Calculating your exam budget is certainly an essential part of your GMAT prep. Are you sure what is actually covered by the test fee? How can unforeseen circumstances affect your GMAT test expenses and what can you do to reduce them? Planning the cost of the actual test taking, without the preparation itself, is certainly step one.
Latest test fees per testing location
Before 30 April 2019 the GMAT test fee in Europe was fixed to USD 250, and varied locally only depending on VAT. Currently, the actual test fee varies according to test center location. It was also recently increased by USD 35. So, if you sit the test now in the US the registration fee is USD 250, GBP 225 for UK test centers, and EUR 250 for candidates registering to sit the test in locations where the official currency is the Euro. For all other European test-center locations on the list, the fee is USD 285.
GMAC, the organization that owns and administers the GMAT, notes that USD fee conversion from Euros and Pound Sterling is subject to currency exchange rates at the time of purchase. They also list the countries that are impacted by the changes: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.
This fee change impacts the GMAT registration fee, appointment rescheduling, and cancellation fees. Products and services purchased after you register for and take your GMAT exam will not be impacted by this change.
How many score reports are included in the GMAT test fee?
On the test day you can select up to five programs to receive your official score report. You should select them at the test center prior to taking the test. Once you have made your selections, they cannot be changed. You are not obliged to select score recipients if you have not chosen where to apply yet.
Score cancelation and reinstatement
On the other hand, if you have already selected programs, but are not satisfied with your performance at the end of the exam, you can cancel your score and it will not be reported. It is free to cancel your scores immediately after the exam. You have a second chance to cancel – online within 72 hours after the scheduled start time of your exam – but you will be charged USD 25 for this.
Canceled scores can be reinstated for a period of up to 4 years and 11 months following the exam date. You are able to reinstate your score for a fee of USD 50.
Additional score reports
If you have not selected programs to receive your score after the exam, or if you want to send your score to more than five programs, you can do so by ordering additional score reports (ASR). You can order them online for USD 35 each or on the phone, but you will be charged an additional USD 10 fee for ordering by phone.
If you have selected programs to receive your score reports, then you have canceled your score, but then reinstated it, your score will be sent to the schools that you selected right before you took the test at no additional score reporting change. You will have to pay the fees for cancelation – USD 25 (if not immediately after the test) and reinstating USD 50.
Exam appointment rescheduling and cancelation
As the changes from 30 April 2019 affect the rescheduling and cancelation of the testing appointment, GMAC highlights:
Based on feedback we have received from GMAT test takers, the pricing for rescheduling and canceling GMAT appointments has been restructured to provide more flexibility for test takers and reduce the financial burden on those who need to make last-minute changes to their appointment. In addition, the fees are reduced for those who reschedule 60 or more days before their appointment.
Currently, based on the amount of time between your original scheduled appointment and an appointment change, different fees will be applied if you reschedule or cancel between 1 to 14 days prior to appointment; between 15 to 60 days prior to appointment; and more than 60 days prior to appointment.
Per regulatory requirements, if testing within the EU, a full refund will be provided if the appointment is canceled within 14 days of the registration date.
Retaking the test
If you are determined to improve your GMAT performance, you should know that you may retake the exam once every 16 calendar days, no more than five times in a rolling 12-month period, and no more than eight times in total. But what matters more is that you need to make sure you will achieve a higher score. GMAC research from 2016 reveals that:
Repeat exam takers had trouble pacing themselves while taking the GMAT exam the first time. As evidence, they were far more likely to have failed to finish either the Quantitative or Verbal portion of the exam.
That is why GMAC advises that you should consider sitting the exam again if you didn’t finish a section or if you are convinced that you did not perform as well as you could have. GMAC analysis suggests that those who can achieve the biggest improvement when retaking had a first exam score below 500. Those who scored between 600 and 640 are likely to see a moderate increase in their results the next time they take the exam.
So, the bottom line here in terms of planning your GMAT budget is that you should consider further preparation in order to make sure you improve your score. This can incur additional costs for tutoring or test prep materials. There is no discount on the registration fees if you retake the exam.
Testing away from your place or residence
Finally, although the GMAT is delivered online, you can only sit the test in a certified testing center. The GMAT exam is available only at designated Pearson VUE test centers around the world. Although testing locations, test dates, and time slots are diverse, you should plan early to make sure a convenient test center, date and time slot will be available for you. GMAC shares:
We find that Saturday times fill up rather quickly, so if you must test on a Saturday, reserve this date as soon as you can.
You can actually schedule your exam appointment up to six months in advance. If you don’t find a convenient test date in your location, or if there is not a test center where you reside, you will have to plan for some travel and lodging expenses. As the test is quite challenging, you will need to be fresh, full of energy and able to concentrate for about four hours on the test day. So, plan your travel and rest accordingly.
A simple calculation shows that currently your GMAT exam can cost between USD 285 (without VAT) and USD 535 (without VAT), for example, if you sit the test once where you reside, do not select programs to receive your score on the test day, cancel your score online after the test, then reinstate it and then order additional score reports. This GMAT maths exercise clearly shows that good planning will make your effort much more efficient, but you should have a financial backup for diverse scenarios.