Preparation Time Studying for GMAT

How long is the average time to study for the GMAT in order to get a 700+ score? I've heard studying for about 2 hrs a day for 2 months is good.

Also, if I haven't taken any math since 4 years ago and i've serverly forgotten alot of the basic principles in algebra etc. Do the prep courses cover all those concepts from scratch? or should I take a basic math course first before i enroll in the GMAT prep course (like those Kaplan courses)

Required GMAT Study Time

Many users echoed that 2 months of one to two hours a day is an effective way to study for the exam.

Rody:
I think if you're capable of getting 700+ plus and you use that time correctly, then 2hr/day for 2 months should be fine. I was 4 years out of college when I started studying for it, and probably averaged 2rs/day for just over a month and got 700+. I was probably doing about an hour a night on weeknights, occasionally skipping nights but doing maybe 8hrs on the weekends.

I just self studied using books and the official software. I used a couple of Kaplan books and the official GMAT book.

The math is really no harder than school level, so as long as you had the ability at some point, you'll have no trouble picking it up again pretty quickly.

tbecker78 - Investment Banking Analyst:
Get familiar with the material about 2 months before the test, cram the last month, and take lots of practice tests along the way. Just remember that everyone is different so anyone that responds to your post is simply giving an opinion...

cyberflirt8:
I studied for 1.5 months, 2 to 4 week nights, plus all weekends, and 2 to 4 hrs per day. End result was 720.

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As of January 2018, the GMAT costs $250 to take.

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Comments (153)

Aug 28, 2006 - 5:14am

I think if you're capable of getting 700+ plus and you use that time correctly, then 2hr/day for 2 months should be fine. I was 4 years out of college when I started studying for it, and probably averaged 2rs/day for just over a month and got 700+. I was probably doing about an hour a night on weeknights, occcasionally skipping nights but doing maybe 8hrs on the weekends.

I just self studied using books and the official software. I used a couple of Kaplan books and the official GMAT book.

The maths is really no harder than school level, so as long as you had the ability at some point, you'll have no trouble picking it up again pretty quickly.

Final tip: book a test date before you start studying.

Good luck,
Rody

Aug 28, 2006 - 8:20pm

I used the free software you can download from the GMAC site when you register, finished it in a month (though I didn't have a regular study schedule) and took the test. Ended up with a 760. I wouldn't sweat the test too much; there's a reason Mensa accepts it as a proxy for IQ tests, study materials don't make a whole lot of difference after you familiarize yourself with the basic mechanics and content of the test.

Nov 1, 2013 - 3:58pm

+1. The test is an IQ test. Once you know all the math and english concepts, it is all about applying them to solve complex problems. Too many times people think that memorizing math formula's and doing thousands of practice problems will get them amazing scores. Though practice certainly can help you to a point, everyone has to remember that the test is all about problem solving and that it is something that for many can not be taught.

Aug 29, 2006 - 12:07pm

But do you guys come from a "mathmatical" background, such as engineering? I'm a Finance major but Finance math is alot different imo.

Also, do the study materials like the Kaplan books teach you all the basics again -- like even simple stuff way back in highschool like the distribution principle and pythagoram's theory. Thats the stuff that I have completely forgotten. Thanks again.

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Aug 30, 2006 - 1:56pm

Didn't take one myself, but if you need a course/tutor to motivate you, be honest with yourself and recognize you've got a hill to climb. From friends that took courses both for LSAT and GMAT, they suggested double-digit hours/week for two months (perhaps 3 for LSAT? Can't remember).

Aug 30, 2006 - 4:07pm

Okay, my undergrad degree is in maths - but that was 5 years ago. I'm sure if you did finance you (at some point) knew far more maths than you will ever need for the GMAT. Most of it is just fractions, percentages, simple algebra and some geomtery, all held together with a bit of common sense.

