When Should I Cancel My GMAT Score?
Those of you who have already attempted the GMAT know that upon completion of the test you are given the chance to cancel your scores. Your decision, however, has to be a blind one; you need to make up your mind whether to report your results without knowing what they actually are. No matter how tempting it might be to press the "cancel" button after a rough test, your best bet will always be to submit your scores.
Here are the top three reasons why canceling your scores is almost never a good idea.
1. You can underestimate your performance.
Since you are not yet aware of your actual score when you decide whether to submit or cancel them, your choice will have to be based solely on your own sense of how well you did on the test. How can you be sure you didn't do well? It is very easy to underestimate your GMAT performance, because it is an adaptive test; it will continue to present questions that match or even exceed the ability you demonstrate. Thus, you will feel challenged even if you are doing quite well. If you invested time in preparation and went through several mock exams, there are very few reasons for your scores on test day to be lower than your average preparation scores, even if you are far from feeling confident when you finish.
2. You can learn from your score.
Your score, even if it is disappointing, can be a valuable learning tool. If you are not happy with your results, you will most likely want to give GMAT Test at least one more shot. On the other hand, if you cancel your scores, you will never know how you did. Isn't it much better to retake the test armed with greater knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses? Although your GMAT score report will not be rich in detail, at least it will inform you about your percentages on the verbal and quantitative sections, useful information for determining which of the areas you need to focus on.
3. B-schools will know that you cancelled.
Your cancellation will appear on your GMAT record. This means that there is no way to conceal an unsuccessful attempt from your target business schools. Moreover, a cancellation does not necessarily look better on your record than a low score does. Even if there are a couple of unimpressive results in your GMAT history, business schools will care only about your highest score. Thousands of applicants have taken the test more than once, and it is not something B-schools judge harshly. Thus, canceling your score will not make you look better in the eyes of admission officers; they can still see that you took the test and thought you didn't do very well.
On test day, remember that by cancelling your scores you miss much more than you gain. Your own feelings about how you did on the test can have very little to do with your actual performance, so your score may well be better than you think. Even if it isn't, knowing your results will help you prepare better for your next shot.