The GMAT needs a runway

April 8, 2012
Lucas Weingarten

GMAT blogI was having a conversation with my students this past Monday evening, checking in on how prep is progressing for them.  That class marked the close of the first third of their course and perhaps the first quarter of their prep schedule—a good time for anyone to take stock of where you’re at and how well it’s going.

Invariably, everyone who preps for the GMAT comes to the same realization: I need more time than I’d anticipated.  We walk into this test with the well-earned self-perception that we are smart, quick on the uptake, and just need a little grease on some old gears so we can score a 700+.  Yeah…

Once you begin really taking your prep seriously and learning what the GMAT is all about, you very quickly realize that your initial surface scratch has revealed a massive and intricate world for which you need a map, some tools, and a good bit of time to navigate.  The more you study, the more you come to understand that you deserve that time and those resources.  It becomes a point of principal: if I gave myself the chance to really do this right, then I really could manage to hit a very solid score.

Sadly, all the other stuff we have going on in our lives doesn’t seem to care we have chosen embark on such a significant and demanding journey.  Work, family, friends, and the unexpected keep demanding (and sometimes stealing) our time.  Days might pass and all the while you are thinking of how you really ought to be studying for the GMAT.  You’ll feel guilty about it.  Then, you will finally get back on the GMAT wagon and you’ll wonder just how many hours you squandered away that you could really use right about now.

Even after you’ve whipped yourself into a disciplined study schedule, that nagging sense of time constraint will never go away.  Your Test Day will loom on the horizon, drawing ever closer, and you’ll pine for just one more week so you can study just a little more.

The GMAT is definitely NOT a test for which you can cram.  You need 100-120 hours over the course of 2-3 months of regular, progressive study to set yourself up to attain the score you deserve.  If you think you can conquer the GMAT in a month, well, I promise that thought will evaporate by the end of the first week.

Respect the test.

Lucas Weingarten Lucas Weingarten teaches students how to beat the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT for Kaplan Test Prep and is proud to have earned “elite instructor” status. Lucas writes extensively for Kaplan’s GMAT blog, and in addition to the GMAT and business school as primary subject matter, he regularly explores topics within higher education, economic systems, sustainability, and current events. Lucas spent his formative years in North Carolina and currently resides in Milwaukee, WI, though he has not yet found the part of the world wherein to bury his roots. He has an MBA with a dual concentration in entrepreneurship and finance from DePaul University in Chicago and is fortunate to have secured an adjunct teaching position there out of the department of management. Family, friends, and a seemingly endless stream of new hobbies keep Lucas busy and happy outside of the classroom. You can reach out any time by email ( or through the comments thread after his blog posts.

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