Finished with CFA - Now GMAT Time

Now that I am finished with CFA. I will study GMAT for next 7 months and plan on putting in about 600 hours. I am going for +720. But I have doubts whether putting in this amount of time will actually get me there. Any thoughts?

Dude… 600 HOURS, 7 MONTHS?

I am studying right now. I do about 5-6 hours a week. I’ve gone through two Manhattan GMAT books so far. I plan to finish all of them (8) at around this same pace. Then start taking on the OG Guide, GMAT 800 (maybe) and finally a few practice tests. I don’t see myself spending anywhere near 600 hours and hoping to score around 720+.

I took this exam a few years ago and got a 630 with almost no studying. Please do not kill yourself studying for this exam. You can retake it two weeks later. A lot of people talk about the incremental hours of studying does very little after a certain point.

With all that being said. I hope you do well. I really think if I can put the same intense effort into the GMAT as I did for level 2 that it should be a walk in the park. I’m finding the hardest part is having to reteach yourself things you’ve forgotten in math. The english is not that bad IMO. Maybe I should try harder, because my overall profile is not stand out so this could be a good chance to differentiate.

What’s after the GMAT? Presumably an MBA.

Then what? Law School?

Then what? A Ph.D.?

Then what? Med School?

At some point in time, you have to stop studying and start working.

Dafuq? 7 months? 600 hours? 720…with that amount of time you better get a damn near 800 n-word. Unnecessary…study for 2-3months…and aim for 770+…dont come here with those mediocre scores.

alright take it easy everyone. I am working full time and I just passed level 3 in 2013. I will enjoy December and start gmat in january. I will study until I get +720. I’m just not sure if I can even get +720. I mean GMAT is basically an aptitude test so I heard from few people that you cant study gmat. similar to trying to study for an IQ exam. is this true? If after a month of studying say I score in the mid 600 range… will i be able to raise my score to +720 after putting in say 500 hours?? If yes, i’ll put in 1000 hours and go for +770 hahaha. thanks in advance.

Presumably, you’re trying to raise your GMAT score to get into a good MBA program. (If you’re trying to raise your GMAT score just to raise your GMAT score, then I’m not sure what to tell you.)

Where are you applying? What makes you think you’ll get in? GMAT scores alone won’t get you into a lot of top schools. What do you hope to accomplish by going to that school? Do you really need to study 25 hours a week for the next six months just to get your GMAT over 720?

I think these are the questions you really need to be asking. Ask yourself first. Then seek the opinion of others.

A lot of people on here I suspect are under 27 and going to a MBA would be a great opportunity for improved branding and a clear cut recruiting channel. That with having some/all CFA levels completed upon graduation could lead to a great opportunity. I currently work in NYC at an IB (not BSD though) so the two things are not mutually exclusive.

This is very different than an IQ exam. You’re going to start seeing the tricks, you’re going to know number properties, special relationships between sets of numbers, etc. It’s a lot like the CFA exam in a sense there are a lot of possible tested things. From there they’ll start combining them together to make the harder stuff. It’s really trying to read through the bullshit and see what they’re asking that’s hard. If you aren’t able to reason theoretically it may be difficult to get some of the more conceptual problems.

Everyone’s study habits are different, but I think that’s too much time for the GMAT unless you are really that stimulated by practice questions and problem-solving. I often advise my clients to set aside 6-8 weeks to study hard, starting with the GMATPrep software to benchmark your grade (which I think is the single-best simulation of the actual exam), and then cram hard to shore up your weaknesses. More time than that and I think you would get bored.

Also, as someone that’s on the admissions committee at my school, I think once you get 700, you’re fine. As others have mentioned, there is a lot that goes into a candidate’s portfolio. GMAT scores do matter but they’re really one of many data points. They help on the margin at best. What you should really be spending your time on is perfecting your essays and coaching your recommendation writers.

Thanks for your help Greenman and lxwarr.

Isn’t 720 on gmat like top 8%? Surely this cannot be easy. I mean cfa pass rate is around 40% for each level. You just gotta be slightly better than the average to pass cfa exams right?

I would like to attend either columbia or nyu. I don’t want to move. I would not mind doing pt mba either if my employer is willing to help me out with tuition.

haha I was just saying b…im sure you can get higher than 720 with those hours, even with less I think.

Are you applying next year too?

The average height in the NBA is 6’ 7". So if you’re 6-8, you’re just slightly taller than average, right?

No, because each population has its own average. If you’re taking Level 1 of the CFA exam, then you have a college degree, which puts you in the top 20% of the population. So passing Level 1 means you’re in the top 40% of the top 20%. Passing Level 2 means you’re in the top 40% of the top 40% of the top 20%. And passing Level 3 means you’re in the top 50% of the top 40% of the top 40% of the top 20%.

Clear as mud?

Thank you for your valuable input Numi.

I am planning on taking the GMATPrep software and see where I stand. Then I will go very hard for 2 months and take a practice exam. I am the type that chugs along quite hard and for a very long time.

I will put in more hours into my essays and talking to my rec writers.

hmmmm I guess this makes sense.


What advice do you give people on who they choose for rec writers and how to direct them. Should you be kind of outlining what they should say about you? What experiences they witnessed you want them to bring up? Should it be one professional and one extra curricular? Etc. I’m just curious. How much do the recs count for? How much do the essays count for. If you could complete the below breakdown from your perspective on what % of 100 in importance is it?

Undergrad Edu: %


Work Exp: %

Recs: %

Essay: %

Extras: %

Good questions. Hard to say since the application process is imprecise and tough to exactly quantify, but for sure work experience and undergraduate education matter most in my opinion. From there, essays and recommendations are important. A school can’t and doesn’t want to fill their class with GS analysts or McKinsey consultants so they need some intangibles, and typically these firms are quite good at identifying which tier the candidates belong in. That said, it is all relative - if you are an McK consultant or GS IBM analyst, it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that you will get into an M7 school as long as you don’t put together a horrible application or kick one of the Dean’s dogs. Schools will tell you that what you did years ago in undergrad or early in your career don’t matter as much as what you’ve done lately, and that’s largely true, but not completely. I mean, think about it - the goal of the business school is to get the highest number of students high paying jobs, and so when you think about what hiring managers care about, obviously prestige matters. But if you don’t have those qualifications, it certainly isn’t a deal-breaker - it just means you have to work harder on your essays and recommendations to set yourself apart. Don’t forget the interview too. That does matter especially since most interviewers only get to see your resume and not the other stuff. Not trying to pitch my career coaching services (though if you want, the link is in my profile!) but where candidates mess up the most are in the essays, followed by the recommendations, followed by the interviews. People either fall back too much on their work experience or overcommit on GMAT that they mess the other things up. That is one surefire way to set oneself up for rejection.

@infinitybenzo ; make sure you check gmatclub’s website. There`s a lot of resources / testimonials.

top schools generally need a 700+ gmat score.

If you’re from an over-represented group (i.e., white or asian male in finance or consulting), and you’re going for the top 10 programs, you should shoot for 730+. Although 700 is a good score, it’s now 20-30 points below the median of the top programs, and for the highly competitive demographics, you want to be above the median. But as Numi said the GMAT is one of many data points, although I personally think its importance is a bit understated by people.

I used to work at the MBA admission office in my university when i was doing my undergrad. My business school is internationally known but not top 20 in the world by far (top 50, maybe?) and i don’t think i’ve seen many applications with GMAT under 700.

Eventhough busniess school generally take into consideration of other factors, such as experience, and other accomplishments, but unless you are exceptional in some area that put you in front of the line, i think 700s is expected considering there are so many Chinese and Indian applicants with ridiculously high scores!