GMAT Prep –

Frequently Asked Questions

Study Time – How many hours do I need to study?

This is one of the most common questions from students. We usually recommend that most students put in at least 100 hours of study time, including practice tests. Of course, the more time you study, the more your score will increase.

You can split this time up in a way that’s most convenient. If you have three months to study, then 8 hours per week is a good target. If you have less time until your test, then you should try to study more each week.

It’s also important to have high quality study time, not just a large number of hours. After each quiz, you should be reviewing your mistakes in detail until you know where you went wrong. We’re going for both quantity and quality.

Time Tracking – How does it work? Why is my study time lower than expected?

In the program, we’re very rigorous about time tracking. We only track time when you’re actively engaging with PrepScholar, such as when you’re answering questions or reading our lessons. If you take a break, visit Youtube, or get distracted by your phone, we don’t count that time.

We also limit the amount of time you can earn in parts of the program. For example, if you leave your lesson page open for 2 hours, we may not credit you for 2 hours of work since this exceeds a reasonable amount of time to finish reading the lesson.

If you’re noticing a minor difference in study time, we suggest focusing on the big picture – that you’re putting in good time and learning the GMAT. The time tracker is really just a guideline for you to keep you on track. If you’re working hard and learning, that’s the most important thing.

If you’re seeing a major difference in study time (like seeing 0 hours when you’ve studied 5), then you might be using an outdated browser. We recommend using Chrome or Firefox for best results.

Diagnostic Results – Where do I see them?

For the 60-question diagnostic you took when you first joined, we don’t actually show you the exact question by question results. The reason is that this smart diagnostic gives you questions that might be too advanced or basic for your level, and reviewing it question by question isn’t an effective way to learn. We use that diagnostic to set your current skill levels and initiate your program.

Rest assured, every question you saw in the diagnostic is also part of our skill lessons, so you’ll be able to see every question again.

Customization – How does PrepScholar decide what I should be studying?

The basic idea is that you’re always working on the tasks that will get you the biggest score improvement. We want every hour you spend studying to be as effective as possible. You shouldn’t be studying things that you already know – we focus your attention on the subjects that will make the most difference in your score.

How do we figure out what’s effective and not? Based on our experience with real successful students in the past. The study program you receive – a mixture of skill lessons, strategy lessons, and practice tests – is based on our study of what actually gets students major score improvements.

When you took your diagnostic at the beginning, we analyzed your strengths and weaknesses in all the skills that the GMAT tests. We use advanced statistics using hundreds of thousands of data points for accuracy.

We then assign you a study program consisting of lessons and practice tests. Each skill lesson gives you focused practice on that skill. For example, if you’re weak in algebraic functions, you’ll train that skill with focused questions.

Your study program adapts to you over time. If you’re having trouble with a concept, you’ll see it again so that you can make progress later. In contrast, if a concept comes easily to you, we’ll concentrate your attention on other areas that need more improvement.

Finished Lessons – I’ve run out of lessons on my dashboard. Can you add more?

When you finish all your lessons on your dashboard, you’ll see an option to add on more lessons for the week. You will see a message at the top of your dashboard and a button to add more lessons. You can continue repeating this to study as much as you can.

If you don’t see this message yet, then you still have remaining lessons on your dashboard. If you haven’t finished the strategy lessons, you just need to read them for about a minute before they’re marked as done.

You do not have to finish your practice test before adding on more lessons, though we recommend highly that you factor in enough time to work on a full-length exam to get the most productive prep possible!

Reviewing Lessons – How do I review my previous lessons and tests?

All your previous lessons and tests are on your Progress page. Just click on Progress at the top of the screen, and scroll to the middle. Here, you can see all the lessons, quizzes, and practice tests you’ve previously taken.

The only exception is lessons that you’re repeating this week – in this case, we temporarily block access so that you’re not tempted to memorize the answers to ace the quiz.

Repeating Questions – Why is my quiz repeating questions I’ve seen before?

While completing your program, you may notice that questions repeat when you need to redo a skill lesson. We believe that repetition is helpful for retaining information. It’s important that you solve each question anew each time you see it, rather than memorizing the answer.

As always, it’s important that you review your mistakes when you miss a question. If you truly understand it, the next time you see it, you should be able to get it right.

Rest assured, our program has many questions across dozens of skills, so you’re getting a ton of effective, realistic practice, even if you see repeating questions. The GMAT tends to repeat question concepts from test to test, so if you truly understand how to solve a type of question, you’ll be well-equipped to answer all similar questions thereafter.

Can I focus on a specific skill in the program?

Our diagnostic is accurate and we customize your schedule according to our perception of your strengths and weaknesses. The program also adapts to your schedule so that if you’re better at a subject than we thought you were, you’ll master those skills quickly and focus on your weaknesses. Our system is designed to maximize your score improvements.

