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Important GMAT Test Dates for 2016

If you are planning to apply to full-time MBA programs next year to start classes in 2017, this is the perfect time to start preparing for the GMAT. Even if you aren’t planning to apply for another few years, it’s not too early to take the test! Test scores are valid for five years so the sooner you can get this test out of the way, the more time you will have to focus on other aspects of your application, and the less stressed out you will be when deadlines start rolling around.

These timelines will help guide you as you start planning your preparation calendar for the next year. Check out this article for help figuring out which round you should apply in.

Round 1


Round 2


Round 3


When do I need to register for the test by?

You can register to the test anywhere between six months to 24 hours in advance of your test date. Unlike the SAT, the GMAT is offered on an ongoing basis, but if you wait too late to register, spots may fill up and you may not get the dates/times you prefer.

When should I plan on taking the test?


  • You will take 3 months to study
  • You will retake the test if you are not happy with your score
  • You will use 2 months to prepare other aspects of your application (writing essays, working with recommenders, doing research and visiting schools, soul-searching, etc.)

Keep in mind that the GMAC recommends that you take the test at least 21 days prior to your application deadline, so that there is ample time for your scores to be processed and sent to your school.

How long do I need to study?

The amount of time you’ll need to study will depend on your strengths and weaknesses, but according to a GMAC survey in 2014, students who scored 700+ prepared for an average of 121 hours. Factoring in your full-time job and real life, this gives you about 3 months of study time. We have super-detailed study schedules that I would highly recommend you take a look at to help you plan.

By the way, sign up for our 1 Week Free Trial to try out Magoosh GMAT Prep!

24 Responses to Important GMAT Test Dates for 2016

  1. uche awurumibe October 19, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    Hi, I applied to a US based university for a course that’s slightly diversified from my major i.e technology management to business administration. I am required to submit a GMAT score before the end of november. When can I register and what are your takes on my preparation?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 20, 2016 at 7:47 am #

      GMAT scores are sent out to schools 20 days after your test date. If your school receives GMAT scores electronically, this means you’ll need to take the test at least 20 days before the end of November. If your school only receives GMAT scores by mail, then you’ll need around 27 days if your school is in America, possibly a full month (or a little longer) if you school is outside of the USA.

      So you’ll want to take the exam int he next week or two. As long as the local testing centers have an extra seat on short notice, you can register for the GMAT in as little as 24 hours before you actually take it.

      Ultimately, you’ll need to take the GMAT in the next week, or the next two weeks at most. If you haven’t started preparing yet, I recommend going through official GMAT materials only, such as the GMAT Official Guide or the free GMATPRep software from the official testing website. If you want to supplement those essentials with anything else, a nice third-party online service such as Magoosh GMAT could also be useful. But in this short time frame, the official “must have” materials should be your top priority.

  2. Ayo Olu October 12, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

    I would like to apply for a masters program in Finance in Jan 2018. When is the best time to take the test and start the application to a university in America? What score should I also get to receive scholarship?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 12, 2016 at 8:34 pm #

      Hi Ayo,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions or funding advice, so I’m afraid that I can’t give you a great answer to this question! We recommend that you finish with all of your standardized tests at least a month before your first deadline so that you have time to craft your application. So, you’ll have to do some research on your target schools to find out when their applications are due, and make sure that you take your test a month before the first deadline! Scholarship and funding decisions are made by individual schools and are based on your entire profile and need, not just GMAT scores–there isn’t a minimum score for scholarships. You can also contact your target schools for more information on this 🙂

  3. Chhavi October 10, 2016 at 6:39 am #

    I am a biology student and a PhD.
    My interest is more in the business field. So I am thinking for MBA degree.
    I am a mother of 2 kids, not working these days.
    How much time i need to devote for the preparation?
    Can you, please give me an idea for the preparation as it’s a long time for me to study.