One of the Kaplan books I had ("Premier Program" I think) had a section in the back covering all the maths concepts. I'd suggest you just pick up one of these books and work through a few questions. I'm sure it will all come back pretty quick.

Cheers,
Rody

Aug 31, 2006 - 3:42pm

Thanks, I'm glad to hear that everything is re-taught. I know lots of "Finance" math formulas but hardly ever use the old concepts like Pythagorams theorm and circumferance stuff [all algebra stuff], which is why i was so worried. Thanks again, you've all been great help!

Sep 2, 2006 - 4:22pm

I have an hour commute into Manhattan each day. I used this time for some basic reading and then took some practice exams on the weekends online. I got a 700 and think that a few months of practice questions and any one can do it.

Sep 2, 2006 - 11:54pm

Get familiar with the material about 2 months before the test, cram the last month, and take lots of practice tests along the way. Just remember that everyone is different so anyone that responds to your post is simply giving an opinion...

Sep 5, 2006 - 2:45am

Thanks again! I believe my math capability is there. I'm scoring 3.7 on all my Financial Quantitative Courses. I guess the sample GMAT questions that i saw really scared me as i didn't remember any algebric and geometry basics. But yea I think i will be fine with 2-3 months of studying.

Cheers

Sep 11, 2006 - 7:28pm

When do analysts have time to study for the GMAT? Or do they simply wait till after their analyst program is over and they have moved on into PE, etc...?

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Sep 11, 2006 - 8:05pm

I want to take the GMAT soon. Havn't studied for it yet. But took a mock test and done really well on the maths but very poor on verbal. How can i improve this. i was told to get the kaplan and official GMAT book. Which i now have. Any other suitable techniques. I was considering a course but they charge way too much. I want to get 700+ as am looking to applt for Harvard, Columbia and other top schools. As see no point in doing an MBA unless is from a reputable school

Sep 18, 2006 - 4:20am

I studied for about a week prior to the exam and scored above 700. I downloaded their prep software and all of their practice materials and went through it all very diligently. But my experience is probably not typical, as I have a knack for taking standardized tests. If you did well on the SATs, I think you should be pretty good with the GMAT. Guage your study time on your past standardized testing history. Are you a good test taker?

I also took the GRE a few weeks prior to the GMAT so that probably helped, as there is some overlap in the material.

Sep 18, 2006 - 1:02pm
sea_ennui:
I studied for about a week prior to the exam and scored above 700. I downloaded their prep software and all of their practice materials and went through it all very diligently. But my experience is probably not typical, as I have a knack for taking standardized tests.

Sounds like me. I studied for the five days before the test and got a 750. "Study" = going over the math section of a prep book to refresh myself on things I hadn't used since high school, plus several sample tests. That's it.

Like sea_ennui, I also did well on the SAT (for which my "study" was comparable). In both cases, taking several real sample tests, then going over wrong answers to understand why I'd made these mistakes, proved very valuable.

Sep 18, 2006 - 1:50pm
tmwnn:
"Study" = going over the math section of a prep book to refresh myself on things I hadn't used since high school, plus several sample tests.

taking several real sample tests, then going over wrong answers to understand why I'd made these mistakes, proved very valuable.

Yes! Hit the nail on the head.
Sep 20, 2006 - 3:21am
AgreeWitMe:
Is freshman year in college to early to start studying for the GMAT?

Of course it depends on the individual, but I'd probably say so. I wouldn't really spend more than a few months studying for it.
Oct 18, 2006 - 9:23pm

this isn't the MCAT or anything. depending on how fresh you are with the material, somewhere between 20-60 hours of studying should cover you. there's no reason to begin so early in college, as you don't want to take it until years later--it's only good for 5 years

Oct 18, 2006 - 9:20pm

getting an 800 vs a 730 will be positive, but once you clear 700 the returns to getting higher scores diminish quickly. i.e. 720 vs 700 is a smaller difference than 700 vs 680

Oct 26, 2006 - 1:45am

So how the hell do IB analysts study for the GMAT if they're working like 100 hours/week? Where do they find the time to sleep?

