Rescheduling the GMAT: All you need to know

Rescheduling the GMATThe GMAT exam is one of the first items in your to-do list for your prolonged MBA application process (Read How to plan your MBA Timeline).

It sets the tone for the rest of your application. It is the only objective component that you can truly control. A chance to right all the wrongs in your past and let, the standardized test, score your abilities against that of your fellow competitors. (Also read When is the right time to take the GMAT?)

Like India’s CAT test for the IIMs and more, most foreign, and some Indian, universities rely on the GMAT score’s design to assess a candidate’s quantitative and analytical skills. However, unlike CAT, the GMAT can be attempted anytime during the year, with a 6 months room for registration before the GMAT test date.

To make matters simple (or worse, based on who you talk to), GMAC – the owner of the GMAT – has created additional flexibility with the exam. Besides the ability to schedule the exam far more easily than your second date, GMAC also allows multiple attempts, cancellations, and our present topic of concern – Rescheduling your GMAT test.

Candidates, however, cannot cross five GMAT exams in a rolling 12-month period. The total number of lifetime GMAT exams should also not exceed eight.

GMAT tests come at a hefty price tag of $250 plus individual locality taxes. Each flexibility, afforded by the GMAT test, brings with it a financial penalty, besides the emotional cost of a lost/altered opportunity. Each of the options of cancelling the test, cancelling the score, or rescheduling have their own price tags.

Before we get into the details of GMAT rescheduling, let us touch upon some of the basic bits associated with cancellations.

  • You can cancel your test for a fee. If you cancel 7 days prior to the test date, you will receive a refund of $80 only. Cancel anytime within the 7 days and it will cost you the full $250! And you will not be allowed to cancel within the last 24 hours of the test.
  • You can also cancel your score for a fee. GMAT gives you a 2-minute window to decide whether to register the score on your score report, after you are done with your GMAT test. If you select cancel (or do nothing), the score is cancelled and not recorded. It will obviously cost you $250, nevertheless.

    So, cancel away as long as you keep in mind that Repeat Exams require a minimum of 16 days gap for a retake. For more details on whether you should avail of this option, read our article on Should I cancel or reinstate my GMAT score report?

The good news is that your“cancelled score” action will not be reflected on your score report that is sent to the B-Schools. So, as far as the consequences with the impression of chickening out is concerned, the Admissions Office is never going to know the story behind the scenes.

Now let’s jump into our present concern Rescheduling the GMAT exam, in the subsequent sections.
 

Things you need to know about Rescheduling your GMAT

 
Let us first explore the reasons that may prompt you to consider pushing the exam out for another day. Most GMAT test takers apply to business schools that require a work experience as a part of the application package. This means that most candidates are bound by work related priorities and unexpected bursts of deadlines.

The rather generous 6-month time to register for a GMAT test often leaves room for developments that may cut into your MBA application planning. Sickness, last minute official travel dates, are some of the other reasons that could be well beyond your control causing you to reconsider the date you chose so carefully, a few months ago.

And then there are the candidates who may have simply miscalculated their preparation plan. Having set the date, say a healthy 3 months away, they may have felt a little too confident in the time they needed to set themselves up for this rather expensive and crucial day to display their mental prowess.

Low mock test scores and lack of preparedness are some of the common reasons why candidates choose to push the battle out to another day, as the saved date gradually creeps in closer. Now, should they act on this lack of confidence? We will explore that shortly

So, candidates, in this trying situation often scour the online universe for information on what can they do with the date they had originally secured for their GMAT exam. Here are some of the common FAQs.
 

  • Can I reschedule my GMAT?

Of course, yes. As long as you are convinced that you are not going to be able to make it to your GMAT date, you can choose to reschedule. This is a far cheaper option than cancelling your test altogether. And what’s better? You can reschedule your test to any date, as long as it is within the 6 months GMAT registration window, any time, and any location.
 

  • How much will it cost me?

That really depends more on the when. If you voluntarily, or involuntarily, wait till the last 7 days before the original test date, you will need to pay up a ransom of $250 per reschedule. This is more like securing a new date with no memory of ever having paid up for the previous one. And you will not be able to take an eraser to your appointment within the last 24 hours of the test.

However, if you are lucky, or wise, enough to come to a decision before the 7 days prior to your original test date, you will only be charged $50 per reschedule. Let us remind you that this is a far cheaper option than cancelling your date altogether and being refunded back a pale $80.
 

