GMAT takes time to prepare and students will need about 100 to 120 hours to review materials and practice regularly in order to pass. As a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), difficulty can increase with each section, but is very possible to study well and pass. To be a top scorer in GMAT, you will need to spend 120+ hours,
That said, it is advisable to start studying GMAT at least 6-8 months before your first MBA application deadlines or just 3 months before you take the exam.
Here are some tips on studying GMAT:
1. Start with a study schedule: GMAT is not a test you can cram for, unfortunately. Therefore, a detailed study schedule that is effective in helping you to pass the exam. The overall goal of the schedule is to help you gain more skills and stamina but also build up to the Test Day with the required material to pass the exam.
Some of the needed skills include ability to think flexibly and logically since the exam tests critical thinking and analytical skills.
A strategic plan includes having a calendar with GMAT books and practice tests. Do not develop the habit of procrastinating when the deadline is weeks away. You can set date reminders for practice tests, studying and for GMAT dates, and may be have someone who helps you to stay on track with the study schedule.
For detailed students, good study schedule includes coming up with specifics about the purpose of the next few day’s sessions.
2. How long does it take? As said previously, you can target to spend about two to three months and 100–120 hours in reviewing material and practicing regularly. Different students have different durations for their sessions but most sessions last from one to three hours for effective GMAT preparation.
Considering that a top scorer does an average of 120 hours, it takes about 12 hours per week to be successful in GMAT studies including time for class sessions and tutoring sessions.
3. Finding GMAT study time: Most students complain that they cannot find the adequate time needed to study for their GMAT. It is a wrong approach to wait until you have a long block of free time because that way, you might not get enough prep time. Therefore, a good strategy is to start spending the little time you have now; during commuting, lunch, etc. Flashcards can be used to drill math formulas.
You can consider online prep tools when you have short break or are on-the-go, although offline materials and old-fashioned book preparation is still important to master GMAT skills.
Test-like online questions can still be helpful on weekday evenings for instance. There are many sources for quizzes on any kind of content, question types and all difficulty levels that you can practice with.
4. Always remember to take breaks: For instance, during the evening study, you can settle to take a quiz and then a one- to two-minute break before reviewing the answers. You could take about 16 minutes to do an eight-question quiz then break for about three minutes and then review answers for another 10 minutes.
5. Schedule frequent practice tests: You also need to set aside time to take regular GMAT practice tests, for instance each and every Saturday. You can take a break between taking the test and reviewing it.
Having a test at the end of the week will allow you to put into action what is learned during the week. Reviewing it the next day lets you to identify the areas you need to practice the next week.
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