What is the best time to take GMAT?

Most MBA aspirants wonder what is the most appropriate time to take GMAT, in view of their aspiration to utilize their GMAT score towards fulfilling their MBA aspirations. This blog hopes to answer this question.

Before we attempt to answer this question, few points that should be kept in mind:

  1. Once you have a GMAT score, the score is valid for 5 years. In other words, you can utilize your score for next 5 years, to apply to b-schools
  2. Generally all b-schools require at least 2 years of work experience
  3. GMAT preparation normally needs 3-4 months of good preparation
  4. Apart from GMAT score, MBA aspirants also need to fill up an application (comprising resume, Statement of Purpose, essays, and Letter of recommendation) for each school that they are applying to

Coming back to the question that we intend to answer, let's break the question into two parts:

  1. Best time to take GMAT, if you are in college
  2. Best time to take GMAT, If you are working (post college)

Best time to take GMAT, If you are in college

College

If you are still in college and planning to appear in GMAT, congratulations that you have the foresight to prepare for GMAT well in advance of when you will actually be using your GMAT score for b-school admissions. College is actually a good time to prepare for GMAT, since you are still in an academic frame of mind, which is very important for GMAT preparation. Moreover, once they start working, many people find it difficult to manage their fulltime work and GMAT preparation simultaneously.

Most college goers would be first completing their college and then work for a minimum of 2 years (post college), before they are eligible to apply for their MBA. Considering this, we suggest that you appear in GMAT only in the final year of your college. This will ensure that even after you become eligible for MBA (2 years after college), your GMAT score would continue to be valid for 3 more years (considering that GMAT scores are valid for 5 years), thereby giving you sufficient number of years to build your profile and apply for MBA.

Best time to take GMAT, if you are working (post college)

Work

Believe it or not, the MBA admission process starts almost one year in advance of when the actual MBA classes start. For example, for MBA session (classes) that will start in May next year, the MBA admission process will start in August-September this year! Hence, if you aspire to start your MBA next year (May), you have to ensure that you are ideally done with your GMAT by July-August this year. This will give you sufficient time to work on your applications and submit them in time.

Further, since you hope to get done with GMAT by July-August this year, you should start your GMAT preparation latest by March-April this year (considering that GMAT preparation requires 3-4 months of preparation time).

Summary

To summarize,

1) If you are in college, your final year of college is the best time to appear in GMAT


2) If you are working and hope to start your MBA next year, you should be ideally done with your GMAT by July-August this year.