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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How do I prepare for the GMAT?

If you’re thinking of enrolling in graduate school to earn your MBA, it’s time to start thinking about preparing for the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Working with a GMAT tutor is for many people a wise investment to help you strengthen the academic areas you may be weak in and improving your overall test score. A GMAT prep tutor should teach you not only the kind of information you need to know for the test, but the best test-taking strategies. The GMAT tests you on four categories: quantitative, verbal, integrated reasoning, and an analytical writing assessment. Cramming is probably not going to give you good results for this standardized test; give yourself between two and six months to prepare, focusing on your most challenging areas first. Successful GMAT prep means planning ahead and studying thoroughly. Those students who reported studying under 75 hours were more likely to score 400 or lower on the test, while students who studied 121 hours or more were more likely to score 700 or higher on the test. Hiring a GMAT prep tutor can range in price from under $50 to over $200 per hour.

How long does it take to prepare for the GMAT?

Pros recommend planning to spend two to six months for GMAT prep. The test itself is only 3.5 hours long, but your score will have a major effect on what schools grant you admission. If you’d like to be considered for one of the top-tier schools, it’s recommended to score at least a 700. Your goals for your MBA can help drive your GMAT prep. GMAT tutors will guide your study plan and help analyze your strengths and weaknesses. GMAT tutors also offer professional guidance and insights on strategic GMAT test-taking. Avail yourself of free GMAT prep software that provides sample test questions for you to practice. The creators of the GMAT recommend creating a structured study plan detailing when you will study each day and what topics you will study during each session. Take into account what style of learning works best for you (solo study, one-on-one tutoring, group tutoring, study groups, prep courses) and proceed accordingly. The test is made up of these four categories, each with an allotted time:

  • Analytical writing assessment: 1 topic, 30 minutes.
  • Integrated reasoning: 12 questions, 30 minutes.
  • Quantitative: 37 questions, 75 minutes.
  • Verbal: 41 questions: 75 minutes.
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