What if I Have a Low GMAT Score?

Low GMAT Score

If you take the GMAT in preparation for applying to master’s degree program and wind up receiving a low score, don’t panic. A standardized test score is only one facet of an MBA or MS application. Most quality graduate business programs take a holistic approach and look at the entire application package, so a low GMAT score will not necessarily come between a good quality candidate and the MBA or master’s program they hope to be admitted to.

Many times, quality work experience, a good GPA, a strong personal essay and high quality letters of reference will “trump” a low or mediocre GMAT score.

If a GMAT score is necessary for admission into a program, and the score is extremely low, it is quite possible the test taker had a “bad day.” Admission teams recognize this possibility, and if the candidate is otherwise sound, will ask him or her to retake the GMAT. In my 10 years of experience as the director of admissions and enrollment management, I have seen scores elevate as much as 150 points or more when a person restudies with emphasis on areas where he/she performed poorly the first time. A GMAT prep course or practice exam is a good way to work on improving your score.

Also, keep in mind that graduate programs may request an interview to help make an informed admissions decision for a borderline candidate. If you receive a request for an interview, be professional, prepared and confident. Treat it like a job interview.

The bottom line: Taken by itself, a low GMAT score is not necessarily the deciding factor when applying to a quality business program. At Drexel LeBow, a well-rounded application package will always be reviewed with an open mind.


John Adamski

Director, Graduate Admissions

John has over 30 years experience as a sales and marketing executive in the information management industry. As the Director of Graduate Admissions at LeBow, he has reviewed thousands of graduate school applications as a member of the admissions and scholarship review committees.