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GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 30 May 2012, 08:45
Hi, apologies if this isn't in the appropriate forum.

Quick question -- planned to take exam 6/1 before the IR changes roll out. Have not been able to dedicate the time necessary to get the score I know I'm capable of, it's literally been a matter of not being able to even open the books. Consequently, do not want to saddle myself with a score that will be with me forever that I am not happy with and which will show up on my history when reporting to schools.

However, I met someone this last weekend who said that score reporting was different than I thought. You only have to fill out your score online in the application, and schools don't even look at your full report until after making their decision (i.e. would not be biased to see a 650 and then a 750 a month later) and use the official report only for verification. I've never heard this before and would simply appreciate any insight any of you can share. I know he applied to Stanford but nowhere else (so is this potentially a school-specific thing?)

Basically -- help me decide whether to cancel my exam that is in 48 hours so my record stays clean or take it simply for the practice knowing it won't hurt me later.
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 30 May 2012, 08:56
APosseAdEsse wrote:
Hi, apologies if this isn't in the appropriate forum.

Quick question -- planned to take exam 6/1 before the IR changes roll out. Have not been able to dedicate the time necessary to get the score I know I'm capable of, it's literally been a matter of not being able to even open the books. Consequently, do not want to saddle myself with a score that will be with me forever that I am not happy with and which will show up on my history when reporting to schools.

However, I met someone this last weekend who said that score reporting was different than I thought. You only have to fill out your score online in the application, and schools don't even look at your full report until after making their decision (i.e. would not be biased to see a 650 and then a 750 a month later) and use the official report only for verification. I've never heard this before and would simply appreciate any insight any of you can share. I know he applied to Stanford but nowhere else (so is this potentially a school-specific thing?)

Basically -- help me decide whether to cancel my exam that is in 48 hours so my record stays clean or take it simply for the practice knowing it won't hurt me later.


For the most part this is how it works. Schools usually want the official score once you're admitted. Some schools do ask for official score reports as part of the application but you are still evaluated based on your highest score.
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 30 May 2012, 09:00
Some schoools ask for your top score while others ask for your top two or three scores if applicable. If you haven't studied for the GMAT and you know you will not do well, I would hold off taking it and eat the exam fee. My answer would be different if you were scoring 690 on the practice exams and your target is 730.

While many schools will only look at your top score, your time can be better invested preparing for the exam and learning the material rather than learning what it's like to take the test.
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 30 May 2012, 09:20
I would not just take the test to take the test. If you havn't studied, you will score poorly, and it could be a blemish on your score report. The best thing you can do for yourself is take the test once, score your goal, and move on. Multiple scores can be looked upon unfavorably, and not all schools are the same. So don't just take the test to take it
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 30 May 2012, 11:58
Thanks for the answers.

I can't recover the fee at this point. Seems a bit unnecessary to force candidates to eat the entire $250 if something comes up within 7 days of the appointment, but what can you do. I'm going to call their customer service and see if I can't finagle some way to only pay the $50 rescheduling.



Edit:
Some digging shows the following language in a number of schools' instructions:

    - All applicants are required to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) before applying and must self-report test scores on the application form.
    - Applicants may elect to take the GMAT or GRE more than once; however, GMAT or GRE scores from only one test date will be considered.

Given this info ... rather than throwing away the $250, shouldn't I just sit for the test?
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 30 May 2012, 12:14
My advice, take the GMAT prep test from mba.com. This will tell you approx what you will score. If it isn't even close to your goal, or what you need, it's a waste of your time to take the test. You won't even be able to review your answers or anything. But, if all the school's you are applying to only consider one test date, then it might be worth a try. I'd contact each school you are interested in to confirm. Generally, it's not worth taking the test if you havn't reached your true potential or goal score, UNLESS you have already studied for 3 months very well. At that point, it is time to give it a try.

