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GMAT Exam dates – How to choose your test date in 2020

GMAT can be taken round the year and there are no specific period when the test can be taken. In fact, in the current times, you can take the GMAT from your home 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. However, it’s very important to pick a correct GMAT date because the goal of taking the GMAT is not only to ace it but also secure an admit from a top business school.

To choose a GMAT date suitable for yourself in 2020, the best strategy is to look backward and connect the dots. The idea of connecting the dots comes from a Stanford graduation speech. Steve Jobs in his famous Stanford graduation speech said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.” This quote is the core idea behind the ‘looking backward’ approach while deciding the best GMAT test date.

gmat test dates 2018 | how to choose your gmat test date 2018 - 2019

To make your preparation convenient, GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) offers flexible test dates. Therefore, to better understand, how to choose your GMAT test date in 2020, we’ll share some useful information on:

GMAT test dates and timings

GMAC, the owner of the GMAT exam offers it on many days throughout the year. There are no fixed dates. If you live in a city, there is a high probability that you can take the GMAT on almost every day of the week.

As far as the timing of the test is concerned, you can schedule the test in the morning or the afternoon.

Take a free trial to get unlimited access to concept files, live sessions, and practice questions. For any strategic advice for GMAT or MBA Admissions, write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com. We are the most reviewed GMAT prep company on gmatclub with more than 1880 reviews

Picking a GMAT exam date

To decide which GMAT test date and timing is suitable for you I would suggest you follow the ‘looking backward’ approach. This approach works because you go back from a fixed point of reference, i.e., Application deadline.

Here is how you should choose your GMAT exam date:

  1. Decide in which round you want to apply to your target business school
  2. Start preparing for the GMAT at least 8 – 10 months before the application deadline
  3. Take the GMAT at least 6 months before the deadline
  4. Keep a month or two in between for a possible GMAT retake
  5. Once you ace the GMAT, prepare your essays and arrange your LORs

In a nutshell, you should pick the GMAT exam date at least 6 months before the application deadline. For example, if your business school’s application deadline is September then you should pick your GMAT date in March.

Let’s understand in detail:

5 step process of choosing a GMAT date

The first step of this process is to decide which round of MBA application you are targeting. Take a look at the table below to understand better.

Let me take the example for Round 1 of the MBA application to explain ‘looking backward’ approach to finding your suitable GMAT test date.

1. The Round 1 application deadlines for most B-schools fall in September or October. Hence, consider this date as a reference point.

2. To apply in September, you’ll need at least a month to prepare your essays & resume, and arrange for great letters of recommendation. Therefore, you’ll have to start working on your essays by August.

3. You’ll move on to essays, only if you feel you have achieved your target GMAT score. A good GMAT score is one, which is 20+ points more than your target Business School’s last year incoming batch’s average GMAT score. Know more about average GMAT scores of top US and European business schools. Therefore, it is essential to keep a buffer period for a possible GMAT retake if you are not satisfied with your previous GMAT score. Take the possible retake in July and ace the GMAT

4. It would be wise to first analyze your weak areas in your GMAT preparation if you fail to achieve your GMAT score. So, prepare for 1-2 months for your retake. According to this timeline, prepare in May – June for your retake.

5. Since you are keeping the possibility of a retake open in July, you should plan your first GMAT test attempt in April for Round 1 of the MBA application cycle, which is 5-6 months before your application deadline.

How to choose your GMAT exam date

Round 1 – MBA Application

Round 1 deadline Prepare Essays, resume etc. Possible GMAT retake Prepare for Retake GMAT Test date
September – October August July May – June April

Round 2 – MBA Application

Round 2 deadline Prepare Essays, resume etc. Possible GMAT retake Prepare for Retake GMAT Test date
December – January November October August – September July

Round 3 – MBA Application

Round 3 deadline Prepare Essays, resume etc. Possible GMAT retake Prepare for Retake GMAT Test date
March – April February January November – December October

We strongly recommend not waiting until Round 3 of the MBA Application. Chances of getting a seat and a scholarship decreases drastically in this round.

GMAT timing – Depends whether you are a morning or an afternoon person. Hence, we recommend booking the slot which suits you the most. Then, you should practice your GMAT mocks around the same time slot with an objective to maximize your efficiency at that time of the day. For example, if you have scheduled your test in the morning, practice mocks in the morning itself in order to train yourself for that time.

GMAT Test Centres

There are 39 GMAT test centers in 34 cities in India.

Do you know that your final GMAT score can be affected by the quality of your test center? Read this article on ‘how to choose GMAT test centers’ and learn more.

To locate a test center nearest to you, visit the ‘Find a test center’ page of the GMAT official website.

GMAT Registration

You can register for GMAT from 6 months to 24 hours before your chosen test date. I would recommend scheduling your GMAT test date as early as possible so that you get your preferred GMAT test date and time.

Here is an article which explains the GMAT registration process step by step (with pictures)

Rescheduling and Cancelling GMAT

Starting Sept 26, 2019 GMAT has changed its rescheduling and cancellation policies. Here is the updated information.

Learn how to reschedule or cancel your GMAT exam in detail.


  1. Register early to get your preferred GMAT test date
  2. Keep all the necessary information handy before registration
  3. Choose your GMAT test date carefully using the ‘looking backward’ approach. Take your GMAT at least 6 months before the application deadline
  4. If you are a differently-abled person, you can make an accommodation request to GMAC
  5. If you wish to cancel or reschedule your GMAT exam date, do it at least 7 days before your scheduled date

GMAT related FAQs

What is GMAT?

GMAT is a 3 hour 7 min long standardized test that is taken as a part of your business school application. Here is detailed information on the GMAT.

How much does it cost to take the GMAT?

GMAT typically charges a registration fee of US $250 for most countries of the world. But, it’s different for a few countries. For example, in the US, the GMAT fee is $275. Moreover, there are at least 5 other costs associated with the GMAT. Here is complete info on the costs.

What makes me eligible to take the GMAT

There are a total of 8 factors that make you eligible for the GMAT. This article explains those 8 criteria.

What is the difference between GMAT and CAT?

GMAT is taken mostly for business schools outside India and CAT is taken for the majority of business schools in India. This article on GMAT vs CAT outlines the differences in detail.

Can I use CAT prep to ace the GMAT?

Yes, you can. However, there is a catch. There are a few things you’d have to learn for GMAT from scratch. Take a look at this article to know about those topics.

What are the best GMAT books?

We have outlined 6 good GMAT books and a few online resources that’ll help you ace the GMAT in this article. Take a look.

What is the GMAT syllabus?

GMAT syllabus is a set of topics tested in the four sections of the GMAT. Take a look at the detailed topics in this article.

What is the difference between GMAT and GRE?

GMAT is primarily taken for admission to business schools and GRE is taken for other graduate programs. However, there are 6 key differences in the format of the test. Take a look at this article to understand the differences.

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