offers hundreds of practice questions and video explanations. Go there now.

Sign up or log in to Magoosh GMAT Prep.

GMAT Test Dates | 2017, 2018, 2019 and Beyond!

Calendar for choosing GMAT Test Dates

If you are planning to apply to full-time MBA programs next year to start classes in the next 12-18 months, this is the perfect time to start preparing for your GMAT test date. Even if you aren’t planning to apply for another few years, it’s not too early to take the test! GMAT 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. These timelines are based on the most common deadlines for rounds of applications at top MBA programs. Most top schools set MBA application deadlines three times a year, in three rounds. Check with specific schools for exact deadlines for Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3. And check out this article for help figuring out which round you should apply in.

MBA Applications Round 1

December - FebruaryMarchApril - MayJuneJuly - AugustSeptember - October
StudyTake GMATStudyRetake GMATEssays, etc...Round 1 due

MBA Applications Round 2

March - MayJuneJuly - AugustSeptemberOctober-NovemberDecember - January
StudyTake GMATStudyRetake GMATEssays, etc...Round 2 due

MBA Applications Round 3

June - AugustSeptemberOctober - NovemberDecemberJanuary - FebruaryMarch - April
StudyTake GMATStudyRetake GMATEssays, etc...Round 3 due

Improve your GMAT score

When do I need to register for a GMAT test date?

You can register to the test anywhere between six months to 24 hours in advance of your GMAT test date (or GMAT test dates if you are retaking the test; remember you need to allow for a 16-day window between test days!). 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 GMAT?

If you’re like most typical GMAT preppers, you should start prepping 7-8 months before your application deadline, and take your test 4-5 months before you apply.

By giving you this advice, I am assuming the following:

  • You will take 3 months to study before the exam.
  • You will spend 15-20 hours a week studying,
  • You will retake the test if you are not happy with your score, and allow yourself a month or two for possible retake studies.
  • 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).
  • You will prepare for those other non-GMAT aspects on the “home stretch” of your B-school admissions journey, in the last several weeks before your final application deadline.

So that’s 3 months of initial GMAT study, plus 1-2 months that are kept free in case you need a retake, followed by 2 months of other application activities. That should be 6-7 month GMAT/application process timeline, right? So where did I get the 7-8 month estimate? By factoring in the amount of time it may take for your GMAT scores to arrive at the schools you’ve applied to.

Keep in mind that the GMAC says it can take up to 20 days for your test to be reported to schools. That could actually mean 21 days, depending on whether your test day scores get transmitted from the test center to GMAT central the same day you take the test, or the next day. There’s also a small chance that for some reason there could be unexpected delays in the GMAC sending our scores.

To be safe, you’ll want to take your exam 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. Giving yourself a few extra days beyond the 21 can’t hurt either. So really, there’s an extra month in there. That’s why I recommend taking your GMAT 7-8 months before your deadline instead of just 6-7.

Of course, your mileage may vary, in terms of how much time you really need for the GMAT< and when you should register. If you have more than 20 hours a week to study or have higher-than-average GMAT skills, you may need less time to prepare for your exam or a possible retake. Conversely, if you have fewer hours of spare time per week or lower baseline skills for the exam, you may need to reserve more prep time before you actually take the test. Also, while it isn't as common, some students get all of the soul searching, university visits, reference letter gathering and so on out of the way before they tackle the GMAT. If this sounds like you, then your GMAT prep time and test date will take a different position in your overall timetable for admissions.  

How long do I need to study for a GMAT exam date?

As I touched on above, the amount of time you’ll need to study will depend on your strengths and weaknesses, but according to a GMAC survey in 2017, students who scored 700+ prepared for an average of 90 hours.

While that’s a good baseline, it’s not uncommon to find you need more than that average 90 hours. This is especially true if you hit an unexpected snag. Many students find that some aspect of the exam is going to take more study than they thought. It’s also common to temporarily get “stuck,” temporarily unable to find a way to improve your practice scores until you figure out some new approaches. You’ll want to factor in some extra time for these sorts of common challenges.

So for a 700+ score, I recommend adding 20-30 hours to that 90-hour average, just in case. Factoring in your work or studies, and other “real life” responsibilities, this likely means 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 for your GMAT date. And of course, always keep your eyes on the prize, knowing what section scores you need for that top GMAT score. For an idea of what 700+ on the GMAT looks like, it may be helpful to check out our GMAT Score Calculator.
 

Ready to get an awesome GMAT score? Start here.

Most Popular Resources

8 Responses to GMAT Test Dates | 2017, 2018, 2019 and Beyond!

  1. Anisha February 11, 2018 at 8:26 am #

    Hello! I’m preparing for GMAT right now. I would be taking my test in either June or July 2018. I’m confident that I’ll get an acceptable score. Could you tell me when will I be sitting for classes if I get through with flying colors? Should I wait for Fall 2019 to pursue the MBA course? Or, will I be sitting in for Fall 2018 classes? Thanks in advance!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 11, 2018 at 12:44 pm #

      Hi Anisha,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not MBA admissions, but I can certainly give you some general advice about this! If you take the GMAT in June or July, then you will be on track to apply for schools in September or October (which is when many first round applications are due.) These applications are for admission in August 2019, so you will begin classes then. This blog post gives you some ideas for what you should be doing to prepare your applications! I recommend that you start to research schools and determine their deadlines and application processes because each school had slightly different processes!

  2. Myra January 9, 2018 at 11:12 pm #

    Hello! I’m preparing for GMAT right now. I would be taking my test in either June or July 2018. I’m confident that I’ll get an acceptable score. Could you tell me when will I be sitting for classes if I get through with flying colors? Should I wait for Fall 2019 to pursue the MBA course? Or, will I be sitting in for Fall 2018 classes? Thanks in advance!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 11, 2018 at 7:37 am #

      With with a summer 2018 test date, very few schools would have time to take you in for the Fall of 2018– that would simply be too short notice for most programs. With that said, if you really want to start in the Fall, it wouldn’t hurt to contact your target schools and ask them if it’s possible. (Again, this probably can’t be done but it never hurts to ask.)

      A Fall 2019 class is completely doable with a summer 2018 test date, of course. But a bit earlier could also be possible with some schools. There are universities that offer both fall and spring degree start dates. there are also some universities that offer classes on a trimester or quarterly basis, which could also translate into a potentially earlier-than-fall-2019 start if you get good scores on your summer exam.

      Ultimately, to be absolutely certain of when you could start, you’ll need to contact your target schools directly/

  3. Taro December 10, 2017 at 6:31 am #

    Hello Jen, it looks more and more schools are accepting GRE. What would be the difference between GMAT and GRE? I am wondering in which test I would be more scored.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 10, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

      Hi Taro,

      Great question! We have a few blog posts that cover this topic–I recommend that you check them out 🙂
      GRE or GMAT for Business School
      GMAT or GRE?
      This infographic comes from our GRE blog and will also help you make a decision. Good luck!

  4. Tony February 23, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

    Jen, you don’t need to wait 31 days to retake the gmat anymore, you need to wait only 16 days now.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 24, 2017 at 2:16 am #

      Good catch, Tony. You’re right– the rules have changed, and now you only need to wait 16 days between two takes of the GMAT. I’ve updated the post accordingly. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. 🙂


Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply