Graduate Management News

March 2016

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

Score Cancellation: Follow-Up, Analysis, and Insights

In July 2015, we made a change to GMAT® score reporting that removed the “C” indicator for candidate cancelled GMAT scores. GMAC has continuously analyzed our score data to ensure our test integrity, and we would like to provide some insights on scores and candidate behavior.

GMAT

After the feature launched, score cancellations represented about 28 percent of all GMAT exams, up from about 23 percent in the previous year. More than 38 percent of candidates are re-testers in 2015, which is slightly up from 36 percent in 2014. Within candidates that cancelled their scores, 35 percent will retest within a quarter, and up to 60 percent will retest over time.

This moderate increase in cancellations is an expected result of the new flexibility to candidates.  

No Change in Average Scores

Despite the additional volume in cancellations, we have found no evidence of score inflation due to the removal of cancelled scores from score reports. Since July 2015, changes in the average reportable (non-cancelled) GMAT scores are flat, globally and by each major country. We have also seen no difference between the average reportable score and average cancelled score, which suggests that candidates are not necessarily cancelling only lower range scores.

More Candidates Cancelling High Scores

Our experience has shown that the decision to cancel is often a reflection of candidate expectations, rather than actual score ranges. Many candidates cancel scores in the 600s and 700s ranges because of higher expectations, especially if they are targeting a certain profile of schools.

In fact, cancellation of higher scores have increased since July 2015. Prior to the new feature, scores of 600+ made up less than 25 percent of all cancelled scores.  Now, scores of 600+ make up about 30 percent of cancelled scores. In other words, although overall cancellations have increased, they have increased at a higher rate within the upper score bands.  This is likely due to candidates feeling more comfortable cancelling an unsatisfactory “high” score without schools misinterpreting the “C” as a much lower score.

Score Range

2014

2015

Change

700-800

0.7%

1.6%

+ 0.9

600-690

23.4%

28.2%

+ 4.8

500-590

40.3%

40.1%

- 0.2

200-490

35.6%

30.2%

- 5.4

Summary

Overall, the removal of the “C” from score reports has been very positively received by candidates, as it provides them additional flexibility and control over how their scores are reported.  Cancellations have increased as expected and we have not seen any evidence in the inflation of scores being sent to schools. GMAC remains committed to our service to schools and to provide timely and relevant insights and research.