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Retake now or later?

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Affiliations: Beta Gamma Sigma
Joined: 13 Dec 2009
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Location: New York
WE 1: Intern - Morgan Stanley Tax
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Retake now or later? [#permalink] New post 22 Nov 2010, 15:26
Quick background: I'm a senior in school, planning on either starting a business or going to MSF program (currently applying, only to LSE for the time being) after graduation.

I took the GMAT last week and scored a 690. I had studied for a bit over the summer, and originally planned on taking it in August. Then I started pushing it back and wound up taking it last week. I studied pretty hard from mid-October to early November. Then I was swamped with school work and just gave up on GMAT studying (I figured I would just go the start my own business route and take it again down the road). In fact, I was going to cancel the test, but the only reason I didn't because they only refund 80 of the 250 the test costs, so I figured I would just go in, take it, and worry about taking it again next year. I didn't bother taking any practice tests. Most of my studying was reviewing MGMAT guides and doing OG problems (I also did about half the GMAT Club practice tests over the summer).

Either way, after taking the test, I was shocked with my score (Q 44, V 40). I plan on using my current test score for MSF programs when I apply over the next few weeks. However, I might consider getting an MBA down the road as well, and so taking it again might be beneficial. The question is, when should I retake? Should I retake in a few weeks (over my winter break between semesters), since I may have some momentum, or could I put it off until sometime in the next few years and achieve a similar (preferably higher) score?

Also, I would like to thank the GMAT Club community for all the help provided over the course of my study period, in addition to the excellent problem sets I worked on this summer.
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Re: Retake now or later? [#permalink] New post 22 Nov 2010, 17:08
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Hi!

Congrats on your score - 690 is nothing to sneeze at!

Before you decide when to retake, you should seriously think about whether you should retake.

Your GMAT score isn't as precise as you may think - your score report will show you in a "scoring band" which generally reaches +/- 30 points from your actual score (in fact, if you read the fine print on the website, it says something akin to "your GMAT score will be within 30 points of your "true" ability two-thirds of the time). So, when people write multiple times, they only really benefit if they beat their old score by 30 or more points - anything less doesn't get a lot of weight from schools.

If your score is good enough to get you into the MSF programs you're considering, and you think you won't do an MBA for more than 5 years, then retaking now won't help (5 years is the lifespan of your score). If you want to beef up your score for MSF programs and/or you're seriously thinking about an MBA in 3-4 years (and you need a better score), then rewriting in the next 1-3 months would make sense for two reasons:

1) you've just been through a GMAT study period, so the info is fresh in your mind and you still have some momentum built up; and

2) stats from GMAC show that people at the end of undergrad/within 2 years of finishing their undergrad tend to score best on the GMAT (likely because you're still in "study mode" and don't have to readjust to the whole process of preparing for an exam).

Whatever you decide, good luck!
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Re: Retake now or later?   [#permalink] 22 Nov 2010, 17:08
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