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 12, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

      Hi Chhavi,

      This answer really depends on your ‘natural’ abilities and time availability. If you are pretty good at standardized tests, comfortable with math and grammar,and can devote around 3 hours a day to studying, then you can probably prepare in one month. If on the other hand you struggle with standardized tests, need a lot of work to brush up on your math and grammar and have only an hour or two a day to study, then you might consider the three month study plan. The GMAT covers a lot of concepts and it can be difficult to learn, so generally the longer you study, the better you do. Students who study for three months may cover the same amount of material as those who study for one month, but they have a better chance at a higher score because they have more time to assimilate the information. This blog post might be helpful: 🙂

      • chhavi gupta October 13, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

        Thank you very very much

  4. Paul owusu jr September 12, 2016 at 10:17 am #

    I am a third year math student in Knust, Ghana. I also want to master in analytical finance straight from graduation from my undergraduate level. I researched a little and got to know that that program is very competitive in the application. My undergraduate GPA for now is good but not great and I’m planning of taking the GMAT before I complete so that I enter just after graduation. I’m aiming for a very high score on the GMAT. So if I get a score around 700 in the GMAT, with a GPA not up to 3.0, can I gain admission into a second tier school with a course which is very competitive in its application

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 13, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

      With a GMAT at 700, you’d be above the average GMAT score at many second tier schools. A GPA of 3.0 would put you a little below average for GPA, and it might also put you below the minimum GPA requirements. You’d still have a chance– some schools are flexible on GPA requirements if other aspects of your application are strong. (It helps to also have some business/work experience.)

      Still, this is a specialized kind of program you’re trying to enter. And grad program policies on GPA vary a lot. You may want to start checking the GPA and GMAT requirements at these kinds of programs right now. If you see a lot og analytical finance grad programs that say they want a 3.0 GPA, you could contact them to see if they’re ever willing to bend the rule.s But you should also work as hard as you can to maintain a 3.0. If you have 700 on the GMAT and a 3.0, you’ll likely be able to get into any second tier school, and possibly some of the top schools.

  5. Anuj Gupta September 12, 2016 at 2:28 am #


    I am having 4+ years in Cyber Security Domain (Information Security) and now planning for Executive MBA 2017 from top B-school.

    Could you please suggest me how long it take to prepare working person for the GMAT exam and also if possible share the dates of this exam?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 13, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

      How long it takes you to prepare for the exam depends on a few factors. The hours you work are definitely a factor. Some working people put in 35-40 hours a week, while others put in 55-60. The prep timeline you need also depends on your current level of GMAT skill. If you’re out of practice in certain aspects of the GMAT, then it will take you longer to get to your target score. The third thing you need to consider is what your actual target score is. This can vary from B-school to B-school, especially for EMBA programs. So you’ll want to look at the requirements for specific schools you plan to apply to.

      Generally though, if you have 2-3 hours a day and a bit more time on weekends, you can be GMAT-ready in 3 months or so. If you can set aside 3-5 hours of study time per day and even more on weekend,s you might be able to reach your target score in a month. Read through the plans on the Magoosh GMAT Study Schedule list to get an idea of what a one or three month plan might look like.

  6. Vamsi Voleti September 10, 2016 at 11:13 pm #

    I am currently in my final year of engineering in one of the tier 1 colleges in India. I would be graduating in April 2017 and would like to study mba as soon as i graduate. When should i take the test? Nd what would be a safe score to get into a top bschool as i wont have any work experience?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 11, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

      Hi Vamsi,

      If you are planning to start your MBA straight out of college in the Fall 2017, you would need to take your GMAT as soon as possible. The application of most of the top business schools require a year’s preparation. For example, deadlines for Round 1 for the Fall 2017 are now (Sept-Oct 2016). Round 2 is Nov 2016 to Jan 2017. Round 3 is Jan 2017 to March 2017. For the specific programs that you’re interested in, I would recommend checking the schools’ Round 2 and 3 deadlines. Then, you should take your GMAT at least 21 days prior to your deadline. However, you may want to take it sooner than this, so you can build in time for a retake and your application.

