What to do after you bomb the GMAT?
Contributor: Dana Coggio
It happened. The ‘worst case scenario’ when it comes to taking the GMAT. You studied and prepped, setting aside your work and even putting your own social life on hold. You are regularly scoring in the 700’s during practice tests. And yet, regardless of how good you felt going into the exam, something happened and your final score is 50 or even 100 points less than expected. This outcome can be a huge blow to your self-esteem. Even more so if admissions deadlines are right around the corner and you’re worried about your chances of getting admitted to your dream school!
So what happens now? What do you do?
It may seem difficult, but the next best thing to do is get back on the horse that bucked you off. If your dream is to attend business school, then getting a bad score on the GMAT should not stop you from trying to attain your goals! Here’s the unspoken truth – Many people take the GMAT more than once, some even use all their 8 attempts before settling on the score that they want to present with their application.
If you have been regularly achieving high scores on practice GMAT exams, then you definitely have the skills and knowledge needed for the actual thing. Here is what we suggest you do if you bomb your GMAT exam.
- Sign-up for a do-over – We suggest you sign-up for a GMAT retake as soon as possible. This is to keep you on track for another try. It is often too easy to make excuses about retaking the GMAT after bombing on a first or second try, but these ‘excuses’ shouldn’t stop you from trying again. Put a new date on your calendar that you can aim for. Don’t wait months for the retake, rather, retake the GMAT a couple weeks later. This keeps your knowledge fresh while giving you enough time to restudy the areas of the exam you struggled with.
- Learn to Breathe! – It is likely that your GMAT score outcome is because of testing anxiety. This is perfectly normal, and happens to most test takers. When utilized correctly, test taking anxiety can help you excel on the GMAT. It can keep you in tune to the time constraints, and help you read passages and math equations with more attention to detail. But with too much anxiety, your test taking skills can be compromised. We suggest learning breathing techniques and begin a daily habit of meditation. There are a host of activities that you can do to curb your anxiety, so make sure to try as many as you can until you find one that works.
- Tutoring services are there to help you! – You are not alone if you think hiring a private tutor or taking on GMAT tutoring services is akin to cheating. These services exist to help you achieve your goals! They can give you unique insights on how to view GMAT test questions differently, work with you to better your quant and verbal skills, or even help with your anxiety. Furthermore, as instructors have worked with clients of varied skill sets it’s likely that they have encountered any particular issue that is holding you back from scoring better in your exam and can work with you to overcome it.
The best place to start if this is the route that you would like to take is by finding a company or instructor that you think is a good fit. Apex GMAT offers a complimentary call with a 770+ scoring instructor.
- Take a break – yes, it is important to schedule the retake. But it is even more important that you give yourself a break. Don’t jump into the books right away, give yourself a few days to collect your thoughts and re-evaluate your options. Will you or won’t you retake the GMAT? Does your score fall within the parameters of the program you are applying for? Do you have a good chance of attending your dream MBA program with a lower GMAT score if your resume and undergraduate grades are strong? These are all questions you need to consider before deciding on the next steps.
- Consider this an opportunity – it’s hard to look at a GMAT scoring bomb as an opportunity, but we promise you, it is! Take the time after scoring low on the GMAT to reevaluate yourself as a test taker and future MBAer. How will you overcome future setbacks? What foundations can you build now that will help you be a better person in the future? Life is full of setbacks, and viewing a setback as an opportunity for forward motion is a frame of mind that will benefit you in your MBA program and throughout your life!
The final thing you need to do after bombing the GMAT exam. Is to just have fun! Reach out to your network. Your family and friends are there to support you, and let them know what happened. Maybe they can give you advice, or maybe they will find ways to help you get past this upsetting time. Don’t push away your network, but embrace them and let them help you! They know you best and can think of solutions for your next steps.