Taking the GMAT is not like running the 100m dash. The test is a marathon ordeal. Like I always tell my students, in preparing for the GMAT you want emulate Lance Armstrong tackling the Tour de France. You may not win every stage and every time trial, but pace yourself so that you can unleash peak performance on the day of the important test.

Most resource materials will tell you to register for the exam whenever you feel ready. However, in reality testing locations and limited seating means that you may not get your ideal time slot on the date you desire. You want to take the test at the peak of you preparation, not 2-3 weeks after you feel ready, when you run the risk of losing motivation – or worse yet forgetting important material.

My recommendation is to set a target date 30 days from your first practice CAT. This will give you a good benchmark of your preparatory status. Reference Who takes the GMAT to identify you population group – this will inform you on how to set your goals and target score. A practice exam will also identify areas of weakness. Use this information along with the sample study schedule provided to coordinate a concentrated plan of attack to destroy the GMAT.

Pearson testing center hours vary by location. Check with your local test center to find available times. By know you should have a pretty good idea of whether you’re a morning or afternoon person. When do you plan to study? When will you be taking your practice CAT exams? Try to schedule consistent patterns of study to acclimate your brain to processing GMAT information at certain periods of the day. Register to take the test at this exact same time. During the next 30 days, you will be conditioning your brain to perform at peak performance during this time slot. It’s of no use to you if you practice taking tests in the morning, but take the actual test late in the afternoon. Even if you are  physically well rested on test day, your brain will not be acclimated to handle the strenuous thinking required at that specific time of day. Remember, on test day, leave nothing to chance.

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