Exciting News From GMAC About Your GMAT Test Day Experience

GMACIn an announcement that should be quite welcome for all GMAT examinees, the Graduate Management Admissions Council has changed a policy. Now:

GMAT examinees will be able to preview their unofficial scores before deciding whether to report or cancel them.

No longer, then, will examinees need to try to predict their score based on how the GMAT “felt” (a tricky proposition, since a computer-adaptive test is designed such that very few examinees make it to the end of the exam feeling particularly good about their performance). You’ll have the real data in front of you to decide whether it’s a score you would be proud to have on your record, or whether you’d rather hide that score and take the GMAT again in search of a higher one. But make sure to read the fine print – this policy has a few key items that you’ll want to know before you take the exam:

*You will have 2 minutes, upon viewing your scores, to decide whether you want to report those scores or have them canceled.

*If you do not choose to accept your scores within that 2-minute period, they will be automatically canceled. Make sure that you actively select “keep/report scores” so that they are not canceled due to inactivity!!!

*If you decide later, within 60 days, to reinstate your canceled scores, you can do so for a $100 fee.

*Before you decide, you’ll see your Integrated Reasoning, Quant, and Verbal scores (and overall); AWA scores will still not be included on unofficial score reports.

GMAC has published its own blog post with some pointers on what this new policy means for you. What is Veritas Prep’s take?

What the new score policy means for you:

1) Know what score range you’re willing to accept, and make that decision before you go to the test center. After a full-length GMAT, your mind will be a little fried for that final 2-minute decision. Have a plan ahead of time.

2) When in doubt — if you hit that gray area of a score that you don’t love but don’t hate — don’t cancel. Schools still only care about your top score, a sentiment that made this decision possible for GMAC. While your gray area score may not be ideal, there’s no guarantee that you’ll exceed it on your next try, so you may still want it for your applications. And if you do exceed it on your next try, having a gray area score on your report won’t hurt you at all.

3) Maybe our favorite feature of this whole thing: Even if you do have a rough outing on the GMAT, seeing your scores before you cancel allows you to learn from the performance. Make a quick mental note of your score breakdown even if you’re going to cancel, and then use that to compare to your practice tests and expectations. One huge downside to the sight-unseen cancellation of scores to date has been that you never knew whether you were canceling a good score – or just a good section – or not. Here you may not love your verbal score but you might learn that a quant section that felt rocky was actually your highest score to date. Or you may see that you felt really strong on one section but as it turns out that was the one that hurt you. Either way, seeing your score before you cancel is helpful in game-planning your retake strategy.

4) Relax. The best part of this news is that there’s one less variable to contend with on test day. There’s no chance that you’ll have to carry a dismal score on your record for the next five years, or that you’ll inadvertently cancel a 700. This news is great for you – your job is ever-more to go in and do your absolute best on each section, and then see where the score shakes out. One piece of pressure has been removed, so use that to your confident advantage!

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By Brian Galvin