Dealing With Disappointment With Your GMAT Score

How to deal with GMAT disappointment

As the great Winston Churchill one said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” A failure that many people looking to get an MBA deal with is what they consider to be disappointing GMAT score. Before discussing how to handle your disappointment, let’s first set the parameters for such a discussion.


We all know that person who is disappointed with their 780 score because they were hoping to hit an 800. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to attain perfection and so we shouldn’t diminish the disappointment that they’re feeling, but let’s face it, with a score like that, they have nothing to worry about when applying to business school, at least from the GMAT side of things and they’ll be the envy of almost every b-school applicant.

In that regard, if you’re a person who has gotten above a 700, then the best way to deal with your feelings of disappointment (if you are actually feeling that way) is to realize just how lucky you are to be in this elite region already. With a score above a 700, you’re already in at least the 90th percentile and at this point don’t have to worry about your GMAT score being the limiting factor of getting into the business school of your choice (see my post What is a Good GMAT Score for more info).

Those people who are reading this and score below a 700 have some analysis that they need to do in order to figure out if it’s worth retaking the GMAT so that you can get into the b-school of your choice, which means we’ll need to look at it from the perspective of the business school which wants to know “can this candidate handle the academic demands of our school?”.

A strong GPA is a factor that strongly weighs into this decision, as well as your work experience, letters of recommendation, and your essay. These are all things that a business school will look at to figure out whether you’re a candidate that they can envision being a future leader and therefore being a desirable candidate. Think about the time and effort you would need to spend to achieve a higher result on your GMAT and its cost in terms of other aspects of your application.

If you end up deciding that a better GMAT score will increase your chances of getting into the business school of your choice, then it’s time to figure out how to get to that goals. As Einstein once said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

For your second pass at the GMAT, you may want to look at using additional materials as part of your overall study strategy. For example, you may want to consider using online prep material; 800score is considered one of the top in this regard as they are the largest online GMAT preparation website, giving clients hundreds of practice questions to work with, five CAT exams to use, and a load of other resources.

Aside from using a GMAT prep website, something else to consider is either taking a GMAT class, such as those that are offered by Kaplan or Veritas, or getting yourself a one-on-one tutor.

Finally, make sure that you get plenty of rest, not just the night before the exam, but during the entire studying process. Your brain’s ability to sore new information depends partially on you getting enough REM sleep.