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How many times should one take the GMAT?

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 [#permalink] New post 12 Feb 2007, 14:42
i agree. my friend just took the gmat for his 2nd time and had waited a year between tests. not only did his score improve dramatically, but he's now being accepted by schools that had rejected him before.
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I'm crushed. [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2007, 02:30
I took the GMAT in Dec and got a 710. I decided to take it again against the advice of many. I would say "It can't hurt." I was under the impression that I could select which scores get sent to the schools. I remember reading a chat session with Linda Meehan (CBS) where she said that they take the score that students give them, which is obviously the highest.

I would have never retaken it if I thought there was a chance that my score would be shown. Recently, I scored much worse and I fear this will reflect poorly on my application. Am I totally screwed here?
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2007, 04:52
No I don't think you're "totally screwed". As somebody pointed out in response to my original comment, many schools just look at a candidate's self-reported score, and then after an admission decision has been made they will verify with the official report, at which time it doesn't matter that they see the other scores because the decision has already been made.

I imagine that in the other scenario, where a school sees all the scores before a decision is made, it would be more negative for them to see a series of meandering scores, like 610, 640, 600, 680. I think it's probably very common for people to take it twice and it might be a slight negative, not a huge deal. Again, I'm just drawing these conclusions based on the document I mentioned in my original post, I really am speculating with a lot of this.
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2007, 07:03
Idealistically, Hong Hu makes a valid point: benchmark yourself first and when your practice scores consistently start to peak at a desirable range, then give the GMAT your one best shot. The problem is, most of us tend to score much better on practice exams than on the real McCoy; partly due to standardized test anxiety and partly to other factors that lie beyond our control.

But I believe many people walk in with a false sense of security the first time through. They probably take 5~10 practice tests, only two of which are realistically accurate, and figure they can handle what GMAC throws at them. This is clearly not the best approach. "To win the marathon one should practice running twice as far."

In the real world, we should be allowed at least two attempts. The first to benchmark our ability when we truly feel we are ready, and the second to demonstrate how much more we studied to achieve the task at hand. I personally took the test four times and may very well end up taking it again if adcoms convince me that another 30 points is imperative to gaining admissions. If there is an archtypical member here at GMAT who is clearly NOT a genius and had to work hard just to get a score that puts one in the range of a trans-elite school, that person would be myself.

Frankly, IMHO too many people put way too much emphasis on the GMAT. I gave nearly a year of my life to it -bought all the books, took the prep course, etc. - just to raise my score 70 points. Was it worth it? Will I be dinged due to multiple testing? The verdict you shall know in another few weeks...

One issue that shouldn't be ignored is multiple testing by non-native speakers. I work with a prominent Japanese telecommunications corporation that sponsors SIX of its staff for an MBA each year. All candidates take the GMAT at least three times, with the average being somewhere around five. The same six applicants show a remarkable improvement in their English ability (at least passive understanding of convoluted written arguments) after the final retake. All applicants eventually get a seat at a top 20 program. Top three, I can't verify, but they do get into reputable programs, study, demonstrate applied knowledge, and make a significant impact in the organization. Offhand, I can think of at least four staff who are either studying at or about to graduate from ultra-elite programs and each one of them has taken the GMAT 5~7 times.

Give it your best shot? Yes, definately, each time. Just don't give up until you reach your target score, or a score good enough to get you in the running at a program that best fits your interests.
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2007, 02:50
Guys! Lets be serious about it. Whatever they say ,if you score 690-700+ in first attempt rather than reach this milestone after several attempts speaks highly of you. The best bet is to prepare hard the first time and give it a good shot. We never know what adcom look at. I find it hard to believe that adcom does not even notice your other scores. If they were not so interested in your previous GMAT scores, why would GMAC report them. GMAC does so because it has been asked to show all your previous 5 attempts.
If you score 650 the first attempt and 750 in the second attempt, the adcom will consider this as positive development.But if you score 600, 640,630,700 in the consecuive attempts, adcom surely will put you in a 640-650 bracket.

These are my personal opinions matured by reading articles, my personal belief, and listening to a family friend-who is a lecturer in a university.
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 [#permalink] New post 20 Feb 2007, 13:13
of course, you should prepare for your first test as if there will not be an opportunity to take it again. that way you can't "cop out" of studying your hardest the first time.

if you can just take the test once and be done with it and happy with your score, that is obviously the best option. but if you don't get what you think you're capable of on the first try, all i'm saying is that taking it a second time might be advantageous for you.

don't take this lightly. if you don't improve from the first to the second time you will be regretting your decision, so be sure to study extra hard the second time around if you're going at it again.

as others have said before, your practice tests should consistently put you in a higher scoring bracket before you commit to a second test.
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2007, 19:00
I am speaking as a 4 time test taker here.

