How Long Do GMAT Scores Last? Maximizing Your Test’s Shelf Life


The path to an MBA often begins with the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), a test whose scores are a key factor in business school admissions around the globe. A clear understanding of how long GMAT scores last is crucial for planning when to take the test and when to apply to programs. This post will explore the validity period of GMAT scores, how to manage score reporting, and what to do if your score lapses or needs reinstatement. With this knowledge, you’ll be ready to make informed decisions on your business school journey.

The GMAT Exam Overview

What is the GMAT?

A linchpin in the MBA application process, the GMAT evaluates candidates’ abilities in quantitative and verbal reasoning, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing. The GMAT’s computer-adaptive format means that the questions you see are tailored to your performance level. Created by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), this test is widely accepted by graduate business programs across the world.

Purpose and Significance of GMAT Scores

In the realm of MBA admissions, GMAT scores offer a uniform metric to gauge an applicant’s potential academic success. They provide a way to fairly compare applicants who may come from very different backgrounds. Achieving a high GMAT score can be a distinguishing factor, demonstrating the analytical probity and strategic prowess that business schools seek in future leaders.

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Understanding GMAT Score Validity

Standard Validity Duration

How long do GMAT scores last? Typically, GMAT scores maintain their validity for a period of five years following your test date. This established timeframe assures admissions committees that they are considering recent and relevant measures of an applicant’s capabilities.

Reasons for the Set Validity Period

The five-year validity period for GMAT scores reflects the belief that core skills and knowledge evaluated by the exam may change with time. This period is also conducive to the typical timelines followed by professionals who often gain work experience before returning to academia.

Planning Your Application Timeline

Strategizing Around Score Validity

When charting your course to business school, take note of when you plan to apply and ensure your GMAT score will still be valid. Ideally, the GMAT should be taken at least a year ahead of your target application date, giving you leeway for any unforeseen issues or a possible retest.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid miscalculating the time needed to reach your target GMAT score and the risk of your score expiring before you’ve completed your application cycle. Being vigilant about these dates will help you avoid the need to retake the test unexpectedly.

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Accessing Your GMAT Scores

How to View and Download Your Scores

Your GMAT scores can be viewed and downloaded from the GMAC website by logging into your account. Here, your Official Score Report will be posted within 20 days after your exam date.

Sharing Scores with Schools

At the time of your GMAT, you can select up to five programs to receive your scores at no extra cost. If you decide to send scores to more schools, there’s a fee for each additional report. The schools then review the scores as part of your complete application.

Expired GMAT Scores

What Happens When Scores Expire

Expired GMAT scores are not reportable, which means you cannot use them as part of your business school application. This limitation makes it essential to keep track of your GMAT score’s expiry date as you plan your applications.

Retaking the GMAT After Expiration

Should you need to apply after your GMAT scores have expired, retaking the GMAT is necessary. Be prepared for any updates or changes to the test content or format since your previous attempt. It may also be a good opportunity to learn languages online if you’re considering international programs or looking to enhance your resume.

Exceptional Circumstances and Extensions

Potential Grounds for Validity Extensions

In rare situations, such as military service or serious health issues, it may be possible to extend the validity of your GMAT scores beyond five years. These exceptions are evaluated individually and are not guaranteed.

How to Request an Extension

If you believe you have a valid reason for an extension, you must reach out to GMAC with supporting evidence. They will review your request and, if approved, guide you on how to proceed with your extended scores.

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GMAT Score Cancellation and Reinstatement

How to Cancel and Reinstate Scores

After completing the GMAT, candidates can cancel their scores if they don’t reflect expected performance. This can be done instantly post-exam or during a specified timeframe for a fee. To find out more about this process, check with GMAC customer service.

Impact on Score Validity

Deciding to cancel and then reinstate your GMAT scores does not affect their initial five-year validity. The countdown from the original test date continues regardless of such changes to your score status.

Effect on Admissions with Older Scores

Admission Policies on Older GMAT Scores

How long do GMAT scores last in the eyes of MBA programs? While most business schools abide by the five-year rule, some prefer more recent scores. Always check the admissions policy of individual schools to know where you stand.

How to Strengthen Your Application with an Older Score

Applying with a GMAT score that is nearing the end of its validity? It’s key to fortify other parts of your application, such as highlighting professional advancements, securing top-notch recommendations, or presenting fresh academic accomplishments to counterbalance an older score.


Grasping how long your GMAT scores last is a key piece in the MBA application puzzle. With a five-year window of validity, strategic planning is critical. Make sure to confirm individual school policies about score age and play to the strengths of your entire application package. Armed with a thorough understanding of how GMAT score validity works, you can approach the application process with assurance and clarity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long do GMAT scores last?

GMAT scores are valid for five years from your test date. After this period, they expire and cannot be used for business school applications, so it’s essential to plan accordingly.

How far in advance should I take the GMAT to apply for business school?

It’s wise to take the GMAT at least a year before your intended application period. This allows for any unexpected delays or the need for a retake without the pressure of approaching deadlines.

Can GMAT scores be reinstated after cancellation or extended past the five-year mark?

You can reinstate your GMAT scores after cancellation without affecting their original validity period. For extending beyond five years, you’d need to prove exceptional circumstances (like military service) to GMAC for consideration.

What should I do if my GMAT score is close to expiring when I’m applying?

If your GMAT score is nearing expiry, enhance other application aspects such as professional experience, recommendations, and academic achievements. Verify individual school policies as some may prefer more recent scores.

Is it possible to apply to MBA programs with an expired GMAT score?

Generally, no. If your GMAT score has expired, you’d need to retake the test to have a reportable score for your business school application. Keep a close eye on the expiration date to avoid this scenario.

Please note that the answers reflect general guidelines and may not account for all individual circumstances or policy changes. It is always best to check directly with GMAC or your targeted business schools for the most current information.

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