If GMAT has been on your mind lately and you are wondering what is the best time to take the exam, then this article will help answer your queries. There is clearly a difference between knowing when you are ready to give the GMAT and what is the best time to appear for it!

A number of factors come into play in deciding when you are ready for the test, such as the time available to study, your pace of learning, your target score, and your current skills. However, if you are facing difficulty picking out the best month of the year to write the GMAT, there are other factors to consider.

So, when should you give your GMAT?

You already know that the GMAT scores are valid for 5 years, so those who do not have an immediate plan to go for a business degree, can give the test when they are ready. However, if you wish to enroll yourself in a school this year, then July is the best month for you to appear for the GMAT. Let’s discuss why –

Most top B-schools have their Round 1 Application deadline in mid of September. Now, Round 1 is generally the best time to apply as getting a Scholarship is much easier in Round 1.

If you need to apply by mid of Sept, you will at least need 30 days for completing your applications. Also, it is good to have a buffer of 20 days in case you need to retake the GMAT and push your score up a notch. So, taking everything into account, you should ideally take the first attempt at GMAT by July.

Suggested Read: How to Effectively Plan Studies for GMAT?

What is the right time to start your GMAT preparation?

On an average, GMAT prep will require 200-450 hours of effort depending upon your the resources you are using, your current skill level, and the speed with which you learn. Here’s how you can identify when is the ideal time for you to start your prep –

If you’re a working professional and you can invest around 20 hrs per week to study, you’re looking at a prep time of anywhere between 2.5-5 months for prep. Let’s take the average that is 4 months. Now, if we count backwards from July, then you should ideally start your GMAT preparation right away, i.e. in March without delay. Otherwise, you  might find yourself short of time at the last moment.

What does starting GMAT preparation mean?

Starting your preparation means, giving it your 100% and working with a plan of action that clearly demarcates what is to be done when and from where. Ensure that you get into the learning mode and assess yourself at regular intervals. If you feel that you’re lagging behind, connect with an expert and get the right advice to improve your score.

What happens if you don’t start prepping at least 6 months in advance?

Unless you have an above average IQ or have more time than 30 hrs in a week to study, you might end up pushing your application to Round 2, something which might have an adverse impact on your chances of landing a scholarship. So, it is best to get started with GMAT Preparation before it is too late!

You Might Also Want to Read: 3 Mistake to Avoid At the Start of Your GMAT Prep


If you want to choose between giving the test to be there for the Round 1 of admissions at your dream B-school or give the test when you are really ready, the second option is always better. Not only do you enhance your chances of scoring higher on GMAT when you are well-prepared, you are also likely to end up with multiple options to choose from.