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GMAT Study Timeline

Get into business school by following the right test prep plan.

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The GMAT is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of any business school application, yet many students don't know how to adequately prepare or spend far too little time studying. According to a survey of business school admissions officials by Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, 48 percent claim that a poor GMAT score is the most common application killer. To avoid falling victim, it's integral to lay out an organized study plan and stick with it. But where to start? 

[Read about upcoming changes in the GMAT.] 

First, pick your target schools and be sure to include a few safety schools where the median GMAT score is comfortably below that of your target schools. Next, take a diagnostic test to determine just how many hours you'll need to put into your time preparing for the test.

You can find two free diagnostic tests at the GMAT's official site. Take the first to determine how much you need to study and take the second about a week before your actual test date. 

Taking additional practice tests are key to studying, and aside from the two diagnostic tests, study guides and test packets are offered on the GMAT's site. Study guides provided by test prep companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review also contain access to practice tests. 

[Learn about major changes at prominent M.B.A. programs.]

Once you've taken your diagnostic test and have secured your other study materials, use the timeline to decide how, and for how long, you need to prepare. 

Searching for a grad school? Get our complete rankings of Best Graduate Schools.