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How to Prepare for GMAT At Home?

Updated on 30 March, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

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The GMAT is an important test for anyone who wants to pursue a graduate degree in business. The test measures your skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical writing. In today's digital age, taking the GMAT from the comfort of your own home has become a popular option. However, preparing for the GMAT at home can be challenging if you don't have the right strategies in place.

In this article, we'll discuss some tips and strategies to help you prepare for the GMAT at home. We'll cover everything from creating a study plan to managing your time effectively during the exam. By the end of this article, you'll be well-equipped to ace the GMAT from the comfort of your own home.

What is a good GMAT self study plan that will meet your needs? How do you structure a self-study timetable for the test? Fret not, since you will find several tips and tricks that will answer your queries and help you build a study plan to ace the examination. Before moving forward, here is an overview of the GMAT examination

Here are some key points about the GMAT:  

  • The GMAT examination is used across 2,400+ educational institutions globally and 7,700+ programs throughout 114 nations. 
  • GMAT scores help with admissions to graduate management or MBA programs. 
  • GMAT evaluates vital skills like problem-solving, critical reasoning, data sufficiency, logic, and analytical writing, which are crucial for management and business programs. 
  • It is a computer-adaptive test where each question is chosen based on the candidate’s abilities. This feature helps the GMAT precisely measure your abilities more than a regular paper-based test. 
  • Testing takes place at 600+ centers worldwide. 

The GMAT sections include the following: 

  • Integrated Reasoning- This measures data analysis and information evaluation across multiple formats. There are 12 questions spread over 30 minutes. 
  • Quantitative Reasoning- This GMAT section measures how well you analyze information and come to conclusions with proper reasoning. There are 31 questions over 62 minutes. 
  • Verbal Reasoning- It is about your capabilities of reading and understanding information while analyzing arguments and correcting material in adherence to written English standards. It has 36 questions spread over 65 minutes. 
  • Analytical Writing Assessment- The section measures communication and critical thinking. It has one essay question for 30 minutes. 

Know more about : GMAT Exam Pattern & GMAT Exam Syllabus

The total time for the examination is 3 hours and 7 minutes, without including two optional breaks of eight minutes each. 

Read more : How to prepare for the GMAT exam?

GMAT Self-Study Time Table- Preparation Aspects

While building your GMAT self study plan, you should consider a few points. These include 

  • Gather Information- Identify institutions where you wish to apply and check their deadlines. Check the GMAT score range and organize your resources for preparation. 
  • Set Realistic Timelines- Your preparation is bound to fail if you do not set realistic expectations. Start with setting out a self-study timetable covering everything in the GMAT syllabus. Leave gaps between the preparatory hours for recreation. Ensure your study schedule has room for practice examinations, learning, and revisions. Build a plan that lists out what and when to study, choosing dates for specific areas. 
  • Focus on Building Foundational Aspects- Use your GMAT Official Practice Exam as a signpost to familiarise yourself with sample questions and to reach your desired scores. You can avail yourself of free and paid mock tests to diagnose your strengths and weaknesses before you dive deeper into the study process. Check the GMAT Official Free Starter Kit and its questions and track your progress regularly.
  • Be Persistent- Make sure you identify your strengths and weaknesses during your preparation and customize your study plan accordingly by making the necessary changes in every possible step. It will help you list out areas of improvement. 

Review the Strategy from time to time- You should allocate extra preparation time to areas in which you are weak. Gather additional resources and practice questions for the same. Review your approach and strategies to these questions.

Know more: GMAT Exam Preparation

Create a Self-Study Plan

One of the most important things you can do when preparing for the GMAT at home is to create a study plan. A study plan will help you stay organized and focused, and it will also help you track your progress.

Here are some steps you can follow to create a study plan:

  • Determine your target score: Before you start studying, it's important to determine your target score. This will give you a clear goal to work towards and help you stay motivated.
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Take a practice test to identify your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you focus your study efforts on areas where you need the most improvement.
  • Break your study plan into manageable chunks: Break your study plan into manageable chunks. For example, you could aim to study for two hours a day, five days a week.
  • Use a variety of study materials: Use a variety of study materials, such as books, online resources, and practice tests. This will help you stay engaged and motivated.

Know more : GMAT Preparation Books

These are a few basic preparation strategies that you can consider. Here is a break-up of the GMAT sections and preparation tips for each. 

