The amount of time and ‘type of studying’ you need to prepare for the GMAT should be tailored according to your needs, what you need to improve, and your routine.
In order to create a study plan that fits your lifestyle, you need to know your own skill and ability level, know your strengths and identify which areas still need improvement. In your plan, include when and what time during the week you will ideally study as well as what you will study in each of them. Also, consider what kind of studying suits you best. For example, some people prefer a one-to-one tutoring or small group classes, while others prefer to study on their own.
MBA programs have multiple rounds of application deadlines and for the best chance of being accepted, it is highly recommended that you apply in the first round, when the most seats for that MBA class are available. We can’t say what is best for you but we usually recommend that you begin preparing 8 months prior to the round that you wish to apply. 8 months gives you a sufficient amount of time to prepare for the exam at a reasonable pace and become an expert at taking the exam. It will also give you enough time to choose the programs that interest you and prepare solid applications.
For example, if you want to apply to Chicago Booth in the first round, the deadline is in September so you should begin studying for the GMAT in January of that same year. Since most MBA programs have first round deadlines in September, the start of that year is an excellent time to begin as a New Year’s Resolution. Check the MBA programs’ deadlines that you are interested in to get a better idea of your study schedule.
If you are reading this and you have less than 8 months before the school’s deadline, don’t stress! You can absolutely complete the GMAT, school selection, and your application in less than 8 months. It is a matter of working more over a shorter period of time.