The Graduate Management Admission Council announced two significant changes to GMAT policies. Both of these changes, which take effect July 19, are beneficial to GMAT test takers.
Attempts with Cancelled Scores Not Shown
After completing the GMAT, a test taker is shown her scores and has two minutes in which to decide whether to keep or cancel those scores. If she chooses to cancel the scores, her score report currently indicates a cancelled GMAT attempt with a “C” notation. Effective July 19, score reports will no longer show test attempts in which users cancelled their scores. The GMAC will retroactively apply this change to all previously cancelled scores. This policy change does not affect score cancellations generated by the GMAC, such as those due to technical issues or policy violations.
Reduced GMAT Waiting Period
Currently you can take the GMAT a subsequent time only after a 31-day gap. This waiting period will be reduced to 16 days effective July 19. As before, you are limited to a maximum of five GMAT attempts in any 12-month period. Frankly, we cannot imagine why anyone would want to take the GMAT more often than that.
Why Were These Changes Made?
The GMAC said that it received feedback from test takers that business schools may negatively perceive cancelled scores, and that test takers therefore wanted this change. Since candidates may cancel their GMAT scores for a variety of reasons, removal of score cancellations will prevent schools from misinterpreting score cancellations. Although most business schools would probably overlook one cancelled score, several cancelled attempts may raise questions for an admissions officer.
These changes are also in the GMAC’s interest. Without any indication of score cancellation, test takers will be more willing to take the test more often, generating more fees for the GMAC. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the GMAC will now also allow test takers to retake the GMAT sooner.
GMAT Genius’ Interpretation
Both of these changes are beneficial to GMAT takers. You can now retake the GMAT with significantly less risk. For example, consider a test taker who scored 680 on the GMAT the first time and wants to try for a 700+ score. She can now retake the GMAT knowing that she can cancel any score that doesn’t exceed her prior 680, and business schools will be none the wiser. She may now even be motivated to try a few times for a 700+ score.
As another example, consider a test taker who falls sick just before his exam. A test taker who reschedules his exam within seven days of the scheduled date loses the entire test fee. Previously, someone who fell sick would either waste the $250 fee by rescheduling or risk the dreaded “C” on his score report. Our test taker can now take the test while sick as a practice run, knowing that he can cancel his score without the cancellation showing on his report. Furthermore, he can retake the GMAT sooner, while he has greater retention from his studies in advance of the first test date.
We recommend that GMAT aspirants retake the GMAT only if they have good reason to believe that they can score higher. The GMAC has just reduced your risk in doing so. You can read more about the changes on mba.com.