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Registering for the GMAT: Not As Easy As You Think

Registering for the GMAT: Not As Easy As You Think

Registering for the GMAT Test

The GMAT exam is used to determine an applicant’s suitability for graduate programs in business and is trusted by more than 6,000 universities worldwide. The test itself is available around the world throughout the year and allows admissions officers and recruiters to determine how qualified a student is for a particular program.  


With an exam that is so popular, one would think that it would be easy to take. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.  Be sure to register early in order to get the date and time that you prefer!


Admissions deadlines for graduate programs vary, with some due the September prior to fall admission and others accepting students through July of the same year. Be sure to check each business school that you intend to apply to and see what their admissions requirements are. You will also want to see if they require official GMAT scores to be in before the posted deadline; if so, be sure to schedule your GMAT at least three weeks prior to that date in order to ensure that scores will be sent to the institution on time.

In order to schedule the GMAT, you will need to have an account at mba.com. Once on the website, you will be prompted to make an account, which will allow you inside access to all of their information and special promotions. You will then be prompted to choose a testing center that is located close to your home address. Unfortunately, you will notice that there are not an abundance of testing centers from which to choose. For example, in Atlanta – a metropolitan area of over six million people – there are only two centers located within twenty miles of the city. Even New York City has a similar problem!  



What this means for you is this: you need to register early. A quick search of the available dates at the most popular testing center in Atlanta shows that test dates are nearly full for all of this month, as well as most of the coming month. Even those dates that may be desirable only has one time slot available:  8:00 AM.


Unless you are a morning person, that 8:00 AM exam should be avoided like the plague. With any exam, you will want to plan to arrive at the testing center at least a half hour early in order to get checked in and become acquainted with the area where you will be working. This means that you will need to leave your house even earlier, especially if you wish to avoid all the terrible traffic that can occur on any given day. Before you know it, you’re setting that alarm for 4:00 AM, which isn’t fun for anyone.  This is especially true when planning your testing date in advance will allow you to take the exam in the late morning (such as 10:00 AM) or even in the early afternoon when you will be less tired.


The moral of the story is this: as soon as you know when you will be ready and available to take the GMAT, register for it.  You may register as many as six months in advance, ensuring that you will find the date and the time that works best for your schedule.  You should note that there is a fee for canceling or rescheduling your exam after you register, but you can receive a partial refund of $80 if you cancel the exam at least seven days prior to your scheduled date. The registration fee is forfeited if you miss the exam due to illness, emergencies, or traffic.  However, if you only need to reschedule the exam, you may do so for $50, provided that it is at least seven days before the date of the exam.


Once you receive your scores back, you may decide that you could do better if you took the exam again. If this is the case, you should know that you can retake the GMAT once every sixteen calendar days, but no more than five times in any twelve-month period.  This option may be beneficial to you if you were rushed, nervous, or simply not focused when taking the original exam.  As stated above, be sure to schedule your exam as soon as possible once you are sure that you wish to retake it.
Remember: Register early. Find the exam location closest to you. Be sure to arrive with plenty of time to spare. Come prepared to do your best.  If you’re still struggling with how to excel on the GMAT, consider taking a GMAT Prep course with Success Prep. More information about upcoming courses can be found here.