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Should I Retake the GMAT

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Should I Retake the GMAT



Taking the GMAT is a fairly big decision in itself. You are probably applying to business school, or just want to take the test out of the way. Regardless of whatever your score is, it is easy to get intimidated by people with 760 and above spending the application season without a top school admit. What does that really mean? Does the GMAT not matter as much as people think it does?

At the same time, per GMAC Research , retaking often brings value. On average, a person can gain 30 points by retaking. This could be explained by being more comfortable with the environment, knowing what to expect, and having a better stamina and time management. Also third and fourth, fifth, sixth attemps have paid off for a number of folks. (attached is the latest GMAT retake research by GMAT former director, Dr. Rudner)


When you should REALLY retake


  • You are from an overrepresented applicant pool
    The GMAT score for overrepresented applicant pool tends to be higher on average. WHY? Probably because with most career trajectory and undergrad performance largely similar, the GMAT can act as a great differentiator. To support this hypothesis, I analyzed the GMAT Club app tracker (post if you want me to add charts), and found less than 5% of Indian applicants, a massive pool, have a GMAT that is less than 760. While that is incredibly discouraging for most people, it also tells you how competitive this b school admission season really was.

  • Your GMAT score is less than 50 points of the school median
    Most schools publish their median GMAT score. It is no surprise that every year schools report a higher GMAT average or median for their graduating class. If your GMAT score is 680, and the GSB Stanford median is 722, it is highly unlikely for you to get an admission, especially if you come from an applicant pool which traditionally applies in large numbers.

  • Your GMAT Prep score and actual GMAT score are wildly different
    It is probably (albeit not likely), that you had a bad day. If you have been consistently scoring 740+ on GMAT Prep and GMAT Prep Exam Packs (be careful not to dilute those question pools by attempting lots of official questions from the forum), and on test day you find yourself getting a score less than 700, it could be possible that it was an exception. GMAC notes that standard deviation for GMAT Prep scores is around 50 points, and if you are on the higher end of that deviation, you should probably give it another shot.

  • You have not REALLY studied
    The internet is flooded with questionable GMAT resources ranging from "free downloads" and "you won't believe how I scored 760" type articles. A great way to score 700+ in the GMAT has always been following official materials and studying from reputed prep companies. Check out GMAT Club partner review page before you choose to sign up for a course. If you want to buy books, check this thread asap for verbal and quant

  • Your score is not balanced
    Often B Schools look to see a balanced GMAT score. What does it mean? Well, in GMAT terms, at least 80th percentile in both sections (this has become a hurdle for quant, which offers a 77th percentile for a respectable Q49). Check out the latest percentiles from GMAC. Note that for a greater overall score, verbal plays a massive difference, meaning that if you score 90 percentile in verbal and a 80 percentile in quant, your score will be higher than if you had scored the reverse.

  • You are waitlisted with a less than median GMAT/you want $$$ from the schools
    Often the only waitlist update that schools accept is an improved GMAT (looking at you, Ross), and retaking the GMAT is absolutely essential. The same goes for scoring some extra scholarships.

  • You are an Indian IT Male
    You are doomed. Blame your parents.


When you are better off NOT retaking


  • You have the score
    If your score is well balanced, around or higher the median of your peers (not the class average - that is deceptive), and you have not really researched enough to write those stellar essays, you should focus your time and energy on research and some more.

  • You have a great undergrad GPA
    Some peopel are just not naturally great at testing. The GMAT is an evalauator of your academic performance which stands as an indicator of how you will perform in business school. If you have proved academic prowess (straight As in undergrad or stellar coursework), you may get an admit without the best GMAT in the class.


    You have exhausted most prep materials
  • To quote Ross admissions "do not make a sport out of taking the test". If you have exhausted everything, how do you plan to improve? If you are still set on taking the GMAT, focus on quality instead. Maintain an elaborate error log and review mistakes rigorously.


