Are you wondering when is the best time to take the GMAT? You probably already know that the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) will be an important part of the MBA admissions process.
But what you might still be wondering about is when you should take the GMAT.
Unlike many standardized tests for college and graduate school admission, the GMAT is available to students all year long.
This gives test-takers much more flexibility in scheduling their test, but it can also feel overwhelming to try to determine the best time to take the GMAT.
Whether you are an undergraduate student, a recent graduate, or someone who has been in the workforce for a while, this article will help you consider your options and determine the right time for you to take the GMAT.
Give Yourself Enough Time To Study For The GMAT
According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, the company that administers the GMAT, preparing for the test generally takes at least seven weeks.
You should have an idea of how much studying you typically need to do for important standardized tests.
Are you someone who needs lots and lots of practice, or do you typically do well on tests the first time?
You should also think about how prepared you are to take the GMAT itself.
If you have been out of school for a while, or if you have not taken relevant classes recently, you may want to allow yourself additional time to prepare.
Regardless of how well you think you will do on the test, it is always a good idea to take a practice GMAT, or even several of them, before signing up for the test.
You will be able to retake the official test if you don’t get a good score the first time around – but the schools you apply to will still be able to see all of your test scores for the last five years.
Pay Attention To Application Deadlines
When you’re considering when to take the GMAT, it’s important to know the application deadlines for your target business schools.
Many business schools accept applicants in three rounds, with the deadlines for Round 1 applicants coming due in early to mid-September.
Applicants are considered in all three rounds, but it may be harder to get in during a later round if most of the school’s open spots have been filled.
International students are also encouraged to apply in Round 1, Round 2 at the latest, in order to have time to complete all visa requirements.
Once you know your dream b-school’s application deadline, you will want to plan to take the GMAT at least two months beforehand.
This will give you enough time to retake the test if your first score is not where it needed to be.
It will also allow you enough time to finish your application for graduate school. Remember, your GMAT score is an important part of the business school application process, but it is not the only part!
Should You Take The GMAT As An Undergraduate?
If you are currently working toward a bachelor’s degree and already know that you want to go to business school, it may make sense to take the GMAT while you are still in college.
For one thing, you are already in the mode of studying and schoolwork, so both material and test-taking strategies will be fresh in your mind.
If you wait to take the GMAT a couple of years after you graduate, you may need to do a lot more preparation to refresh your memory of the concepts on the test.
Work experience is an important qualification for admission to some top MBA programs, so taking the GMAT early in your college career might not leave you with enough time to get significant work experience.
Fortunately, your scores are valid for five years after your test date.
If you know you want to go to business school, your junior or senior year might be the best time to take the GMAT.
Taking The GMAT Can Give You Options
If you’re less sure about what your post-college plans will look like, or whether an MBA is right for you, taking the GMAT can help you make up your mind.
Studying for the test can give you a little bit of insight into what it will be like to go to business school.
You may find yourself very frustrated by the process, or enjoying the opportunity to study the material.
And of course, if you get an excellent GMAT score, it may open up scholarship or grant possibilities that make top MBA programs a strong option for you.
The best time to take the GMAT will be different for every person.
But whether you are a current student, a recent graduate, or an entrepreneur thinking about getting an MBA, these tips should help you determine when to schedule your test and start studying.
What questions do you have about preparing for the GMAT or about what is a good GMAT score?
We would love to hear from you.