Retaking the GMAT?

Last updated on July 12th, 2013

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OK. Stop sobbing, stop blaming the Universe and your neighbor’s dog; get out of bed and listen.


1. Over 20% of GMAT candidates are repeat test takers


This number is higher for non-white, non-native English speakers, and non-US citizens. According to the GMAC, most of these test-takers sit for the test, intending to retake it later, viewing the first sitting as a sort of baseline to see how they’ll do and where they need to focus their study efforts.


2. Average score gain is 30 points


If you scored less than 600 in your first attempt, you may see an increase in score by ~30 points (assuming of course, that you try to work on the gaps in your preparation and do better next time!).


This number too is likely to be higher for non-white / non-native English speakers / non-US citizens. Interestingly, in a global context, this gain is seen more in the Quant section – something that may not be true for Indians, given that English is not our native tongue.


Expectedly, the standard deviation significantly higher, as illustrated in the graph below.

1. You took the GMAT under less than ideal circumstances – you were sick or coping with loss or issues.
2. You did not manage your time properly and spent an inordinate amount of time on a particular section.
3. You studied the wrong material – questions in the test were not on expected lines.
4. You had no/a bad study plan – you didn’t focus on all sections sufficiently to gain the necessary confidence.
5. You scored significantly higher (>50 points) in your recent GMAT Prep practice tests.
6. Your GMAT score is 30-40 points less than the average score at your target schools.
7. You have enough time to retake the GMAT and apply to Universities ofyour choice.

If you answered in the affirmative to more than 2 points from #1 to #6 AND to point 7, you should consider retaking the GMAT.


Most B-schools consider only your highest GMAT scores; a few consider the average of your recent GMAT attempts. It is best that you check the Admission FAQs section on the website of your target school to understand their stand on the matter.


3. When can I retake the GMAT?


According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), you must wait 31 days before retaking the GMAT again. Examinees are permitted to take the GMAT only five times in a 12-month period. If your score is cancelled, you must still observe the 31-day waiting period.


FACT: If you score an 800, you must wait five years. 🙂


The majority of the candidates who retake the test do so in about 60 days’ timeframe.




The GMAC maintains a constant rhetoric discouraging repeat test takers – and for good reason. This way, GMAT scores are credible and beat rote learning measures.


But, a significant number of candidates do retake the GMAT. Our advice is that you follow a methodical approach to fix your weaknesses and make the best of this second chance!


Cheers! 🙂


Related – How I improved my score from 600 to 710 after retaking the GMAT.

Hope that clears your questions on how to retake the GMAT! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.
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