Months of preparation, GMAT practice tests, social sacrifices and a low GMAT score. Highly frustrating, isn’t it? While your first instinct maybe to just ditch your GMAT books, hold on. Before arriving at a decision, give yourself 2-3 days to get over the initial disappointment. Do something interesting – take a vacation, meet friends, grab a drink – anything to keep your mind off the GMAT score.
Once you are through the initial period and have made your mind up for a retake, try to identify the reasons for your low score. Did you score low due to anxiety or was it just lack of preparation? Maybe it was a time management issue. Whatever the reasons might be, you should go back to your study plan and take steps to address these problem areas. You can even considering referring to some different prep resources or study methods to score better. You can also use the GMAT enhanced score report to gain better insights into your performance and tweak your preparation strategies accordingly.
Sometimes your score might not be as bad it seems like on look. You need to analyze whether your score is falling in the 80% range of some of the top 20 schools. Even if you are at the lower end of the spectrum, you still have good chances of admission if you have a strong application.
If your scores have been low despite repeated attempts and you have decided to apply with this score, you need to work on the other areas of your application. Work on your essays, recommendation letters, take additional courses, boost your extra-curricular achievements and anything else which will help improve your application. If you have an outstanding profile, you can even offset a low GMAT score. Refrain from writing the optional essay to explain the low test score as much as possible unless you can really provide a compelling reason, and not an excuse, for the low score.
Another option is to take the GRE. If you are consistently facing a problem with the quantitative section, GRE can be a great option for you. GRE math is typically much easier than GMAT math. Also, taking a new test may reinvigorate your spirits and you may actually end up doing better on the GRE than GMAT. You just need to make sure that your target b-schools accept the GRE.
The most important thing with a low GMAT score is to stay motivated despite of it. Remember that it’s perfectly normal to take the GMAT multiple times to improve scores. In fact, as you read this, many test takers around the world are gearing up for the next GMAT. So, bring it on GMAT! One last time.
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