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GMAT Test Dates | 2016, 2017, 2018 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


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?


  • 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 for a GMAT exam date?

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. For an idea of what a 700 GMAT score looks like, it may be helpful to check out our GMAT Score Calculator. 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 for your GMAT date.

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

2 Responses to GMAT Test Dates | 2016, 2017, 2018 and Beyond!

  1. 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. 🙂

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