The Graduate Management Admission Test, known as the GMAT, plays a key role in applications to postgraduate programs at universities across the United States. By achieving a high score, candidates can show admissions teams that they are capable of managing the demands of postgraduate student life in the business and management sectors. However, the costs of taking the GMAT can add up, so if you’re due to sit the test it’s important to be prepared. But how much does the GMAT cost really, considering all the additional fees that are often incurred? In this guide, we’ll be breaking down all of the potential costs of the GMAT, and discussing why it’s a worthwhile investment.
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Spending Money On The GMAT Is Worth It
Designed to test aspiring MBA students at US academic institutions, the GMAT is a vital element to any admissions process within the country’s best business schools. If you’re planning to apply for an MBA, then not having a strong GMAT score can put you at a serious disadvantage.
Indeed, when searching for the top MBA programs, business schools like Harvard, Stanford and UPenn top the charts. What do they have in common? The average GMAT score of successful applicants was at least in the 720+ range. Students who ace the test and gain acceptance to these schools have a far greater chance of future success, in both an academic and career setting – the opportunities are truly endless, and you’ll be able to achieve a higher lifetime salary, too!
That’s why spending money on the GMAT is a crucial part of your overall application. It shows schools that not only are you capable, but you’re also committed. That said, you should view the cost of the GMAT as an investment in your future.
How Much Does The GMAT Cost?
For aspiring business students, the GMAT can be the path to a bright future full of opportunity. However, this comes at a financial cost that can be an unexpected surprise for many candidates. In this section, we’ll be discussing the different costs associated with taking the test, so you can be as prepared as possible. So, how much does the GMAT cost – here is the answer.
Registration Fee – $250
If you search online for the price of the GMAT, or ask a careers advisor how much it’ll cost to take the test, then you’ll likely be advised of the registration fee, and you may be aware of this already. While this is not the only cost of the GMAT, it is the most important one. This is the fee required to enter the exam, and it can vary depending on your nationality. For students in the US, registration is $250, but those in the UK can expect to pay £225. If you’re taking the test from elsewhere in Europe, the fee is €280, but anywhere else in the world will revert back to USD $250.
Registration itself is simple: You can pay and enter online, send a postal form alongside a cashier’s check, or sign up by phone call for $10. If you are supporting multiple candidates through the GMAT registration process, then you should address each application on one phone call, to avoid any further $10 charges.
By paying the registration fee, you’ll receive:
- Test Entry
- 5 Score Reports
- Official Online Score Recording
Score Reports are an official record of your score that can be sent to universities that you’re applying to. You can view your score online at no charge, and choose which 5 schools you’d like to receive your score for free.
Additional Score Reports – $28
If you’re planning to apply to more than 5 graduate schools, then you probably want to send your final score to each of those alongside your application. After all, a good GMAT score can make or break your admittance to an institution.
To send your score to more institutions, you can purchase additional Score Reports at a cost of $28 per report. After the test, you should apply online for each addition, and the schools you select will receive the score in 5-7 business days. For the five reports included in the registration fee, you don’t need to do this – these will be sent to your allocated schools in around 20 days following the test.
Re-Scoring – $45
If you receive your score, but find that you didn’t do quite as well as you’d expected, then don’t worry – all hope is not lost. You can request for your test paper to be re-scored impartially, to see if there were any mistakes in the initial grading process.
You’ll have a time limit of 6 months following the date you sat the GMAT to request a re-score, and this will set you back $45. However, this is a worthwhile price to pay if you believe your score doesn’t reflect your performance, as a higher grade could make the difference to your school admission, and subsequently, your future.
If re-scoring is not successful, you can always retake the GMAT if sufficient time is left.
Score Cancellations – $25
Taking the GMAT is a demanding process, and you might already have an idea of how you’d like to perform. This is particularly true if you are planning to apply to top business schools around the States, whose admissions teams place a lot of emphasis on the GMAT score a candidate receives. Because of this, at the end of your test, you’ll receive a general overview of your performance, and be given the chance to decide whether you’d like to cancel your score entirely for free. You’ll only have a few minutes to make your choice, so it’s best to have clear plan for how you’ll use this time before you even begin the exam.
However, we know that things aren’t always straightforward, and it’s easy to make a simple error in judgement, especially after an intense examination. After all, the cost of the GMAT is quite substantial, and you may not have that much time to take it again. The GMAT board understands this, so if you initially keep your score but feel afterwards that you should have cancelled, you’ll have a 72 hour period in which you can do this.
The cost to cancel within these 72 hours is $25.
Reinstating A Cancelled Score – $50
72 hours isn’t a long time, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed after the GMAT if you don’t feel as though you did your best. Following a score cancellation, you might discuss with your tutor, or reach out to institutions and discover that they’d consider a lower score for admission than you originally thought.
