When to Take the GMAT

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is available throughout the year at locations around the world, so students may choose for themselves when to take the exam. Learn what factors to consider and how to develop a timeline to determine when to take the GMAT.

Determining When to Take the GMAT

Aspiring graduate business school applicants must consider several personal factors to determine the best time to schedule the GMAT. Students should first consider requirements for the business schools to which they plan to apply. Schools receive GMAT scores within 20 days after students take the test, so application deadlines are a critical consideration in determining when to take the GMAT.

Students also must consider the time they have available to study for the GMAT and how that translates into necessary preparation time. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which administers the GMAT, reports that at least seven weeks of study time may be necessary, and that test-takers who spend more time studying are more likely to have higher scores on the exam.

Learn more about the GMAT and explore self-paced video lessons and quizzes that allow a test-taker to study 24/7 online in Study.com's GMAT Prep: Help and Review course.

GMAT Timeline Overview

Research and Determine Business Schools of Choice 1-2 years before one plans to begin a graduate business program.
Develop a Study Plan Before registering for the GMAT and depending on a student's time available to study and desired score. Test-takers who scored 600 or higher in 2014 studied 107 hours or more, and those who earn a score between 500 and 590 study approximately 98 hours.
Register for the GMAT As far in advance as possible to meet application deadlines and accommodate time for study.
Begin Studying for the GMAT Per study plan, typically at least two months before GMAT test day. Taking a practice test at the outset of studying helps students see which subjects need the most attention.

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