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Should I retake the GMAT? If yes, how?

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Should I retake the GMAT? If yes, how? [#permalink]

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New post 24 Feb 2016, 01:45

Once you decide to apply to a B-School, most of the things are already written on the stone and there isn’t much you can do about them. Be it your Undergrad GPA, be it your work experience or be it your extracurricular activities. All of them cannot be changed. You can add something, but cannot go back and rectify any mistakes that you might have made. GMAT on the other hand is one aspect of the application that you can change and strengthen your candidacy. But this leaves you with the all-important question:

Should I retake the GMAT?

If you are asking this question from yourself or from others, obviously you are not happy with the GMAT score you have. Do not worry, you are not alone, as per a GMAC stat, 21% have taken the GMAT multiple times.

Now let us focus on your preparation for the first GMAT. Try to think through the following questions and you will a lot clearer about your decision to retake:

1. How did you perform on the test day?

This is by far the most important and the first question you should ask yourself. If you find any of the below scenarios resonating with your case, certainly go ahead and take the GMAT again.

- There was a lapse in concentration
- You missed some questions in the early stages of the test
- You did not complete the sections
- You had a bad day and a bad previous night
- You did not sit for enough Mock CATs to build the required stamina for the test
- Disturbances in the test center
- You have a significant imbalance in your sectional scores
- There is a huge difference in your Mock CAT and actual GMAT scores
- If you can resonate to any one of the above points, go ahead and book the GMAT appointment.

2. How was your preparation for the first attempt?

If you feel that you gave it all you had and did not leave any stone unturned, then there might not be much of a difference in the score that you will receive the second time. On the other hand, if you feel that you did not prepare well, did not take enough mock CATs, did not understand the concepts fully or did not practice much. In this case, there can be a significant increase in your GMAT score.

3. What is the score range of the schools that you are applying to?

We always keep on hearing about stories of people with 550 – 600 scores getting admitted to top schools. While the stories are fascinating, there are various other very strong credentials that those applicants possess. All the top B-Schools publish the range and the average of their incoming class. Have a look at the class profile and see where you fall. If your score falls well below the average score, it is a good enough reason to retake. A better way than averages is the 20 – 80 percentile range of scores of the class. If your score falls in this range and that too towards the higher side, there is no reason at all to take the test.

4. Your motivation levels and time availability to retake the test

While it is easy to decide to retake the test, it is very difficult to stick to the decision and follow a strategy after you have prepared for 3 – 4 months for the GMAT. Often people think about retaking and then lose steam midway. This not only wastes the efforts that you put in, it also wastes precious time that you can use in crafting a strong application. Apart from motivation levels, also take a note of the amount of time you have at hand. If you have less than a month left for the application deadline and have not started the application and essays, it is in your best interest to not think about the GMAT. A half-baked application with a stellar GMAT will not be able to fetch you an admission. You need a lot of time to research about the schools and write the application.
Now that you have answered the questions above and decided that you need to take the GMAT again, then the next important is:

“How do I retake the GMAT? What all do I need to prepare?”

While preparing for the retake, always prepare for the battles and you will surely win the war. Focus on the small things that you might have missed in your first round of preparation or something that you are weak in. Try doing the following things in your preparation and you will surely achieve your target score.

1. Have confidence in yourself and picture you victory

Picturize yourself pumping your fists in the air after seeing your dream GMAT score on the screen and make a list of all the people you would call after the success. This thought will give you the necessary boost to take on the GMAT and will give you the required confidence to take the test. With the new friendlier rules for the takers, you can cancel the score if you score lower and schools will not see the attempt. So there is nothing much to lose apart from $250. Remove that excess burden from your mind and go for the kill.

2. Find out your shortcomings

This should be the next part of your preparation for the retake. You might have identified a certain section – Quants or Verbal that troubled you. Identify the section and then dig deeper. Identify the sub sections and then the topics in which you faced problems.

Ordering an ESR is a good point to start. The ESR will give you an overview of which sections you need to focus on.

If you did not sit for enough mock CATs, or took them in an unrealistic way not mimicking the test center conditions, make sure that you do it in this round of preparation. Also, analyze your Mock CATs thoroughly and learn from your mistakes.

3. Work on the shortcomings.

It is very important to determine what you can improve on. Once you have figured out what you need to work on, the next obvious part is to get down and actually work on it. There are various methods of preparation:

1) Private tutoring
2) Online classes
3) Self-paced online preparatory course
4) Book heavy approach

If you feel that your mode of preparation is not helping you much, you might want to shift to other mode of study. This can positively influence your GMAT score by giving you a new perspective.
If you opt for an online course, be sure to check the GMAT score increase guarantee. While you would easily trade a good GMAT score with the money spend on the course, such guarantees show the confidence of the test prep companies on their course.

4. All the study material that you need

To achieve a good GMAT score on the retake, you need the following materials

- Official Guides
- Exam Pack1 and Question pack1 from
- A preparatory course/book

Once you have all the required material, start from the basics and move on to the problems. Solve the official guides and the problems again. More often than not, you will not remember the answer to the questions. Pay special attention to the official questions and questions that are of the same level. This will help you get in the mind of the test maker and you will not face any difficulty in the test center.

5. Book a Date

Often people think of retaking the GMAT and start their preparation, but many times they end up not giving it, hence wasting precious time and effort. Once you have decided to retake, Book the appointment date. This will keep you motivated and focused on your goals.
Now that you have gone through the article, you must have a clear idea as to what it takes to get a better score on the retake. If you feel that you have underperformed and can do better than the last attempt, then go for it. The only person who can give you an honest answer is you. Worst case, you will have the same score or a lower score. You can very well cancel the score in such case. But you will not have any regrets and any ifs and buts while applying.

Should I retake the GMAT? If yes, how?   [#permalink] 24 Feb 2016, 01:45
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Should I retake the GMAT? If yes, how?

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