3 Last-Minute GMAT Test Prep Tips to Crush it on Test Day

It’s the day before you take the GMAT—what on earth do you do? Okay, you have studied as hard as you possibly can, you’ve put countless weeks if not months into effective GMAT strategies—is there anything to be done to further increase your score with less than 24 hours until you face off with the real exam? Is it attainable to maneuver successful “insider techniques” to prepare you for what is ahead, ultimately bumping your total score even higher?

While getting ready for the GMAT with a three or four-month course of study can be trying, so can the remaining hours the night before. Perhaps you have anxiety about what to anticipate. Maybe you have insecurities about a particular section or question type. Honestly, that’s only natural and any top tier test prep company like Manhattan Review or others will tell you so. The day before your GMAT test is a day like no other, where all your hard work is finally coming to a culmination. In an attempt to shed some light on this vital time, let’s take a look at three last minute-minute tips that will reveal how to most effectively make use of this time. After all, you’ve come this far, let’s go even farther!  

Avoid cramming.

Okay, this is a big one—cramming is certainly not a good idea the day before your GMAT exam. Let’s be realistic—whatever your weak spots are, you’re not going to conquer them in the 12-15 hours leading up to the test. Cramming is an ineffective technique that gives way to to substandard results and exhaustion, cultivating more harm than good the day of the exam. Additionally, cramming can cause more nervousness than necessary and jumble your brain, which is the last thing you need for something as important as the GMAT. Instead of trying to sneak in a mock exam or more practice exercises, try watching a funny TV show or listening to calming music and going to bed early. Trust the wise wisdom of Manhattan GMAT Prep and steer clear of last-minute cramming!

Review format & know your route—literally!  

While this may seem like it’s two tips, given their nature we’re integrating them since they’re practically one in the same. How significant is it to know the GMAT format? Well, pretty vital, especially if you’re looking for a high score. Wouldn’t it be more optimal to work on practice quant problems or review English grammar? Frankly, not in the final hours before you take the test. Knowing what’s ahead of you is vital for GMAT success—not just through the test format, but also the physicality of traveling to the testing center on time. Let’s deconstruct this piece of advice, shall we?

Knowing the GMAT format and familiarizing yourself with it the day before test day isn’t cramming, it’s reminding yourself of the road ahead. After all, when we know what to expect—specifically, the structure of the exam, how long each section will take, the number of questions, in addition to the question types we’re sure to encounter—anxiety and trepidation is instantly reduced. Let’s briefly go over the test structure so you can have this information handy the night before exam day in an effort to calm your fears of walking into the testing center and “the unknown.”

GMAT Section # of Questions Question Types Time
VERBAL 36 multiple choice Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction, Reading Comprehension 65 minutes
QUANTITATIVE 31 multiple choice Problem Solving, Data Sufficiency 62 minutes
INTEGRATED REASONING 12 multiple choice Two-Part Analysis, Multi-Source Reasoning Graphics & Table Interpretation 30 minutes
AWA (Writing) 1 essay Argument Analysis 30 minutes
TOTAL EXAM STATS 1 essay, 90 multiple choice questions 3 hours, 7 minutes


Reviewing the test format is a highly useful night-before GMAT test tip, but so is making a dry run to the exam center to make sure you know where you are going. In a world of potential GPS misguidance, you don’t want to run the risk of showing up at the wrong locale or even worse—missing the test altogether. Make sure you know your route on how to get to where you are sitting for the exam, as it will ease your mind the night before and assist you in arriving to your destination flawlessly. Furthermore, make sure to get an extra hour or two of sleep—if you can—as it will help your stamina and concentration the following morning.

Trust, trust, trust.

Trusting isn’t easy. This especially applies to the GMAT and all of your hard work. You have to have faith in the numerous hours you have put into fine-tuning your test day techniques in addition to the progress you have made. This can be the most challenging element of the preparation process, and rightfully so! It’s not easy to put faith in yourself when faced with such a large obstacle as the GMAT. Practice visualizing sitting for the GMAT and effortlessly working through each section. Enhance your self-assuredness by focusing on the progress you have made on each mock exam. Remember the end game, which is admission to the school of your dreams, so envisage happily walking through those entrance doors as a new ambitious student. Trusting yourself, your abilities, as well as goals is the most vital thing you can do the day before the GMAT.

Self-care is of critical importance when endeavoring on the GMAT, particularly leading up to the night before. Physically, eating an adequate breakfast, having enough rest, as well as hydrating properly are all vital when faced with this exam. In the meantime, getting to know the exam format, the location of the test center and its travel route, steering clear of ineffective last-minute cramming, in addition to trusting in all your hard work are really the best tips you can integrate into your schedule and psyche prior to test day!