This is a common question the team leaders and I are always asked around this time of the year - can I complete my GMAT if I want to take my MBA next year?
MBA is an investment unlike your undergraduate study. For those of us who are working and/or with family to support, we have to think both financial as well as time sacrifices being away from our income earning period. While your earning potential should be higher post-MBA, in the interim, you are basically funding your own study; unless you are one of the lucky few to get full or partial scholarship.
Now, back to that common question. It usually takes 6 to 12 months to complete your GMAT. Some could take as little as 2 to 3 months but majority requires more help and time. Furthermore, some of us take 2 or 3 sittings to get the score we want. It takes a lot of discipline and sacrifices during this period. So, be prepared when you want to do GMAT or any graduate tests.
Most US and UK MBA programs start in August/September (Fall intake). Some programs have 2 intakes a year such as INSEAD. Please check the program admission calendar. For the Fall intake, admission application rounds are, usually, September/October (known as Round 1 or Early Round), December/January (Round 2), March/April (Round 3) and for some programs, May (Round 4). Most, if not all, admission offices will advise prospective students to apply as early as possible especially for international students. This means Round 1 and 2.
If you are submitting your application in September or December round, take away 2 months as the last month you must complete your GMAT. This means GMAT must be completed by July or October respectively. If you are just starting GMAT revision, please revise your MBA plan. 2010 intake is NOT for you. Now is the time for you to start your GMAT, think about your MBA and essays and prepare for 2011 intake.
Besides GMAT, you need to consider the essays and other documentations. These take time to prepare especially your essays.
I hope this advice is useful. I wish you all the best in your GMAT and MBA quest.