Updated 13 August 2020
If you’re considering postgraduate study in the form of an MBA, you’ll likely be required to sit the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) as part of your application process.
Designed and administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), this computer-adaptive exam can be an expensive undertaking and there are several costs that should be considered in the planning stages.
This article looks at the various fees you can expect to pay and offers advice on how to keep your GMAT costs to a minimum.
The main expense associated with the GMAT is the registration fee for sitting the exam itself. This must be paid in advance and currently stands at $250 for US candidates.
You can register for the GMAT online and pay with either a credit or debit card, with all major card types accepted. You can also register and pay over the phone; this comes with a service fee and each call made will incur an additional cost of $10.
Alternative payment methods include money orders, personal checks and cashier’s checks, which can be sent by mail. If using this form of payment, you must ensure funds are drawn on a US bank and that your check arrives in enough time before your test date to allow for processing.
If sitting the GMAT outside of the US, it’s important to note the recent changes made to the registration fees in European countries. In April 2019, GMAC applied an additional $35 to the GMAT cost in certain locations, taking the total to $285.
The changes also allow for fees to be paid in pounds sterling or Euros depending on the country:
For non-US locations, you must also account for any local taxes that may be applicable.
As well as the cost of registration, there are several additional GMAT fees that candidates should be aware of, detailed below.
If you need to make changes to your exam date, you can do so for an additional fee. The amount you pay will depend on how far in advance the changes are made. GMAC calculate this on a three-tier system.
To reschedule your exam, the following fees apply:
If you choose to cancel your GMAT exam, you’ll be given the following refund on your registration fee:
No changes are permitted within 24 hours of your exam time and candidates who fail to attend will not be refunded any of their GMAT registration fee.
Cancellation and rescheduling fees in Europe are charged in local currency. If taking your GMAT in a European location, check the specific pricing rules for your test center.
Regardless of where you take your GMAT exam, you can appoint a maximum of five business schools to which your score will be sent free of charge.
Above this, $35 will be charged for each additional score report requested. Again, this cost will differ in Europe and you should check the rules relating to your test center location.
After completing your GMAT exam, you’ll see an unofficial overview of your scores and will be given a limited time frame in which to decide whether to keep or cancel them.
If you choose to cancel your scores at this point, you won’t be charged, but keep in mind that you'll need to pay the full $250 registration fee to take the test again.
On leaving the test center, you have 72 hours to cancel your scores at a cost of $25. If you change your mind and wish to reinstate a canceled score, you’ll pay a fee of $50.
You may also request a rescore of your analytical writing assessment if you feel you have been unfairly marked. This will cost you $45.
Candidates that wish to receive greater detail about their exam performance can order an Enhanced Score Report for a payment of $30.
As well as the fees associated with the exam itself, you must consider the cost of solid preparation. This can vary greatly depending on your preferred method of learning and the approach you choose to take.
There are various official resources available for self-study, from textbooks and practice question packs costing around $30 to comprehensive study packages around $360.
If you prefer guided tuition, training providers such as Kaplan offer a range of courses, with prices starting at $800 for self-paced study to $2,500 for one-to-one tuition.
Achieving a competitive score on your GMAT exam will increase your chances of being accepted to your business school of choice. Without proper planning, it can be an expensive process, particularly if you take the test more than once.
With that in mind, here are some key tips on how to keep your GMAT cost down.
Taking the GMAT exam is, without a doubt, a costly process, but for those looking to gain entry into a good business school, it’s also an unavoidable exercise.
To provide you with an example summary, if you were to take the test once, without any changes to your schedule or additional report requests, you’ll pay $250 plus the cost of your study resources.
However, if you sat the exam twice, requested an enhanced score report in between to better assess areas for improvement and asked for an additional two score reports to be sent to schools, you’ll be looking at an expense of $600 plus materials.
Ultimately, the best way to keep your GMAT cost down is to commit to the process with a clear study program. Avoid any unnecessary expenses by setting realistic target scores, planning your business school applications and scheduling your test date well in advance.
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