Scheduling The GMAT
How should you schedule your GMAT exam?
It was a lot easier in those days when we knew when an exam was due.
Sometimes we knew six months prior to the date or sometimes a few
weeks, but we always knew. The tables since then have turned with
respect to most college graduate exams. Now, you select the exam date according
to your convenience and shoulder the entire responsibility of how well
you schedule the exam, keeping in mind many other dates and your
precious preparation time as well. The decision of how appropriately
your timetable has been set will ultimately determine
how well you prepare for it and whether or not you submit all your
college applications in time. You must at a minimum, keep 6 months in
hand for the entire process of registering, preparing and applying to
B-schools. One re-test should also be timed for as a safety measure.
You have to keep both your GMAT exam success and B-school application
in mind when you prepare the itinerary of this test.
As there are no fixed dates for the exam, and it is taken throughout the year, you have the flexibility of scheduling it around the dates of the first/second round of graduate school applications. The exam costs a $250 to all applicants within the United States, and a little over that for international applicants. This is payable with the help of a credit card (mostly) but a debit card facility or personal check or money order also work, depending on how you chose to register for the exam. There are many ways to register and obtain the test dates, either online, or via the phone, fax or mail. Quite a few applicants take the online path and register themselves on the official website www.mba.com.
Before you Register
There are a couple of things you need to remember before you register for the GMAT. Knowing fully well that you need to send the scores to B-schools well in time to make it with your application to them, you have to be extra careful in choosing when and how you can take the test. Here’s what you should keep in mind:
- College application deadline: Start to work 5 months backwards from your B-school application deadline and choose the dates at least three months before that date, so that you have enough time to work on your B-school application essays because that demands commitment and time, just like the GMAT exam preparation does. Once you are through with the GMAT, take at least 6-8 weeks for your B-school application essays and that entire process.
- Preparation time for GMAT: Even if you are a fresh college pass-out, you cannot take the preparation time lightly. At least 2-3 months are ideal for preparation and the dates should be chosen accordingly.
- Re-test safety measure: Better safe than sorry; it’s always advisable to keep 6 weeks extra as a safety for a retest in case you do not score well, or feel that an added preparation of a few more days will help you increase your score. You can appear only once in 31 days, so 4-6 weeks time should work well as a safety measure. In any case if you do score well, this time can be used in your B-school application processing.
Overall, six months is an ideal time frame to decide the about the dates of GMAT. It is always best to be well prepared rather than manage things in a hurried state.
Registering for the GMAT
As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to register for the exam; online, via phone or through fax or mail. The GMAT bulletin http://www.mba.com/the-gmat/gmat-information-bulletin.aspx would be of great help during this process. While registering for this exam always remember to very carefully write the exact name, date of birth and nationality as mentioned in your identity proof. Your entire exam depends on this valid information and you may be debarred from the exam in case the name or date of birth does not match in both the documents (your registration form for the GMAT & your identity proof). You will also need to pick out a test center location most suitable to you (keep in mind the travel time as well while you pick out a center). This test center then will let you decide which dates are conducive to both you and the test center. You can fix an appointment according to the dates provided. You will receive either an email or a postal confirmation (whichever you prefer) giving you the exact details of your GMAT appointment.
Re-test or Cancellation of Test Date
If you take the test, but not too happy with the score and want a retest, you will have to wait for 31 days till you can take the test again. In case you want to cancel or reschedule a prior appointment then you can do so over the phone or online using your registration ID provided at the time of registration. Refunds are applicable only to appointments cancelled at least seven days prior to the original appointment date. You can speak to the GMAT customer service in your location or log on to www.mba.com for further queries regarding cancellation and refund.
What needs to be clearly understood by an aspirant is that, fixing an appointment need not be a pain-staking task if you know where your priorities lie. Adequate preparation time both for the GMAT and your B-school applications are two key elements to keep in mind when you prepare an itinerary.