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It is very important to keep following factors in mind while choosing the exam date so that you are prepared well and are able to submit your application to the universities before the deadline:
Do not register for GMAT in haste. Only after you are self-assured that you have progressed well, register.
Take a diagnostic test and that will give you a fair idea of areas that you shall need to focus on. Based on this, the hours of study can be predicted more accurately. If you are strong in the basics you would need a month to prepare for the exam. However, if you feel the need to work on the basics first, you should spend around 3 months for the preparation.
On your last weekend prior to your test, use the GMATPrep software for your practice tests. GMATPrep is free software you can download from MBA.com, which exactly simulates the real GMAT exam. GMATPrep will be the best gauge to determine how you will perform on the real exam. If you feel that your score is too low, you can reschedule your test appointment.
After you have given GMAT, you should start with your application process. It involves preparing SOP, asking professors for recommendation letters and applying online. Generally, it will take around a month to prepare for all the documents you would need to submit to apply to the universities.
Check out the deadline of various universities and make sure that you do not miss any of the application checklist item listed below.
Online Application Form Most of the universities require you to apply online. However some universities may also allow you to download and mail the form. Applying online may require additional documents to be send through regular post.
Letter of Recommendation Three letter of recommendations are required by most universities. Recommender may send them either online or on paper. Paper based recommendations should be sealed in an envelope, signed across the seal by the recommender. They should be included in the application packet as it is.
Some universities have their own recommendation format, you will be required to download it and handover printout of the same to your recommender. Ask them to fill in and seal it properly.
Statement of Purpose Here is your chance to stand out from other applicants. SOP is a way for the admission committee members to get to know about you since they did not get a chance to take an interview. SOP is an essay that describes you, your accomplishments, your academic background, career plans and future goals. It should be properly formatted with header & footer including following information:
Make sure that you have sufficient time to prepare for SOP.
Official Transcripts They must be submitted to the program you are applying to in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal by the appropriate university official. You may be required to send two copies of official transcripts, one for the graduate school and one for the department you are applying to.
If your official transcript does not state that a bachelor's degree has been conferred, you will also need to submit an official certification of degree(s) awarded.
Resume It may not be asked but it is always good to send one highlighting your achievements, skills and projects you have worked upon.
GRE/TOEFL Scores Request ETS to send scores to the institution.
Financial Statement: It is not a mandatory requirement at the time of applying to university but will be required before I-20 is issued. However some universities may ask it at the time of application.
It should ensure that your sponsor has sufficient funds for your education.
The new academic Fall session in U.S begins in August. The best time to give GMAT is in the month of September/October if you wish to apply for the fall session. Most of the universities have deadlines in the month of December, so giving exam in September/October will leave around 1-2 months for the application process. Also, if you plan to take the test in October, you should register for the test date in advance as it is the time when most of the test takers appear for the exam.
Don't count on taking the GMAT at the last minute. Should you need to retake the exam, you will need time both to register for the test again and to have the new scores submitted to schools in time for the application deadlines. With proper planning and insight, you can spare yourself of the stress and instead focus on maximizing your GMAT score.
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