When to start preparing for GMAT/GRE?


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Updated on Sep 20, 2023 13:57 IST

Pursuing your masters from a university abroad is perhaps a one-way ticket to success in today’s competitive world.  Whether it is MS in Engineering disciplines, MBA, philosophy, sociology, psychology, or any other field, the journey begins with GMAT / GRE preparation. All the colleges that you select, will require GMAT score or GRE score. Moreover, remember, well begun is half done! Therefore, preparing for  GRE / GMAT is of utmost importance. However, the question that puzzles the students is that when should I start preparing for GMAT or when should I start preparing for GRE?

There are a few things an applicant must keep in mind before deciding when to appear for the GMAT or GRE exams.

  • The scores would be required when you send in your application.
  • You can re-take the exams but there is a limitation (mentioned below)


GRE Exam

5 times in a calendar year subject to a gap of 31 days between two consecutive attempts                                                        

5 times in a continuous rolling 12 month period from the beginning of the first test with a gap of minimum 21 days between two consecutive attempts

Also, the scorecard would be provided after 10 to 15 days of taking the test. All these factors added, you must write your exams in such a manner so that you have enough time for a re-test before the application process starts.

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Simply put, no matter how well you practice, things can go wrong. Maybe your system on which you take the exam gets hung, or you could have a bad case of flu or something else. The best thing to do is to plan for any contingencies and leave yourself time enough for a repeat exam, if necessary. Also, you might want to revisit your scores in case you do not make it in the first round of applications. Sometimes, even the universities ask you to provide a revised score while they are deciding on your candidature. Time, hence, is of utmost importance. Delay in writing the exam could potentially delay your admission by one year!

Starting with your application, let us understand that writing the examinations are the first step to your application process. You start the process the moment you submit your exam scores, which is as soon as you click on the option before you write the exam. You give the testing centers permission and your scores would be flashed to the universities of your choice…so you the time you write the GMAT/ GRE is potentially also the time when you let your interest be known to the universities abroad.

Now, technically speaking, let us presume that you are planning to apply for the primary intake, which is usually the September / October intake across various universities.  The application for most of the universities usually begin 10 - 12 months before the intake and go on till about 4 months before. Accordingly, we suggest that you should write the exams at least 14 months prior to the intended session you wish to get enrolled in.

In other words, say you are interested in seeking admissions or joining classes from September 2023. The application for these intakes would ideally start somewhere in October 2022 and go one across various universities across the world till about May 2023. So with this timeline, we would suggest that you appear for your GMAT / GRE not later than July of 2022. In this case then, you would have ample time to apply for the applications starting in September for next year’s fall intakes. Also, in case your score was not good enough, you would still have time enough to re-take the test and write it latest by early September to still make the deadline!

Now to answer the all important question which began it all...When to start preparing for your GMAT/GRE?

We recommend that you give yourself at least 2 and maximum 6 months to prepare for your GMAT / GRE. Depending on your own pace and your confidence level with the various sections of the examinations, a minimum 2 months and a maximum of 6 months of preparation time is ideal. Doing the math and keeping in mind that the scores are valid for a period of 5 years, we recommend that you start preparing for the exams at least 18 months before the intended start of session. Sor if you are interested in starting your post graduation from a university abroad from September 2023, now is the time to gear up and start preparing.

Remember, the mantra for studying abroad is simple…start early and you increase your chances of success! So, get set...Go!

Additional Reads:

Understand GMAT Pattern

Understand GRE Pattern

GMAT Syllabus

GRE Syllabus

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2 years ago

I want to start preparation for GRE.What are the procedures to follow to get good rank.. I'm studying 3rd year BME 6th semester now..can anyone guide me.. pls



sera masumi

3 years ago

Can i give GRE in Feb 2021 and get into universities in 2021 itself? please answer. If not, when shouldni give GRE now

Reply to sera masumi

apply now for GRE and give the test by December !!! for fall intake 2021 u have to give it this year


Chahat Gupta

4 years ago

Hi I am Chahat and my second year of college has begun .I want to get to U.S.A for MBA how should I prepare and go about it ? When should I start applying in different universities ?

Reply to Chahat Gupta



5 years ago

Hi I studied Btech NIT Trichy ECE with 6.6 GPA and working at BOA for 1.7 years and now i want to pursue MS in BigData analytics in Canada. Should i take GRE or IELTS

Reply to RAHUL RAJ


Kriti Anand

6 years ago

can i get scholarship while studying in us or in uropian countries ? please telme how to apply for full fee waiver ... i want to study in 0 cost

Reply to Kriti Anand


Ansh Dixit

5 years ago

Actually it completely depends on the university whether you will get a scholarship or not, cause they consider some external factor including gre scores to give scholarship Germany provides 100% scholarship for foreign students but in europe and usa you would have to pay.