Retaking the GMAT

Posted on October 27, 2007 | Filed in GMAT

Based on the most recent data published by the GMAC, approximately 21% percent of GMAT tests are taken by repeat test-takers who have taken the test more than once within a year. If the data is segmented further, it shows that out of tests that score within the mean Total GMAT score range of 500 to 540, the percentage accounted for by repeat test-takers is approximately 28%. The average gain between the first test and the second test is about 30 points. That means repeat test taking may result in either an increase or decrease. An important side fact: about 20% of GMAT tests are taken for the purpose of submitting scores to a non-business graduate program.

Since each person is allowed to repeat the test up to five times a year and most repeat test takers test two or three times within a year, we can make some easy assumptions.


1) the total number of GMAT tests taken per year is 135,000 (rounded up from the 2005 data),

2) all tests required for non-business school graduate programs are taken one time only and also account for 20% in the score range of 500 to 540, and

3) all repeat GMAT test takers take on average 3 times a year, the above data implies that the number of repeat MBA-related test takers should represent just 10.6% of total MBA-related test takers or just 15.2% of MBA-related test takers with score of 500 to 540. This equates to a total repeat MBA-related test takers of about 14,310 a year.

This conclusion is in agreement with Manhattan Review’s advice to our own students: We generally recommend you to prepare well, stay focused, and then ace the GMAT in your “once and only” try. That way you can optimize the result without stretching yourself for an extended period. Also that way you don’t need to worry about recovering from bruised “ego”, exhausted soul, tighter purse string, and a swamped schedule. However, if you have taken the GMAT on your own before studying with us, we believe targeting specific weaknesses is most important. Rather than repeating an entire prep course, we recommend private tutoring so that you can customize your sessions.

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