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Why does NMAT by GMAC cost more than other tests?

education Updated: Jul 14, 2016 16:47 IST
Rozelle Laha
Rozelle Laha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

NMIMS, Mumbai is the only institute that accepts only NMAT by GMAC test score for admissions. (Istock)

Many B-school aspirants are of the view that NMAT by GMAC is an ‘expensive’ exam compared to other tests and not worth the cost because of the limited number of B-schools accepting the test scores.

As of now, scores of NMAT  by GMAC are accepted by 18 institutes, which include SVKM’s Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai (NMIMS); ICFAI Business School Hyderabad; Woxsen School of Business Management, Hyderabad; Shoolini University, Himachal Pradesh; Gitam School of International Business, Andhra Pradesh; BML Munjal University, Haryana, and Amity University.

Many students say NMIMS, Mumbai, is their top choice and they would not want to look beyond it. Also, NMAT  by GMAC is not the only test score that one needs to have, to be able to get into the other B-schools. While NMIMS accepts only NMAT by GMAC test score for admissions, all the other 17 B-schools accept test scores of other B-school entrance tests too, like CAT, XAT and GMAT. “Paying the high registration, retest and rescheduling fee is not worth it because through NMAT by GMAC, the only institute most of us want to go for is NMIMS. So, I stuck to my CAT score and applied to a few institutes and was lucky enough to get into one of the new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs),” says a Kolkata boy who had appeared for NMAT 2015 by GMAC.

Candidates registering for NMAT by GMAC need to pay a test registration fee of Rs 1,700 or Rs 2,000 (for late registrations). Those not happy with their score and wanting a retest have to pay Rs 1,700. For rescheduling the test date, one is supposed to pay an additional Rs 1,000. The test registration fee allows candidates to send their score reports to seven institutes accepting NMAT by GMAC score. Candidates wanting to apply to more institutes need to pay Rs 200 per score report. An additional Rs 1,000 is required if they wish to register for group discussion - personal interview (GDPI) round at NMIMS. For all other non-NMIMS institutes, they need to pay up as per the admission norms of the particular institute. This amount is also exclusive of taxes.

“Someone who makes multiple test attempts needs to pay about Rs 6,000 for a single top-tier institute (that is, NMIMS, Mumbai). One could probably take all other popular tests, cumulatively spending the same amount and would have a shot at equivalent/better institutes,” says Shashank Prabhu, CAT 2011 topper, and director, Learning Roots, an entrance test preparation platform.

Read more: Why are management aspirants rejecting offers from new IIMs?

To give you a comparison, the cost of taking NMAT by GMAC exceeds that of all the other institutes by a considerable margin. While CAT has been priced at Rs 1,600 (no charges for those applying only to the IIMs), Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) at Rs 1,500 (and Rs 250 for every additional programme of XLRI, Jamshedpur, such as PGDM human resource management, PGDM business management and PGDM global business management, etc), Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP) at Rs 1,500 (with application forms to individual institutes being sold separately). A Mumbai girl who has already registered for NMAT by GMAC 2016 says, “I will appear for the test only once. If I score well enough to get into NMIMS Mumbai, I will go ahead with the admission process. Else, I don’t plan to go for a retest or apply to other colleges that accept the test score. That will not be worth my money. I will anyway be appearing for CAT 2016 and will be able to apply to more colleges (compared to this test), through the CAT score, at a lesser price.”

When NMIMS used to conduct the paper-based NMAT, candidates had to pay for the test and an additional Rs 1,000 if they got a top rank and wanted to register for the GDPI process. In 2009, citing the inability to cater to around 50,000 aspirants through a paper-based test, NMAT went online (computer-based). The test was the costliest among the popular Indian MBA entrance tests, priced at

Rs 1,650 and the additional fee for confirming intent to appear for GDPI was retained. Then, the options of retakes and re-scheduling were introduced during 2012-2013.

According to GMAT council (GMAC), the conducting body for NMAT by GMAC now, over 70,000 students registered for the exam in 2015 out of which 31% candidates took the retest.

Read more: GMAC taking over NMAT in India from Narsee Monjee

“More than 2, 30,000 scores were sent to the 16 NMAT by GMAC-accepting universities across India in 2015. NMIMS received close to 54,000 scores,” says Vikram Shah, director, product management, GMAC.

However, a high registration fee can be probably justified by saying that a few thousand rupees is not a big amount to pay when compared to paying the fees of a B-school. In fact, CAT does not have provisions for retest and rescheduling, which means candidates have to wait for one complete year before they can reappear for the test.

As Prabhu says, “ A lot of aspirants do stick around and eventually take at least one shot at the test. We have seen a lot of students going for unplanned second or third attempts, after seeing the scores of students who take it at a later date, with the hope that they will better their previous score.”