If you want to pursue your MBA degree abroad, you need to take the GMAT exam. Your GMAT scores determine your admission into the university of your preference. Therefore, you will need to ensure that you prepare well to reach your target score in the exam. In this article, we will help you understand what is the ideal preparation time for the GMAT exam, if you are applying for admissions during fall.
Ideal Preparation Time for GMAT Fall Admission
The first and foremost factor influencing your preparation time will be to decide which business schools you are applying to. Since most business schools have their own application deadlines you will have to ensure that you take your GMAT and receive your scores well in advance. An ideal time period will be to have your GMAT scores ready 3 months prior to your B-school application deadlines. Many business schools have multiple application rounds and you will have to take into consideration the deadlines for the application round you are applying for. Additionally, if you complete your GMAT exam 3 months earlier then you also have time to concentrate on other aspects of your application like your essay, your CV, SOP, LOR, etc.
Once you are aware of your b-school application deadlines, you can decide how much time it will take you to complete preparing for the GMAT exam. While most students require 3-6 months to complete studying for the GMAT, you must remember that the time taken to prepare for the exam is different for each candidate.
We have compiled a few factors which you must keep in mind to help you estimate the preparation time for your GMAT exam.
- Time taken for GMAT prep — You must decide how long your preparation will take, depending on the topics you have to complete studying. If you are a working professional, then you have to manage both your work and studies. Having said that, allot at least 6 to 8 weeks for preparing for the GMAT.
- Including time for a GMAT retake — You must set aside time for a retake as well. This is just to ensure you have time to take the exam again in case you are not satisfied with your GMAT scores at your first attempt. Also, remember that the official score report takes about 21 days to reach you and the business schools you are applying for admissions. So, you have to make calculations accordingly. You must also remember that while you can attempt the exam upto 5 times in a year, there must be a 16 day gap between the attempts. Ensure that you factor in all of these points before you schedule your exam and commence your preparation.
- Schedule time for each component of the application — Your GMAT application includes various components such as your Statement of Purpose-SOP, Letters of Recommendation, Resume, essays. Preparing all of these elements of your application will take you anywhere between 3 to 5 months. So, you have to complete your exam almost 1 year before you begin your B-school program. Hence, if you wish to pursue your MBA degree in Fall 2022, then you must have your scores before August 2021. We would advise you to accordingly commence your preparation much earlier so that you can join your MBA program at the desired time.
- Test Centre Availability — Although the GMAT can be taken throughout the year, you must check for test centre availability before you schedule your exam. Since most candidates will also be taking the exam during this time, the slots at the centres tend to fill up quickly. We would recommend you book your test date 3 months in advance to get a slot at the test centre closest to you.
Now, let us now learn more about the Fall admissions cycle timeline and the steps you need to follow to get admission in the university of your preference.
Target Round 1 Admission Cycle
Most students apply to universities in the Round 1 admission cycle that commences from August and lasts till September. This is commonly known as the “Fall Admissions Cycle”. It is popular among students because there is a wider availability of colleges for selection and you can also apply for scholarships during this cycle of admissions.
The Fall semester application process commences in the month of August and the college deadlines are often between November and February. For example, for admissions in Fall of 2022, you must begin your application process by August 2021.
Let us now look at when you need to prepare for the exam, when to attempt the GMAT and how much time to allot for reattempts.
Step 1: August-September-October to be dedicated completely to your GMAT preparation. Ensure to complete studying all the topics of the GMAT syllabus and attempt sufficient mock exams to help you reach your target score in the GMAT.
Step 2 : November – Attempt the GMAT
You would now be confident with your preparation and can go ahead and take the GMAT exam. Once you have completed the exam you will be able to view your raw scores or unofficial scores of the exam. You have the option to either accept or decline the scores. If you are unhappy with your performance you can reject the scores and register for a reattempt 16 days after your previous attempt of the exam.
Step 3: December- January- February:
Devote your time in December for re-attempts of the GMAT if you feel your scores in the GMAT are not upto your expectations. You will have to wait a period of 16 days before your reattempt and will also need to make a full payment of the GMAT exam fees.
These 3 are the most crucial months because you will have to prepare all components of your profile (SOP, LOR, CV, essays etc) and submit your applications to the universities. Most universities have their regular decision application deadlines in the months of January or February.
Step 4: March – April – May
You hear back from the colleges whether you have been accepted and gained admissions by March or April. You will be expected to confirm and respond to the acceptance letter by the month of May.
Step 5 : August – The month of your admissions
Finally, the month of August is when you will join the world’s prominent colleges where you have secured admissions to pursue your MBA degree. You will have to keep all the required documents ready so that you have a smooth onboarding process at your university.
We hope this article has helped you gain a better understanding of the ideal preparation time for securing admissions in the Fall admissions cycle.