  • How do I do it?

The process really is quite simple. You can either choose to do it by logging in through your mba.com account and fishing out the next logical steps that will be able to take you to the clickable ‘Reschedule’ button.

But if you choose to go the old school way of calling in to make a change, you will be made to pay an additional surcharge of $10 for the convenience of possibly talking to someone with flesh and bones.

However, calling in is a necessity if you are planning to change your location to a different country. There is no $10 surcharge in this case.

The area wise phone numbers are available on their official website.
 

  • Can I reschedule as many times as I want?

Yes!Keep rescheduling through the 365 days if it so pleases you. As long as your rescheduled date is within the 6 months registration window. Just keep a cautious eye on the health of your purse, losing out a not-so-unsubstantial $50 every time you get cold feet.
 

  • Should I reschedule?

The million, or rather the n times $50, question. Barring the circumstances that are definitely in conflict with your GMAT date, such as sickness or job issues, changing the date fora lack of confidence in your preparation leaves a lot of room for reconsideration.

We understand that you may have a set a certain target score – your good GMAT score. But a good GMAT score is a subjective parameter based on your perception of what you can achieve.

What is a good 680 for some, becomes a passable score for others. Most candidates decide a goal score based on their abilities, as seen during their preparation and mock testing marathons, and the average, or minimum, score gathered from the business schools they are interested in (Read Average GMAT Scores for top MBA programs in the world).

Having said all of that, taking the test is the only sure-fire way to understand your true abilities, and at the same time, your weaknesses. You can keep pushing the test farther out and keep losing money you may have otherwise planned for the rest of the MBA application. However, practically it makes more sense to simply see where you stand and retake the test to top the previous score, if needed. Most B-schools look at your best scores anyway.

GMAC’s attempts to empower its test takers may possibly cause more confusion than the total lack of choices. Hope these pointers help you resolve your dilemma of what to do with your GMAT rescheduling – take a rain check or save the date.

Did we miss anything? Share your inputs in the comments below.
 
Meanwhile, here are a few links to fill up your GMAT information reserve.

 
Sources:1,2,3,4,5,6 | Image credit: GMAC


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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin
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5 Comments

  1. Manasi says:

    Hello Sameer,

    I am a 2017 pass-out currently working . I am looking for MIM program and planning on giving GMAT in 2019. Will it serve good as I would have 2 years experience and apply in Aug for top universities? When will the intake start for the universities for GMAT 2019 exams.

  2. Abhay says:

    Hi Mr. Sameer, loads of appreciation for your kindness and patience. Your all above replies were very helpful.
    I am presently working for Indian Army. I am a Lieutenant colonel. Civil Engineeringing graduate, 2004 batch. Put in over 15 years of service. I am planning to quit Army for progression soon. Planning to appear for GMAT, eyeing on to any IIM in India. Does my experience in Army as a leader gets counted or I am supposed to work in a corporate sector for 2 years before admissions in IIM after my retirement?

  3. Saloni Garg says:

    hello sir, Sir this is regarding CAT not GMAT(hope you could help). I. am having a gap year and probably it would increase to a time period of 2 years at the time of interviews. There was no proper guidance. I am preparing on my own via online surfing. I couldn’t get a decent score in 2017 in CAT so I am preparing again. but this gap year is creating an issue. No premium institute is going to give me admission. I don’t know what to do further. Please suggest …

  4. Tina says:

    Hi. This is Tina, I have completed my BTech (ECE) in 2012 with 7.8 CGPA. i have 5 yrs work experience in management field (different NGO’s, Central Govt Projects, CSR Projects) I want to pursue my MS now in US. Can you please tell me if i can apply for GRE? And for which courses? I have some financial issues and that’s the reason i have dropped my idea of applying for GMAT. Would like to know if it is worth studying MS in management now
    Thanks in advance

  5. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Manasi: A majority of the programs start in Fall (Sept/Oct), while some may offer programs starting in Spring. Check out a few of the official university sites to get an idea of the timelines.

    @Abhay: While some corporate experience would’ve helped you during and after the MBA (for recruitment), it is not a mandatory requirement. Bschools understand that army applicants have had a different career path.

    @Saloni: Sorry, we can’t help with CAT queries. Check on sites like Pagalguy.com

    @Tina: Sure, if you have a clear idea of how you want to use the MS degree for your career advancement, and can clearly articulate it in your SoP.

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