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Freaking out about missing the deadline to cancel scores need advice

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Joined: 08 May 2017
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GMAT 1: 760 Q49 V46
GRE 1: 336 Q170 V166
Freaking out about missing the deadline to cancel scores need advice [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2017, 08:18
Hey all,

I'm an American planning to apply to a number of top MFin programs in R2. I took the GMAT a little under two weeks ago. I had a pretty intense panic attack the moment I sat down, which I've never had for any standardized exam. I almost just got up and left right there, but I ended up trying to breathe deep and tough it out. I guess the stress just really got to me since I was focused on targeting R1 applications and this was my only chance at the GMAT before the app deadlines.

Unfortunately, I was an idiot and I didn't understand the GMAT policy for score reports. I thought that if I just didn't send my scores to any schools that they wouldn't see my scores. I didn't realize I actually had to cancel them until today.

Here's why I am freaking out. If I had gotten a 580 due to the panic attack and scored a 700 on my retake, I could easily explain away my first performance in my essay, or the admissions team would probably chalk it up as a practice test. The problem is that I scored a 700. The schools that I'm targeting (Oxford, LSE, MIT, etc.) have averages ranging from the 720s to 744 (in Oxford's, my number one choice's, case).

On all of my GMATPREP exams I was hovering around the 750-760 range. I am extremely worried that if I take it again and come out with a score in that range (e.g. 760) that they'll look at my first score as demonstrative of my actual ability and my second score as a "post-studyholic" score or variance.

As you can tell, the fact that I'm even thinking about this kinda gives away my overall anxiety and probably explains how I had a panic attack. The thing is that I'm not in a super great position for my application: 3.6 GPA from an average state school in a technical major(s), but with some Bs and retakes in my core courses, aided by some interesting, although not extremely exceptional, extracurriculars. Basically a somewhat interesting, but slightly below average profile for these schools.

I was really relying on my GMAT to pull me through since I've always been very good at standardized tests; perfect SATs, great GREs etc. Honestly, if I had a 3.8 from Harvard I wouldn't even stress and frankly I'd think about applying even with the 700. But when applying for these top programs with an otherwise below average profile, anything that blunts my only decent weapon is potentially deadly to my application.

I'd really appreciate input from some GMAT specialists. I'd really like to know if you've met people in my situation and how everything turned out in the end, or really anything that could help batten down my anxiety levels. Also, some advice on avoiding panic attacks for my next test would seriously be appreciated.

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GMAT 1: 770 Q47 V48
GMAT 2: 730 Q44 V47
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Freaking out about missing the deadline to cancel scores need advice [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2017, 08:37
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Hey Seachrome, sorry to hear about that. Unfortunately, if you don't cancel your score within the 72-hour window, then it will be visible to any B-schools to which you apply within the next 5 years.

However, if you take the GMAT again and earn a much better score, then the programs to which you apply will of course take your highest score into strong consideration as well. In most cases, all the admissions committees really care about is your best GMAT score--especially since they know that the majority of test-takers are gaming the system by taking the GMAT up to 8 times, and cancelling their GMAT scores until they have the one they want.

When a student submits a 750 GMAT score, for example, chances are that it's taken the student more than 1 try to get there. Why penalize you just because you forgot to cover up your blemish, when it's clear that others have required multiple attempts as well?

Of course, it would have been better to cancel--it's better to hide a low GMAT score completely, than have to explain it away. But that's simply not an option now, so you have to make the best of the situation.

Regarding your test-day anxiety and panic attack, here is a pamphlet from ETS that was designed for the PRAXIS exam, but is still very helpful for managing your stress on the GMAT. Good luck!

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Freaking out about missing the deadline to cancel scores need advice   [#permalink] 02 Nov 2017, 08:37
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