Exams Know-how

Best Time to Give GMAT Exam

Sumeet Jain

The GMAT, a crucial factor for business school applications, is conveniently offered year-round, providing flexibility for test-takers. While this freedom is undoubtedly valuable and beneficial, it can also lead to a common dilemma: “When is the perfect time to take the GMAT?”

The internet is overflowing with advice on when to take the GMAT—long-winded analyses, quick tips, and everything in between. But amid all the noise, how do you decide if the time is right for you? While the precise date varies for each individual, understanding the general time frame can guide your registration and preparation efforts. This article cuts through the clutter and summarizes everything you need to know to answer that persistent question: “When should I take the GMAT?”

Here’s where Yocket Premium can also help. Our expert counselors analyze your academic profile, target schools, and application deadlines to find your perfect “GMAT sweet spot.” This sweet spot pinpoints the optimal timeframe for taking the GMAT, maximizing your chances of securing admission to your dream program.

  Table of Contents

  1. Factors Deciding the Best Time to Give GMAT
  2. What is the Best Time to Give GMAT for Students?
  3. When to Give GMAT Exam for the Fall and Spring Intake?
  4. When is the Best Time to Give GMAT as a Professional?

Factors in Deciding the Best Time to Take the GMAT

Several crucial factors must align to choose the perfect time for your GMAT. Let’s explore them.

  • Know your deadlines: It’s incredibly important to understand the application deadlines of your top schools. Ideally, deadlines should be relatively close together to optimize your application workflow. Follow the golden rule, submit your GMAT scores at least three months before the application deadline. This allows ample time for other application components.
  • Preparation Time: The average student needs dedicated study time. Don’t rush! Plan for at least 80–100 hours of GMAT preparation to achieve peak confidence and performance. Only take the GMAT when you’re fully prepared. Retries require a 16-day gap and a yearly limit of 5 attempts. Leave bandwidth for two attempts before your application deadline, if needed.
  • Think long-term: Getting all your business school application materials and formalities in order can take up to a year. Having your GMAT scores secured well in advance simplifies the process. GMAT scores are valid for five years, giving you ample flexibility.
  • Test Center Availability: Two months before your desired test date is the sweet spot for booking your GMAT slot. Test centers fill up quickly, so being proactive is key. Prepare at least three potential test dates to safeguard against last-minute surprises. Even with early booking, backup options ensure you don’t miss your perfect opportunity.

Suggested: How to Prepare for the GMAT?

What is the Best Time to Give GMAT for Students?

Deciding when to take the GMAT can be particularly challenging for students. School exams, vacations, and other commitments all play a role in finding the right date. The GMAT is a crucial test, and you need to avoid distractions while preparing for it.

Taking the GMAT while still in your undergraduate program offers several advantages but it’s crucial to consider your academic workload and ongoing exams. Choose a date that allows for focused preparation without compromising your performance in your current studies. Don’t rush the process; aim for a date that balances both your academic commitments and GMAT preparation needs.

  • Your scores remain valid for five years, so you can apply to graduate programs later without retaking the test.
  • The academic environment keeps quantitative and verbal reasoning skills sharp, making it easier to grasp GMAT concepts.
  • Regular tests and assessments in college prepare you for the exam format and pressure of the GMAT.
  • You may have more flexibility during your studies to dedicate consistent study time to GMAT prep.

Also Read: Top MBA Programs and Colleges Abroad Without the GMAT

When to Give GMAT Exam for the Fall and Spring Intake?

As discussed before, the ideal time to take the GMAT depends on your target application deadlines and potential retake needs. Generally, aiming for 12–18 months before your first application deadline is recommended. This gives you ample time for preparation, test-taking, and potential retakes if necessary.

  • If you’re targeting a Fall 2025 program, consider taking the GMAT between August 2023 and February 2024. This allows enough time for score reporting before application deadlines and provides flexibility for retakes if needed.
  • For a Spring 2025 program, taking the GMAT in February or March of 2024 would be ideal. This ensures your score is available for early application rounds, while still offering a buffer for retakes.

When is the Best Time to Give GMAT as a Professional?

When you are a seasoned professional in the workplace, returning to education can be daunting, especially when you’re already juggling a career. Ideally, aim to take the GMAT one year before your academic program starts. This buffer gives you precious time for retakes if needed, ensuring you meet program deadlines without last-minute pressure. 

You’re not alone on this journey! Connect with fellow professionals in the Yocket community who’ve taken the GMAT firsthand. Learn from their experiences, tips, and study strategies to take the test with confidence. Ask questions, share insights, and build a support network that understands your situation.

Taking the GMAT while working requires smart planning and focused effort. Explore various study resources, from online courses and official guides to mobile apps and practice tests. Choose a schedule that fits your lifestyle, even if it means studying in smaller chunks throughout the day.

Also Read: Guide to the GMAT Preparation for Working Professionals

From the Desk of Yocket

Choosing the right time to take the GMAT can make a world of difference. Ideally, aim to take the GMAT at least 2 months before the first deadline of your target university to ensure score reporting times. Don’t rush into the test before you’re ready. It’s always better to analyze your upcoming schedule. Busy periods with work, exams, or other obligations might not be ideal for focused GMAT preparation. 

Choose a time and date that allows you to dedicate quality time to studying. GMAT test centers have varying schedules and capacities. Explore available dates and find a test center convenient for you, minimizing travel stress on test day. Retakes are an option. Leave sufficient time (at least 16 days) between attempts to allow for strategic adjustments and score improvement.

If you’re still struggling to make a decision, seek expert advice! Consider booking a 15-minute free consultation call with specialists. They can analyze your situation, including academic background, work experience, and target schools, to recommend a personalized test date tailored to your unique timeline and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions About When to Give GMAT Exam

When can I give GMAT examination?

How many days’ gap is required before I retake the GMAT?

When can you give GMAT if you’re applying to the fall intake of business schools?

When should you give GMAT if you’re applying to the Spring intake?

Is GMAT more difficult than the GRE?

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