What happens if I get a bad/low GMAT score?

Hi Fir, I worked really hard for my GMAT, I put in the time and effort, cried over quant multiple times, did a bunch of mock tests, and finally gave the exam. I didn’t get the 700+ score that I initially thought I’d obviously get. I’ve ended up with a much lower score (450–590) I don’t want to give it another attempt. Can I still get into my dream school?

TLDR: There are ways to showcase your strengths as a strong candidate to circumvent the low GMAT but keep in mind it’s going to be an uphill fight. Difficult but not impossible.

That is a good question! First off, I want you to know this- you put in the time and effort to take a pretty intensive test, good on you for doing that! These test results are not a reflection of you as a person. Don’t take low scores to heart.

To answer your question, most schools will list out an official minimum GMAT score, the official stance will always be ‘We’re looking for well-rounded candidates and GMAT is only part of it’ They aren’t lying when they say that.

HOWEVER, ‘Officially we’ll always say that but realistically speaking, it’s one of the easiest ways to filter the application pile.’- From an ex-admissions director at a top business school in Canada.

Not to worry! All is not lost. They were also kind enough to share how we can circumvent a low GMAT. A point to note is these tend to be outlier cases so if you are one of the few who make it, you’re a part of a rare breed.

Statement of Purpose (SOP)

Use this document to showcase why you are a powerful candidate that should be a part of the classroom. This might require talking about your skills and hobbies as well. For eg: Shomik Roy (Founder of StudentFirst) had a GMAT score of 580 (Cohort average was 680) and used the SOP to describe how he built a business teaching guitar because his parents stopped giving him pocket money. It got him interviews since it was unique. There are plenty of resources on crafting a good story online. Soon to be available on the StudentFirst platform as well.

Showcase your personality

Along with putting down your story on paper, reach out to members of the admissions team through LinkedIn or email. Most School & University websites list out contact information for admissions teams. Send them a note and ask them to set up a 1:1 chat. In most cases, they will be happy to oblige. (Don’t forget, you are a potential customer and this is their sales team)

Make sure to prepare questions you want to ask and a 2–3 minute piece about yourself. This goes a long way in setting you up for success.

For the record, we don’t think a low GMAT / GRE score is an indicator of failure. If you are on the lower end of the score spectrum, don’t be demoralized. It’s just a number.

You can check the GMAT score requirements for business schools in Canada at the StudentFirst website

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