I just worry that without ANY knowledge of the test, you might just bomb b/c of timing issues, or not understand DS problems, and score incredibly poorly. If you score a 450 on the GMAT, and then later score a 700 b/c you studied, it might raise some red flags. Ultimately it is up to you, but no matter how you consider it, that score will be on your score report for 5 years. It is up to the school if they want to consider that score or not, and there are definitely schools that do consider multiple tests. So make sure your schools do/don't before anything.

I agree that it is silly that you can't cancel within 7 days of the test, and even if you do, you only get like $50 bucks back or something. It is a little harsh it seems, but GMAC is the only provider of the GMAT, so they make the rules! Good luck to you
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 30 May 2012, 13:45
Wow, this raises questions in my head too..
My GMAT appointment is tomorrow (1st of June) and I scored 480 on GMATPrep Test (I took it this morning).

I definitely know that I'm gonna be writing GMAT again. Suppose if I do reach the 700 range in my second attempt, will the university frown upon that?

I am currently looking for Specialist in Masters at LBS. INSEAD is on my list too, and these universities require a really good GMAT score.

I thought about postponing my GMAT appointment, but I had to get over the GMAT fear, its frustrating to live like this. So I decided to write it anyway as I would not receive any refund upon canceling it now.

Can somebody please tell me if attempting GMAT more than once really matters to universities? Especially if you have shown a huge improvement in your second test.

Thanks,
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 30 May 2012, 14:56
Any other thoughts?
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 31 May 2012, 09:34
APosseAdEsse wrote:
Any other thoughts?


If you're a solid candidate, disregarding the GMAT, I don't think taking the GMAT twice will affect your admissions chances significantly. Now, if you have literally not opened any study material or if you've studied so little that you know only slightly more than if you hadn't opened a book, it'll be a complete waste of 4+ hours to take the GMAT. Not only will you not know what to expect, but you probably won't take it as seriously as you should because you're already planning on taking it again. Like someone mentioned above, you really need to go into the test convinced that you won't need to take it again.

You really have no upside to taking the test. Either way, you're out $250. If you take the test, you will get to experience the look and feel of the actual exam, but that won't really help you with anything on your retake because you could pretty easily replicate the look and feel at home (put in some ear plugs, get a few laminated worksheets and crank the AC).

Lastly, your rationalization for taking the test is that schools won't see your official GMAT score until your admitted, however when you apply these schools will ask you for your 3 most recent GMAT scores so you're still going to show them this less than stellar GMAT score.
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 31 May 2012, 13:35
I had a 100 point swing between my first and second GMAT (640 to 740). Four acceptances and three scholarships later, I think that adcomm wasn't concerned in the slightest about my lower first test score.

I read the application wording carefully for each of my schools and didn't report the 640 on applications that did not expressly ask for ALL scores. Now of course they could see my 640 when they reviewed my official report, but in my case it didn't seem to matter.
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2012, 04:40
When I was on the adcom, we saw all GMAT test scores. We used the top score for reporting purposes, but we actually saw every score the candds earned. We definitely raised our eyebrows if we saw a large number of tests taken. If it were just 2 or 3 times taking the GMAT, and all results were within a reasonable band (100 pts or so), it was no big deal. If we saw 5 GMAT test scores, and there was just one time the score fell within a reasonable level (690+), then it was a red flag.

Think of your GMAT attempts as bullets in the chamber (bad metaphor). Are you aimed and ready to fire? Or is it more likely you'll miss? And then, how comfortable will you feel with one less bullet to use?

Hope that's helpful
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2012, 06:50
Youngjames wrote:
When I was on the adcom, we saw all GMAT test scores. We used the top score for reporting purposes, but we actually saw every score the candds earned. We definitely raised our eyebrows if we saw a large number of tests taken. If it were just 2 or 3 times taking the GMAT, and all results were within a reasonable band (100 pts or so), it was no big deal. If we saw 5 GMAT test scores, and there was just one time the score fell within a reasonable level (690+), then it was a red flag.

