The GMAT is administered year-round at hundreds of locations around the world. So, unlike other standardized tests, you can take it at almost any time, in the morning and afternoon. However, 2017 GMAT test dates and times will fill up quickly, especially as MBA admissions season ramps up again. As with the rest of your business school application, planning ahead of time is key.
If you’re wondering “When do I need to register for a GMAT test date?”, “When should I plan on taking the GMAT?”, or “How long do I need to study for a GMAT exam date?”, here are three timelines for GMAT success in 2017 based on your application deadlines.
Applying in six months to one year: Round 2, Round 3, or Round 4 2017-2018 season
For those of you applying at the middle or the end of the coming MBA admissions season, time is on your side. You have months to prepare all the pieces of your application. Work backwards from the deadlines at your target schools. The Round 2 deadline for top 10 MBA programs like UC Berkeley (Haas), MIT (Sloan), and Northwestern (Kellogg), is usually January, so plan accordingly. Look at your calendar and pencil in both a date and a backup date for your GMAT, at least a month apart. You can register up to 6 months ahead of time, so you may have to wait for the slots to open on the GMAC website. Both test dates should ideally land in the summer so that you have the fall months to polish the rest of your application, and take the GMAT a third time if necessary.
Now that you’ve identified your GMAT dates, take a practice exam or diagnostic test to determine how much you need to prepare. Even if you know you’re a great mathematician or the best reader in your office, you need to know what your abilities are specifically on the GMAT. Depending on your skill level and available time for studying, you should schedule 2-3 months of prep time before your first official GMAT test date. And, as mentioned above, schedule a backup test date so that you have a cushion. Building your proficiency over this period will provide a solid foundation for the exam.
Applying in five months: Early Action or Round 1 2017-2018 season
For applicants on this timeline, you have a solid opportunity to study for and succeed on your GMAT before submitting your applications. However, with the demands of summer events and holidays—like graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July—your MBA deadlines of September or October will arrive sooner than you think. Take a practice exam or diagnostic test now to determine what you need to work on. Then, based on the studying you need to accomplish before test day, pick a date and register for your GMAT exam, by August at the latest. Depending on the deadlines of your target schools, and how much progress you have made on the rest of your application, you may or may not have the luxury of securing a backup GMAT date if you wait too long. Schedule study blocks on your calendar for 2-3 months. Make your preparation count, and consider working with a tutor. For a free consultation on how to increase your GMAT score in a short period of time, click here or call 866.60.TUTOR today.
Applying in a month or less: Round 4, Round 5, or rolling admissions 2016-2017 season
First things first: schedule your GMAT exam now. Open dates will be limited, and it can take around three weeks for your official GMAT score to be reported. Let your schools know about your GMAT situation, so that if your official score arrives late, your application won’t be marked incomplete. Also, make sure that the rest of your application is ready to go, so you can concentrate fully on your exam.
Additionally, you still need to prepare for the GMAT, so take a practice exam, preferably from the official GMAC website. This will help you determine what areas to work on and familiarize you with the structure and pacing of the test. Clear your schedule until the day of the exam so that you have room. Study strategically; you don’t have time to learn and apply everything. Finally, think about alternative courses of action. If you score much lower than you hoped, then consider retaking the exam and applying during Round 1 of the coming 2017-2018 MBA application season. Even though this will push back your business school timeline, earning a higher GMAT score and applying in an earlier round may increase your chances of getting accepted to your top choice schools.
As you can see from the timelines, when you have a higher number of months until your application deadline, you have more opportunity to prepare for and succeed on the GMAT. Furthermore, your score lasts for five years. And, if you don’t perform up to you standards on test day, you can now cancel your scores at the center or within 72 hours of taking the exam. If business school is on your horizon, then study for and take the GMAT as soon as you can. Other applicants like you are also thinking about 2017 GMAT test dates. So get the GMAT out of the way so that you can spend your energy making the rest of your application the best it can be.