Very often prospective MBA aspirants get confused with the following question – Should I Quit my full-time job to prepare for GMAT? Although different people hold different opinions, it is highly recommended to not quit your full-time job to prepare for your GMAT exam. One of the major reasons that most MBA aspirants consider quitting their job to pursue their MBA is due to the vast GMAT syllabus which requires commitment and a lot of dedication.  To score well on the GMAT test, you not only have to familiarise yourself with the topics and learn to arrive at the right answer but also learn the shortest possible way to answer the question correctly in as little time as possible. Hence, this requires vigorous training and practice. However, you can practice for the GMAT and at the same time keep your full-time job by developing a GMAT study plan keeping in mind the time you need to dedicate towards your profession.  Having a GMAT study plan is extremely important whether you’re studying for the GMAT full-time or not. The need to develop a study plan increases even more so when you have a full-time job as there is a high chance of procrastination and eventually giving up on your GMAT aspirations.  In this article, we’ll discuss why quitting your full-time job to study for the GMAT is not advisable and how to prepare for GMAT while working full-time by structuring an effective GMAT study plan.  Why It Is Not Advisable to Quit Your Job for GMAT Preparations Indeed, most GMAT test-takers are working professionals, and balancing between work and GMAT studies is quite a challenging task. However, quitting your full-time job may not be the ideal solution because it may not be perceived well by the admission committee. The admission committee at any top business school would perceive such a step as a lack of ability to multitask and manage your time effectively. Furthermore, the admission committee lays great importance on your work experience as they believe that your professional experience showcases your capabilities and skills to perform well during the programme.  Moreover, the admission committee at a top business school analyses you based on your ability to cope with a rigorous and intensive programme. By preparing and scoring well on the GMAT without quitting your full-time job, you prove to the admission committee that you will be able to cope with the rigorous demands of the MBA programme. Furthermore, members of the admission committee would be sceptical towards admitting any individual with a career gap. Although a  gap of 1-2 months may be justifiable, anything more than that will require an adequate explanation.  Having experience is extremely essential to performing well in your MBA program. As an experienced professional you will have acquired important industry knowledge which aids in understanding business terminology and concepts taught during the MBA programme. Furthermore, having worked in a professional setting within an organization gives you a thorough understanding of working in a structured organization with a hierarchy which enables you to understand how to effectively coordinate and work in teams during your study.  Although it is possible that you might not achieve your target GMAT score on the first attempt, this challenge can be overcome by developing a robust GMAT study plan and committing to it. Furthermore, we only recommend you to take the GMAT exam when you’ve thoroughly familiarized yourself with the concepts and are confident of taking the exam. However, if you do not achieve your target score despite undergoing vigorous training and practice, you will be pleased to know that GMAC allows you 5 attempts which you can take all around the year with a 16-day gap between each attempt.   Opportunity Cost of Taking the GMAT Exam Dedicating to the GMAT preparation on a full-time basis may seem advantageous in the beginning. However, GMAT studies require you to only spend a total of 1-2 hours on a weekday and nearly 4 hours on a weekend for about 4 to 6 months to effectively prepare for the GMAT. Hence, it is not necessary to quit your job because it becomes difficult for you to look for a new job. And, if you change your mind about taking the GMAT exam or do not achieve your target score, then it adds to the stress. Remember, job opportunities are not always available as per your requirement but a GMAT exam can be taken anytime during your professional career.  Another reason to reconsider not quitting your job is the financial stability that your job offers. Since appearing for GMAT and pursuing an MBA abroad is a costly affair, having a job helps to meet the costs of preparing for the GMAT exam and paying the expensive application fee of business schools. Hence, having a job will provide you with a steady source of income that will help you not only fund your GMAT preparation process but also the overall cost of applying to an MBA programme.   Overall, your job will help reduce the economic loss by overcoming the opportunity cost and offering you a steady flow of income which you may lose out on if you choose to quit your job. In some cases, your employers may also assist you in funding your MBA programme’s tuition with certain conditions to which you may have to agree to. Hence, it is wise to keep your job rather than quitting your job to study for the GMAT exam. However, you must invest your time appropriately and plan your studies to effectively balance your job and your exam preparation.  How To Study for GMAT While Working Full-Time Balancing between a full-time job and a GMAT is not easy. Hence, you need to dedicate some amount of time to your GMAT studies by developing a study plan. Your GMAT study plan should accommodate nearly 1 to 1.5 hours of studying and practising over the weekdays and about 4 hours over the weekend to take mock tests and review your answers.   Your GMAT study schedule should incorporate the following tasks:
  • Studying basic concepts to familiarise yourself with the math and verbal topics covered in the GMAT exam.
  • Enhancing your writing skills for the GMAT AWA section.
  • Structuring a detailed study plan covering all the important topics for the exam and making time for GMAT mock tests.
These are a few basic strategies that would help in utilizing your time effectively. However, don’t forget to give yourself some time too. Do some activities to shake off all the stress.  To answer your question, how to prepare for GMAT while working full-time, you must have a detailed study plan that covers all the topics in the GMAT syllabus, this would help you to track your progress. In addition to practising essential concepts, it is important to take mock tests at regular intervals because this way you will be able to measure your strengths and weaknesses. Once you are aware of this, then you can concentrate on those topics you are not good at and spend adequate time to improve on them. Furthermore, GMAT mock tests give you an understanding of the test conditions of the actual GMAT exam which includes the break patterns and the adaptive testing method.  In addition to having your own study plan, taking the help of online or app-based learning classes such as CareerLabs’ GMAT preparation will prove to be helpful in case you need assistance with a challenging concept or topic. Moreover, such prep classes also help you to learn various tricks to help you answer tricky questions in the shortest possible time.  To sum up, quitting your full-time job to prepare for the GMAT exam is not advisable. Your job helps to overcome the opportunity cost associated with taking the GMAT exam and preparing your MBA applications.  Now that we have answered your question – how to prepare for the GMAT while working full-time and explained in detail the benefits of preparing for the GMAT by continuing to work, you’re better positioned to plan everything.  

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