Think of your GMAT attempts as bullets in the chamber (bad metaphor). Are you aimed and ready to fire? Or is it more likely you'll miss? And then, how comfortable will you feel with one less bullet to use?

Hope that's helpful
-james young


James,
Given someone with my GMAT history, 3 attempts, 660, 680, 710 would I be looked on unfavorably, or would adcom see this as a 710 and not give it another thought? Would they see this range and scale it a bit lower then someone who scored a 710 on their first shot?

If it did make a difference, was there a policy concerning situations like this, or was it all personal opinion, and more of a reaction, valuing candidates that were better prepared the first time around.

Just trying to figure out if this is a weakness in my profile I should be aware of and ready for, or me being a bit too neurotic.
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2012, 07:53
Hi Highwyre,
I don't know to which schools you're applying, but my view is that your scores are solid, and I wouldn't take the GMAT again. As I mentioned earlier, when I was on the adcom, we saw all scores that were submitted to our program (i.e., everytime you checked off the box on which schools should receive your scores, the schools get the scores. They don't magically disappear from your file just because you took the test again).

Here are my specific comments:
(1) A score of 710 is fine. No one will be low-whistling with respect at this score, but no one will be worried about whether or not you can handle the curriculum either. With a score like this, you're right in the mix. Unless all of these points are from qual, and you have no quant background, I wouldn't worry, and I would instead focus on your essays and making the rest of your application as solid as possible.
(2) Right now your scores are on a nice trajectory. You've improved each time. This will indicate you were just getting comfortable with the test, its format, and the pressure of it. But your raw intellect – as indicated by the 710 score – shows you're smart and you can handle the work. If you take the test again and it's lower, it throws you off this trajectory and it makes that 710 look like a fluke.
(3) Three attempts at the GMAT is (kind of) at the upper bound of how many times people take this test and submit the scores to a single school. My own personal observation while on the adcom was that there was very little distribution in terms of the number of times someone took the GMAT. Meaning, most people (90%?) took the test 2 or 3 times, but VERY few took it just once or 3+ times. More than three attempts, and it starts to feel like you're totally focused on just getting a great score rather than understanding what the program is looking for and telling your story.
(4) Unless you have some overall intellectual concerns that I just dont know about (low GPA, no quant background, etc.), then perhaps a higher score would benefit you. But with three scores already submitted, a fourth score – even if it's higher – might not incrementally be of material value.

As you probably inferred, evaluation of a candd's GMAT score is part art and part science. It's never looked at in isolation, and is just one component to the overall story.

I've written (hopefully a helpful!) article on this topic, which you can find here: http://www.thefirstread.com/how-the-adc ... plication/

Hope that's helpful,
-James Young
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2012, 08:57
Plenty of people retake the GMAT.

In fact, I've heard AdComs speak about how it shows tenacity on the applicant's part.

I wouldn't think too much about it. Unless you're losing something tangible by taking it (the $250 registration by being able to reschedule, a day off work, etc), I would go for it.

It'll make your second time far more comfortable knowing *exactly* what to expect and what the experience entails. You can read about it all you want, but sometimes you need to actually go through it.

And who knows, you might exceed your expectations.
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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2012, 09:34
James,
Thank you! You really are putting my mind at ease. Also, GREAT blog post, you've earned yourself a new follower.

Although my quant score is a bit low (45) I am confident that the quantitative nature of my job will convince adcom of my ability(atleast I hope...).

I'm planning on pursuing Brand Management, and/or Brand Consulting post mba, so Kellogg has been on my radar, but I've felt its a bit too far of a reach.
There's still a chance I'll apply to Kellogg, and if I do I'll attack everything with a bit more confidence (long shot or not).

I look forward to reading your old and future blog posts.

Thank You again,

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Re: GMAT Score Reporting [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2012, 01:06
Thanks for the help, all. James, great insight, appreciate you sharing.
Re: GMAT Score Reporting   [#permalink] 03 Jun 2012, 01:06
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