If you still want us to change your lessons, we’re happy to do so but that will mean that you waive the 60 point guarantee. The reason is that our system is designed to maximize your score improvement across all subjects, and if we change how our program works then we’ll no longer be able to offer the guarantee.

If you still decide that you’d like your lessons customized, below this line, click “No” to let us know which lessons you’d like to focus on, and confirm that you’re okay waiving the point improvement guarantee.

Is something not working?

There are a few things you can do to troubleshoot your program! PrepScholar works best when you’re using either Chrome or Firefox. If you’re using Chrome or Firefox, you should ensure that your pop-up or ad blocker is turned off, and that your browser is in its most up-to-date version.

After you’ve checked into these things, if your problem persists, we encourage you to write in to support to let us know.

What can I do if I finish all my lessons this week?

When you finish all your lessons on your dashboard (including strategy lessons), you’re prompted to add on more lessons for the week. You can continue doing this to study as much as you can. If you haven’t finished the strategy lessons, you just need to read them for about a minute before they’re marked as done.

You do not have to finish your practice test before adding on more lessons, though we recommend highly that you factor in enough time to work on a full-length exam to get the most productive prep possible!

What do I do if I finish all my lessons in the program?

First of all, congratulations! You should be very proud of the work you’ve done. You’re clearly performing at a high level and can expect a great score.

When you master all the skills on PrepScholar, you’ve basically completed the program. You’ve gone through many hundreds of questions and been able to get most of them right.

You can write in to support and let us know that you’ve finished all your lessons. We’ll be able to give you some additional strategy and preparation guides, and will be able to unblock your skills so you can continue studying.

How can I review my mistakes?

For quizzes and practice tests you completed in the current week (Monday-Sunday), they will remain on your dashboard for review.

When your program updates on Monday, you’ll get a batch of new lessons, but all your previous lessons and practice tests will be visible if you click on Progress at top, then scroll down to see your lessons.

The only exception is that we don’t let you review previous lessons that are repeated in the current week. For example, if this week you’re assigned Core level of Math-Triangles, you won’t be able to review your previous quizzes in Core: Math-Triangles until you finish this week’s quiz. This is so that you’re not tempted to memorize answers to pass the quiz in the current week.

Can I reset my quiz?

You might want to reset your test because you made a mistake with your answers or you forgot the timer was running and you walked away from the computer.

Unfortunately, we can’t reset your quiz, so I recommend you make as much progress as you can and as you go through the program, the quiz will come back to you so you can try again!

Test Not Available

– I want to take a test this week, but it’s not on my schedule.

We space out practice tests in the way we find most effective. If you’ve taken a test this week or last week, you’ll usually get another practice test scheduled in the next week or two. You can see if any tests are scheduled for next week by going to your Dashboard, then clicking on “Show Future Assignments.”

In most cases, we recommend waiting for the practice test to show up in your week’s assignments. Rather than worrying about taking all practice tests possible, focus on reviewing your mistakes.

If you strongly wish to take a practice test this week, our support team can push your test forward. To request a test pushup, click “No” below, then submit a request to get a new test.

Please note that these requests are fulfilled to our best effort. Because this is not a supported feature of PrepScholar, we can’t guarantee a test will be made available exactly when you need it.

I run out of time on my practice tests. What do I do?

A lot of students have trouble with this, so the fact that you recognized this is a great first step.

Practicing and getting familiar with the questions and skills will improve your speed. You’ll take less time to understand what each question is asking, as it’ll fit into patterns of how you understand the test.

The best way to get timing experience is on the official practice tests, not on our skill lessons. When you time yourself on a realistic practice test, you’ll engage all your skills together and get the best sense for how you’re running out of time.

Why am I being charged in my free trial?

We don’t charge you until your 5-day free trial ends. What you may be seeing is a pending charge on your card.

Your 5-day free trial begins only when the student completes the diagnostic. We collect card information only to validate the charge, and not to actually process the charge. In the meantime, the authorization will be a pending charge on your card.

Some banks or debit cards may show this as a full charge, when it’s only pending. This is more common with international banks outside the United States. If you’re unsure, you can call your bank.

If you stay with the program, the pending charge will go through as a full charge, and your program license will be complete.

Why was I charged twice?

Sorry for the confusion – we will never charge you twice for the same program.

What might be happening is that your bank is showing a single charge as two. When you first signed up for the free trial, we put in a pending authorization to verify the card (this is not a real charge). When your free trial ended, we turned the authorization into a real charge.

In most credit cards, there is usually only a single charge shown. But for debit cards and some banks, especially international ones, this may sometimes appear as two charges by mistake.

Over the next few days, the first pending charge should drop, so that you will only see one charge from us.

