When Should You Start Your GMAT Prep? 

Wondering how to start your GMAT exam preparation? What best practices to follow in your GMAT test prep? Keep reading to know how to go about it! 

The whole process of GMAT prep — from applying to a business school to submitting applications is overwhelming and time-consuming. So, when exactly is the right time to prepare for the GMAT and start the MBA  application process? There are certain things to keep in mind. 

  • First begin with creating a timeline for yourself that ends with the final application date for your university. If you’re applying to many universities, it’s best to choose a university that has the closest application deadline so that you have everything ready much before that.
  • Then, pick a GMAT date that aligns with all the activities you need to complete before your final application deadline for the graduate schools you are applying to. 
  • Use a reverse approach. That is, think backwards from the final application date and consider the time it would take to prepare your resume, write the essay and compile a portfolio if your school of choice requires it or you want to pad your application. 
  • Budget time for a retake at the GMAT in case you are not satisfied with the score you achieve on your first attempt. 
  • Try to give yourselves six months to a year to prepare for the exam and cover the whole GMAT syllabus. Other requirements like preparing a resume and portfolio building can happen simultaneously with this process.
  • One of the most important aspects of the GMAT exam is time management both before and during.

Study Tips:

Reference material

  • Official literature from

The official website of GMAT,, offers a free GMAT Official Starter Kit that comes with two practice exams, to all registered candidates. Additionally, you can purchase a set of two more Official Practice Exams. There is also an Official Guide Bundle that comes with practice material and a question bank.

  • Other useful resources
  • PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible, 2020
  • GMAT for Dummies, 2021
  • Careerlabs


Time Management During the Test

  • Create a strategy to make an educated guess to find the most possible correct option for a complex question that could stump you during the exam. Along with that, consider working out a system to fix a time limit for solving each question – say, if you are unable to solve a question within three minutes, you might want to consider moving on to the rest of the questions to ensure that you solve as many questions as possible.

Visual Literacy

  • Visual data is an essential part of the GMAT exam. If you are able to master the techniques of reading symbols, tables, and charts, you will be much better placed for your exam. The GMAT, especially the Quant section, often features made-up symbols to test this ability. Hence, it is important that you practice for and anticipate these in order to remain composed during the test.

Mock Tests

Just as we have preliminary exams before we take our board exams, it is important to take a GMAT mock test before your actual GMAT exam.

  • Mock tests, or practice exams, help show you your strengths and weaknesses and where you stand in terms of your goal of taking the GMAT exam.
  • You will know how prepared you are for the actual exam and what areas you need to focus on in which section.

GMAT preparation requires proper planning and preparation. Achieving a high score in the GMAT exam is hard, but it is doable – nearly any challenge you face is conquerable, with hard work and resilience. 


James Sullivan
the authorJames Sullivan