Make sure you know this before taking the GMAT

Guest post by Conrad and the 2minuteGMAT Team.

One of the most important tips that we can give GMAT takers is how MBA programs review their GMAT scores.  Most applicants do not know that MBA admissions team review GMAT scores differently than undergraduate institutions and Law Schools.  Unlike other types of institutions, the GMAT score is self-reported.  What this means is that an MBA program will ask you for your highest score, and you will enter this information.

This self-reported score is the only one that a business school admissions team will look at until you are accepted.  This is important to understand because only after you have been accepted will an admissions team will reach out to the GMAC, the makers of the GMAT, to confirm your score.  Understand that your highest score is the only one that an MBA admissions team will look at.

Having understood this, you now see that there is no point in canceling a low score.  Before you take the GMAT test for the first time, relax and remember that you can always take the test a second time.

Therefore, even if you do poorly on your first attempt, you can still take the GMAT and an admissions team will not consider your earlier scores.  A number of admissions counselors therefore recommend that the GMAT be taken at least twice.  There won’t be any damage done, and because the GMAT becomes easier with more experience, there is a strong possibility your score will increase.

We hope this was of help.

For more advice on improving your GMAT score, visit

Founded in 2009, 2minuteGMAT guarantees that you will improve your GMAT score by 50 points or your money back. We send you a unique email every day for 6 months with 10 GMAT Questions of the Day (5 Math and 5 Verbal), a daily blurb about top business schools in the country, and advice from experts on how to improve your GMAT score. Visit the 2minuteGMAT blog for updates and GMAT tips.

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2 Responses to Make sure you know this before taking the GMAT

  1. Emily says:

    This posting goes against what I have heard directly from business school admissions reps. Yes, it’s true that your score is initially self-reported and that many schools only look at that initial self-report during the decision-making time period. But some schools request that you send your scores via GMAC, and GMAC will send all of your scores, not just the highest one. So some business schools will see all of your scores. But there’s really nothing wrong with taking the test more than once, because it can be a way to demonstrate your commitment to the MBA application process, particularly if you can show that you were able to get a higher score.

    • Chiara says:

      Thanks for the comment, Emily, and you raise a really important point in that we didn’t cover: that even if schools do see that you’ve taken the GMAT score more than once, it signals commitment. With regard to whether schools do ask for your scores before making their decision, I’d be curious to know what the split is… Asking around at Apply in the Sky, nobody on our team encountered that when we were applying, but that’s still a limited sample size of schools. We’ll research this some more and try to do a follow-up post.

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