GMAT Success: How to Utilize Breaks During the GMAT

One of the most ignored parts when thinking about the GMAT is taking a break during the test itself. Most standardized tests from the SAT to the Multi-State Bar Exam offer the test-takers the option to take breaks. The GMAT does the same. Constantly we harp over GMAT testing strategies and different study methods for our GMAT Success and we put a massive amount of emphasis on the test day itself. But we never seem to mention the breaks that can be taken during the GMAT.

1. How Long is the GMAT?

You are probably well aware of the structure of the GMAT at this point, but here is a reminder anyway. The GMAT is a grueling 3 hours and 7 minutes and is divided into four sections, integrated, quantitative, and verbal reasoning, along with the analytical writing assessment. The verbal and quantitative sections are especially a pain, with both being over an hour and filled with highly demanding questions.

1.Integrated Reasoning: 30 mins, 12 questions 

2.Quantitative Reasoning: 62 mins, 31 questions 

3.Verbal Reasoning:  65 questions, 36 questions 

4.Analytical Writing Assignment: 30 mins, 1 question

During the GMAT exam, you are allowed two eight-minute breaks. The first is allowed after the first hour of the exam and the second is available after the quantitative reasoning portion. Both of these breaks are completely optional, but taking full advantage of these breaks can really help keep you sane during the GMAT. 

So why should you be taking these breaks and what should you do? Below are some of our favorite suggestions when utilizing the breaks during the GMAT.

2. Importance of Taking a Break 

The GMAT breaks are optional, and you may be someone who prefers not to do so. But just keep in mind that the GMAT is over 3 hours long so it is a marathon, not a sprint. These GMAT breaks can help maximize your scoring potential. However, when taking a break do not study during it, in fact, if you study during the break your score could actually be cancelled. That’s because studying during the test time is against the rules of the GMAT. Instead, actually use your break to take a break.

3. Reduce Stress

Stress while studying for and taking the GMAT is universal and it’s not unjustified – the GMAT is an exam that could help determine your future. So of course it makes sense that many can find themselves overwhelmed during the exam. Taking a break is a great way to reset and achieve GMAT success. Even if you don’t feel completely overwhelmed, stepping away from the test is a good way to gain clarity. Taking breaks help you to broth process and retain information, further maintaining your focus. It is easy to become exhausted during the exam and for your brain to be drained.  Hence, even if you may not feel you need a break your brain probably needs one. 

4. Refuel 

Of course when taking a break during the GMAT you have a chance to eat or drink something. Something that you can prepare for yourself are healthy snacks. Fruit, granola bars, or nuts can serve as great ways to power your brain through the rest of the exam. In fact, we would recommend that the night and morning before the exam to make sure to eat something healthy. Stay away from unhealthy snacks and food as you want both your body and brain to be in the best shape for the test. In terms of drinks, water, but also maybe a thermos filled with coffee and tea will suit you well. A cup of coffee may even give you that boost you need. Once again we suggest you stay away from unhealthy drinks such as sodas and energy drinks. 

In Review 

GMAT success is a monumental task. It is a very demanding test, both in prep and during the exam itself. It is important to try and take advantage of every opportunity you can get, such as breaks during the test. Here at Apex GMAT we offer a different edge on the GMAT, that being private one on one GMAT tutoring. Private GMAT tutoring give test takers some of the best opportunities in achieving GMAT success. Apex GMAT  offers both online and in-person tutoring. It can be the first step to your desired GMAT score.


Contributor: Lucas Duncan

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