Really, I mean REALLY low GMAT score

GMAT, TOEFL, and other tests
  • Posted by carito2013 on 12/30/12 1:19am

    Hello, I took the GMAT and got an embarrassing 470 due to extenuating circumstances. I am currently applying to HEC MiM Paris, and my scores were sent. I understand that the GMAT score is not the only factor taken into consideration, but maybe this holds true with a score in the low or mid 600s. Can I do any sort of damage control with this score or should I cancel my application?

    Thank you for your help!

    • Posted by Thomas Graf on 12/30/12 1:41pm

      Hi there,

      thank you for your post. I have not talked with the HEC about this but here are my PRIVATE thoughts:

      In general, I think you should achieve a minimum score of 600 for the HEC. At least, I know that this is required for the MBA.

      Now for the MIM the GMAT may not play THAT important role - but still, the admissions people may ask: Why such a low score?

      If your CV is brilliant in any other respect, maybe they still accept your application. But I have my doubts because your score would negatively affect the average GMAT score of your class - and average scores are sometimes used to express how good and selective a school is.

      Maybe you could explain them the circumstances of the GMAT - provided that you have good reasons. But I am not sure if that works because there is no objective reason why you should not do the GMAT again. All you need to do is wait 30 days and then proove that you can do better (and that the low score is indeed only due to circumstances).

      Bottom line:
      In my opinion you should EITHER call the admissions service and mention your low GMAT score upfront; tell them the circumstances that led to this score and openly say that you can do it again if necessary => then they will tell you if it actually is necessary.

      The advantage of this approach is obvious: It keeps the small possibility open that they would accept your application even with a low GMAT score. No need for doing it again.

      OR, alternatively, I would do the GMAT again without contacting them (make sure that you prepare well!) and re-apply.

      One final advice:
      My personal experience is that the GMAT can be a beast and that doing it again can be helpful. Doing it again can mean that you are more familiar with the test and the environment - and thatyou calm down and achieve better scores accordingly. You also can prepare a bit more. And maybe luck plays a role as well. In my first GMAT I did 590 - and in my second one 660.

      Schools always see the last five scores - in my case only two scores - but as long as you achieve a sufficient score in your last trial they ususally are happy.

      Best wishes

    • Posted by carito2013 on 12/30/12 5:15pm

      Thank you so much Thomas for your helpful input! I will get in touch with the admissions service and see if I can take it again and apply for the Spring intake instead.

    • Posted by sandy on 01/03/13 4:03pm


      I got a very low GMAT score 540 (q38 v26).Can I apply for MIM porgrams with this score?Do I have any chance of getting into a good school?

      Thanks with regards

      • Posted by Thomas Graf on 01/03/13 4:53pm

        Hi Sandy,

        I have two good news for you. First, only about 40 percent of the MIM programs require the GMAT. Second, the average GMAT score among those programs that do require the GMAT is 610 which means that many schools also accept students with lower scores. This is what we found out in our Global Master in Management (MIM) Survey 2012.

        The question is what you mean by "good" schools. If course, it is likely that the more renowned the school is the more selective it is regarding its students (and the higher the expected GMAT score). You will need to find this out when you actually gather information on respective programs.

        For the moment I would say: Don't worry too much. When a school is interesting for you find out

        • whether they require the GMAT or not
        • if yes: their average GMAT score

        You can find this on the school's website or ask for it at the admissions office. If you should really want to apply for a school that requires a higher GMAT - then you can still re-do it. But for the moment it is to early for that (at least in myn opinion).

        Best wishes

    • Posted by sandy on 01/04/13 2:26pm

      Thank you very much Thomas for your reply.I will get in touch with the admissions office and also start preparing my sop..:)-D

      • Posted by Thomas Graf on 01/04/13 3:14pm

        Great. Don't forget to promote this website to the schools admissions' people :)

    • Posted by vijay ch on 01/25/13 5:01am

      hi Thomas,
      my gmat score is just 450 and I intend to apply for escp europe, I have found out that there is no min requirement for gmat, additional I have managerial work ex of 9 months full time in my family business whiz pharma wholesale and retail plus a (honours) degree. Should apply or redo gmat. If I redo it then I have to wait for one more year or else plz suggest me the school within top 10 that I can apply.

      • Posted by Thomas Graf on 01/25/13 10:44am

        Hi there,

        thank you for your question. 450 is a - please forgive me saying this so openly - very low score and you may not become accepted, at least from "top 10 schools" as you say that require the test.

        So, the school will think: "Is this the 'true' score - or is it just a low score because he has not prepared well enough? Then why did he not prepare well enough?"

        I think you have three options:

        (1) If the ESCP Europe program does not require the GMAT I would simply not mention it. However, keep in mind that if you have mentioned the ESCP Europe at the end of the GMAT test, they will have received it already.

        (2) Look for schools that do not require the GMAT (more than half of the schools don't require it for the MIM program).

        (3) Re-do the GMAT. You can do it 30 days after you did the last one; you don't need to wait for a full year. But prepare well....

        Best wishes

        By Thomas Graf