You can now retake the GMAT Online Exam—the at-home version of the GMAT launched after the coronavirus outbreak—and improve your score.
While you can retake the test center GMAT up to five times in any 12-month period, until now you could only take the online version of the test once.
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), owner and administrator of the GMAT, has decided to expand GMAT Online exam attempts from one to two to add more flexibility for test-takers.
In a statement, GMAC said: “We want candidates to be at their best on exam day, whether in a test center or at home. These changes, made with test takers in mind, are consistent with that goal.
“Since our introduction of the GMAT Online exam, our ongoing enhancements have helped transition the exam from meeting an immediate application cycle need to providing flexibility and supporting the needs of schools and candidates throughout the full application cycle.”
When should you retake the GMAT?
If you’re unhappy with your GMAT score, retaking the GMAT is a way to improve it. To understand what score to aim for, look at the class average GMAT scores and GMAT score ranges for your target schools.
This will give you an understanding of the GMAT scores accepted students at your target schools submitted.
Harvard Business School, for example, reports its class median GMAT score rather than the class average. Harvard’s median GMAT is 730, yet Harvard’s MBA class recorded a broad range of scores from 590 to 800.
To gauge what GMAT score will get you into Harvard, know that while it’s good to aim for a score above 700, it’s not a deal breaker for Harvard, provided the rest of your application is exceptional.
However, a GMAT score below 730 is not a deal breaker for Harvard, provided the rest of your application is exceptional. Harvard’s GMAT score range shows HBS accepted at least one student with a 590 GMAT test score (considered low) all the way up to 800 (the highest score on the GMAT).
Whatever school you’re applying for, when considering whether to retake the GMAT ask yourself three questions:
1. Do I have the highest score I can possibly achieve? Have you achieved your full potential?
2. Are the elements of my score consistent with each other? If you've achieved a good overall score, but your score for the verbal section of the GMAT is significantly lower than your quant, or vice-versa, then your score is worse than it may seem.
3. Do I have the time to spend on studying to improve my score? How close are you to those application deadlines?
Brett Ethridge, founder and lead instructor at Dominate Test Prep, says the biggest determining factor for how much you can expect your GMAT score to go up on a retake is linked to your previous score.
“If your first GMAT score is in the 500s, then you still have a lot of room for improvement, whereas if you’ve already scored in the upper-600s or cracked 700, then your score ceiling is a lot lower.”
What’s it like taking the GMAT Online Exam?
The online GMAT has the same structure, number of items, and duration as the test center exam. It also uses the same scoring algorithm and score scale for the Section Scores and Total Score.
In terms of content, the only difference between the online GMAT and the test center version is the exclusion of the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section from the online test. This section, known as the ‘essay section’, consists of a 30-minute writing task.
Note: The GMAT Online Exam now allows a physical whiteboard option.
What’s next for the GMAT?
The online test was first launched as a temporary solution to support candidates applying to business school during the last application cycle. Now, GMAC’s consistent investment in the test suggests there are plans to transition to a permanent solution.
GMAC recently announced an extension to available GMAT Online testing appointments until the end of 2020 and says it will continue to open up availability into 2021.
Since launching the GMAT Online Exam, GMAC has consistently worked to improve the testing experience for candidates; introducing the ability for test takers to review their score before sending it to schools, the use of physical whiteboards, the introduction of Accommodations, and the ability to send free score reports to an unlimited number of b-school programs.
On the ability to retake the test, Cara Skikne, GMAT coach and co-founder of MBA admissions consultancy Admissions Africa, says:
“This is good news for test-takers who now have more flexibility and less pressure in their test-taking experience. It's one of the positive changes to the online test (like the introduction of a physical whiteboard) that makes it a lot more appealing compared to taking the test at a test center, or taking the online GRE.”