Admission Guides > 3. Exam Preparation > GMAT Step by Step Guide

GMAT Step by Step Guide

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GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a standardized test, which is usually taken by candidates who wish to get enrolled in Masters in Business Administration (MBA). Different business schools have different GMAT test score requirements usually top tier schools enroll students with a score above 700 but there are exceptions and a lot things are taken under consideration.

GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT), which means that questions are adapted to your answers, the more difficult question you answer an equally difficult or an even more difficult question is presented to you. The better you perform the tougher the test gets and vice versa. GMAT consists of 4 sections testing your verbal, quantitative, analytical writing and cognitive reasoning skills. The duration for exam is 3.5 hours.

While one can employ different tools and techniques to prepare for GMAT, we recommend the following tried and tested approach given below.

Step 1: Get familiar with GMAT and download GMATPrep

The first and foremost thing is to get yourself familiarized with test format. What you need to do is understand the questions types, scoring methodologies and other details mentioned on the official website to get a fair understanding of the test. The most important and recommended task in this step is to download GMATPrep software. It’s free software with 2 full practice tests released by makers of the GMAT. These 2 tests contain real GMAT questions, follow real GMAT principles and are the best at estimating your GMAT score at any point in time.

Step 2: Take a full length Diagnostic Test  (you can skip AWA & IR)

The main reason to take this test is to see your current proficiency level and then compare it to the target score you want to achieve, which is depends on the business school you are targeting.

Step 3: Identify Your Weaknesses

Look at your diagnostic test score (you will get one three-digit score such as 600 (Highest score is 800) and 2 two-digit scores such as 35, 40 (highest percentile is 51 in each section) those two are your raw scores for each of the sections). See how you scored in each. Also, do a basic mistake analysis of your test and understand which question types were the most challenging for you. For Quant section you can have two broad categories PS, DS & for Verbal section CR, RC, SC. Look for your mistakes in detail, which type of questions you got wrong and why?

Step 4: Design a Study Plan

Depending on the gap between your current score vs. the target score, you need to plan your study to overcome this gap. You will need books or online tutorials or in person courses to refresh/learn fundamentals and then master test taking strategies. Once you have a good proficiency on fundamental concepts, you will also need GMAT tests to practice those strategies and also evaluate your prep level.

On average it takes 3-6 months to prepare. Full-time professional should study 2-3 hours on workday and 5-6 hours on weekends. Before taking the GMAT exam, take GMAT mocks exams as mentioned below.

Step 5: Assess Your Progress:

After spending time studying for the exam, take your second free GMATPrep® practice test. How well did you do? Do you need more time? Did you improve in your weaker areas and maintain your strengths? Use the results to further direct your studies.Focus on your problem areas but don’t forget to review the areas where you do well.Ultimately, it’s how smart you study that matters, not just how long you study. Plan a study strategy that allows you the required time you need to feel prepared and one that addresses your own test-taking challenges so that your exam results reflect your ability and not your knowledge or lack of knowledge about the test.

PLEASE NOTE NO SCORE is IMPOSSIBLE, study for the GMAT exam until you are comfortable with the test question formats, concepts, timing, and pace.

Important Notes:

  • You need to master the foundational concepts first, before taking the tests. Solving hundreds of questions will not help. Do the concept building first and then practice.

  • Preparation Time: Your preparation time is directly proportional to the gap between your current proficiency level and the target score you want to achieve. The more you need to improve, the more time you would need to achieve the target score. On average you need up to 3 to 6 months with full-time job. However, exceptions are always there i.e. some might need a month and others might take longer. If you study 2-3 hours on workdays and 5-6 hours on weekends then 3-6 months are enough to achieve +700 score.

 The rule is pretty simple: GMAT tests your basic English & math, if you have gaps in foundational concepts such as grammar, geometry, algebra etc., you would need to spend some time to refresh or learn them – once you are conceptually clear then you develop & practice strategic test taking skills such as timing, reasoning etc.


  • First start the preparation from Manhattan GMAT books and once your concepts are clear then open Official Guides books to Practice questions.

  • Official Guide Books (MUST) – These books are MUST for practice only.

  • The Official Guide for GMAT Review

  • The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review Links for all these please.

  • The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review

  • Manhattan GMAT Books:

  • Manhattan Foundation of GMAT Verbal

  • Manhattan The Critical Reasoning Guide

  • Manhattan The Reading Comprehension Guide

  • The Sentence Correction Guide

  • Manhattan The Foundation of GMAT Math

  • Manhattan The Algebra

  • Manhattan The Fractions, Decimals, & Percent Guide

  • Manhattan The Number Properties Guide

  • Manhattan The Word Problems Guide

  • Manhattan Geometry

  • Manhattan Advanced GMAT Quant

  • Manhattan The GMAT Roadmap

  • Manhattan The Integrated Reasoning & Essay Guide

  • Magoosh Online Tutorial

If you are not comfortable reading books then you can try 90 days Magoosh online tutorial course for GMAT via the following website However, you can get premium account at a discounted price, for discount, please contact us.

Understand GMAT Scoring:…

Click here to read more about Step-wise Guide to GMAT Quant and click here to read about Verbal Guide GMAT