      It’s also hard to say what would be a “safe” score to get into a top program given that all programs look at individuals differently and their overall application package. The GMAT, although important, is not the only deciding factor. Given that you don’t have work experience, I would try to reach for the upper range of your target school’s scores. However, again this is not the only factor.

  7. joe July 18, 2016 at 8:14 am #

    Should I gain work experience for studying in B-schools / Should I proceed directly MBA after completing my UG course

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 20, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

      Straight to MBA,or work before MBA? There are really a lot of advantages and disadvantages to either route. Good work experience makes it easier to get accepted into competitive MBA programs, and people with demonstrated business experience can also be accepted with lower GMAT scores. On the other hand, if you can immediately go into your MBA and be done in just two years, you can enter the workforce on a higher pay scale, with just a minor delay.

      And of course, there are plenty of MBA classes that are part time, scheduled evenings, or are online with flexible hours. In that case, you can start work and B-school at the same time, as soon as you finish your undergrad.

  8. Sunny George July 13, 2016 at 8:51 am #

    I’ll be completing my B.E. by May 2017 and my preparations are yet to begin. By when should i start preparing and by when will i be able to take up my first test?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 23, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

      Assuming you want to start an MBA in the Fall of 2017, you should start preparing for the GMAT as soon as possible. For one thing, many top schools require you to apply to their MBA programs nearly a year before you actually start. So you may need to actually have a GMAT score submitted to certain top schools within the next month or two. But even if you are applying to other top schools and mid-tier schools that only need your application materials a few months in advance, it’s still best to start prepping for the GMAT as soon as you can. The more time you have for GMAT prep, the better chance you have of getting a highly competitive top score. Practice makes perfect, and more practice time means greater perfection.

  9. Sarita Khotani May 1, 2016 at 12:26 am #

    I have completed my MBA from one of the teir II colleges in India and currently I am working and have two years of experience. Is it a good choice to go for GMAT and take up a PhD course or shall I look for another Post graduation degree?

    Please suggest…

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 2, 2016 at 3:54 am #

      Hi Sarita,

      Good question! Many people are in a similar position as you, I’m sure. 🙂

      The answer is not based on which degree you “should” get next but rather what your particular goals are and what degree or program will best support your goals. A PhD program more typically takes the GRE rather than the GMAT, but another business-oriented program (like another postgrad one) might look for a GMAT score instead. You should take some time to really determine what your goals are and how more school will help you achieve those goals before you sink time and money into any path. 🙂

      • Sarita Khotani May 2, 2016 at 3:59 am #

        Thanks a lot for your response and your advice. It helps a lot 🙂

  10. CJ January 11, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    hey, if i am aiming to apply for the late rounds here in march, whats the latest i should be looking at taking the GMAT. I have all the applications filled out, the GMAT is the last hurdle to get over. I plan on taking it once and going with hopefully a good score. What would you suggest as far as the time to take it? Thanks!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 2, 2016 at 1:08 am #

      Hi CJ,

      Sorry for the late reply! 🙂

      The GMAC website says that “Within 20 days of your test, your Official Score Report will be sent to up to five (5) programs that you selected.” So you need to make sure you take the test with enough time to allow for that 20-day window. I don’t know exactly when in March your deadlines are, but this rule of thumb should help!

  11. Gyanesh November 5, 2015 at 2:36 am #

    Hi Jen,

    I want to know if B Schools are also concerned about the number of times a candidate appear for the GMAT. If schools are concerned about it, then is it a good idea to have a glimpse of probable GMAT score by taking practice test and should take GMAT only when I would be getting score above 700 in practice test.

    • Dani Lichliter
      Dani Lichliter November 5, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

      Hi Gyanesh,
      Thanks for your question! Business schools will be looking at your highest score and are less concerned about how many times you take the test. That said, taking the GMAT is expensive and a lot of work! I would recommend studying with one of our study schedules before taking the GMAT for the first time. Save this article for after your exam when you are trying to decide if you should retake the test.
      Best of luck with your studies!

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