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-
Oct 30, 2006 - 6:30am

Probably yeah, in the interests of your sanity...note that I'm not in IBD yet.

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-
Oct 30, 2006 - 4:39pm

after studying for 2 days prior to the exam (no more than 3 hours/day)

Take your SAT score and divide it by 2 if you are a native English speaker. The only thing you should really have to study are the data sufficiency questions.

Nov 1, 2013 - 4:40pm

how hard is the GMAT? what is the typical amount of time one needs to put in to studying? (Originally Posted: 12/02/2007)

How hard is the GMAT on average? or for the "average" person? (I understand this may be a vague/tough to answer question)

To give color on a more specific situation:
-3.8 undergrad student (Finance & Acct major) @ top 40 undergrad school(non-target)
-1350 SATs (was much less motivated for SAT in HS than for GMAT now)
-MM IBD analyst start in summer 08
-highly motivated/very strong desire to go to B-school (much more so than the desire was to do well on SATs and go to top undergrad school)

This may still not be enough background, but would you expect GMATs to be difficult for a student with these types of achievements? Why or why not?

Is GMAT actually "difficult" or just about doing enough practice tests that you become comfortable with the test and a good "test taker" ? Is it possible to never study and pull 750 or study like a mad man for 6 months and pull a 600?

Starting from the very beginning (the first time you sit down with the first practice book) How much studying is "on average" required to pull a 700+ ? 2 months? 20 hrs a week for 10 weeks? Any sort of time frame here?

I am finishing up undergrad degree next semester and considering taking GMAT before I start analyst program-various sources told me it is easier to take GMAT while still @ undergrad when one is used to the "study" mode life style of college and before getting crushed with 80-100 hr weeks at work & not used to the "study" mode of sitting with a text book in a library....I am basicly curious if I can do all my GMAT studying over spring semester and be ready to knock off a ~720 come end of spring/graduation. Thx for all the advice.

Oh and is a formal prep course recomended? Do they add value? If so, in what way? What course?

Nov 1, 2013 - 4:47pm

To those who have taken the GMAT... (Originally Posted: 04/22/2008)

Did you study before you took the GMAT?

I'm asking this because my girlfriend is taking the GMAT this morning, and she's only studied for about 2-3 weeks. Her 'studying' consisted of buying the Kaplan GMAT book and the Kaplan GMAT Math section book and leisurely going through each of them.

Do you really need to study for the GMAT, or is it like the SAT where studying isn't really necessary? [but certainly doesn't hurt].

I hope she doesn't bomb it.

Nov 1, 2013 - 5:07pm

How long would GMAT prep take me ? (Originally Posted: 03/22/2011)

I'm sure this has been asked before, but every situation is different.

I plan to take a few months off to study for the GMAT, travel and work on another business.

I'm starting from scratch, If i put in 4-6 hours/day, how long would it take me to be prepared enough to score a 700+ on the GMAT ? I scored a 1360 on the old SAT just FYI.

My undergrad GPA was low so I need to score well on the test.

Also, what's the best way to prepare over the 3 month time span ?

Nov 1, 2013 - 5:26pm

Low 600s wants to be high 600s on GMAT - Time required and strategy (Originally Posted: 10/08/2014)

iBACKGROUND: I took 2 practice GMATS cold and got 610 and 640. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised and disappointed. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised because I haven't done this kind of crap in 10+ years and haven't done one iota of preparation.[/i]

GOAL: I would like like to score consistently in the 670-700 range. My first choice B school has a median GMAT of 680 for part-timers. A second choice has a 690 for their fulltime.

QUESTION: For the people their raised their scores from low 600s to 700,

  1. What preparation program, if any, did you use?

  2. How many hours did you put into their classes, readings, and practice exams? If you didn't use a program, how many hours did you spend studying before you topped 700?

