GMAT how long to study
Posted on
Feb 2022

How Long Should You Study For The GMAT

So you want to go to business school. An MBA is an elite degree which not everyone can successfully achieve. The fact that you want to go on this journey means that you are a high achiever and willing to better yourself academically and professionally. We here at ApexGMAT are in the business of helping people achieve an elite GMAT score. We often work with clients who are unsure where to begin their preparation and for how long to study for the GMAT. For those GMAT test-takers we recommend the following: 

    • Establish your goal ahead of time
    • Be aware of your personal and private schedule
    • Structure your plan
    • Follow through 

Before figuring out how long you should study for the GMAT, we recommend getting acquainted with the exam and learning the best practices for studying

Know your Goal

Before you can know how long to study for the GMAT, you need to know your ultimate goal. Why do you want to earn an MBA and What impact will your MBA have on your future goals professionally and personally. Your GMAT and MBA goals can have a huge impact on your GMAT prep. For example, if you are hoping to attend a top business school, work at a top consultancy firm, and make 6-figures a year, then your GMAT prep plan will look different from someone who is earning an MBA to achieve a promotion at their current place of work.

For starters, if you want to earn a top MBA there is a good chance that you are aiming for a 700+ GMAT score. This will mean more hours spent studying and perhaps hiring a private GMAT tutor to get you closer to your goal. Regardless of what your goals are, you still need to establish a GMAT prep plan that works with your professional and personal schedule. 

Know your schedule

Do you have a family? Are you currently a student? Are you working full-time? Whatever is happening in your life outside of your GMAT prep will hugely impact how much time you can devote to your GMAT study plan. We recommend a 3-month study plan, however, you may need to expand or shrink this plan depending on what is happening in your life. If you are busy beyond a 9-5 work schedule, then it would be best to begin studying for the GMAT beyond 3-months. This will give you more hours to commit yourself to the GMAT study process. If you are a student, or only working part-time, then you likely have more time to commit to studying for the GMAT. Reflect on where your life is at the moment and establish your prep schedule around that. 

Structure your GMAT plan

Step one to structuring your GMAT prep plan is to figure out what day you will take the exam. Do not schedule the exam towards the end of the application deadline to your MBA program of choice. Rather, give yourself at least a few weeks of flexibility where you can retake the exam if necessary. Once you establish what day you want to take the exam, you then count back by three months. Of course, give or take a month or two depending on how busy your life is at the moment. After counting backwards from the date of your exam, you can establish your plan structure. Grab a calendar and write in the weeks, days, and hours that you plan on studying. 

Execute your GMAT plan 

So, you know how long to study for the GMAT. You have your test day. You have structured your plan. Now, you need to execute your plan. Your GMAT test day will come whether you are ready or not. It is important that you stick to your study plan if you want to succeed on test day. Regardless of your study plan, be sure to make time for stress-relief and personal activities. Studying for the GMAT should not take up 100% of your time, in fact, if you allow the GMAT study process to consume you, it will most likely hinder your ability to excel on the test. 

So, how long should you study for the GMAT? 

While 3 months is a good benchmark for most test-takers, it is not perfect for everyone. Consider your other responsibilities and what is expected of you during this time. Make room for your GMAT studying but don’t let the process consume you. Be ready to make mistakes and be prepared for needing a retake. Consider everything that can ‘go wrong’ during the GMAT process and prepare for these scenarios. The GMAT study process from beginning to end should last as long as you need it to. If you are interested in professional help during your GMAT prep, we offer 30-minute complimentary consultation calls with a top-scoring instructor.


Contributor: Dana Coggio

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GMAT How to Prepare
Posted on
Feb 2022

How To Prepare For The GMAT – Best Practices

1. Introducing the GMAT

When beginning your GMAT journey, the first step you need to do is figure out why you are taking the GMAT and what your future MBA goals are. If you are hoping to attend a top-tier Business School, like Harvard, this will make your GMAT preparation different compared to a goal of attending a part-time, online MBA program. Keep in mind that effort will still need to be given no matter which program you decide to apply to. Regardless of your ultimate goal, it is important to have your final goal in mind before laying out your GMAT preparation plan. So, once you have established why you are taking the exam, next is creating a plan of how to prepare for the GMAT.

2. Know the GMAT inside and out

One of the first things you want to do is to get comfortable with the GMAT exam and its structures. The GMAT is split up into four sections: 

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) → to measure your critical thinking and communication skills
  2. Integrated Reasoning → to measure your data analysis skills
  3. Quantitative Reasoning → to measure your ability to draw conclusions from present data
  4. Verbal Reasoning → to measure your reading, evaluation, and correction skills in standard English 

By splitting up the GMAT into its four main sections, you can begin your preparation process more fluidly. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses in each of these sections and dedicate yourself to strengthening your weaknesses and solidifying your strengths. In order to know where you stand with the GMAT, we always suggest taking a practice exam before beginning to prepare. This will give you a baseline knowledge of where you stand with each section of the exam. 

3. Lay out a 3-month GMAT study plan

GMAT 3 Month Study PlanIdeally, you give yourself 3-months to study for the exam. We have created a 3-month study plan which can be used by most test-takers when beginning their GMAT journey. Ultimately, giving yourself 3-months means you have room to get to know every aspect of the exam. Give yourself less than 3-months and you will be hindering your chances of success. We suggest finding the date of your GMAT exam (giving yourself an extra week or two for a retake – just in case) and counting backwards by 3 months. Then, mark your calendar in the following way: 

During your study plan, it is important that you make time for stress relief. Do not let the GMAT preparation process consume you. Being stressed will do you no favors in the long run and could even negatively impact your overall GMAT score

4. It’s okay to ask for help

Believe it or not, we expect successful GMAT test takers to have asked for help during their journey. Whether it is from their friends or family or even hiring a private GMAT tutor, many people who achieve a 700+ GMAT score do so because they have had some sort of help. Even asking a previous GMAT test taker how to prepare for the GMAT can be a huge help! A private GMAT tutor, for example, can help you achieve GMAT success by working with you in a myriad of ways.

Whether it is by helping you to strengthen your weaknesses or fortifying your strengths, a good GMAT tutor will be able to recognize where you need help and how best to help you. Make sure that, if you need help you don’t wait until the last minute to ask for it. Be ready to ask for help as soon as you begin your studies. 

5. Be confident and remember your goal

It is common practice for people who take the GMAT to question their rationale for undertaking such a journey. The GMAT is not supposed to be an easy exam (if it was easy, then everyone would do it!). But you are one of those select few who choose to go down this difficult path. We suggest surrounding yourself with a strong support network. Stress reduction is also hugely important during this journey, be careful not to get burned out too soon as this can ultimately hinder your GMAT exam process. 

Final Thoughts

We here at Apex know the difficulty of figuring out how to prepare for the GMAT exam. We work with clients from a variety of different backgrounds and tutor them to GMAT success. Whether you are about to begin your GMAT journey or are already two months in, we are in the business of helping anyone who wants to achieve an elite GMAT score. We offer 30-minute complimentary consultation calls with one of our top-scoring instructors. 


Contributor: Dana Coggio

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GMAT Instructor - GMAT Prep Timeline Advice
Posted on
Jun 2021

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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