Best GMAT Retake Stories

Massive SC improvement
730 to 760 - retake success
Attention really matters
170 point improvement
Journey from 490 to 700
From 550 to 690 to 750
From 420 to 700 to Wharton570 to 760 in 3 months
640 to 770 by billyjeans
500 to 700
From a year long battle from 670 to 730
4 Attempts with 580, 600, and finally 710

GMAT Retake Disasters

4th Attempt - 540
Better prep but score dropped
Bitten Twice
From 580 to 540 by JohnLewis
From 720 to 690 by Pathfinder - currently attending Wharton
From 560 to 510 by Mediamindy
From 610 to 570 after 3 months of studying
680 to 620 by Noboru
740 to 710 by MCM
6 months to go from 690 to 690

GMAT Retake Recommendations

I have scavenged the forum and other sources to find some efficient and great advice for retakes. Choose the ones that seem to be most applying to your situation

Quote:
Once you have your GMAT scheduled, you should immediately reevaluate and resume your preparation regimen to make good use of the time. Although it is tempting to devote all your time to the section or areas that were most challenging on your first run (if you’re aware of them), you should still seriously review all of the material that will appear on the test; the last thing you want to do is improve on one section but do worse on another! As always, work with as many practice questions as possible (authentic GMAC questions are ideal) and make your study environment as similar to your testing environment as you can (this part will actually be easier for you since you will have gone through the actual testing process). Budget your study time wisely, be disciplined, and work hard so you can make the most of your retake. In fact, you can create a schedule for yourself as to WHEN you’ll be studying each week, so as not to overbook other commitments such as happy hours and time to watch your favorite reality TV show. - Stacy Blackman


Quote:
You have the potential to pick up some serious points in BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections, but you don't have the time needed to make big improvements to how you handle both sections. With a V20, you have a variety of different ways to pick up the 70 points that you're looking for (assuming that you can score at a the Q41+ level again), so I suggest that you focus your studies on the Verbal section for the next 3 weeks (with a little time set aside for Quant - so that you can maintain those current skills). You should also plan to take 1 FULL-LENGTH CAT (with the Essay and IR sections) per week. - empowerGMAT


Quote:
If you are aiming for a top school, we would suggest you to aim for 740 or higher score.

Why it is a very good decision to take your GMAT again?

GMAT is the only controllable aspect of the entire application cycle. The probability of getting an admission in the top B Schools increases significantly by higher GMAT scores. According to a survey conducted on more than 600 applicants, the students scoring less than 700 has 0% to convert for top B schools. This increases to 18% for the GMAT score of 750 or more. Moreover, the higher the GMAT score, the higher the chances of getting a scholarship. The tuition fees for a two year global MBA course can be more than 80,000 $ and is increasing at a very rapid pace. The scholarship and fellowship will significantly reduce the financial burden.

Review this post: admission-rate-213025.html

Also, assuming you are an Asian, you will a score slightly higher than the average score for that school. Asians are expected to have a good Quant score. Recently GMAC has taken into account the region wise benchmarking. GMAC introduced a benchmarking tool that allows admissions officers to compare applicants against their own cohort, filtering scores and percentile rankings by world region, country, gender and college grade-point average.

More on this can be found here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/on-b-school ... 1415236311.

Do review these links as well to understand the importance of the GMAT exam
http://poetsandquants.com/2015/08/03/bu ... decisions/.
Read the comments below as well

https://aringo.com/mba-admission-chances-calculator/

How to proceed further?

You have a decent Quant score with some good effort you can reach the Q49/Q50 mark. However, in Verbal, you need to improve by 5-7 points (on the scale of 60) to reach arounf V40-V42 that will take you somewhere around 740 overall.

Take a look at GMAT Planner to plan your future studies: https://gmatplanner.e-gmat.com/

Note that once you reach the V38 - V40 level, there is nothing new that needs to be learnt. The difference between a V38 guy (or V35 for that matter) and a V40+ guy is the application of learned concepts. After crossing the V40 mark, your score is largely determined by your diligence and application skill level.

A student should know how to apply the learnt concepts properly to cross the V40 border. At this stage the tricks and shortcuts tend to fail and only students with a proper approach to questions succeed. This is what we do at e-GMAT. We teach our students a foolproof process to solve questions and make them follow the same. This is the reason for our high rate of success.

Folks who were in your shoes

Here are examples of few folks who were in your shoes and have accomplished their dream score using e-GMAT courses.

1. After scoring a 710, Anuj planned his second attempt, methodically improving his verbal score from V36 to V44 (98 percentile). Click here to learn how he managed to get to 770:http://bit.ly/28Rsvgu
2. Kinjal scored a 760 improving his Verbal score from 51 percentile to 98 percentile. Click here to know how he approached GMAT Verbal to score V44: http://bit.ly/28R7az9
3. Arun Goenka (760, V42): He improved from V36 to V42 using Verbal Online. Click here to read his debrief: http://bit.ly/291GkqZ
4. Anup Kapoor (770, V44): Click here to read his debrief: http://bit.ly/291GkqZ
5. Also read Nilendu’s review to see how he mastered the process to improve his score to V44: http://bit.ly/28TuZfQ

Right Course for you

I would recommend you to look at our Verbal Online course: https://e-gmat.com/courses/verbal_online/. Verbal Online is perfectly apt for you. Verbal Online requires 80 hours of effort and if you can devote sufficient time you can easily finish the course in the time you have.

