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Should I Retake?

This topic has 4 expert replies and 2 member replies
Dr. Raccoon Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
03 Nov 2016
Posted:
5 messages

Should I Retake?

Post Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:18 am
Dear GMAT Experts and fellow community members,

I recently took the GMAT and scored 690 (Q44/V40). I'm debating if I should retake the GMAT and would love some advice! During my prep, I used the OG, GMATPrep, Manhattan GMAT Guides. I averaged 720 on my practice tests, hanging around Q47-49 and V38-40.

Background about myself:
Australian-born-Chinese living in Hong Kong and currently working in Shenzhen for an industry leader in consumer drones. I have 3 years work experience and I got my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from University of California, San Diego with a crappy 2.9GPA (which is why I am working in a Project Manager/Operations function at my company right now).

The Dilemma: Should retake the GMAT and aim for a 40-50 point improvement.

If so, should I look for a private tutor to help? Since I am located overseas (where the high quality in-person options are limited), how good are the online options? Will they be able to help me achieve the results I'm looking for?

If not, what are my chances with a school such as Haas or INSEAD with my current situation?

Any advice or feedback would be much appreciated! Thank you!

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Post Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:31 am
Dr. Raccoon wrote:
Dear GMAT Experts and fellow community members,

I recently took the GMAT and scored 690 (Q44/V40). I'm debating if I should retake the GMAT and would love some advice! During my prep, I used the OG, GMATPrep, Manhattan GMAT Guides. I averaged 720 on my practice tests, hanging around Q47-49 and V38-40.

Background about myself:
Australian-born-Chinese living in Hong Kong and currently working in Shenzhen for an industry leader in consumer drones. I have 3 years work experience and I got my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from University of California, San Diego with a crappy 2.9GPA (which is why I am working in a Project Manager/Operations function at my company right now).

The Dilemma: Should retake the GMAT and aim for a 40-50 point improvement.

If so, should I look for a private tutor to help? Since I am located overseas (where the high quality in-person options are limited), how good are the online options? Will they be able to help me achieve the results I'm looking for?

If not, what are my chances with a school such as Haas or INSEAD with my current situation?

Any advice or feedback would be much appreciated! Thank you!
Even if we concede that plenty of applicants are admitted to these program with a 690, I'd retake. There are two benchmarks that you fell just short of. First, of course, there's the magical 700. Second, the number I often hear from admin people as the minimum quant score they like to see is 45. Is this rational? Of course not. Statistically speaking, the difference between a 690 and a 700 or a Q44 and a Q45 is negligible. But admissions, like much of life, is not a purely rational process. Moreover, if you're able to hit 720+, you really do tilt the odds in your favor. Just know that anyone capable of scoring a 690 is capable of scoring a 720. (And, obviously, anyone averaging 720 on practice tests can hit 720 on the official exam.) Root out a careless mistake here, shore up a concept there, (or get slightly luckier/less unlucky) and you're done.

As for online options, you'll want to do your research, but the technology has developed to the point that it's a very popular/convenient option. You could always schedule a test in the near-term, see if you were simply unlucky your first time around, and then revisit the decision if you need to.

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Post Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:11 am
Hi Dr. Raccoon,

First off, a 690 is a fantastic score (it's just a bit shy of the 90th percentile overall), so it could be enough to get you into your first-choice School. As such, a retest might not be necessary. You're ultimately asking Admissions questions though, so you would likely find it beneficial to speak with an Admissions Expert about your overall profile. There's a Forum full of them here:

http://www.beatthegmat.com/ask-an-mba-admissions-consultant-f40.html

If you do choose to retest though, then we have to examine how you were studying for the Quant section before.

1) How long did you study?
2) When you took your practice CATs, did you take the FULL CAT each time (with the Essay and IR sections)?
3) On the Official GMAT, did you have to 'rush' through questions at the end of the Quant section?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

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Dr. Raccoon Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
03 Nov 2016
Posted:
5 messages
Post Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:21 pm
Thanks David and Rich. Your responses are really helpful!

In response to David:
This was my gut feeling. I felt like admissions might consider 700+and Q45+ as a different 'level' of candidate. It would be extremely disappointing if I wasn't even considered because I didn't get into the magical '700 Club'.

In response to Rich:
I will definitely consider talking to a Admissions Expert about my overall profile; seems like most applicants these days (I think the stat I saw was 40-50%?) hire one.
1) I studied for about 6 weeks, 4-5 hours per day.
2) I took the full CAT every time, Essay and IR sections included. Although, the 6 GMATPrep test have repeated essays, so I've written about the same prompt multiple times.
3) A little bit. I breezed through the first couple questions confidently, stockpiling some time but I find that I burnt through those spare minutes really quickly once I hit questions 25+ and end up rushing/guessing on the last 3 questions.

Overall though, would I be mistaken to say that a retake could NOT hurt my chances? If I end up scoring lower, I can always cancel; and if I score higher, then great. Is this a good way of looking at it?

Thanks!

Post Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:24 pm
Hi Dr. Raccoon,

Many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) of consistent study time before they hit their 'peak' scores. This is meant to say that you might very well score higher if you continue to study beyond the 6 weeks that you invested so far. In addition, there's certainly no harm in retesting - you can always cancel a score if you're not happy with it. The Q44 means that you performed well on most of the 'math' questions that you faced, but you would have made some little mistakes throughout the section and you missed out on lots of 'strategy-based' points. To score at a much higher level in the Quant section, you would be best served by shifting your focus to learning/practicing Quant Tactics and patterns.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

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Post Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:47 am
Quote:
This was my gut feeling. I felt like admissions might consider 700+and Q45+ as a different 'level' of candidate. It would be extremely disappointing if I wasn't even considered because I didn't get into the magical '700 Club'.
Agreed. Just know that admissions isn't quite that binary. Your 690 would hardly disqualify you from consideration. Check out the stats for Haas: https://mba.haas.berkeley.edu/admissions/class-profile.html

The middle 80% for GMAT scores is 680-750. So you're in that range, but you're on the low end of it, which means that if you're going to be admitted with a 690, you need to stand out in other aspects of your application. Generally, it's just good to be in the meaty part of that range to maximize your chances of getting in to a competitive program.

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Dr. Raccoon Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
03 Nov 2016
Posted:
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Post Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:38 pm
Thank you, Rich and David, for taking time to answer my questions. Your advice and insight have been invaluable.

I think I will brush up on my quant and give the GMAT another go. Probably work at it by myself for a week or two and see how things play out, then decide if I will hire a tutor. After my retake, I will probably revisit the idea of hiring an admissions consultant, I think I still have time before needing a consultant (plus, they're expensive!!!)

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