One of the most often asked questions is, “How many times can you take the GMAT?” Of course, there is a (fairly) straightforward solution to this issue, but the main point that some students overlook is that, while the GMAT can be taken multiple times, there are various reasons why you would want to avoid a scenario in which you have to take the GMAT multiple times.
In this article, you’ll learn about the annual and lifetime GMAT attempt restrictions, how business schools consider multiple attempts when evaluating MBA candidates, and the primary benefits and drawbacks of taking the GMAT several times.
Note: Although you can take the GMAT many times, there are various reasons why you should avoid having to take the GMAT multiple times.
Let’s start with the total number of times a test-taker is permitted to take the GMAT.
How Many Times Can You Take the GMAT?
As of December 17, 2016, GMAC (the GMAT’s creators) imposed a lifetime limit on the number of times a person can take the GMAT; that limit is eight. So, regardless of how many years pass between tries, the total number of times you can take the GMAT throughout the course of your life is 8. Furthermore, GMAC applied this limit retroactively, so if you took the GMAT five times prior to December 2016, when there was no lifetime limit, those five attempts still count toward your total of eight.
Here are some more key considerations regarding the lifespan restriction rule:
- If you cancel your GMAT score for a test, the exam will still count against your lifetime GMAT attempt limit. It counts every time you take the actual GMAT.
- If you cancel your GMAT test appointment, the exam does not count toward your lifetime limit because you did not sit for it.
- If you are a no-show on test day (you did not cancel your GMAT but do not show up for your test date), the exam does not count toward your lifetime limit because you did not sit for it.
How Often Can You Take The GMAT?
You can take the GMAT no more than five times in a 12-month period, and you must wait at least 16 days between each attempt. So, let’s say you took your first GMAT on January 15, 2021. You could theoretically take the GMAT every 16 days and hit your annual maximum of 5 attempts by mid-March. At that point, you would have to wait until January 16, 2022 to make attempt number 6, and if you maintained the same timetable as in 2021, you would exhaust your GMAT attempts for life a little more than a month later.
There is also one exception to the 16-day waiting period. You do not have to wait 16 days for your retake if you go from taking the GMAT in-person to taking it online (or vice versa). For example, if your first GMAT attempt was on January 15, 2021, you might potentially sit for the GMAT Online on January 16, 2021. However, keep in mind that if your first and second attempts are both online, the 16-day waiting period still applies, just as it does for the in-person exam.
Factors to Consider Before Deciding to Retake Your GMAT
1. Your Initial Test Score
Many people who score less than 600 will repeat the exam. According to the website mba.com, candidates who scored less than 500 on their first attempt were more likely to notice a considerable improvement in their test score the next time they took the test (than candidates scoring over 500 in their first attempt).
Candidates with an initial score of 600 to 640 may expect a slight improvement, however candidates with a score of 700 or higher were unlikely to see any change.
2. Are You Likely to Improve Your Score If You Retake the Test?
If you retake the test and get the same result, you might be tempted to try again for a third time and see what happens.
Although business schools may admire your commitment to investing time, money, and effort into improving your score, there is no value to getting the same or a very similar score for a third time unless you put the efforts into improving your performance.
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3. Do You Have Time to Retake the Test?
Taking the GMAT exam takes time. The real test lasts 3.5 hours, with two optional eight-minute rest periods. This does not account for the time you will need to devote to studying for the exam.
If you have opted to retake the GMAT, make sure you have a solid strategy in place to improve your result. Consider the retake deadline and whether you will be able to put in the extra study time.
4. Can You Afford the Cost of Retaking the Test?
The basic cost of taking the GMAT test is presently $250; this applies whether you are taking it for the first time or retaking it. If you want to get an improved score report, it will cost you an extra $30.
Cancelling your score immediately after the test is free, but you will be charged $25 if you cancel after that time or $50 if you reinstate prior points, so consider this before taking the test.
Is It Bad to Take the GMAT More Than Once?
The basic answer to whether taking the GMAT more than once is no, taking it more than once is not a negative thing. In reality, the majority of the test-takers take the exam multiple times, and you should prepare to do the same. In other words, while you should absolutely aim to meet your score goal on your first attempt and do everything in your power to prepare for it, you should also schedule your first exam so that you have enough time before your applications are due to study some more and retake the exam at least once, if not twice, if you come up short on your first attempt.
Know more about GMAT Score Report.
What Are the Consequences of Taking the GMAT Multiple Times?
Admissions committees are fully aware that the majority of students take the GMAT multiple times. In general, admissions officers will be significantly more concerned with your results than with whether you needed a number of tries to achieve those marks. Of course, 2 or 3 attempts are not the same as 5 or 6. Fortunately, you have the option of cancelling any GMAT scores that you do not want admissions to see, thus you could theoretically take the GMAT 5 times and cancel all but your greatest score. Exam sittings linked with cancelled scores are not included on the Official Score Report provided to schools, thus colleges would not know you took it more than once.
Of course, there are times when students must use all, or almost all, of their GMAT tries in order to meet their score targets. However, if you are seriously concerned about exhausting your attempts before reaching your goal, if you have used more than half of your attempts and are still not close to your target score, you should pause and reconsider your preparation for the GMAT before scheduling any additional exams.
We hope you found this article to be informative. You may also read the article Top MBA Colleges in India Accepting GMAT Scores (including Placements, Fees, and GMAT Cut-Offs).
If you are starting your GMAT preparation from scratch, you should definitely check out the GMATPOINT