Verbal Online is a self-paced course and there is no fixed schedule or batch constraint. You can access the course contents as per your convenience. You get a study plan as soon as you complete your purchase. The study plan outlines the order in which you approach concepts.

We provide you with a detailed study plan when you purchase the course. This study plan will dictate when and where from should you practice. It will cover all official sources. You are not required to use any other study material. Your score improvement will be much higher and faster if you just use our courses. Here are some examples:
o My Journey from 600 (Mock 0) to 750 (First attempt): my-journey-from-600-mock-0-to-750-first-attempt-158468.html
o Debrief – 720 (Q48 V41): debrief-720-q48-v41-152235.html

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need any information. - by eGMAT


Quote:
Looking at your score, you definitely can gain some easy points in both the sections.Fortunately GMAT tests you on certain fundamentals that you can learn and practice.

1. Did you complete the entire OG and the Verbal review?

You said that you have not exhausted the resources that you have. The best way to proceed from here would be to drill down deep and understand your problem:

Try to drill down deep in each problem type.

SC: The questions test various concepts such as S-V agreement, modifiers, parallelism etc. Find out what troubles you.
CR: There might be certain types of questions that are troubling you. May be Assumption, may be conclusion, inference etc.
You need to find that out and then practice them
RC: This again can be drilled down into different types of questions and also different topics. See what questions and topics trouble you the most and then practice accordingly.

Quants: Again you can bifurcate the questions into various topics such as Algebra, Geometry, Number System etc.

Once you have identified the problem areas, go back to the preparatory course/book that you have.
Make sure you also complete the OG and the Verbal review books if you have not already completed them. The official questions are the best source of practice and can help you if you are stuck at a particular score.

For additional practice, you can buy the Question Pack 1 and the Exam Pack 1 and 2. As an addition, start preparing an error log and keep a note of all the mistakes you made and the lessons you learnt from the problems. This will ensure you do not make the same mistake again - OptimusPrep


Quote:
100 problems a day?
*five* days of just doing problems for every *one* day of review?
this is not good... not good at all.

if you're studying properly, you should be spending substantially MORE time on review than on doing problems. if you can do even close to 100 problems per day, that indicates that you're just doing problem after problem after problem after problem after problem, and not spending nearly enough (if any) time reviewing.

here's what you should be able to do:

for EVERY quant problem:
* don't concentrate on the solution to that actual problem, since you can be sure you aren't going to see that actual problem on the exam
* instead, try to find TAKEAWAYS from the problem, which you can then APPLY TO OTHER PROBLEMS. this is key - DO NOT LEAVE A PROBLEM until you have extracted at least one piece of information, whether a formula, a strategy, a trick/trap, etc., that you can apply to OTHER problems.
do not leave a problem until you can fill in the following sentence, meaningfully and nontrivially:
"if i see _____ ON ANOTHER PROBLEM, i should _____"
* notice the SIGNALS in the problem that dictate which strategy to use. if you miss the problem, then notice the strategy that's used in the book's solution (not always the best solution, in the case of the o.g., but better than nothing), and go back to see if there are any signals 'telling' you to use that strategy.

for EVERY verbal problem:
* you should be able to give SPECIFIC reasons why EVERY wrong answer is wrong, and why EVERY right answer is right. ("i just know that it's wrong/right" is NEVER acceptable -- you need to think carefully about the problem until you have discerned a specific reason.)
* you should GENERALIZE these lessons in ways that could conceivably apply to future problems (e.g., "on this problem type, any answer choice more general than the passage = wrong").

for EVERY SC problem, in addition to the above:
* you should be able to go through the CORRECT sentence -- including the non-underlined part -- and justify EVERY construction in that sentence.
e.g.
-- if there's a modifier, you should be able to explain exactly what it modifies, and exactly why that modification makes sense.
-- if there's a pronoun, you should be able to explain exactly what it stands for, and exactly why that makes sense.
-- if there's a verb, you should be able to find its subject. you should also be able to justify the tense in which the verb is used, and/or the tense sequence of multiple verbs.
-- you should be able to explain the exact meaning of the sentence.
-- if there are parallel structures, you should be able to explain (a) the grammatical parallelism AND (b) the parallelism in meaning.
etc.

if you're doing these things, there's no way you'll be able to get through even half that number of problems.

quantity ≠ quality. - Ron Purewal

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Last edited by souvik101990 on 26 Jan 2017, 09:04, edited 2 times in total.
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New post 26 Jan 2017, 09:02
souvik101990...
Glad you put that well thought article..... good job...
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New post 26 Jan 2017, 09:12
hmmm, btw let us tell abt ur profile n ur 1st attempt??
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This is one of the most incredibly thoroughly awesome posts you could ever ask for. You deserve a cookie, souvik101990!

