Making a timeline for your GMAT to B-School Journey

April 13, 2011

Before you start your GMAT preparation, you MUST have a timeline. Basically a good time to start the GMAT preparation is the start of the year. I will tell you why!
Let’s work backwards. Eventually you will have to apply to a B-School. Let’s say you are an international applicant, you must apply no later than Round 2. Now you would ideally want to apply in Early Decision Rounds or Round 1, and keep a few backup schools in Round 2. This translates to deadlines around Oct 1st to Oct 15th for the first set of applications. Now I am an expert on Applying to B-schools (that’s a different story!) and I know that even for the best writers, it takes around 2 months to write a good set of essays. But to make them great, plus filling out those lengthy forms, managing your transcripts, supporting documents and constantly poking your recommenders will add another 1 month to your timeline.
Now that means July, August and September are consumed in applying for the October Deadlines. Now you may like it or not, many people have to retake the GMAT and so keep that 1 Month buffer in your plan. That takes care of June too. BTW you cannot retake the GMAT within one month of your last attempt. So that’s why the 1 month buffer.
So that leaves you with 5 months. An average student takes around 3 months to prepare. All my students who have prepared gave the tests before May end. Now this may have started making you anxious. So now you see why I ask you to start early! So anyway, the point is you should start your preparation in full blow by March so that you have a good time line. But use that time in Jan and Feb to see what you are up against.

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