  3. How money did it cost?

  4. Did you find that it was easier to improve in Quant or in Verbal?

______ Corporate financial/business analyst looking for career/MBA/CFA advice.
Nov 1, 2013 - 5:31pm

How Much Time Do You Need To Prep For the GMAT? (Originally Posted: 01/21/2016)

I graduated in December and I know I would like to attend business school at some point. I've heard that it's tough to find time to prep for the GMAT once on the job and I would like to take it before I start. I have plans to travel abroad from the beginning of March til the end of April but I have nothing planned in the weeks prior.

Is it feasible for me to get into top form and take the GMAT in about 6 weeks, before I start traveling?

Nov 1, 2013 - 5:35pm

When to start studying for the gmat? (Originally Posted: 06/16/2010)

I'm going to Naval Officer Candidate School in the beginning of 2011 but I will be done with my undergrad (in accounting) in July. As you can see, there's about a 6 month gap there that I have no idea what to do with. Should I start studying for an hour or two a day for the gmat? I don't think I will have a ton of time after I am commissioned as an officer to study as most guys I have talked to say that they are working 12-18 hour days while out in the fleet.

I would like to go to a top 7 b-school but Texas wouldn't be bad either because I am a resident and I would rather do banking in Houston (or another city in the South) rather than in NYC.

Thanks for the help guys.

Oh, and just to clarify I will be in the Navy for 4 years, so that's why i'm trying to figure out when the best time to begin studying is. My roommate got a 174 on the lsat, but he said that he "peaked" too early for it, so I was wondering if anything similar has happened to anyone here.

Nov 1, 2013 - 5:36pm

GMAT scores are good for 5 years. So if you take it December 2010, itll be good til December 2015. I'm not sure if you plan on going to the Navy and then coming back and going straight to grad school or working first, but that is something you will want to keep in mind before deciding to take the test.

As for peaking, that isn't really a life even; its more just something that happens when you are studying. Eventually you find yourself in a groove where you are confident in answers and you know your stuff and you can't really get a better score.

looking for that pick-me-up to power through an all-nighter?
Nov 1, 2013 - 5:38pm

You should have plenty of time while on float since you are either working, lifting weights, or sitting on your ass. The latter gets extreme boring...at least thats how ground deployment were (not navy).

During the first year of your career (after OCS) you are still trying to pull your head out of your ass, but you'll find yourself with enough time once you get the hang of things.

Nov 1, 2013 - 5:41pm

It really depends on how much time you have. I studied 3 weeks full time, and then roughly 2 month besides work/University and it turned out fine.
In General, I would say you should consider studying about two month (+-), if you plan to score 700+.

Nov 1, 2013 - 5:44pm

If you actually want to do well on the GMAT, the best answer, instead of shortcuts (which without a lot of math courses, most of the books try to be) is to actually do and study a lot of math in school. You're a sophomore, so you have time to take calculus I, II, and III, as well as DiffEq. It is true the GMAT doesn't have calculus on it, but if you actually know math and know it well, which you will given the rigor of those courses, you'll do well on the math. Also, many of the algebra problems on it are much better understood if you know calculus because you do many of the things in calc classes you'll do on the GMAT, and many problems on the GMAT are much easier with calculus and pre-calc things like logarithms. The books tho will help you a lot if you have those courses.

Nov 1, 2013 - 5:45pm

I studied for 2-3 hours every night (almost) while working full time at a corporate for roughly 1 month. On the weekends I would do a 3-4 hour session and practice test. Scored well above 700 on the first try. It is more about studying for the test than the material

Nov 1, 2013 - 5:46pm

My view: everyone underestimates how much time it takes to study for the GMAT. It's always more than you want, and if you are really serious, take a course. Remember, you are competing against the thousands who have also taken courses, know the tricks/short cuts, and, if in China, are getting live test question to practice on.

The GMAT is not designed to test anything but how to take a gmat test. And admissions officers know that.