And if anybody wants to read even more Q&A's featuring applicants who weren't sure whether to retake the GMAT or not, there are about 80 stories crammed into the comments on this page, with personal advice offered to each of them. Some of the posts are a little bit on the old side, but you'll get the idea.

And as always, I really wish that this part wasn't true:

Quote:
You are an Indian IT Male
You are doomed. Blame your parents.

:(
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New post 31 Jan 2017, 11:04
souvik101990 wrote:

Should I Retake the GMAT



[textarea]
[list][*] You are from an overrepresented applicant pool
The GMAT score for overrepresented applicant pool tends to be higher on average. WHY? Probably because with most career trajectory and undergrad performance largely similar, the GMAT can act as a great differentiator. To support this hypothesis, I analyzed the GMAT Club app tracker (post if you want me to add charts), and found less than 5% of Indian applicants, a massive pool, have a GMAT that is less than 760. While that is incredibly discouraging for most people, it also tells you how competitive this b school admission season really was.

[/quote]

I have a 760 on the GMAT Q50/V41/IR7/AWA6 and I think I have potential to reach 780 but I don't think there is any reason to put in the extra efforts. If what you are stating here is true then I guess I should go for it, more so because a high GMAT will also play a role in the scholarship part. Would you mind letting us know the sample size as well? I mean 95% of what figure has 760 or more?

Last edited by gmat2k17 on 11 Apr 2017, 17:48, edited 1 time in total.

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New post 10 Feb 2017, 12:01
souvik101990 - Could you please reply to the above query?

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New post 16 Mar 2017, 12:19
Great post, but could you talk about how "mutliple retakes" are perceived?
When is it not ok to retake? After the 4th attempt?

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Dina98, I don't think that you need to worry about that at all. It's become incredibly common for applicants to take the test five or more times, and I don't think that it bothers MBA programs at all.

Wild story: a whole bunch of years ago, I started tutoring somebody after her EIGHTH attempt at the test. No joke: she literally took me out to dinner just to beg me to tutor her. I said yes, and made her promise that she'd never take the test ever again if she actually got a 700. She did get the 700 (on her ninth attempt!!), and got into Columbia. So it apparently didn't bother Columbia at all that she'd taken it nine freaking times.

Of course, you can only take the GMAT a maximum of eight times now, and only five times in any 12-month period. But don't worry about MBA programs' perceptions of your retakes -- they only care about your best score.
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New post 10 Apr 2017, 18:45
Pretty detailed article!!! This question is sometimes asked in the application as well, so some your points will help people answer that and also evaluate their decision to re-take. Did you take the test again?

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Re: Should I Retake the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2017, 03:43
GMATNinja wrote:
Dina98, I don't think that you need to worry about that at all. It's become incredibly common for applicants to take the test five or more times, and I don't think that it bothers MBA programs at all.

Wild story: a whole bunch of years ago, I started tutoring somebody after her EIGHTH attempt at the test. No joke: she literally took me out to dinner just to beg me to tutor her. I said yes, and made her promise that she'd never take the test ever again if she actually got a 700. She did get the 700 (on her ninth attempt!!), and got into Columbia. So it apparently didn't bother Columbia at all that she'd taken it nine freaking times.

Of course, you can only take the GMAT a maximum of eight times now, and only five times in any 12-month period. But don't worry about MBA programs' perceptions of your retakes -- they only care about your best score.


Hey GMATNinja,

Any advice you would like to enhance the SC skills. I am good in CR and RC but SC is pulling me down. I am thinking of re-taking the GMAT to improve my score by another 20 points and enhance my V41 to V46.

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New post 11 Apr 2017, 07:04
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With a 760, I'm not sure that I would bother retaking, gmat2k17. And congratulations on that score! :-D

In all seriousness, I'm not sure how much another 20 points would buy you in the admissions process. I just can't imagine that there's a school that would reject you with a 760, but accept you with a 780. Sure, you can get rejected from top schools for pretty much no reason these days -- it's a rough, rough world out there at the top schools. But 20 points at your end of the scale is really unlikely to matter. (And if you had a 680, we'd obviously be having a different conversation. Twenty points would definitely matter in that case!)