GMAT Section Preparation Tips
Integrated Reasoning
  • For multi-source reasoning questions analyze every data source minutely. Use only the data available to answer the questions, understanding what the question requires. It could be anything from identifying discrepancies to drawing inferences. 
  • Questions involving table analysis require careful examination while reading. Judge every statement based on the given condition. Does your answer fulfill the same? It should be a guiding principle for answering. 
  • Graphics Interpretation questions require familiarizing yourself with the graphic data and accompanying information. Read the drop-down menu options and choose one which adds to the statement or completes it in the best possible manner. 
  • Two-Part Analysis questions require an understanding the actual task and available answers. The same answer may be the right one for both columns at times. 
Verbal Reasoning 
  • For Reading Comprehension questions, you may either read through the passage and analyze it after you look at it or analyze it first before viewing it. Identify key facts and words, noting how they influence the argument. Check the transitions to new ideas and conclusions, if any. Read all the answer choices carefully before making a choice. 
  • Critical Reasoning questions necessitate proper strategies on your part. Understand the statement or statements, noting claims, factual data, and how claims are substantiated. If there is an argument in the question, note the part which is the conclusion. Read all the answer options and understand what the question wants you to do. 
  • Check the sentence and its underlined portion minutely for Sentence Correction questions. Re-read them after using your answer choices. 
Quantitative Reasoning 

To ace the quantitative reasoning section, you will need an understanding of several mathematical concepts for the Quantitative Reasoning section. These include the following: 

  • Value Order and Factors- This category should include Numbers, Factors, Number Line, Divisibility, Multiples, Exponents, Remainders, Place Value, Decimals, and Properties of Operations. 
  • Algebra, Equalities, and Inequalities- Brush up on Linear equations, Algebraic Expressions and Equations, Quadratic Equations, Factoring, Functions, Measurement Conversion, and Formulas.
  • Rates, Ratios, and Percentages- You should focus on ratios and proportions, percentages, fractions, rates, converting decimals, work, and mixture problems. 
  • Geometry- This section will require understanding angles, lines, triangles, polygons, circles, quadrilaterals, cylinders, rectangular solids, and coordinate geometry. 
  • Examine Statistics, Counting, Sets, Estimation, Probability, and Series. 
Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Your response to the topic/statement should read like a discussion, with complete sentences, an organizational structure, logical transitions between core concepts, etc.
  • Use well-developed illustrations and examples to support your observations. 
  • Pace yourself smartly; leave time to revise your essay and make changes if required. 


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GMAT Self-Study Plan- Tips for Preparation at Home 

A few general tips will help refine your GMAT self-study plan. Some of them include the following: 

  • Practice numerous question types across GMAT sections as part of your learning schedule. 
  • Replicate actual conditions for testing. Do not use calculators for the Quantitative section.
  • Practice time management and remember not to get stuck on one question for an excessively long time. If you cannot work it out, take your best guess and move ahead. 
  • Practice tests should take up 30% of your study calendar, covering multiple types of questions and all the sections. 
  • Allocate specific days for particular test sections without trying to cover multiple concepts simultaneously.

Here are some additional tips that you may find helpful: 

  • Choose a distraction free study corner- Have a designated study zone if possible. Ensure that it has proper lighting, proper aeration and low noise levels. Use noise-cancellation earphones to keep distractions away. Keep your phone on silent mode while studying. 
  • Take a breather- Take breaks and do not neglect your body. Eating well and getting sufficient rest before the examination is essential. It will ensure optimal productivity and higher energy levels. Take periodic breaks to recharge your mind. Power naps may also help if you are studying throughout the day. 
  • Book References/Study Material- Along with the official study guides, you can also rely on other books and materials. Choose from the GMAT books by Manhattan Prep, GMAC’s Official Advanced Questions, PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible, Kaplan GMAT Prep Plus, and the Princeton Review GMAT Premium Prep. You can also find several free online resources like ebooks, video lessons, forum content, and more. 

Use these tips to build your GMAT self study plan at home. Time allocation and selection of resource sources are two crucial steps for your study blueprint. Acing the GMAT is possible with persistent practice and the right strategies.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I prepare for GMAT on my own?

Yes, you can prepare for GMAT on your own. Chalking out self-study time table after proper research  can help you reap favorable outcomes in terms of GMAT exam. At the same time, you need the right resources along with right attitude to succeed on your own. 

How long does it take to prepare for GMAT from scratch?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution in this regard. It may take two to three months to prepare for GMAT or even up to six months, depending on your level of familiarity, strengths, and weaknesses. You should also note the time available before the examination. 

Can I take the GMAT from home?

Yes, you can take the GMAT from home. However, you'll need to ensure that you have a reliable internet connection and a quiet space to take the exam.

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Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Mrinal Mandal is a study abroad expert with a passion for guiding students towards their international education goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, earned in 2018. Since 2021, Mrinal has been working with upGrad Abroad, where he assists aspiring students in realizing their dreams of studying abroad. With his expertise and dedication, he empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of international education, making their aspirations a reality.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.