A lot of students ponder over this question! You need to factor in a lot of parameters-
deadlines, preparation time & strategy! Looking backward and connecting the dots is the greatest technique for selecting an appropriate GMAT exam date for yourself.
The concept of connecting the dots was inspired by a Stanford graduation address. "You
can't join the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward" stated
Steve Jobs in his legendary Stanford graduation speech. This comment epitomizes the
"looking backward" method to determine the optimum GMAT test date.
Picking a GMAT exam date
We recommend using the "looking backward" strategy to choose which GMAT test date and schedule is best for you. This method works because it starts from a defined point of
reference, namely the Application deadline.
Here's how you should schedule your GMAT exam:
1. Determine the round in which you want to apply to your desired business school.
2. Begin studying for the GMAT at least eight to ten months before the application date.
3. Schedule your GMAT exam at least 6 months before the deadline.
4. Allow a month or two for a prospective GMAT retake.
5. After you've aced the GMAT, write your essays and plan your LoRs.
In a nutshell, you should pick the GMAT exam date at least 6 months before the application deadline. For example, if your business school's application deadline is September then you should pick your GMAT date in March.
Let's understand in detail:
The 5-step process of choosing a GMAT date
The first step in this process is to determine which round of MBA applications you intend to pursue.
Let us use Round 1 of the MBA application as an example to demonstrate the "looking
backward" strategy for identifying a suitable GMAT test date.
1. Most B-schools have Round 1 application deadlines in September or October. As a result, use this date as a starting point.
2. You'll need at least a month to prepare your essays and CV, as well as arrange for
excellent letters of recommendation if you want to apply in September. As a result, you must begin writing your essays by August.
3. You will proceed to the essays only if you believe you have attained your goal GMAT score. A strong GMAT score is one that is 20+ points higher than the average GMAT score of your desired Business School's previous year's entering class. Thus, it is critical to plan ahead of time for a possible GMAT retake if you are dissatisfied with your previous GMAT score.
4. If you fail to attain your GMAT score, you should first assess your weak areas in your
GMAT preparation. So, plan on retaking the exam in 1-2 months. Prepare for your
retake in May-June, according to this schedule.
5. Because you expect to retake the GMAT in July, you should schedule your first GMAT test attempt in April for Round 1 of the MBA application cycle, which is 5-6 months before your application deadline.
Take a look at the table below to get a better understanding:
Preparation for Admissions Formalities