Although practice exams are an important part of the GMAT test prep process, it can be difficult to know how many mock tests to take. Some people take dozens of GMAT practice tests leading up to exam day. Meanwhile, others take one mock exam the night before the actual test, receive a lower score than anticipated, and realize too late that they're unprepared for the real GMAT.
Neither of these approaches is ideal, so how many practice tests should you take before the GMAT? Understanding the benefits of taking mock exams and knowing how many GMAT practice tests to take and when to take them, gives you a better chance of hitting your target score on test day.
Practice Test Benefits
Why Take GMAT Practice Exams?
In the early stages of your test prep, mock tests help you fine-tune your GMAT study strategy by showing you where you've performed well and which sections are a challenge for you. From there, you can focus on difficult GMAT topics so you can answer questions confidently during the real exam.
Practice tests also simulate the real GMAT by matching the actual structure and pacing of the test. Completing a mock GMAT test shows you exactly what to expect on exam day and helps you improve your test-taking strategies, so you can finish each GMAT section within the given time limits.
Completing Practice Exams
How Many GMAT Practice Tests Should You Take?
Most experts suggest that first-time test-takers register for the GMAT two to three months in advance. At minimum, you should take at least four GMAT practice exams as part of your test prep. These tests allow you to review your results, study the appropriate material, and prepare for another mock exam to gauge your progress before you take the GMAT.
When to Take Mock GMAT Exams
Many test-takers boost their GMAT scores by completing several mock exams before the real thing. Depending on how long you have until your scheduled GMAT exam, consider spacing out your practice tests among review sessions like this:
- First Mock Exam: Take your first practice test at the start of your exam prep journey. Review your results the next day or the day after and create a GMAT study schedule that prioritizes the topics and sections you struggled with the most.
- Follow-Up Practice Tests: Leading up to your GMAT exam, measure your progress by taking a practice test every few days. Schedule one or two review days after each mock exam and adjust your study routine as you continue to improve.
- Final GMAT Practice Exam: Complete your last GMAT practice test a couple days before taking the real exam. By this point, you'll have a good idea of your personal best in terms of your practice scores.
Practice Test Tips
Suggestions for Taking GMAT Practice Tests
Along with aiding the study process, GMAT practice exams give you valuable experience with the timing and format of the real test. The following tips will help ensure you get a realistic exam experience:
- Take practice tests at the same time of day you've scheduled for the real exam.
- Stick to the designated time limit for each portion of the GMAT and include the scheduled break times.
- Simulate GMAT conditions by keeping only authorized tools and essentials in your home testing area as you take your practice exams.
Finding GMAT Practice Tests
Grad Prep offers four exclusive GMAT practice exams to help you prepare for test day. Our test prep resources deliver the simulated test-day experience you need to prepare for the real GMAT exam.