How to Study for the GMAT

Preparing for the GMAT can be a grueling task. We have put together a guide on how to study for the GMAT below.

Use the tips and strategies listed below to prepare for the GMAT and get a top score.

Summary: Learn how to prepare for the GMAT by using the strategies listed below. If you want a resource to help, consider our top ranked GMAT prep courses.

How to Prepare for the GMAT

Below are some tried and true practices that can help you become more prepared for the GMAT.

Learn Your Strengths and Weaknesses

This is a two-fold tip. This means determining the areas in which you need to spend more time studying as well as how to develop better study skills as you prepare to take the GMAT exam.

Here are some different ways to determine your strengths and weaknesses:

Anything that you don’t remember learning or feel comfortable explaining to someone else should be an area you focus on.

Knowing what methods work the best for you may take a little more legwork on your end.

If you need something to keep you studying consistently, a GMAT preparation course could help you stay on track. If you have a busy schedule, we highly recommend finding one of these.

Set a Study Schedule

If you are someone who signed up to take a review course, your study schedule will likely be structured around the class with less study time on your own.

For those who are studying on their own, this may be the most important step. You want to create a schedule that is realistic but keeps you reviewing concepts that will prepare you for the exam. You can’t study ten hours a day if you are working forty-hour weeks.

When setting a schedule to prepare for the GMAT, you want to start early enough that you will be ready when test day comes.

The GMAT website says that those who score between 600 and 690 spend approximately 80 hours studying while those who score above 700 utilized at least 90 hours of study.

Find GMAT-Specific Study Materials

The last thing you want is to spend hours studying for the GMAT only to realize that the materials you have been using are incorrect.

There are several ways you can go about getting study materials that are directly for the GMAT. Some of those options include:

All of the above are great options. Which option you choose will depend on your preferences when studying and your study style.

Work On Your Timing

The timing is one of the most difficult aspects of the GMAT. You will want to get your timing down before taking the actual exam.

You want to make sure you’re getting the right answers, but you also don’t want to spend all day trying to answer one difficult question.

Some ways to increase the speed in which you complete the GMAT are as follows:

  • Become comfortable with the GMAT structure and format by taking a GMAT practice test
  • Time yourself taking a practice test
  • Work on your deductive reasoning skills to narrow down the answers
  • Sharpen your mental math skills (calculators are available for the Integrated Reasoning section)
  • Make an educated guess on questions you get stuck on to move on to ones you know

Stay Organized

Staying organized is an underrated tips when it comes to preparing for the GMAT. It is so much easier to begin studying if all of your resources and things are neatly organized.

You should also be keeping track of your study hours, what you studied and what you struggled with. This will help you study more efficiently and keep track of your progress.

Keeping track of your progress will help keep you motivated and give you the drive you need to keep studying.

Familiarize Yourself With the Exam

One of the best ways to not only gain knowledge of what is tested on the exam, but also become comfortable with the question format on the GMAT is to answer practice questions.

The GMAT is a computer-adaptive exam, which means it adapts to the test taker’s knowledge level and becomes more difficult as you go.

So, don’t be concerned if you are taking it and start to know fewer and fewer answers.

You can read our GMAT overview guide to learn more about the exam and what to expect.

Have a Good Night Before Routine

Though it may be difficult to sleep the night before the exam, it is important to know when to stop studying for the night. You won’t help yourself if you are exhausted and hungry on the day of the exam.

Get plenty of sleep and eat a good breakfast before taking the exam.

If you want, it can be a good idea to do a final run through of your notes and study materials the day of your exam – this can be a great way to get in the right mindset before taking the exam.

Trevor Klee
Trevor is our GMAT and GRE expert. Trevor runs his own tutoring company and scored in the 99th percentile of the GRE and GMAT.