You have our word that you will only ever be charged once, and if for whatever reason the pending charge does not drop off, we will make it right.

How do I qualify for the point guarantee?

Our point guarantee is pretty simple and applies to our Completely Customized Course. First, you need to have taken an official GMAT before joining PrepScholar. We use only official tests to compare scores. (Some other companies use their own harder practice tests as the starting score, which artificially increases your score improvement).

Next, you need to complete the program before your official test, which on PrepScholar means mastering every skill. If you can reach this level of achievement, you’ll be in amazing shape for the test.

Rest assured, even if you don’t complete the program, as long as you put in study time, you’ll have a great chance at improving your score. Our experience has shown that students who earnestly put in high-quality study time get the score improvement they want.

What are the two most important things I should be doing to improve my score?

1) Spend more time studying. Most students who don’t get the score improvement they want simply don’t spend enough time studying. We recommend studying 100+ hours for the test. See the question above: “How many hours do I need to study?”

2) Review your mistakes. You can do 10,000 practice questions and get nothing out of it if you don’t stop to reflect on your mistakes. Really try to understand how to get to the right answer, and, if you made an error, how you can avoid your mistake in the future. See the question below: “How do I effectively review my mistakes?”

How do I effectively review my mistakes?

The most important part of practice is reviewing your mistakes after each quiz. Really try to understand from the explanation how to get to the right answer, and, if you made an error, how you can avoid your mistake in the future. We’ve tried to write our explanations to guide you through this process. If an explanation is really unclear, report it to us and ask someone around you who might be able to help. You can also keep a notebook where you write down questions that you missed and why.

After reviewing the quiz, you might even re-quiz yourself and redo questions that you missed. If you still get stuck on a question, try reviewing the question again.

Another thing you can do is write down your mistakes in a notebook. This gives you a quick reference to all the concepts you have trouble with.

If you apply this strategy when you’re studying yourself, you will make a ton of progress. I know it can be frustrating to have to stare at your mistakes, and you have to use a lot of mental energy to figure out a question. But every time you have an “Aha!” moment, you’ll have made a huge improvement that will increase your score.

I have trouble with timing on passage questions. What’s a good strategy?

For passage-based sections like Reading, we recommend this approach. First, just skim the passage on the first read through. Don’t try to understand every single line, or write notes predicting what the questions will be. Just get a general understanding of the passage. After you’re done skimming, go to the first question. If the question refers to a line number, then go back to that line number and understand the text around it.

This is important because the questions will ask about far fewer lines than the passage actually contains. For example, lines 5-20 of a reading passage might not be relevant to any question that follows. Therefore, if you spend time trying to understand those lines, you’ll be wasting time.

Try this out and see if it works for you – there isn’t a single right answer for everyone, but we’ve found that this works well for students who have been spending too much time reading the passage.

Should I be worried that I’m not improving on practice tests?

The practice tests in our program have two purposes in our program. First, they are designed so that you can gauge your progress while working through our program. Second, they allow you to practice taking tests in realistic, timed settings to work with your overall testing endurance. The GMAT is a journey, and there will be hurdles along the way. The reason our program is designed the way that it is — providing you with customization and targeted work at your skill level — is so that this journey is less stressful. Especially if you have not fully completed the program yet, don’t fret about a lower score on one test.

Why am I not leveling up on lessons?

You “Level Up” on any lesson where you pass the quiz that happens at the end. Passing a quiz typically requires 90%+. Don’t worry though, at the end of the quiz, you’re given in-depth answer explanations to help you understand your mistakes. You’re able to retake lessons if you don’t pass them the first time.

Why are my lessons marked as paused?

When your lessons are marked as paused, it means that you attempted them, and will need to come back to them at a later date. My recommendation is to simply go ahead with other lessons. When you finish everything else, those paused lessons will become un-paused.

Based on the progress you’ve made in the program, we feel it will be most beneficial to focus on the other lessons before circling back to the ones that have been marked as paused.

I don’t understand a question or a lesson. Can you explain it to me?

Our explanations are designed to guide you through the question so you can figure out your mistakes. It’s really important to try to learn from your mistakes, so this step is critical.

If you notice that an explanation isn’t very helpful, you can report it to us by clicking “Report a Problem” or “Suggest an improvement.” We’ll improve the explanation or lesson afterward.

I see a typo or mistake in a question or lesson. Can you fix it?

Thanks for noticing this. The best way to communicate errors to us is to click “Report a Problem” or “Suggest an improvement” inside your lesson or quiz. This will tie your feedback with the content we need to improve.

We apologize for any errors that you notice. We write a lot of test content for you to study from, and we proofread all content before it makes it into the program. However, sometimes errors pass by our watch, and we fix errors you report regularly.