How do you know if you’re ready to take the GMAT? It’s hard to shake the feeling that there’s always more to study, practice, and refine. After all, your score holds a lot of weight in your MBA admissions and you want to showcase your potential to your favorite schools. Follow these tried-and-true tips from business school students themselves to prepare:
There’s no magical schedule….
I wish I could tell you there’s a magical number of hours you need to study in order to get your ideal score, but there’s not. What is known though is that most successful candidates give themselves 3-5 months to prepare. And as you may have guessed, candidates that put it more hours tend to do better on the test. A survey of 3,600 test takers revealed that those who scored in the 500-590 range studied for a median of 60 hours, those who scored in the 600-690 range studied a median of 80 hours, and those who scored 700+ studied a median of 90 hours. You get the point. Just don’t be this guy who took the GMAT cold to see what happened. (Spoiler alert: he scored a 360).
...But there are some best practices
While there may be no right number of hours, there are definitely some best practices to follow. Studying for the GMAT is all about studying smart and making a plan that works for you. Be patient with yourself as you build a routine and figure out where to carve time out of your day. It may help you to block off a regular chunk of time in your schedule just like you would for any other meeting or appointment. When you sit down to study, these 10 best practices provide suggested areas to focus on as you work through each area of the test.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses
Some of us aren’t math people. Some of us aren’t word people. Some of us may need a little extra help in both areas. Whatever your skills may be, it’s important to identify your strengths and weaknesses early on. This will help you focus your study plan on what may need the most help. A great way to identify your baseline skills is to take a practice exam. Don’t focus on your score the first time around. Remember that this is a test you need to prepare for in order to do well! Instead focus on the types of questions, what you feel comfortable with, and what you may have forgotten how to do (hello, high school math!).
Practice, practice, and practice some more
Practice exams are your friend. Take them often as you prepare to take the pulse of your progress. When taking practice exams, remember to pace yourself as if you’re actually taking the GMAT on test day. Nailing the pacing and timing of the exam is almost as important as brushing up on your verbal and math skills.
So are you ready? Really only you can know. But following these tips from former test-takers will point you in the right direction. They rocked the GMAT and you will too!