First of all I agree, prepare to give it your best on attempt #1 - if you get the score you need it looks great. Unfortunately I did not get the score I needed to mitigate my low GPA - I scored a 640. So I practiced and gave it a shot 2 months later - scoring 680's on my practice tests I figured I had improvement in the bag - and ended up with a 610. So I went back at at, worked even harder, had practice tests in the low 700's and felt very confident. Took it a third time and walked out with a 630.

So I gave it up and applied - and the response from the schools who were kind enough to wait list me was "retake it one more time - no pressure - just give it a shot" - so I took it a 4th time after taking a little over 6 months off and doing all my apps/interviews. Scored a 710 - and you know what? I think it looks pretty damn good to them. Sure its not as good as a 710 on attempt #1. But I was taking classes, managing 2 businesses (I only ran one when I was scoring in the 600's and wasnt taking classes), and had my back against the wall to get the GMAT done by mid March - I only studied for a month after having 6 months off.

The pressure was INSANE and and I came through in the clutch. I think that sends a very powerful message to the schools I am wait listed at. How it will translate? Who knows. But I think each case is different - sometimes multiple tests are warranted - on the other hand, if you have a 710 and you retake to get a higher score, someone might question your judgment - unless of course you are an Indian with an IT background.
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2007, 07:11
pelihu wrote:
I think that is poor advice, to only take the GMAT one time. There are many situations where taking it again will in fact help you.

Now, if someone does take it 4+ times with just one higher score, Adcoms will understandably conclude that the one high score was an outlier. Anyone might get lucky after a bunch of tries so if someone scores 600, 620, 630, 630, 720, then the Adcome might conclude that the last score was just luck, and they might be right.

But I believe the prevailing thought is that it Adcoms will not hold it against you if you take the GMAT 2 or 3 times. Based on my own observations, I think it is worth taking the GMAT a 2nd time if you improve by 30 or more points. It's also worth taking again if you are not within the normal range of accepted students. It's probably OK to take the GMAT a 3rd time if you show a trend of improvement and a good score that final time.

I believe that if you take the exam more than 3 times, you really need to describe why your improvement should bear weight. Otherwise, Adcoms will assume that it's a natural result of test-taking experience and/or luck.

But I believe most Adcoms are genuine when they say that they will look at the highest score if you take it 2 or 3 times.



I agree with most of what u say but even in 4+ attempts u can still impress the adcom.

Infact there is a Wharton admit in this forum (in the former share u b-schooll exp thread)who had those many (4+ ) attempts with only one high score 680.
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2007, 10:54
Do you discount the Denver Bronco's 2 Superboels because it took them several tried to win?

Is Michael Jordan less of a basketball player because he was cut from the High School team once?

Did the chicken come before the egg?

Its all subjective - each case is different, and there is no way to know how the ADCOM will view it. My guess would be, if you ahve multiple attempts you need to do a good job of spinning it to the ADCOM and you will be fine.
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2007, 12:07
you are talking about exceptions rather than the norm... :)

In life, luck is not on YOUR SIDE

OasisNYK wrote:
Do you discount the Denver Bronco's 2 Superboels because it took them several tried to win?

Is Michael Jordan less of a basketball player because he was cut from the High School team once?

Did the chicken come before the egg?

Its all subjective - each case is different, and there is no way to know how the ADCOM will view it. My guess would be, if you ahve multiple attempts you need to do a good job of spinning it to the ADCOM and you will be fine.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2007, 22:36
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fresinha12 wrote:
you are talking about exceptions rather than the norm... :)

In life, luck is not on YOUR SIDE

OasisNYK wrote:
Do you discount the Denver Bronco's 2 Superboels because it took them several tried to win?

Is Michael Jordan less of a basketball player because he was cut from the High School team once?

Did the chicken come before the egg?

Its all subjective - each case is different, and there is no way to know how the ADCOM will view it. My guess would be, if you ahve multiple attempts you need to do a good job of spinning it to the ADCOM and you will be fine.


OASYSNYK - Your thread somehow appeared pretty inspirational. Fresinha - in life if luck is not on our side then those guys mentioned by OASISNYK would not have had a life at all! But they did. So can we perhaps! And if it's just a thought I don't mind - it's still a beautiful thing to imagine....

