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I receive so many questions on this issue that it seemed logical to provide a basic overview. As usual, these is merely intended as general guidance and you are welcome to contact me for more specfic advice.
1) Clearing the Issue
1) Clearing the Issue
I am a strong proponent of risk minimization if bearing additional risk provides insufficient marginal returns. Accordingly, I strongly encourage students to maximize their performance on the GMAT. If you know that your overall, Q, or V score is weak you can fix the problem. If you fail to fix the problem, there is a potential that this weakness could result in a lower chance of admission.
A simplified risk calculus
i) Leave the deficiency alone >>> possible reduced chance of admission
ii) Clear the issue by posting a high score >>> GMAT is zeroed out as factor or counts in your favor
2) Cost Benefit Analysis
Of course, at times the additional work that one puts into increasing the GMAT score could be better spent elsewhere (e.g. the essays or extracurricular/outside activities). However, careful planning can eliminate or minimize many of these tradeoffs. Finishing the GMAT well before the application season reduces the need for the GMAT and essays to compete for your attention. In addition, selecting your portfolio well in advance will save considerable time as well.
Just to be clear, many students apply and are accepted with relatively low GMAT scores. However, I urge those who are serious about attending programs in the top clusters to take all reasonable measures to maximize their chance of admission.
Last edited by Hjort on 08 Feb 2006, 18:39, edited 1 time in total.
My GMAT score is below average at my target school. However, I have heard that many students with scores below average are accepted. Do I still need to retake the GMAT?
MBA applicants are warned not to put to much emphasis on average scores. However, it is just as important not to put too little emphasis on them. While some students are certainly accepted with low scores it is unwise to assume that these students lacked compensating credentials. They might have an outstanding GPA, extraordinary references, outstanding essays, or provide important diversity elements (e.g. an underrepresented nationality).
Further, I often tell applicants to apply the same logic to other aspects of the application:
If your LOR writer told you that that she planned to write a below average letter of reccommendation for the school in question would you
a) Do nothing
b) Find another writer who would write a better letter?
What if you learned that your essays were below average but not to worry because some people were accepted with weak essays every year? Would you just submit the essays anyway?
Of course, time constraints might necessitate applying with a below average performance on an admissions factor such as the essays, LORs, or GMAT. Merely because any one of them is low does not doom your application but fixing the deficiency will almost certainly improve your chances.
I have an MS in Physics but my Quant score on the GMAT was in the high 40s (c. 65th percentile)- Should I re-take the GMAT?
Generally, Yes - especially if you are applying to one of the top clusters (ultra elite, elite, top cluster Europe). Just clear the issue. Instead of telling the admissions staff that you COULD perform at this level in some hypothetical sense, actually deliver that level of performance.