From The Staff of MBA Admit.com
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I Got a 680! Should I Take the GMAT Again?
Many candidates study hard for the GMAT, but are disappointed to learn their score is in the 600s instead of a 700-range score that they had hoped for. When the score is in the high-600s, many candidates will worry about whether to re-take the exam. What is my advice, they ask. Will they get rejected with a score like 680?
The correct response is very candidate-specific. The answer depends on who the candidate is (gender, age, citizenship, ethnicity, industry, etc.) and how strong the candidate’s overall record is (GPA, undergraduate institution, alternative transcript, professional successes, community leadership, etc.). It is difficult to generalize the advice because factors like those above matter a great deal, but here are some guidelines about how you can think about this.
A score of 680 can keep many candidates within shooting range of top schools like Harvard and Wharton. This is particularly true in the past two admission cycles, when schools like Harvard and Columbia seemed to get a bit stricter about the level of an acceptable GMAT score. For schools that only request your highest GMAT score (rather than the most recent two or three scores), you might want to re-take the GMAT if you have time and you have the strong sense that a 680 puts your application at risk.
For schools that want to see your most recent two or three GMAT scores, however, the calculation is a bit more complex. In considering whether to re-take the test, you must also think about the impact if your GMAT score goes lower. If you receive a higher GMAT score, that would be wonderful and your application will get a boost. But, if you receive a second GMAT score that is less than 680, it will have the impact of validating the first score. If you also have a lower-than-ideal GPA, the second low score can also be interpreted as providing “evidence” that your lower-than-ideal GPA was an accurate indicator of your abilities and potential.
Re-taking the GMAT in those circumstances can be risky. If you decide to re-take it, make sure you have already taken a prep course that has helped you understand how to test well on the GMAT. Make sure to also take full mock tests and project your score, and re-test after you are consistently scoring in a higher range that you find acceptable.
Dr. Shel (Shelly Watts)
President, MBA Admit.com