The good news: you can cancel your score and no one will see it. So if you try it and hate the outcome, you will only be out the cost of taking the test (unless, as you say, you can get a waiver).

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-w-betsy-massar-of-master-admissions
Ask away!
Nov 1, 2013 - 5:50pm

I'd go through the course on http://www.gmatquantum.com/. Price is reasonable and course is 20 hours of videos + practice problems. After going through that, take a GMAC and see where you're at. I'd conservatively budget at least 100 hours to study.

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Best Response
Nov 1, 2013 - 5:52pm

I think I put in more time then others here but it definitely becomes tougher the further removed you are from school. I used Veritas prep, official guides, and a couple supplementary stuff and studied about 15 hours a week for about ten weeks. About 2 hours each morning before work (would go into my office by 6:30am, study till 8:30, grab food in our cafeteria and then work till whenever) and then about 5 on Saturdays. I was getting anywhere from 740-780 on my practice tests by this time... Got a 700.

That was a real killer because I had put so much time into it and was killing my practice tests. I then did another 5 weeks of the same thing and focused on my problem areas and retook. I was able to raise it to a 740. After that 700 I seriously debated just saying fuck it and targeting a lower level of school because the process is extremely grueling.

Moral of this story is a lot of people spend months and 150-250 hours of studying despite all "i studied for 3 weeks an aced it" posts. It really will just be up to you personally as the GMAT (specifically the quant) is unlike any other test you've likely ever taken.

Nov 1, 2013 - 5:54pm
Moral of this story is a lot of people spend months and 150-250 hours of studying despite all "i studied for 3 weeks an aced it" posts. It really will just be up to you personally as the GMAT (specifically the quant) is unlike any other test you've likely ever taken.

^This.

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-w-betsy-massar-of-master-admissions
Ask away!
Nov 1, 2013 - 6:01pm

anything worth doing is worth doing right in my opinion. put in the time so you can take the test once and get a 730+. this can be anywhere from 50-300 hours depending on your baseline test score and the speed at which you retain the information.

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:03pm

Rule number 1: Do not underestimate the G MAT.

The hours and time required vary from student to student and also the initial baseline of where they are starting from. I have seen a range of students, from ones who were scoring 90th percentile taking the first practice test cold, to the ones who took it four times and a year worth of preparation to get to 700+. Find out at which end of the spectrum do you fall on, and then start the preparation and see at what pace your score is improving. Of course stick to official G MAT materials and use the official g mat practice tests to gauge your progress.

www.gmatquantum.com
Nov 1, 2013 - 6:06pm

The GMAT is a tedious exam, but it's not exactly a difficult exam. We aren't talking about the MCAT.

Study efficiently and you can do well without too much work. One+ year out of UG I took a practice exam (cold) and got a 590, primarily due to not understanding the test itself. Dropped $40 on the Kaplan book and ended up getting a 730, 8-IR, 6.0 AWA with under 100 hours of "real" studying. My UG was engineering, so I struggled with verbal initially. Oddly enough, I did "poorly" on the quant section. Apparently 5 semesters of calculus wasn't as valuable as a basic statistics class would have been...

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:08pm

Take a diagnostic test. The GMAT is quite different from the SAT and requires a different type of thinking. I'd say plan on at least 50 hours of studying (a lot of the test is just practicing over and over). Raw intellect can only take you so far on the test.

Also, shoot for an 800. Settle for anything over a 750. 720+ if you're really struggling.

Don't satisfy for anything less. I honestly believe anyone average person can score over a 700 with enough practice or tutorage.

CompBanker

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:11pm

Make sure you get the right books to study from. I got three different ones, and I was quite disappointed with how they prepared me for the math section. And I'm no math dummy! I got a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SAT, and I got several perfect scores on quantitative GMAT practice tests. When I took the real thing, though, they were throwing stuff at me that I had never seen before.