If you’d like to reinstate a score that you’ve already cancelled, you can still do this, at a cost of $50.
You’ll have four years and 11 months from the day you took your test to reinstate a cancelled score, so this is a great option for a number of candidates, such as:
- Those who cancelled their scores by accident, or in a rush.
- Those who decide to apply to a different school with lower admissions requirements.
- Those who take the GMAT, cancel their score, and then decide to use their score if their circumstances change later in life.
Change Of Circumstances?
Life can get hectic sometimes, and on occasion, candidates find that they’ve registered for the GMAT but can no longer attend. If this is the case for you, then you might incur some additional costs for making changes to your application.
Re-Scheduling Your Exam – $50-$150
No matter what the reason, re-scheduling your exam can be frustrating. However, it’s often necessary, and it’s much better to delay your test than take it while dealing with external stress. Having invested time and money into the GMAT, you need to make sure that you’re giving yourself the best chance for success.
Recent changes to the GMAT fee structure has made re-scheduling costs much clearer for candidates, and the price you’ll pay now depends on when you request a change.
If possible, it’s best to reschedule your test date at least 60 days out. This will only set you back a $50 fee.
If you leave it a little later, you’ll need to pay more. For reschedules 15-60 days in advance, the cost is $100, and making the change 1-14 days out will require a $150 fee.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to reschedule on the day of the test, so you’ll face paying the full registration fee again if you need to do this.
Cancelling Your GMAT – $100-$200
There are a number of reasons why a candidate might cancel their test date. Whether you’ve decided on an alternative career path or you’ve come into some unexpected personal circumstances, you’ll have chance to cancel your exam if needed.
However, be aware that the cost of the GMAT is not fully reimbursed if you cancel. Cancellation does come with fees, and again what you’ll pay will be based on when you advise the board. When your test is cancelled, your fee will be taken from any applicable refund of your registration on a scale system:
- Cancelling more than 60 days prior to your test date costs $150, so you’ll receive a $100 refund.
- 15-60 days’ notice will entitle you to a $75 refund after you’ve been charged a $175 fee.
- If you cancel 14-1 days in advance of your test, you’ll be refunded $50, thanks to the $200 fee.
It’s important to remember that any cancellations in the 24 hours before the exam cannot be processed, so none of your registration fee will be refunded in this instance.
Saving Money On The GMAT
Funding your GMAT isn’t easy, and if you aren’t careful then the costs of taking the GMAT can seriously add up, so it’s vital that you plan ahead. Here are some of our top tips for keeping costs down as much as possible.
One of the most effective ways to save money on the GMAT is to avoid adding additional costs to your test journey. To do this, make sure that you schedule your test thoughtfully, and don’t rush into the commitment to a date that you aren’t certain you can fulfil. Also, make sure you schedule the test at a test center that is convenient for you.
Having to reschedule or cancel your test will inflate your costs, so if this can be avoided by a simple scheduling amendment, taking some extra time to consider your availability can make a big difference.
Choose Target Schools
Almost all candidates who sit the GMAT tend to do so well before they start applying for business schools – it’s a lot easier to apply when you know where your score fits into the overall competitive landscape.
However, from a financial perspective, this might not be as cost-effective in the long run. Additional score reports are costly, especially if you have a large number of potential school applications in the pipeline.
To optimize your application finances, it’s therefore best to select some target schools that you’ll be aiming for, so that you can allocate your free score reports to them ahead of the GMAT.
Decide On A Score Goal
Once you have committed to your top five target schools, you can work hard to achieve the best score possible. Most business schools will have dedicated admissions departments who provide advice around their grade expectations and requirements.
From a financial perspective, deciding what your score goal is should therefore be a key element of your GMAT preparation.
This allows you to approach your free score cancellation opportunity with a clear mind at the end of your test. If your final performance is significantly lower than your goal, you’ll be able to avoid the $25 fee for cancellation within the 72 hour period that follows.
Seek Out Support
If you’re having difficulty gathering the funds needed for the registration fee, then you might have to turn to organizations that can offer you support. For promising candidates, business schools regularly offer vouchers that can be used to fund the GMAT, with the general rule being that you will commit to them if successful.
There are a number of other organizations that offer scholarships, too. Typically, these companies or groups will assess your potential as a postgraduate business student and support you throughout your journey. The help available can include financial support that can improve your ability to sit the GMAT, and you can find a host of advice around asking for financial aid.
From its hefty registration fee to additional charges that cover every scenario, the cost of the GMAT can add up. The GMAT can be an expensive endeavor that you should only undertake if you’re serious about applying to business or management schools across the United States. The benefits of the GMAT for your admissions applications make the test very much worth it – a good score can truly change your life path by sending you to a top school. What’s more, by following the steps outlined in this guide, you can save money wherever possible and sit the GMAT on a budget!