With a 680, Should I Retake the GMAT?

Posted By SWatts on Oct 24, 2011 | 0 comments

Many candidates study hard for the GMAT. They go into the exam hoping for a score in the 700s and are disappointed to learn their score is in the 600s instead. When the score is in the high-600s, I often hear candidates struggle with a question about whether to re-take the exam. What is my advice, they ask.

Well, the advice I offer to an inquiring candidate will be very candidate-specific. The ideal answer depends on who the candidate is (gender, age, citizenship, ethnicity, industry, etc.) and how strong the candidate’s overall record is (GPA, undergraduate institution, alternative transcript, professional successes, community leadership, etc.). It is difficult to give general advice about this, but here are some guidelines about how you can think about this.

A score of 680 can keep many candidates within shooting range of top schools like Harvard and Wharton. So, in considering whether to re-take the test, you must think about the impact if your GMAT score goes lower. If you receive a higher GMAT score, that would be wonderful and your application will get a boost. But, if you receive a second GMAT score that is less than 680, it will have the impact of validating the first score. If you also have a lower-than-ideal GPA, the second low score can also be interpreted as providing “evidence” that your lower-than-ideal GPA was an accurate indicator of your abilities and potential. You will then potentially have two weak spots in your application.

Re-taking the GMAT with a 680 already in hand, therefore, can be risky. If you decide to re-take it, make sure you have already taken some prep course that has helped you understand how to test well on the GMAT. Make sure to also take full mock tests and project your score, and re-test after you are consistently scoring in a higher range that you find acceptable.

For many top schools, 680 will be solidly in their range of GMAT scores for matriculating students. For many candidates, if they decide not to re-test and to keep the 680 as their highest score, they can continue to establish their strong skills and potential through references to their strong professional performance in the MBA essays. Outstanding recommendations can also do a great deal to help the cause.

Your best choice in a situation like this will be highly dependent on the specifics of your candidacy, but the above can provide you more to think about as you make your decision.

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