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Should you cancel your score
Aug 17, 2015

Should you cancel your score

In the not-so-distant past of 2014, GMAT testers were faced with an agonizing decision. After months of hard work preparing for the test and hours of painstakingly taking the exam, the GMAT was finally over. Testers were happy to be finished, but they had one last decision to make. Two buttons and a disclaimer met every tester. One button was an allowed you view and submit your score. You could cancel your score if you did not want it to be reported, but there was a catch. You could not view your score before making the decision.

Fortunately, present times have brought progress and GMAC has made changes which greatly simplify this decision. I’ve written a full article on these changes, but here is the overall gist. You can now safely cancel GMAT scores without notifying business programs. Additionally, you can view your “unofficial” test scores before making the call. This changes things significantly and takes much of the risk off the table.

Still, I recommend going into the GMAT with a plan already worked out for what you will do if your scores are below where you hoped they would be. You will still have to make the decision to report or cancel immediately after the test, so don’t walk into the room without a strategy.

Despite the changes that GMAC has made, one thing that remains the same is that the GMAT is still an expensive test. Unless you are made of money, you will not want to retake the GMAT over and over again to get your goal score. Further, I actually recommend keeping scores on record if they are only slightly below your target. Having a slightly lower score on the books will not kill your chances as business programs only officially take the top score into consideration. Make no mistake, they can still see your lower scores if you choose to record them, but as long as they are not far below where they should be, you will be fine.

That said, what do you do if your score is way below where you need it to be? Cancel it on the spot and don’t look back. Yes, technically there is an option to contact GMAC within 60 days to reinstate a canceled score after paying a $100 fee, but you really should know where your numbers need to be before test day. In general you should not second guess yourself. Instead, focus your time and effort into studying for a retake.

Although recent changes have taken the guesswork out of the decision to report or cancel GMAT scores, the choice still stresses many testers out. I can see why. It is a big decision to make after a long and hard day of testing. I know that canceling a score after months of hard work can be hard, but sometimes it needs to be done and you will be better prepared the next time around. What about you? What is your strategy for dealing with the decision to report or cancel? Let us know in the comments!

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