Recent GMAT changes
The first change will remove the dreaded “C” designation from any cancelled score reports. Additionally, the GMAT now allow you to preview your score before you decide if you want to keep or cancel it. This means that schools will have no way of knowing if you decided to cancel your scores. As you can probably guess, this is a hugely beneficial change for all testers. Not only does this relieve a lot of stress, but it also makes two testing strategies much more appealing than they were before.
For starters, removing the C designation allows testers to take the actual GMAT as a practice run ahead of your intended GMAT testing date. While many practice GMAT tests are very accurate and simulate testing well, nothing can stand as a substitute for firsthand experience. Admittedly this can get expensive fast as taking the GMAT will cost you $250, but the option is there for those of you who can foot the bill.
Secondly, these changes will allow you to take a more aggressive stance to your test scheduling as you are now free to bump up your timeline without fear that you may be entering the test too early. While we always recommend giving yourself ample time to study for the GMAT, there is less risk now in taking the test earlier than you would have before as you can simply cancel your score without penalty.
The second major change is that the GMAT has shortened its waiting period between tests. This means that you now only have to wait 16 days before being eligible to retake the GMAT rather than the former waiting period of 31 days. If your score is only slightly lower than you were hoping for, it may be a good idea to take advantage of this to retake the GMAT while you are still in top form. However, if you scored significantly below your goals, you still may want to take more than 16 days to study before reentering the testing room. Still, by reducing the waiting period, the GMAT has effectively relieved some of the scheduling complications associated with retakes as you will have a greater window to schedule around.
While both of these changes are overall positive for testers, I do want to point out a few possible downsides. Firstly, with the removal of the C designation, you may feel compelled to take the GMAT many more times than you ordinarily would have to pursue your target score. While it is true that taking the actual GMAT will give you a slight edge, you should also remember that testing is expensive. Additionally, taking an early GMAT as a baseline is not strictly necessary. With hard work, a good schedule, and proper GMAT test prep materials (like the ones found at WYZprep) you can ace the GMAT on your first try.
The second potential drawback to the GMAT’s changes is that testing centers may become more crowded than usual around deadlines for business schools as testers try to take advantage of these new changes to squeeze in one last test. While I cannot say for certain that this will happen until the next round of deadlines approaches, I would be surprised if these changes did not affect GMAT testing volume.
What do you think about these changes? Do you plan on taking advantage of them? Let us know in the comments section.