When to cancel a GMAT score

When to cancel a GMAT score

One question I am often asked, and one you should think about before you take the test, is when to cancel the GMAT score.

If you are in a hurry and need to know fast (TL;DR), don’t cancel it. You can do it later for a small fee and the value of a lower-than-you-hoped score is generally better than now score at all.

The summary of cancellation rules is as follows:

  • Cancel for free right after the test (you can re-instate later so it’s not permanent)
  • Cancel for $25 within 3 days (72 hours)
  • Re-instate anytime- also after the 72 hours has passed
  • Schools will NOT see any record of a cancelled test

The more thoughtful and detailed rationale is as follows:

Many of the students and test-takers I interact with have a significant wrong impression about GMAT scores and b-school’s attitudes to them. They assume that a below-average score is going to ruin their chances. This is rarely true. We have many situations where people get into top-5 schools and even receive scholarships with scores that are lower than average for that school. This included EUR30k to a top Spanish school with a 620, and a half-scholarship to a prominent UK institution with a 640.

The first wrong assumption about how school’s judge scores is based on average scores. There are subgroups within the applicant pool who for a variety of reasons who feel obliged to keep studying until they break 750. This is one factor that pushes the average scores up to an intimidating level.

The other assumption that I don’t agree with is school’s perceptions of low scores. It is true that a low score can hurt admissions chances. But if you retake it and achieve a better score, the presence of an older lower score is not negative. Admissions staff have seen so many crazy standard-test stories that this is trivial. The highest score is considered.

A final point is a score below your hopes may still be interesting to another school, If you are trying for 720+ for a US M7 school, your 650 (or even 600) would still initiate a conversation at many good schools. We routinely shown lower GMAT scores to admissions officers for concrete and direct instructions to what to do in GMAT (for example: “raise quant to 75% percentile”). Keep this last point as an option—you will know exactly what to target.

In closing, keep your score, unless it’s 100+ points below your target, or unless your MBA.com tests have been substantially higher. If you have an individual story with GMAT, contact us and we can share our experience and inform you of other comparable cases.

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