The Graduate Management Admission Test, better known as the GMAT, is a computer-based standardized test that is typically required for admission into graduate management programs (such as an MBA) at colleges and universities across the United States. This test is not a measure of intelligence or business skills. Instead, it assesses skills that are considered to be vital to success in business management, including analytical writing, problem-solving abilities, data sufficiency, logic, and critical reasoning skills.
Approximately 250,000 people take the GMAT each year. The test takes approximately three and half hours (four hours including breaks) and is offered multiple times throughout the year across the US, as well as in many other countries. There is a $250 fee required to take the GMAT.
While the GMAT cost is steep, there are numerous ways for you to receive assistance with paying the fees or even have them waived completely. If you are struggling to afford the GMAT cost, here are a few options for you to consider.
GMAT Fee Waiver Program
GMAC, the Graduate Management Admission Council, allows students with financial need the opportunity to take the GMAT for free through the GMAC Fee Waiver Program. These fee waivers are provided by GMAC to the schools, rather than directly to test takers. Each school is limited to requesting 10 fee waivers per year.
While schools are encouraged to include these fee waivers in their need-based scholarship and financial aid programs, each school has the discretion to determine which students are in need. Because of this, the process for requesting and obtaining one of these fee waivers varies from school to school. Contact your school directly to learn their process and rules regarding the GMAC Fee Waiver Program.
Grants and Scholarships
There are numerous grant and scholarship opportunities available to help you cover college-related expenses, including the GMAT cost, tuition, and more. Grant and scholarship opportunities are diverse and cover a wide range of merit- or need-based criteria. In addition to contacting your school’s financial aid department for information about grants and scholarships, you can research them using online scholarship search engines, such as CollegeBoard.com, CollegeNet.com, FastWeb, Scholarships.com, and ScholarshipMonkey.com. When searching for scholarships, always verify that the one you are interested in is available for graduate students, as many opportunities are limited to undergrad programs.
If you are struggling to pay for the GMAT cost on your own, many companies offer reimbursement for tuition and fees. By investing in their employee’s degree, the company receives better educated employees. This also demonstrates their dedication to the people who work for them, creating loyal workers who will stick with the company long-term. While the number of employer reimbursement programs have decreased with the economic downturn, it never hurts to talk to your current or anticipated employer to see what options may be available. Even if there is nothing available, your boss will appreciate knowing that you are working to better yourself.
There are so many financial aid and scholarship opportunities available to help you cover the pricey GMAT cost. However, if you are still empty-handed at the end of your search, budgeting is an effective way to make a large cost more manageable.
Analyze your monthly budget and determine any frivolous expenditures or ways that you might be able to save a little bit of extra money. If you can forgo one $5 indulgence each week and set that money aside in a savings account, you will have more than enough money to cover the testing fee by the end of the year. The more you can set aside each week, the quicker you can save up the money to cover the GMAT cost.
GMAT Test Preparation
Whether you are a naturally strong test-taker or tend to struggle under the stress and anxiety associated with taking timed standardized tests, familiarizing yourself with the testing format and typical questions ahead of time will improve your end results. Set aside a little bit of time each week to study for the GMAT and run through practice questions. And to make the most of your study time, working with a GMAT tutor is an excellent way to prepare for the big day. Good luck!
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