“Should I Retake the GMAT?”

Despite the number of practice tests taken or hours spent in preparatory courses, sometimes the most prepared candidates feel they underperformed on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Even if you are satisfied with your current score, you might still be wondering what the benefits are, if any, of retaking the exam. Wherever you stand, consider these points before registering for another test date.

You’ll likely improve. Increased familiarity with the test format, time limits, and your overall strengths and weaknesses gives you an opportunity to focus exclusively on the areas that need improvement. With that, the odds are in your favor that you’ll raise your score; the real question is, by how much? A study conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)—the creators of the GMAT—found that nearly half of retakers saw a gain between 0 and 60 points. If you’re looking to improve within that range, retaking the test could be the right next step for you; improvement greater than 60 points, however, could require more practice time than you have.

Most b-schools give weight to the highest score. Generally, the admissions committee is less concerned with how many times you’ve taken the GMAT, and more interested in how well you performed most recently.

Admissions will appreciate your effort. Many prospective MBAs focus on preparing for the GMAT to achieve the highest possible score. When admissions counselors see that you’ve strived for your best, they see a demonstration of drive and potential—both important qualities in an MBA candidate.