I suppose you could argue for retaking if you're interested in applying to investment banks or consulting firms, since they're often awed by big, shiny numbers. But if not, go throw yourself a big party and start writing some epic admissions essays.

And if you're determined to retake the test anyway, let me know, and we can start another thread on your situation in the verbal forum. :)
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Should I Retake the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2017, 17:46
GMATNinja wrote:
With a 760, I'm not sure that I would bother retaking, gmat2k17. And congratulations on that score! :-D

In all seriousness, I'm not sure how much another 20 points would buy you in the admissions process. I just can't imagine that there's a school that would reject you with a 760, but accept you with a 780. Sure, you can get rejected from top schools for pretty much no reason these days -- it's a rough, rough world out there at the top schools. But 20 points at your end of the scale is really unlikely to matter. (And if you had a 680, we'd obviously be having a different conversation. Twenty points would definitely matter in that case!)

I suppose you could argue for retaking if you're interested in applying to investment banks or consulting firms, since they're often awed by big, shiny numbers. But if not, go throw yourself a big party and start writing some epic admissions essays.

And if you're determined to retake the test anyway, let me know, and we can start another thread on your situation in the verbal forum. :)


GMATNinja - I am still considering re-taking. Once I am done with my May deadline of Insead, I will have three months until the next deadline. I am planning to take a month out of those for the re-attempt. I have couple of reasons for re-taking:

1. Indian male engineer bucket - I belong to that group and almost any serious candidate from this group has a 760 on the GMAT. While a 760 is way too common in any forum, a 780 is much more rare.

2. On app-trackers on gmatclub.com, I have seen a lot of rejections of Indian 760s and even 770s. Rejections of 780s is not that common. I have a 6.9/10 from a top 20 engineering school (non-IIT) in India. My lower than school's average GPA can be offset with a 780 in a better sense than by a 760 (added to the fact that almost all serious Indian candidates have a 760 or above, in addition to their better GPAs).

3. Scholarships - it is no secret that higher GMATs help in scholarships. If a lot of students have a 760/770, there wouldn't be a chance for me to get that coveted scholarship on the basis of GMAT.

4. Consulting and IBs - I will be 29 this year and 30 by matriculation. By the time I graduate I would be 32, definitely not a desired age group for Consulting and IB firms. I already have a negative; I want to give them a positive.

5. I didn't give my 100% to the GMAT; I did only one OG (2015), and I think with more practice, including learning idioms, my SC skills may improve. SC and timing on quant is the only roadblock between me and a 780. I analyzed my ESR and figured that I did only two wrong questions on Quant and that lead to a Q50 - I think I can overcome that. Since, the individual sections aren't adaptive, I could only manage a 91% on CR and RC with a 85% on SC.

What's your opinion on the reasons stated above?

Another not so relevant and maybe a stupid reason as well is: I believe a couple of years down the line the 760 would become 98%, the way 750 became. I would want to retain a score of 99%. Something that bb can relate to.

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Re: Should I Retake the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2017, 18:09
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I was worried that you might say some of that. I still doubt that the extra 20 points will make a big difference, but I suppose that if I were in your situation, I wouldn't want to take any risks. I'd fight for every last point, too.

Small sample size here, but one thing I have noticed is that the Indian male engineers who manage to do a GREAT job flashing some personality in their applications tend to punch above their weight during the admissions process. In other words: awesome, interesting, lively, creative essays -- and great interviews and all of that -- will probably do more for your chances of admission than those extra 20 points.

But again: yeah, you've convinced me that it's worth retaking in your situation. Indian male engineers are sooooo cursed in this process. Makes me sad. I guess it's just the way things are (supply and demand, right?), and I probably complain about it more than any Indian male engineer I've ever met -- but it still feels unfair, somehow.

I'll start a thread in the SC forum in your honor later this week, gmat2k17. I have a few thoughts on how you might approach the next step of the SC process, and I'll try to make it a more general thread that might help some others, too. Stay tuned!
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Re: Should I Retake the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2017, 21:12
GMATNinja
It indeed is highly unfair. If I had extravagant money, I'd have bought the citizenship by investment of an unknown country to game this unfair system.

Thanks in advance. Eagerly awaiting your thoughts.

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Re: Should I Retake the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 21 Apr 2017, 08:26
Thank you for such a helpful post!

I'm currently preparing for a retake and I will certainly implement some of these strategies into my studies.

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Re: Should I Retake the GMAT   [#permalink] 21 Apr 2017, 08:26
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