Good news! You've received confirmation that you'll be accepted at your target MBA program on condition that you pass the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

Now, you're both excited and panicking! Not sure if you're ready to handle the time pressure when you take GMAT?

A 12-hour clock face of "The GMAT Exam" with four-sections, analytical writing, integrated, quantitative & verbal reasoning

Don't worry! A few time management strategies will help you prepare for the GMAT and take the exam on the day with confidence.

Tip #1 — Create a Time Management Plan

Illustration of a whiteboard displaying post-It notes of different types of tasks

Make a personalized time management plan. Set yourself up for success! Keep it simple and flexible so that you can commit to it.

Your plan should cover each section of the GMAT:

  • Analytical Writing

  • Integrated Reasoning

  • Quantitative Reasoning

  • Verbal Reasoning

List all the sections including their sub-sections and write down the time allotted for each.

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How to develop your plan:

Begin with timed practice test questions to gauge your pace and monitor your progress.

  • review time spent on each section & sub-section

  • review time spent on different question types

  • identify your strong & weak subject areas

Tip #2 — Create Different Strategies for Each Section

Illustration of male at desk, background of floating exam papers, multiple clocks depicting different times, & math symbols

The GMAT uses a Computer-Adaptive Test (CAT) to measure your performance.

How will this impact your timing on the exam? 

The difficulty level of each question is adjusted based on your previous answer and will affect the amount of time you spend on each question.

Flaticon Clipboard with flowchart tasks To understand your timing:

Use results of your practice test questions to create time-bound management strategies for different types of questions.

These strategies will help you to identify your areas of strength and weakness.

Set time limits & practice how to quickly:

  • read multi-part passages/questions

  • use shortcuts for math formulas

  • write essays & logical arguments

  • interpret data graphics & tables

Use these time management tools:

  • a calendar & timer

  • time tracking apps with test logs

  • online scheduling with alerts

  • online productivity organizers

⚡Test Your Knowledge

Illustration of male student at desk with laptop, table lamp, coffee cup and wall clock in the background with plants

Reuben is reviewing the results of his first GMAT mock exam. He performed well on the Analytical essay and short question passages on Verbal Reasoning.

He didn't answer many questions on Quantitative Reasoning because he couldn't recall some of the math formulas. 

He struggled with multi-part questions interpreting data graphs on Integrated Reasoning, so he skipped several questions.

Reuben is very disappointed. He failed to finish the mock exam on time.

Reuben is considering the following techniques to improve his timing but isn't sure which would be suitable.

A. Practice how to quickly read and answer multi-part questions with templates

B. Read and familiarize himself with how to answer essay writing questions

C. Practice 1–2-hour focused study sessions on math formula shortcuts and data graphics

D. Take frequent online tests to practice timing and identify strong and weak areas

Quiz

Which time management strategy would improve Rueben’s performance? Select all that apply.

Tip #3 — Analyze How You Manage Your Time

llustration of male & female with outsized magnifying glass to examine and analyze data statistics

Analyze practice test results to manage your time within each section.

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Take regular, timed mock exams in realistic test settings, to increase your speed and accuracy on different categories. For example, multi-part questions will reduce the amount of time for problem-solving.

What can you do to improve your timing?

Use focused 1–2-hour study sessions to know when to:

  • speed up or slow your pace on specific questions

  • answer easy questions within a set minimum time

  • keep a maximum 3-minute limit per question

  • exceed a maximum 3-minute time limit on a question

Use this example of a GMAT time management table as a guide to plan your timing strategies to answer different question types.

Three column table of an example of GMAT average and minimum timings for completing different categories of exam questions

Check out details about this table on sample timing guidelines for different categories of questions on the GMAT

⚡Test Your Knowledge

Illustration of female wearing a hijab sitting and working on a laptop

Mirriam is spending the weekend working on a GMAT practice test to improve her accuracy & speed with multi-part questions. She is considering the following options to practice time management to prepare for the GMAT exam.

A. Practice writing timed essay questions with well-crafted arguments.

B. Study with friends on practice test questions & use their preferred timing techniques.

C. Practice online multi-part test questions to develop timing & pacing strategies.

D. Use an Official GMAT Guidebook to understand practice questions & mock tests.

Quiz

Which option will help Mirriam to practice effective time management on the GMAT exam?

Take Action

Illustration of male student at desk on laptop with books, coffee, lamp & an oversized time management clock in background

Prepare for the GMAT exam.Practice timed-bound mock tests to construct time management strategies that will help you:

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