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:14pm

I wouldn't do more than 1 or 2 practices. I believe I got a 5.5 and I only did 1. Look over what a good answer looks like and try to mimic it. There really isn't that much to it.

CompBanker

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:15pm

I don't agree with you about not taking the Mgmat test. I think some quant exercices take definitely too long to complete compare to the real test, but I is a great exercice. Personally I scored 46 in Mgamt and 48 in the real test.

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:16pm

When to start prepping for GMAT? (Originally Posted: 06/11/2013)

Is sophomore summer too early to start studying for the GMAT? I want to get a top score around a 750, which is why I'm considering starting early. I'm also interested in getting a large/full scholarship from a good masters degree program, like Duke MMS, Villanova MSF or UVA MS Comm, and so I'll have to really stand out apart from my grades and internships.

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:17pm

Read up on how long a GMAT score is good for and factor that into your timeframe of when to take / study for it.

"I am not sure who this 'Anonymous' person is - one thing is for certain, they have been one hell of a prolific writer" - Anonymous
Nov 1, 2013 - 6:21pm

Better start sooner than later.

There are only 2 paths to happiness in life. Stupidity or exceptional wealth.
Nov 1, 2013 - 6:25pm

Do I need to start preparing for the GMAT now? (Originally Posted: 08/16/2017)

Hello!

I will be studying Math at one of the target schools in the UK from this September( I am not British tho). I never thought I will be interested in doing investment banking or working in any other financial fields, but now I can literally sell my soul for the Goldman intern. I had a gap year in Asia, and interned at the Standard Chartered PB and recently secured a place at the Lloyds Bank IB division in London. I am also planning to study Financial Economics at the Oxford cause I think its brand and network could bring me further.

I am just not sure what I need to do to increase my chances of getting into BB in London. As far as I know, I heard that IB favours standardised test results such as SAT or GMAT. So I am thinking about taking GMAT asap if I can get 700 ish. Do you think it's a good idea to start working on the GMAT now?

In addition to that, would taking the Coursera- financial modelling open course at the Wharton from this August be helpful? I was lucky that I could change my course from Biological Science to Math, and I don't want to waste this chance.

I am not sure if it's all right to just ask a bunch of questions, but could you guys also recommend me books to read?

Thank you so much in advance!

Au revoir!

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:26pm

It's never too early to take the gmat. Took me 5 month, 3-4hours/day to get to 710. It varies depending on people.

That said, if your background is in Math, you will already be categorized in the « exceptional quantitative skills ».

My 2cts: in your specific case, the ROI isn't interesting if you sit the gmat only to get into IB.
Definitely worth it for long term investment for b-school.

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:27pm

you studied ~600 hours? damn. how much time you need really depends on your goal score and baseline (score with no studying). I went from a 620 cold to a 740 actual with around 200-250 hrs study time fwiw

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:28pm

No you shouldn't. You're about to start your first year, which means there is a 0% chance you'll actually use this score to go to b-school within 5 years, which means that taking the test right now will be by definition a waste of time and money, which any employer will know. Just get good grades, that's what they want, taking the GMAT will not give you an advantage it will just confuse your potential employer

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:29pm

Take the GMAT the end of your senior year of college. I'm an idiot and put it off until the last minute so effectively have 3 months to get it done along with all my apps for school. The earlier you can get it done, while still having it in the useful 5 year window, you should do. Never hurts to have a backup plan for down the road when you start to hate your finance gig haha

Nov 1, 2013 - 6:32pm

When Should You Prepare for the GMAT? (Originally Posted: 09/13/2016)

I was wondering what the general advice is for taking the GMAT. i found some 2016 and 2017 Kaplan books at my school that were decently priced. I was thinking I could start taking it now as a sophomore and hopefully keep bumping up my score. I would like to get into a traditional or 2+2 program (tough but I am a minority). I know that gmat scores only last for 5 years and that an extremely high score opens up more MBA scholarships.

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