How Long Should I Study For the GMAT?

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
The amount of time students spend studying for the GMAT varies, but longer preparation times generally correlate with higher scores. Read on for some tips to help you determine your study timeline.

Studying for the GMAT

While aspiring business school applicants often seek advice regarding how many weeks or months they should study, a more accurate measurement for GMAT preparation is the number of hours one spends preparing. For example, you may find advice that ranges from six weeks to six months as the ideal amount of GMAT preparation time; the determining factor in this wide range is how many hours per week you can dedicate to studying. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT, the majority of test takers in 2014 studied for 51 hours or more. Those who scored higher on the test, meanwhile, reported longer amounts of average study time:

GMAT Score Average Study Hours
700+ 121
600 - 690 107
500 - 59098
400 - 490 87
Less than 400 75

Tips on Developing a GMAT Study Plan

  • Decide when you'd like to begin a graduate-level business program. Ideally, a year or more before that date, research schools to determine when you need to apply.
  • Noting that GMAT score reports are sent to schools within three weeks after the exam, decide when you'd like to take it.
  • Based upon hours available per week to study, work backward from the target test date to develop a GMAT study plan and calendar.
  • It's smart to take a practice GMAT before you even start studying. You'll gain a preliminary understanding of the exam and gauge how much study time you need.
  • Look into various preparation materials, ranging from books to tutors to prep courses, depending on your preferences and hours available for study.
  • Online courses are a great option if you want flexibility in your GMAT studies. GMAT Prep: Help and Review, for example, is an online option that features video lessons accessible any time of the day, along with quizzes and practice tests.

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