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How to Prepare for GMAT While Working: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated on 31 March, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

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Do you wonder if you must leave your full-time job for the GMAT preparation? Or are you taxed with how to prepare for GMAT while working? Several professionals worldwide may have this question, considering the importance of the GMAT exam for admissions into leading business schools and the paucity of time for those working 50-60 hour weeks. 

GMAT for working professionals is not a piece of cake; it necessitates carving out time diligently for studying. This article delves deeper into the strategies and tips you can employ to achieve a good GMAT score as a working professional.

GMAT for Working Professionals- Why Is It Important?

Many may believe GMAT, or the Graduate Management Admission Test, is significant only for graduates; in fact, GMAT for working professionals is beneficial in multiple ways, such as: 

  • A good GMAT score is necessary for getting admission into leading MBA programs and business schools that require working experience as their criteria. Admissions committees carefully evaluate the GMAT scores of candidates to ensure the candidate would fit in their institution. 
  • The GMAT examination also trains professionals in vital skills that can help them scale up the corporate ladder, including decision-making, team management, leadership, nuances of evaluating multiple arguments before zeroing in on the right one, and the ability to read and comprehend complex data swiftly. 
  • Other life skills that the GMAT exam helps professionals with include problem-solving, tackling high-pressure scenarios, communication and vocabulary, and fleshing out compelling arguments for diverse scenarios. 

How to Prepare for GMAT While Working 

According to the GMAC, in 2016, a survey of 3,600+ test takers revealed that 62% of them started preparing at least four or more weeks before the examination date. Studying for 60 hours or more can lead to high scores of 500 or higher. This indicates how the test necessitates extensive study and research. 

Here are the top 5 strategies to help working professionals prepare for the GMAT exam. 

  1. Starting early- Most professionals leave GMAT preparation till they are already ensconced in hectic professional schedules and seek career upliftment with an MBA degree. The key is to start as early as possible, ideally when one is just out of college or starting a job as a fresher. It will enable smoother preparation with sufficient time in hand. 
  2. Preparing at strategic intervals- People often take a break between jobs or take sabbaticals for various reasons. These can be the strategic intervals where you can prepare for the GMAT exam more efficiently. Even an extended break or time off can be a great option to start your preparation. 
  3. Study schedule- A self-study timetable is the starting point of effective exam preparation. Plan out a window for studying and focus on the examination as much as possible. Choose a time frame where you can take a few days off or have lower workloads to handle. If you have a flexible schedule, talk to your supervisor or manager and chalk out a routine where you can either go to work late or take lighter work for a couple of days every week and make up over the next few days. Maximize holidays and weekends for studying. 
  4. Make a plan according to your pace- Build your GMAT study plan to fit your work and lifestyle. You must identify and analyze your skills, strengths, and weaknesses for this. Adjust your study pattern accordingly, making it an easy roadmap to follow and stay consistent.
  5. Keep your resources ready- You should have a clearly defined curriculum in place, along with the right resources– online videos, master classes, assignments, practice tests, etc. Arm yourself with everything you need before starting to avoid future hiccups.

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GMAT Preparation Tips for Working Professionals 

What are some handy tips for working professionals preparing for the GMAT exam? Some important GMAT preparation tips are listed below.

  1. Understanding the examination pattern is crucial- Before making the GMAT study plan for working professionals, candidates should fully grasp the examination structure and patterns, along with individual sections and scoring information. It will enable a more effective division of study schedules across diverse examination components. Setting a target score is also essential, as it will give you a goal to chase and achieve. 
  2. Building a proper study plan- The key is to start small; creating a monthly plan is the way forward. Once a candidate can stick to shorter plans, it will be easier to adhere to longer blueprints. 
    1. The ideal way is to allocate 1-2 days for individual sections. At the same time, candidates should examine sections where they are not as strong and assign some more time to the same.
    2. Dividing each day of the week with a focus on individual sections on a day-wise basis can be a good starting point. 
    3. Weekends should be reserved for practice or mock tests to understand areas where improvement is required. 
  3. Effective time management- From working remotely to leveraging holidays and extended weekends, time management is of great importance on the professional front. These skills can be crucial as you prepare for the GMAT exam while working.
    1. Allocate time after work or early morning for studying, depending on your schedule.
    2. Those who commute daily can use that time to keep up with their study schedules. Videos, podcasts, and converting notes into audio files are good ways to utilize commutes more effectively. 
    3. Weekends should involve 6-7 hours of practice tests, revisions, figuring out new and difficult concepts, and heavy-lifting tasks that are not possible during the week. 
  4. Consistency is vital- Staying true to one’s goal and being consistent with examination preparation is crucial. It is easy to drop out of the game due to stressful schedules and work or social commitments. However, consistent preparation is the hallmark of a skillful learner. 
    To be consistent, try and allocate something that suits your schedule and allows you to indulge in preparing for the GMAT exam every day – be it a revision or learning something new or a practice test. 
  5. Practice tests are indispensable- There is nothing as helpful as mock tests to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses, especially while solving questions under the pressure of a timed format. 


GMAT for working professionals requires consistent preparation, effective time management, and a sharp focus on the end objective. Staying organized regarding the GMAT self-study plan for every section is essential. With the right strategy, it is possible to crack the GMAT exam, but above all, it requires dedication, persistence, and sincerity.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I prepare for GMAT while working?

Yes. You can prepare for GMAT while working; however, proper scheduling and planning are essential for a good GMAT score as a working professional. Build a study plan as per your lifestyle and try to take out maximum time in a week to study- try to study 4-6 hours or more on weekends. 

How to prepare for GMAT for working professionals?

Working professionals can prepare for GMAT by taking strategic steps like studying in the morning and after working hours, maximizing study and practice time on the weekends, using commute times to keep learning through videos and podcasts, building study plans, and sticking to the same, and breaking down the examination’s sections and core components into smaller portions. 

How much time should I devote to GMAT preparation while working?

The amount of time you should devote to GMAT preparation while working depends on your schedule and study goals. Typically, experts recommend spending 100-120 hours on GMAT preparation to achieve a competitive score.

What are some effective ways to prepare for GMAT while working?

Some effective ways to prepare for GMAT while working include creating a study schedule, making the most of your commute time, using study materials that fit your learning style, and taking practice tests regularly.

When should I take the GMAT exam if I am working?

You should consider taking the GMAT exam when you have sufficient time to prepare, but also when you have the bandwidth to handle the additional stress of taking the exam. It's important to plan ahead and schedule your exam during a period when your work schedule is manageable and you can fully focus on 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.