I don't know whose idea it was to start a thread like this - I have taken GMAT 4 times already (630, 680, 670, 660). What do you think I am doing now on this forum? I am a 30 year old individual with an IT background - from a premier engineering institute in India. Reasonably well educated, good background etc.

Plus - i have a big attitude as well. As naive and idiotic as it may sound, I'm ready to discount the last two of my previous attempts. Let me just put it this way-the only serious attempts were the first and the second. I improved my score from 630 to 680. In the attempt that fetched me 680 I was reasonably confident I would score 700+. But well oh well! it's GMAT.

Then came a break of about 2 years. Meanwhile I went through the usual ups and downs of life. Got married, then some family issues kicked in, I moved out of India and went back to US (where I have taken 3 of my 4 attempts) and decided I wanted to take the GMAT a third time. I scored 670 and decided to call it quits right then. Then in 2005 I came back to India because my father needed me.

I Lost my father to a debilitating renal disease. Went from pillar to post getting him treated. Spent money. Experienced toil, frustration and suicidal tendencies (well I'll never do that..but a thought nonetheless did occur to me once).

My fourth attempt which fetched me 660 was really stressful. I had started "preparing" in June of 2006 when I had realized I wanted to take it again. My father was around then. He had been sticking on pretty OK and so I thought may be the worst was over and started frequenting GMATCLUB again.

I thought if all goes well I would take it in August 06. And then in July - I had to leave everything. Father fell ill again. He passed away on Aug 29, 2006. I did the final rites and came back to my professional work place in Mid September.

Obviously, I couldn't concentrate on a thing for about the next month and a half. On and off GMAT would haunt me. I don't know why. But it would keep sticking its neck one way or the other at some point or the other. I would actually try to ignore it. Then towards Oct end I could bear it no longer. I said to myself come on bro..give it a chance.

You all can see I am an emotional person (may be a tad more than is normal). Anyway got the test scheduled for Dec 1st 2006 and came out with the dullest score of my life - 660.

Ok, so what did go wrong? I have never considered myself lacking in brains or anything like that. I am good. I've got reasonably good verbal skills (but that's obviously debatable on a public forum :-) and given my dismal GMAT background) and Math obviously has never never ever ever been a problem. I have scored consistently above 47 in all my GMAT attempts. It's verbal that follows a disturbed cycle. English is not my native tougue as most of you would have fathomed anyway.

So where am I? Who the hell am I? What the heck do I think of myself? Are these familiar questions? Do they ring a bell?

Ok so here we are fighting our own battles sitting smug in the thought we'll try and try again till we succeed as I am sure most of my Indian contemporaries would have been taught as a child. In India right from our childhood we are conditioned to fight for an existence. When I say " we " I mean most of the Indians in general have to fight it without a choice. Not that people in other countries don't but with our massive population we are a wee-bit disadvantaged.

And then, someone comes along and says - guess what the more the number of attempt the more of an Idiot you appear to the adcoms. You know what I don't think I care two hoots for what the adcoms think. I think this whole MBA thing is just about making money and nothing else anway. Give me ONE Harvard guy that made a huge difference.. ok let's not talk about exceptions but pray tell me what these classy universities the world over are producing? And then how about ordinary heroes from ordinary backgrounds and ordinary moores? Never mind. That's my belief and still I am trying to get into a premiere B school. Sounds paradoxical alright - but the point I am trying to make is if you don't get through so what?

I appreciate GMAT however for a different reason though. in India there's a popular saying that the most beautiful looking of the flowers blossoms in the dirtiest of environs. And GMAT also - all this madness notwithstanding - on an extremely personal level challenges you to perform. Challenges you to discipline yourself and look it in the eye and say I'll succeed no matter the vicissitudes accompanying the preparation. I am a cigarette addict and I can tell you that being one can be severely debilitating not just from a pure health standpoint but also from an exam prep standpoint. The exam drains perfectly healthy people forget about tobacco addicts. And yet I fight. I will fight. I will kick the butt for the exam because I love the exam very much. Only I think that what I've just said is a load of crap - it's not the exam that I love so much - it's the self-created image that I am brilliant and can score a 780 no less that goads me to kick the butt pulverize the challenge - the gauntlet that GMAT throws. Of course you all know it's a quirky exam.

So out of all this madness if you can find a place for yourself - if you can connect with what it is YOU aspire for and not what you are conditioned to aspire for you would have made your life worth living. I, as your GMAT buddy, challenge you to this. I challenge you to challenge yourself and give it a personal shot.

