As soon as you finish the GMAT, you will see your unofficial score results on the computer screen in the testing center. You can cancel your score in the testing center, or online at mba.com for up to 72 hours after your test appointment.
When you cancel a score, only you and GMAC know that you sat for the exam that day. Business schools will see no record of any cancelled exam.
Can I still get an Enhanced Score Report if I cancelled my GMAT score?
Yes, you can still order an Enhanced Score Report for a cancelled exam – and this can be quite helpful in understanding where you can improve before your next test.
Cancelled exams do still count toward the limits of 5 GMAT attempts in any 12-month period, and 8 attempts in your lifetime.
So which scores should be cancelled? Should I keep a 640 GMAT score? What about a 590 or 520?
This isn’t a decision to make when you are sitting in the testing center staring at the screen with your unofficial results. Like many aspects of your GMAT exam day, you should decide in advance how you will handle this moment.
How to decide whether to cancel your GMAT score
- Research in advance what score range is acceptable for your target schools. Read the program website, and even better, reach out to the admissions office to get more information. You might find out that a program requests a minimum score of 650, for example, but may accept candidates with scores down to 590 when those candidates bring unique and valuable perspectives to the class. (See the Admissions section below)
- Asking an admissions office for more details about their expectations for the GMAT is NOT a sign of weakness. On the contrary, admissions officials are happy to communicate with potential applicants
- Our advice: keep any score that is acceptable to even one school on your list.
It’s much easier to go into a new GMAT exam knowing that you already have one score on file, and that you are just trying to improve upon that score.
- Keeping a minimum acceptable score on file is like an insurance policy: you hope you don’t have to use it, but if worse comes to worst, it’s there for you! You never know what will happen on your next attempt. What if you simply have a bad day and actually perform worse than your first try? Don’t add to the pressure by deleting an acceptable score.
Bright Tip: Contact each of your target programs before you prepare your application. When you contact an admissions officer before you apply, they can give you insight into your potential fit for the program you’re considering – and perhaps even draw your attention to other relevant opportunities. Prepare a few questions before you reach out in order to make the most of the communication.
But what about my target schools that require a higher score? Won’t they see this lower score and judge me negatively?
Business schools do not average your GMAT scores. Admissions committees do not look down on you for taking the test more than once in order to achieve your best score.
How can we be so sure?
In June 2019, Bright Outlook was invited to a Summit hosted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (the makers of GMAT). We participated in a lively discussion with admissions directors from some of the top MBA and Master in Business programs in Europe, including London Business School, IESE Business School, and the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. EVERY Admissions director agreed that programs only consider your BEST score when making admissions decisions.
In fact, having a lower GMAT score and then a higher one can demonstrate your commitment, grit, and determination to succeed. It shows that you are willing to work hard to improve upon your weaknesses – all qualities that business schools are looking for!
The Big Picture: Admissions is about MUCH more than one test score
At the London summit, all of the admissions officials present and the GMAC staff stressed the point that the GMAT is only one component of the admissions decision. Programs are looking at your overall profile as a candidate:
- Educational background: field(s) of study and grades
- Experiences in different countries, cultures, and industries
- Fit between your goals and what the program offers
For MBA programs and Masters that require work experience, admissions teams also carefully consider your work history and career path to date.
The GMAT is just one aspect of your application. Your score alone won’t make you the best or the worst candidate for any program.
How should you position yourself as a candidate for business school?
Download our free 16-page guide: Your Authentic Story: A Guide to Communicating Your Value for Business School Admissions.
Business Schools want to understand your
- Uniqueness, and