This is a question that goes in the mind of every test taker. When should I really start preparing? Well the answer depends on when do you want to attend the business school. GMAT scores are valid for a couple of years (5) and thus if you are not planning as soon as you give the GMAT then this is not a concern for you. This post is intended more for people who want to finish the process- from GMAT to attending a B school- in a single shot- meaning take the GMAT and then apply for the schools right away.
That needs some planning and you need to understand the application process of the B schools. Let me cover a little bit about the application process. Most of the schools have a couple of rounds in the application process- early bird, round 1, round 2, round 3 etc. Although there are many rounds, typically it is round 1 and round 2. You have to plan your applications around the round 1 and round 2 deadlines. I have visited many schools and talked with the Adcom of schools and typically there is much difference between your acceptance rate between round 1 and round 2. Round 3 become more competitive and you might want to avoid that. Now Round 1 deadlines for most of the schools are in the first week of October and Round 2 deadlines are in the first week of Jan. In order to come up with good applications and plan the schools visits and talking to professors, you will require about 3 months before the deadline. 3 month is a good time for preparing for the application essays and knowing more about the schools. Also remember that you would be spending quite a time on your essays and that shall go through multiple round of iterations.
You can plan to spend about 3 months on your GMAT preparation or take expert help and reduce it by 1-month. Plan to secure 700 and beyond for the top 10 schools and Grockit definitely becomes very useful in achieving your goal with the other Official material. So when do you really take the GMAT. Let’s work it backwards from the Round 1 application deadlines. That would be end of June. So if you clear your GMAT by end of June, you are in a good position to submit your applications in the round 1. Also let’s say you didn’t secure your target score in GMAT. Still you would have ample time to take another shot at the GMAT and clear GMAT in july and then proceed towards applying for round 1. In case you miss the round 1 deadline, then you can plan to apply in round 2- that statistically is very similar to the round 1.
If you are planning round 2, then you should be done with your GMAT by end of September at the latest to have ample time for your application preparation.
So in summary:
Round 1 applicants- Finish GMAT by June end and start preparing for GMAT beginning March-April.
Round2 applicants- Finish GMAT by September end and start preparing for GMAT beginning May- June.
Once planned in this manner, you would have ample time for each step and then attend your dream B school. Also remember 5P’s – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance and that’s the reason we are here at Grockit :-) Helping you achieve your best - from start to finish.
Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide
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Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning
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