How many hours should I prepare for the GMAT?

I used to be a Kaplan tutor and instructor. Now I occasionally tutor students individually. It’s been my experience that if your aptitude is “average+” and you want to score above a 700 you need about 30 hours of instruction and then about another 50-70 hours of studying on your own. This seems like a lot but to some of my students it has been a slam dunk way of scoring 700+ by studying close to 100+ hours.

Data from GMAT, the creators of the GMAT, bolster this positioning.  700+ scoring students study 114 hours according to GMAC themselves.

I would definitely start studying 3 months out. This means taking a class course or tutoring if you have the money. After the class is done I would recommend taking one practice CD test a week (Sunday Afternoons).

During the week, stay after work for 75 additional mins and take a verbal section or a math section on CD.

The class course should teach you how to approach each problem. The tests and CDs should teach you timing.


One comment

  1. Fares

    Dear Paul,

    I found your post very useful in terms of quantifying hours. Allow me to ask you for advice. As I do not have the luxury of time at the moment with my full time 6-days-a-week job, I am planning to prepare for my GMAT exam in one and half months. I realise this contradicts with what you are recommending.

    My plan, which I realize may get out of control, is to allocate 5-hours a day (to achieve 4 hours of net concentration and practice). Having said that, a simple calculation would show that 45×4 = 180 hours of total prep time (including instruction and practice tests).

    Do you think that I’m leaving myself too little time for a realistic ‘above-average’ score?

    Perhaps in terms of hours, my plan is realistic but does the human mind need more time to absorb the concepts offered induced by GMAC?

    I appreciate your prompt reply. Thanks

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