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Monday, July 7, 2014
A Second Shot at a Good GMAT Score
If you're applying to Business School, chances are, you've got to tackle the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). For the past several decades, it has been the standard fare for entrance exams to most MBA programs. In recent years, its close cousin, the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), has become a second option, though the GRE is more widely used for admittance to non-MBA graduate programs.
A new feature of the GMAT testing option will now allow test-takers to cancel their score shortly after receiving it. Let me rewind. The GMAT is "computer-adaptive", meaning that it can be taken on a computer, and results will be delivered electronically. Historically, a candidate checks their score on line, and if they take no action, that score is delivered automatically to whichever business schools they have applied to.
This new feature gives students the opportunity to discard a bad score before the university ever sees it. The problem with the system is two-fold. First of all, students have just two minutes to decide whether or not to cancel or forward their scores to their schools of choice. There is no opportunity for measured consideration.
Second, the business schools may not see the discarded score, but they will be able to see that a candidate has cancelled a score. This is true for every cancelled score. This may cause schools to begin to read between the lines if a student has a slew of cancelled scores. It's like alerting the university to your tendency to favor "do-overs".
In the past, schools could monitor a student's previous scores, often looking for an upward trajectory pattern. With the cancelled, anonymous scores, those schools won't be able to detect an aptitude baseline for a given student.
On the other hand, it allows students to better filter the information that is being passed on to their desired business school. Schools will never know how low a cancelled score was, so the weight they may give to such scores is still debatable.
The new test feature is "live" as of June 2014.
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