How To Prepare for the GMAT on a Budget

Many people hope to attend business school but find themselves held back by budgetary constraints. If you find yourself in such a position, you will undoubtedly wonder what you can do to make the process affordable.

Before you can begin to think about tuition and materials, however, you’ll need to overcome the hurdle of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

The GMAT is a highly competitive exam and is required for admission by the majority of top-notch programs. This means that being prepared and getting a good score is not optional. However, test prep can be an expensive process, so it’s important to keep in mind ways you can cut costs.

How Much Does it Cost to Take the GMAT?

Currently, the registration fee to sit for the GMAT is $250, which includes the cost of your results report. Unfortunately, this is only part of the overall expenses that are accrued when taking the GMAT.

Other indirect expenses include coaching fees, rescheduling fees, potential cancellation or reinstatement of the score, and enhanced score reports. However, many of these costs are situational, so you can reduce your costs by planning well and avoiding the need to reschedule or cancel your test.

Make a Plan

If you’re serious about business school, you need to plan carefully and adequately to prepare for your exam and get the best results. Make a study plan, create a disciplined routine, and stick to it. When making your study plan, research the minimum GMAT score required to apply for your chosen business school.

The GMAT is comprehensive and tests the examinee’s aptitude in multiple ways, including written assessment, critical reasoning, problem-solving, reading and mathematical skills. The exam’s scoring system is arranged so that you cannot neglect any of the sections during the test if you want to get a good score. Learning how to manage time and stress will help you perform better during the exam.

Therefore, the best solution is to set up a study plan to prepare for each section so that you get to practice for all of them regularly. Remember, re-taking the test means paying the registration fee and other costs all over again.

Decide What to Invest in

If you’re on a tight budget, you want to be strategic when deciding which preparation material to invest in. This means you can’t afford to buy every book or invest in all the available courses.

Prioritize your test prep spending based on your strengths and weaknesses. If you are particularly weak in one or more disciplines, you should prioritize courses and supplementary reading materials for those disciplines. For the ones you’re reasonably competent at, you can stick with potentially less comprehensive free resources.

Find Inexpensive Ways to Study

If you’re keen on keeping your expenses under control, here are some inexpensive ways to study and prepare for your GMAT exam.

  • Study with Second-Hand Materials– Purchasing second-hand materials is one of the most popular ways to keep your costs under control. You can easily buy books and materials from someone who has already taken the GMAT and doesn’t need them anymore. You can also purchase test paper compilations of old GMAT exams for cheap, both online and offline.
  • Take Advantage of Free Prep– There are many free prep websites that can help you prepare for your GMAT exam without paying a cent. You can take mock tests on these websites and find tips, advice, and supplementary study materials. If taking advantage of free prep websites sounds like a good idea to you, click here for budget-friendly GMAT prep from Kaplan.
  • Use Discount Codes– Another excellent way to reduce GMAT preparation costs is to use discount codes for purchasing group courses, study materials, online courses, and coaching classes. These codes can often be found online in GMAT prep chatrooms, on various sites, and in higher education publications.

Play Smart, Pay Less 

The cost of preparing for and taking the GMAT may be high, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on taking the test or fail to prepare thoroughly. As long as you can afford registration, you can get around the other obstacles by utilizing free resources and making the most of your options. If you’re resourceful enough to take the GMAT on a budget, you’re surely destined for greatness in the world of business.

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