How to get an in person GMAT scheduled with no availability near you
Scheduling a GMAT, especially if you live in a place with a limited number of test centers, has always been a crapshoot. But it has gotten worse. And it’s just stressful.
We can’t magically produce appointments (unfortunately). On the plus side, you do have the option of taking the GMAT online, which has pretty much 24/7 availability. But, I can understand why you might want to take an in person exam. Maybe you don’t have a great at home setup for testing or want less of a chance of a technical issue.
Also, you might need an in person test because you are trying to apply the back to back “rapid retake” “mix and match” strategy.
Are there any secrets to finding a GMAT appointment?
- Just keep trying. Every day. People cancel and move their appointments constantly so I bet if you look twice a day for two weeks that you will find something reasonable.
- Widen your search (geographically). This can be annoying because who wants to travel a whole bunch on GMAT day. But you could travel a day or two before and stay in a hotel or airbnb.
Last thing I’d say on the subject: get your GMAT scheduled early (near the beginning of your preparation). You can always move it. Having a test scheduled not only takes the stress out of finding an appointment but gives your studying focus.
Any tips for planning the GMAT test date?
This really depends on the person and goals. But, from zero GMAT knowledge to first GMAT test day you probably want about three months. So you would be pretty safe planning for a test 12 weeks out. And if you want to be super safe go for 16 weeks out.
There are some exceptions of course.
If you have an admissions deadline then plan the GMAT based on that date. That’s not always ideal. Just because you have a deadline doesn’t mean that you will be ready. But, if it is a hard deadline then, again, plan a GMAT (or two) ahead of it.
If you are very far from your goal (need to improve 200 points) then the calculus might change a bit. You may not want to take an official GMAT until you are 60-70% of the way there. So, let’s say you are at a 500 and want 700+.
I would take the first GMAT as a practice test aiming for about a 600. Then, get back to the books for 5-6 weeks and take the first official GMAT aiming for 650+. After that, plan a third test aiming for 700+.
So that first 600+ may be at 11 or so weeks. The 650+ official exam may be at 17 weeks. The 700+ official attempt might be at 22 weeks.
These numbers will depend on your profile but just want to give you a sense for how you might plan.
A note on planning GMAT Retakes
Planning for multiple GMATs won’t hold you back. In fact, being realistic about what it’s going to take will contribute to making your GMAT preparation more effective. In our tutoring program, we work with super smart people aiming for stellar GMAT scores and top schools and almost all of the people in this group take more than one test. Some have take all 5 in order to improve 200 points and hit 700+.
I know that feels a bit different than the SAT/ACT days (last time you may have taken a standardized test). I felt the same when I took my first GMAT a long long time ago. I didn’t do as well I wanted to do but I didn’t retake. I had no plan to retake.
So, just some food for thought that it’s good to think about your preparation in terms of multiple tests. Doing more than one GMAT is not a failure. Doing 5 GMATs is also not a failure.
What is a failure?
Not achieving your goals because of a pre conceived notion of how many tests you should take to get there.
GMAT studying is challenging so give yourself as many opportunities as possible to cross the finish line with a score that you are happy with.
Good luck with your GMAT prep. Feel free to comment with any questions!