Taking the GMAT: What’s the Real Cost?
One of the admissions requirements for most MBA programs is the Graduate Management Admissions Test, or GMAT. This test evaluates your quantitative, verbal, reading, analytical and writing skills, and it’s often seen as a strong predictor of student success in the MBA environment.
The GMAT is a 3.5-hour test administered at an independent testing center. In order to thoroughly prepare for this exam, you should be aware of the various costs that you will incur as you study for and ultimately take it.
As of 2018, the cost of taking the GMAT exam is $250, which includes the option to send score reports to up to five schools. Additional score reports sent after you take the test cost $35 each, so it’s best to decide where you would like your scores to be delivered before you sit for the exam.
There are also some other potential fees that can be incurred while taking the test or afterward. These include:1
- Rescheduling the test: $60 if you reschedule more than seven days before your appointment; $250 if within seven days of the test
- Cancelling the test: $80 refund provided if test is cancelled with more than seven days notice, no refund if within seven days of the test
- Cancelling your scores: $25 to do so after you leave the testing center
- Reinstating your scores: $50 if you change your mind
- Enhanced score reports: $24.95 for reports that provide more details on your score
- Rescoring of your essay: $45 to receive a second opinion on the written portion of the exam
These fees only refer to scheduling and scoring requests made online. To make similar requests by phone, you’ll be charged an additional $10 fee. In order to avoid having costs like these add up for you, it’s best to wait until you are certain that you are ready to take the test before scheduling.
Depending on how you choose to prepare for the GMAT, you may also incur some other costs. The GMAT’s official website, MBA.com, offers some prep resources like downloadable software and several practice tests for free, and others for an additional cost. You may also wish to use other study materials, such as one of the many GMAT prep guides on the market or in your local library.
Some MBA candidates opt to attend preparation classes, offered by independent providers. These courses can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars for self-paced classes to $2,000 or more for private tutoring.2 Whether you opt to enroll in a prep course is entirely up to you; while they’re certainly not required to do well on the GMAT, they can help some prospective MBA students develop test-taking strategies and understand how the exam is structured.
However, if you are struggling with the actual content of the test, it may be more beneficial to take a refresher course at a local community college or adult education center. That way, you can build skills that can help with both the test and your MBA coursework.3
Some MBA programs may offer GMAT waivers to qualified students, meaning that they do not have to submit exam scores as part of their application. William & Mary’s Online MBA program, for instance, will waive its GMAT requirement if you have five years of professional experience with increasing levels of responsibility, plus either a master’s degree in a quantitative subject; a GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last four courses in economics, statistics, finance or accounting in your undergraduate degree; or a score of at least 90 percent on each of five areas (economics, finance, accounting, statistics and spreadsheets) of the final exam for the MBA Math online course, which is available at mbamath.com at a cost of $149.
In some cases, you may be able to apply for a need-based fee waiver for the GMAT. Many scholarship programs offer GMAT cost waivers to promising students. Some employers will also cover the cost of the exam as part of their educational reimbursement plan. You can also apply for a fee waiver through the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), which provides a limited number of waivers to schools that require the GMAT.
Taking the GMAT can be expensive, but it’s an investment in your educational and professional development. And in the long run, it’s an investment that can potentially pay off both personally and financially. Learn more about how William & Mary’s Online MBA can put you on the path to career success, and begin the application process today.
1. Retrieved on May 1, 2018, from mba.com/us/the-gmat-exam/prepare-for-the-gmat-exam/plan-for-test-day/paying-for-the-gmat.aspx
2. Retrieved on May 1, 2018, from princetonreview.com/business/gmat-test-prep
3. Retrieved on May 1, 2018, from mba.com/us/the-gmat-blog-hub/ask-the-expert/2012/aug/should-i-take-a-gmat-prep-course-before-i-take-the-exam.aspx