Lemme tell you all this - and this I say as if I am a sage from the mountains - No one knows what they (the right honorable admission committee folks) want. No one I repeat. We can follow trends, we can understand patterns - but there will be a counter-example for every example one may produce. So there will be a guy who would rise from the ashes and there would be a guy who would go into the ashes. Plain and simple.

You just gotta give it what you have in whatever quantity you have. If you believe in it you'll get it no matter what. This may sound a bit high falutin - but that's what I believe in.

My dad used to say quoting someone - I've ever been a fighter, so ONE fight more; the Best but NOT the LAST!

In the ultimate eventuality however remember to be calm and patient - because sometimes no matter how hard you try, things JUST don't turn out the way you expect them to be. This I say from experience as I'm sure most of you would have experienced anyway.

I didn't intend to write such a long post but once I started I couldn't hold myself back.

It's ok perhaps to crib once in a while..

I love you all and you all be good and keep fighting and don't worry about what THEY think! It's more important what YOU think!

Thank you for your patience if you are reading this line AND provided you've read the previous ones as well :-)))))
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2007, 04:15
dwivedys, I like the way you put it. very inspiring. keep fighting.
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2007, 06:13
I don't think you can put a fixed number on this since you must consider the amount of time spent on preparation.

I feel that, if you work fulltime, and you spend a solid year working on the exam, working through tons of problems, etc, then you will most likely score higher than someone who hasn't given it their all - thus, you should only really have to take the exam a couple of times.

On the other hand, if you work fulltime and study now and then, then prepare to take the test multiple times.

i feel that you should cover all of the bases several times over THEN take the exam knowing that you have prepared as much as people who score in the 700s. the amount of studying that entails, however, is something you must judge for yourself since everyone is different.

just my thoughts,
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2007, 14:07
Dwivedys,

You have PM bro... Outstanding post... I couldn't agree with you more.. We have to keep at it.. No matter what... Keep fighting...

:-D
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2007, 09:07
Twice is enough. Maybe 3 times.. if you think you had other issues like bad health on examination day. Beyond that it is not going to improve, I believe.
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Re: How many times should one take the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2009, 06:31
I have taken my GMAT twice.

Feb# 2009 - 490.
Jun# 2009 - 450.

I prepared for only 1-2 weeks before the exam. I used official guide math review and verbal review.I didn't try to solve many questions as I had little time to managem my work parallely.

I have written my first exam after a stressful month of other management exams leaving just a week for my preparation. My second exam was a shock to me. I thought I would get atleast 600+, but I got 450. I think this is because of my poor time management I skipped nearly 7-8 last questions both in math and verbal.

Last week, I have taken my GMAT prep. very seriously and started searching the best materials or preparation methods over google.That's where I came across GMATCLUB.I have recently purchased MGMAT and new edition of O.G. including verbal+math and started preparing regularly from past 2 weeks.I am planning to take GMAT in September or October after a thorough practice of CAT exams + error logs + rigorous questions banks.

Now, I am afraid after reading this post about the multiple exam takers and the Bschools considering all the scores for judging applications at the time of admission.

Can anyone suggest how the admissions would impact me even if I get a higher score?

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Re: How many times should one take the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2009, 07:31
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I read through most of this thread, and I'm definitely in the "one and done" camp. I can't help but think that adcoms would discount your high score if, for example, you followed up your test with a lower score. In my opinion you should prepare adequately, take the test once, perform well, and make sure to score in the top range of your practice scores.
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Re: How many times should one take the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2009, 08:18
I am preparing for the exam right now and I want to fall into the 2-3 timers club if I can help it. I am trying to follow the 3-4 month studying then take it and see how it goes. I think if one takes it multiple times in consecutive months with minor improvements (610,630,640,680 etc..) will look bad because it looks like that person is just trying his luck every month. But if someone were to do it every couple of months and got something like that then it would seem that person actually put some time into studying and trying to improve.

For those first year b-school folks - does the test really measure how well one will do in the first year or it really doesnt matter much?
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Re: How many times should one take the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2009, 11:25
Thanks topher for your advice. I will now try to get higher scores / my target score consistently in practice tests.
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Re: How many times should one take the GMAT? [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2009, 07:09
There probably isn't a magic number here.

I took it twice, score improvement of of 20 percentile points (from 70 to 90), and I know I can do better based on improved content knowledge, improved strategies to supplement content and general awareness of the test.

As others have mentioned, make sure you monitor your metrics and benchmarks. There are some pretty strong indicators of how well you will do on the actual.
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Re: How many times should one take the GMAT?   [#permalink] 09 Jul 2009, 07:09
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