GMAT Instructor – GMAT Prep Timeline Advice

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Altea Sollulari
Date: 29th June 2021

So you have made up your mind and have decided to go to b-school! The next step is to do some research concerning MBA programs that will be the best fit for you. An important aspect to take note of during this step is the schools’ median GMAT score. This will help you begin preparing a study plan that will get you to your desired GMAT score  in time and for competitive acceptance chances.

Apex GMAT’s instructors suggest a 90-day timeline for studying for the exam if you want to have enough time to prepare and deal with any last-minute issues that could arise. However, it is always advised to start as early as you can with your GMAT exam prep. This will not necessarily affect the amount of information you’re going to learn, but it will be enough time for you to internalize certain habits and ways of thinking that will help you excel on the test.

You will also need to keep in mind that your scores might take around 20 business days to be sent to the MBA programs that you are applying to. Be mindful of this when deciding when to schedule your exam so you can make sure that it is within the schools’ application deadlines. Another thing you’ll need to know about by the time your test days rolls around, is that you can pick up to 5 MBA programs that you want your scores sent to for free. You can bring this list with you on test day. However, you can still send them to different schools even after you have recieved your results, but you will have to pay an extra $28 for each school you want your scores sent to.  

Milestones to be mindful of:

Here are some general milestones that you can try to incorporate into your GMAT prep:

  1. The first week: make sure to take a mock exam before you start with your intensive GMAT preparation. This will give you an idea of what you need to focus more on and what sections you need to work less on. You’ll also be able to pinpoint your weaknesses and strengths, so make sure to use those to your advantage. Lastly, that initial score will set the pace for your GMAT prep timeline, as the more you want to increase your score, the more effort you’ll need to put into your GMAT prep.
  2. The first 2 weeks: you should be revising and internalizing the quantitative fundamentals
  3. By week 3: you should have revised your mental math skills
  4. By week 5: you should have revised grammatical rules
  5. By week 7: you should have revised idioms
  6. By week 8 or 9: you should have mastered all the higher-level solution paths to different problems (you should have a preferred solution path by week 6-7)
  7. By week 9: you should have mastered the outlining technique for reading-comprehension
  8. On week 6, 8, 10, and 12: try your skills by taking a mock test
  9. In the last 2 weeks: try to get good sleep and maintain a healthy diet
  10. In the very last week before your exam– try avoiding alcohol as a hangover can set you back a lot. Also, you shouldn’t try to revise everything the night before the exam. Instead, take your time to eat healthy meals and get a good night’s sleep.  

Things to keep in mind:

  1. A timeline is not the same as a deadline. It is important that you understand the difference between the two. Your GMAT prep timeline can vary a lot depending on the situation you are in and on your progress you are making, so if you need to make changes to it, you should feel free to do so.
  2. Another thing to keep in mind is that you can personalize your GMAT prep timeline to your own needs. In case you need to work a bit harder on certain sections, if you’re not a native English speaker, or if an emergency occurs, you will probably need to start earlier with your prep or adjust your timeline. That is perfectly fine as long as you are constantly working towards improving. 
  3. Finally, once you reach a milestone, don’t ask yourself: What is the next milestone/step?. Instead, ask yourself: How can I improve now? Reaching a milestone does not necessarily mean that you are on the right track. Everything depends on your own personal progress and that is what you should be focusing on when prepping for the GMAT exam, rather than simply reaching the milestones.

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