GMAT Score Questions

I took the GMAT about 3.5 years ago and scored a 710 (95th percentile at the time). However, I'm planning on applying in Round 1 to some of the top 15 schools this year and was wondering if it would be in my best interests to take the test one more time to improve on my score. Would busting my butt to possibly get an extra 20-30 pts be worth the trouble?

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Comments (16)

Feb 15, 2008 - 2:12pm

I'd say it depends on the rest of your app. If you have strong GPA from a top undergrad, good work experience/recs, and good essay material then a 710 is more than adequate to "complete the package." If there are holes in the rest of your app, then a slightly stronger score could push you over the edge.

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Feb 16, 2008 - 5:23am

Thanks for the advice...the other stats are 3.6 GPA from a top 10 undergrad business program (accounting/finance undergrad major), CPA from a big 4, currently working in corporate finance for a public company in Silicon Valley...will have 4 years of work experience upon matriculation...

I suppose another reason to take it (besides improving on a 710) is to "buy" myself more time in case I don't get in during the fall application process. My original score will expire in July of 2009, so perhaps getting a 700+ score again will benefit me will allow me to re-apply the following year with a fresh score. Either way, I figure why not, I don't have much to lose except the time and money it takes to take the exam over again..

Feb 21, 2008 - 9:15pm

I am fairly certain that b-schools receive your 5 most recent scores but obviously take your top score.

This is true, although applications only require candidates to report a single gmat score. For verification purposes the school needs to validate that score, which is why they check score history, but other gmat scores aren't actually seen / reviewed by the admissions committee.

I actually found this a bit frustrating since I only took the test once and did well, but it's a very accommodating system for people who want to take more than one test.

Feb 23, 2008 - 3:14pm

That's interesting...I actually looked on the admissions website of each school I'm interested in and they all said that they only take the top score. In fact, most said you don't even have to send them a score unless it's the one you want them to see...

Feb 28, 2008 - 7:21pm

According to your suggestion a gmat test taker could theoretically take the test 20+ times (5x max per year) until they destroy the test since adcomms only judge your best score. It was my understanding (based on talking to admin consultants) that schools are influenced by the number of times you take the test and any type of progression that you demonstrate.

It doesnt seem fair to compare someone who scores a 720 on the first try and someone who scores 720 on their 8th try. We should get a definitive answer on this.

Feb 28, 2008 - 8:27pm

I don't believe you're going to find a definitive answer here - my admissions consultant informed me that Stanford, HBS and Wharton only review a candidate's highest score (although the applications do require you to disclose whether you've taken the GMAT more than once, so I guess there could be some level of discounting for multiple tests); however, I just saw on the GMAC site that some schools only review top scores while others will take averages.

I don't know anyone who has taken the test more than twice, but 20+ times just sounds insane.

Feb 28, 2008 - 9:56pm

I think some schools also take into account the timing of the tests. For example, I was a bit foolish and took the test right after graduating and ended up having very little time to study for it. While my score was still competitive for the top schools, I know that I'm going to have to retake the test when I'm done with my analyst stint and can actually sit down and prepare. The large gap between my first test and second test with a corresponding increase should allow me a chance to craft a story that does not discount me for missing the mark on my first go. To the original poster: Your 3.5 year gap should also do the trick if you decide to retake it.


Feb 29, 2008 - 9:54am

Also a forum like is MUCH better for these sorts of questions than this one. The demographic here is mostly bankers and consultants who really are just aiming for 700+. Any answers you get are from an audience with a relatively minimal exposure to the GMAT, b-school admissions in general and the issues around them.

Over there it's all Indian IT consultants who are obsessed with getting 770+ and people who make a living on GMAT prep/b-school admissions.

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