GMAC recently announced that candidates can now preview their scores and then choose to cancel them before leaving the exam. This is very big news in the MBA application world, and can absolutely help people who are concerned about posting weak scores. However, canceling your score is not always the right decision, and invoking GMAT’s score cancellation option too often or under the wrong circumstances will do damage. Here is advice to help you shape your strategy.

  • Continue to Prepare Before Taking the Test.

Even though schools won’t see your cancelled scores, they will see that you took the exam. It has never been a good idea to sit for the GMAT just to see how you do, and this is still true. A string of cancelled scores will raise doubts about your aptitude, even though it is not quite as alarming as posting very low numbers.

  • Go in With a Clear Plan.

Decide before the test what your target scores are, and know what criteria you will use when considering whether or not to keep your score. Are you looking for a certain aggregate score? A particular quant or verbal percentage? You have two minutes to make up your mind in the exam room, so it’s important to think this through beforehand.

  • Use This New Development to Your Advantage.

Do you suffer from test anxiety? Do you have one pretty high score, some lower ones, and want to try again but are afraid of going down and making the high score seem like an outlier? The ability to take the GMAT without some of the inevitable pressure may well prove advantageous under these circumstances.

One final note: The GMAT is a business, and GMAC is making this change in part to keep up with the people who run the more flexible GRE, which is growing in popularity. In addition, GMAC is now likely to increase their revenue because more people will take the exam multiple times, and a certain percentage will choose to reclaim their cancelled scores for a $100 fee, which you can do within 60 days.

The best way to make these changes work for you is to follow the guidelines above: Prepare for the test, decide beforehand what scores you will accept and appreciate the fact that you now have more control over the test.

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Karen Marks

Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown and more. Clients have been awarded more than $36 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 97% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.