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Retake with 710?

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Retake with 710? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2013, 14:01
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Hello all,

This is my first time visiting this site. Wish I had known about this resource prior to taking my test.

I am a 2012 grad from U of M business school (Ross) with a 3.3. After graduation, I signed up for a Kaplan online course to take the GMAT prior to starting my job. I scored a 620 on diagnostic test with a goal of scoring 720. I started to make some improvements and was scoring in the ~670 range. However, I was easily distracted and ended up putting off serious studying for a few months. Kaplan offered me the chance to retake my course, and I did so soon after getting settled into my current position.

This time around, I retook the diagnostic and scored a 720. After a few months of steady preparation and varying scores (720, 730, 700, 740, 720, GMATPrep1 680, 730), I was scheduled for my Kaplan test day experience at the test center (scored a 720). I was scoring very high in the quantitative portion of the test >95% and average in the verbal ~82%. However, I managed to mess up my quant section on my GMATPrep test, which had me slightly nervous heading into my test.

Of course, on test day my worst fear came true and the first question had me stumped as I was over thinking something that was pretty simple. I ended up guessing after 4 minutes and moving on, but I never felt comfortable during the quant section. I knew that I had to do my best on verbal to make up for it and managed to score well above my averages. With that said, I ended up with a 83%/49 Q and a 89%/39 V for a total 710. I was not sure whether or not I wanted to retake given that I knew my Kaplan math scores were higher (granted my verbal lower) and my "goal" was a 720. In fact, before the test I said to myself -- anything above 710, I am not retaking, and anything below, I will retake.

Most people that I have spoken to say that it is not worth it to retake for a 10-20 point bump, but that I should focus on other aspects of application. Hearing that, I was satisfied knowing that my score would not hold me back from the top schools even though I am slightly below their averages (I plan to apply to the likes of HBS, Booth, Kellogg, Wharton, CBS, MIT, Fuqua, etc). Then I had a free 30-minute consultation with an MBA application consultant, who recommended I take it again to try to bump up my score. I was going to focus on other parts of my application prior to applying in 3-4 years(i.e., volunteer, community outreach, career oriented growth, and a unique foreign experience), but I am now conflicted on what should be next step. Granted I am not applying for a few years, I do not know whether or not it is worth it to study up and take it again in a few months. I have also exhausted all of my Kaplan resources, so I would need to buy more materials.

What do you all think? Is it worth retaking? If so, what should I do about my Kaplan quant scores being so much higher than my GMATprep and my actual GMAT?
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Re: Retake with 710? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2013, 19:04
710 seems to be the score where a lot of people have problems deciding whether or not to retake. Why not, man? It seems like you want to and your practice scores seem to indicate that you probably can score higher. It's not like developing skills that help you be successful on the GMAT won't help you in the real world as well. Besides, your GPA is below average for top bschools so it would certainly help to have a GMAT score that is above the average for the top bschools. You have plenty of time man, the last thing you want to do is not retake and then not get into a top bschool 3 years from now and constantly wonder if it was your GMAT score holding you back.
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Re: Retake with 710? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2013, 20:29
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There is not a clear cut answer and it is probably going to be a spitting war in terms of retake/sit tight.
However, i would encourage you to put more effort than to get just a 720 or 730 - that's not worth $250 in my book as repeatedly we are told and shown that gmat scores are not the only key to getting in.

It would be a good plan to get 750+ on your retake, so if you don't feel you can improve at least 30 points and hopefully more, I would argue for not bothering but if you wanted to play the safest game and have the time, then go for it.
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Re: Retake with 710? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2013, 20:36
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bb wrote:

It would be a good plan to get 750+ on your retake, so if you don't feel you can improve at least 30 points and hopefully more, I would argue for not bothering but if you wanted to play the safest game and have the time, then go for it.


Hi mgogmat,

I agree with bb, retaking the test to score 10 points more doesn't seem worth it, especially with the standard deviation meaning you could have easily gotten 700 or 720 with just one extra correct guess or one more trap fallen into. If you can move the needle 30+ points, then it's worth a retake. If not, I think you're better off concentrating on other aspects of your application.

I always find it somewhat disheartening to see people score 710 (92nd percentile overall) and still not feel like it was enough. You should be celebrating your achievement, but instead you're contemplating a retake. Adversity makes us stronger, I guess, but I still feel for you in this situation.

Best of luck!
-Ron
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Re: Retake with 710? [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2013, 17:25
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I myself got 710 and had this question running through my unstable neurons for some time. I even had time to prepare again as I m shooting next season. And I belong to one of the most competitive group.

Still I decided not to retake it because of some of the reasons mentioned by Ron above. Other reasons were some personal commitments. I did not want to stop my life again for something that is merely one aspect of your application. There are so many things to do in life, better go for it. Better spend 3 months on charity work than retaking it. Even if you do not mention it in application, the volunteer work would bring fruitful results to your overall personality that will enrich you for rest of your life.

If the Bschool does not take you with 710 then it is not because of your low score, but because of your incompetent application. But if you had submitted the same application with 750-760, the gmat score might have had overwhelmed some of your weaknesses.

It is still a tough and personal choice !!

PS: The reason why MBA consultants say you better retake is to increase the probability of your admission in case you take professional help. Gmat above 700 can never be the sole deciding factor unless you have a incompetent application or belong to a competitive group Eg Indian IT Male.
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Re: Retake with 710? [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2013, 14:43
Thank you all for your responses. I think this helps clear things up for me a bit. I am going to sit on the idea for another week before deciding one way or the other. As of now though, I am leaning towards a retake. Thanks again.
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Re: Retake with 710? [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2013, 16:10
this was a major issue of mine. honestly, my personal max out on the gmat is probably like a 750 assuming i have the test day where everything falls in line. If i took again and played to my skill level, i'd probably get a 730.

I decided not to go again because I was over 80 on each side and had a yr long battle with the exam.

this is the real answer, IMO: if you can score a 740+ you should do it again. If you can't it's just not worth it. I think most of the top school, HSW excluded are right at 710 or between 710 and 720 on average. From 690 and lower (probably more like 680, but that 7 looks so much bettter) do something else to make up for it, 700 to 740 they say its check the box, from 750 and above its give this applicant minimal extra points for crushing the test.

So my take again: b/c you are an over 80 80 split its not much help unless you probably hit 750. if youre sitting around killing time though, why not give it a try and see if it works out. if you need to be working harder at your job to get awards/promotions or adding leadership efforts in the community do that instead before app season starts.
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Re: Retake with 710? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2013, 12:29
So all, I have decided to give it another go and shoot for a higher score. I have the time and the bandwidth right now, so I figure I might as well. I also really feel like I can do a lot better in the math section.

With that said, what do you all recommend for new study materials? I have the Kaplan higher score guarantee (which I think would allow me to retake my online course for free), but I just about used all of the resources (CATs and practice problems). Are there any books that come highly recommended? Thanks again for all your responses.
Re: Retake with 710?   [#permalink] 26 Mar 2013, 12:29
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