retake as many times as you’d like and know that a future business school admissions officer will not be able to see that you tried to retake the exam 5 times. How many times you retake is entirely up to you and you can do so without fear.
What does this mean for you? Increased confidence to go ahead and take that GMAT exam. In the past, it was ideal to just take the exam once and score well (easier said than done), otherwise face the risk of a “C” on your report.
Now, you can eliminate that risk. Take the exam. If you don’t do well, take it again. Your only cost in such cases is your time. If you have all the time in the world to take the GMAT multiple times, by all means do it. If you’re short on time, you should invest in prep to maximize your use of that time.
You used to have to wait an entire month before retake. That’s enough time for you to lose momentum and forget everything in your head. You start losing some stamina.
But now, you can retake after just 16 days. So not only can you feel free to take the exam without penalty of a “C” showing up on your official score report, now you can schedule a retake in half the time. If you feel pissed about your score, you can spend the next 2 weeks preparing hard core and give it a shot again. It saves you a ton of time. Typically when students see their abominable low first score, they freak out. They start researching and figuring out what they did wrong, what they could have done better. Those hours or days after that first bad score really motivates someone.
Some may find that taking the first GMAT exam is a good way to get access to a practice test. After all, it will be the real thing, but the reputation damage of taking the exam multiple times does not exist anymore. So why not use it as a practice test?
Be careful here. Going from one practice test to the next helps you be more familiar with the exam, but it often does NOT substantially increase your score. The GMAT folks know this and have designed their test so that re-take users often score within a +/- 20pt range from where they scored last time. It’s highly unlikely to see a drastic change in score without significant change in improving one’s thought process. And that’s where specialized prep like GMAT Pill comes in.
What we recommend instead is that you use the diagnostic tests provided by the GMAT Prep software. You only need those 2 diagnostic tests to get a feel for the exam and your problem areas. Then spend time preparing — deep diving in to each section with practice material. Then take the real test as if it were your only shot. If you feel you can still do better, then opt for the retake. Don’t forget, time in the form of energy and exhaustion play a big role with the GMAT. It can mess with you psychologically. What you need to do is to reduce the time you spend, get a great score, and control your confidence going into the test.
So with that great news, what are you waiting for? It’s a great time to get comfortable with the GMAT. Spend more time with it and retake if necessary. If you get stuck or are looking for that extra edge, check out the resources and testimonials on GMAT Pill.