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How Long Are GMAT Scores Valid?

Whether you’ve taken the exam before or you’re simply weighing your options, many prospective graduate school students wonder, “How long do GMAT scores last?”

The GMAT is a difficult admissions exam, but receiving a high score could potentially boost your business school application immensely. As such, it is critical that you develop a sound business school application process timeline to give yourself ample time to prepare for the GMAT, especially if you will be working or preoccupied with other life events. Part of this process of building a timeline then turns on the question, “How long is my GMAT score valid?”. We answer this question for you below.

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Studying For The GMAT? Top Prep Course Less Than $250

How Long Are GMAT Scores Good For?

GMAT Scores are valid for up to five years after the exam date, but can be reported as a score attempt for up to ten years to any institution. This gives test takers the freedom to take the test and spend ample time studying to take the exam again if they did not achieve a desired score. As long as the desired score is within five years old, the older score can also be reported to show improvement, which is often valued on a business school application. It is incredibly important to view the policies for each business school for which you’re applying, as many require scores within five years prior to the application deadlines.

Business School GMAT Scores

One of the biggest questions is when to take the GMAT. It is suggested that taking the GMAT sooner rather than later after completing your undergraduate degree is beneficial. According to some of the top business schools in the country, there is no penalty for the age of a reported score on an application. Therefore, if you decide to take the GMAT right after graduation, and aren’t planning on applying to business schools for another four years, your score would still be safe to report, and viewed just as it would if you took the test right before applying.

Because scores are valid for five years from the date that the initial test was completed, online viewing of official score reports can be achieved with your MBA account. If you’re looking for older scores, a score report request and a fee of $28 USD is required. Unfortunately, if the GMAT was taken over ten years ago, scores aren’t even available by request. If you’re worried about your scores expiring, it is important to view your school’s application deadline. Most often, schools accept scores five years prior to the current application deadline. This can get tricky in some situations, as even scores that are five years and one day past the deadline would not be accepted.

Overall, because the GMAT scores are good five years prior to most application deadlines, students have an opportunity to create a testing timeline that works best for them. The GMAT is a strenuous exam that requires many hours of studying, and adaptation to the difficult time restraints and question types. A benefit of the long score validity period is that students have the freedom to test and retest without feeling pressure of their scores no longer being valid.

About the GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Test is made up of four sections. The Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal. These exam sections are designed to test an individual’s critical thinking and analysis skills. These are the primary focus of the exam because these are the strengths needed and most often used during MBA graduate-level coursework, and post-graduate level work. Each section is designed to test different skills, but overall assess critical thinking and problem solving as a whole.

The overall time length of the assessment is 3 hours and 23 minutes, including one small break. Each section of the assessment has its own time limit, and that can be seen as one of the most difficult factors of this assessment. Because questions cannot be skipped, not finishing a section can negatively impact your score greatly. When preparing to study for the GMAT, honing in on time management per section is a key piece to achieving a desirable score.

How Scoring Works

Upon completion of the GMAT, four out of five section scores are shown in an unofficial score report. Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning and total score are unofficially available to view by the test taker. On your unofficial score report, students will see the Verbal, Quant and total scores somewhere between 200 and 800. The integrated reasoning will be shown on a scale of 1 to 8, and the Analytical Writing will be shown only on the official score report on a scale of 1 to 6. The official score report will be available by logging in to your MBA account three weeks after your assessment date. An email will be sent notifying participants of when the scores are available.

These scores are valid for five years, but can be reported to schools for up to ten years. When viewing your unofficial report, you will have the opportunity to choose five schools to send the official scoring report to. If interested, additional score reports can be sent at this time for a fee. If a participant is not happy with his or her scores, they have the opportunity to cancel scores right on the spot, or up to 72 hours after testing for a fee. If a student cancels scores, but later decides to reinstate them, GMAT customer service can be contacted to reinstate scores. According to MBA.com, cancelled scores can be reinstated for up to four years and 11 months from the exam date.

For an additional $30 USD, an Enhanced Score Report is available for purchase to view exam performance by section and question type. It provides students with their strengths and weaknesses on the exam and also represents rankings among peers. One of the most beneficial portions of this score report is the insight that it gives for the potential impact on your business school application. This score report is available for five years, post-exam. This would benefit anyone who is planning on retaking the exam to improve their score. With in-depth analysis on exam performance, the score report can assist those planning to change their study focus or help those create a plan to improve their score.