Which MBA programs to apply to isn't the only decision you have to make. After you have figured out where you want to go, you have to make plans for the GMAT. You need to determine the best time to take the test.

When is the best time to take the GMAT? With the computerized testing procedures, this question has become more interesting than it was in the days of paper-based tests. Now you have got much more flexibility when choosing the date and time for taking the test. 

The first step in the GMAT registration process is scheduling an appointment. Depending on the time of year, appointment times can go quickly. Usually, you have to wait at least a month for an open time. To determine what is available, you can go to the official GMAT website. From there, you can choose a testing location and find out what dates and times are available at that location.

The best time to take the GMAT is after you have had about four to two to three months of quality study time and during a period when you don't have a lot of other things going on to distract you. Of course, if your MBA program application is due in four weeks, schedule an appointment right away. If you have more flexibility, you should still plan to take the GMAT as soon as you think you have studied sufficiently.

1. You want to start your MBA program

If you are confident to begin business school within the next few semesters, you should consider taking the GMAT in the near future. After you know your score, you will be better able to narrow down the business schools you want to apply to. Then you can focus on the other parts of your application, and you won't have to worry about having an application due in four weeks and no GMAT score.

2. You are considering attending business school

Maybe you don't know whether you want to pursue an MBA. Even so, now is a good time to take the GMAT. Your GMAT score may help you decide that you have the skills to succeed academically in graduate business school. You may think that you don't have what it takes, but your performance on the GMAT may surprise you. If you do decide to apply to an MBA program, you will already have one key component of the application.

3. You are about to earn your bachelor's degree

If you are nearing graduation or have just graduated from college and you think you may want to get an MBA, it is better to take the GMAT now than wait until later. You are used to studying and tests. GMAT concepts are probably as fresh on your mind. You don't have to start an MBA program right away. Your GMAT scores are generally valid for up to five years, so you can take the test now and take advantage of your current skills as a student to get you into a great graduate program later.

Preparation Time for GMAT

Giving yourself about two to three months to study provides you with enough time to master the GMAT concepts but not so much time that you forget what you have studied by the time you sit for the test.

Choosing the time and day to take the GMAT is primarily up to you. Be honest with yourself about your habits, preferences, and schedule, and pick a time and day when you will excel.