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How Long Should You Study for the GMAT?
Here’s a common question: How much time should you spend studying for the GMAT exam? Many experts say things like “a minimum of 100 hours.” Others say to generally allow 2-3 months. It’s true that research shows a correlation between more study hours and a higher score. At the same time, extra time spent studying does not guarantee you will score as high as you hope. Realistically, GMAT test prep looks different for each test-taker. Here are a few key questions that will help you establish a solid timeline.
How Confident Are You on Tests?
Your history with standardized exams is an important starting point in your GMAT test prep. If you tend to perform well on tests, that is certainly an advantage. If you tend to freeze and forget what you’ve learned, it would be wise to give yourself extra time to become very comfortable with the material or even take the exam twice.
What Is Your Target Score?
You probably have a good idea which business schools you’ll be sending your application to. If so, research the average GMAT scores of your top choices. You can find this information online, often on the school’s own webpage. After identifying the average score for your list of schools, set your goal slightly higher than the highest one. This way, if you reach your goal, you will be more than qualified for all of your choices.
How Far Are You From Your Target Score?
Taking a practice GMAT test before beginning any study can give you a good cold reading of your current level of knowledge. Granted, the GMAT is a very specific sort of test, and it is essential to study both the types of questions and the sorts of knowledge it requires. Still, a baseline score from a practice test will show you how much further you need to go to reach your goal.
How Good Are Your Study Tools?
Not all GMAT test prep tools are created equal. If you are hoping to glean all you need from GMAT books and the various free resources you can find online, you will need to budget time for any grunt work you may need to perform, like grading practice tests and researching study materials. If you invest in a quality GMAT prep program, you will have the advantage of immediate feedback, video instruction, and other valuable tools.
Once you have answered these questions, you will have a good feel for how long you should plan to study before taking the GMAT exam. Remember to use whatever time you have to study. While many people set aside 1-3 hours at a time, your 30-minute lunch break is also a great opportunity. Don’t forget to calculate in other stressors or demands on your time. Family obligations, travel, other exams, holidays, and big projects at work could all affect your ability to study consistently or well.
Remember that regardless of your experience or knowledge, GMAT test prep is a big commitment. Think of this as a marathon. The training prepares you for the actual exam, but it also boosts your confidence, relieves your anxiety, and builds up your endurance. If you are looking for an excellent program to prepare you for the GMAT exam, check out the EMPOWERgmat course tour here.