New GMAT Policies Change The Testing Game

On June 24, GMAC (the organization that makes the GMAT) made two announcements that change the GMAT testing game. Read on to find out what they are!

Canceled scores will NOT show on your score report

In the past, we have counseled students not to worry much about canceling scores, because the vast majority of business schools are interested only in your highest scores (and this is still true). Besides, the school would have been able to see that you took a test and then canceled the scores, so they could guess that you had a “bad” test on record.

As of July 19, if you cancel the scores from a test administration, those scores will not even show up on your record. The schools won’t have any idea that you took a GMAT that day!

As such, the conversation about when to cancel becomes trickier. I need to think about this some more, but I think I am going to advise my students to keep any scores that are within 100 points of their goal scores.

Why? There are two possible scenarios. #1: you eventually get to your goal score. In this case, schools will see that you buckled down, studied, and really improved. Obviously, that’s a win. #2: you do not eventually reach your goal score. (Perhaps your goal score is unrealistic.) In this case, at least you still do have this other score on your record. It would be terrible to have taken the test three times, with scores in a certain range, but to have canceled all those scores; now you have nothing on record!

As I mentioned, GMAC has announced that this policy change will take effect on July 19. It will apply retroactively. If you have not yet sent your scores to a particular school, then when you do finally send the scores, they will remove the canceled scores from your report.

The re-take period has been shortened to 16 days (from 31)

As of July 19, instead of waiting 31 days to re-take the exam, you’ll only have to wait 16 days. This is fantastic for someone who got sick during the exam or got really nervous and seriously messed up the timing.

Note that this could create a problem for those students who really should take longer to study for a re-take but instead try to cram it in too fast. In my experience, most people need a solid 4 to 8 weeks (if not longer!) before a re-take. Maybe 10% to 15% of the students with whom I talk could reasonably re-take in 2.5 to 3 weeks and expect to get a different score. So just be careful about this one—it’s a double-edged sword.

Thanks, GMAC!

These changes are huge so I just wanted to say that. Oh, and if you want to read the full official announcement, here you go.

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