GMAT Tip: The 90-Day GMAT Study Plan
This tip on improving your SAT score was provided by Vivian Kerr at Veritas Prep.
It’s possible to get an awesome GMAT score after only a month of study, but most students require at least three solid months of preparation to get into the 700+ range. How can you break down so much material in such a short amount of time? Here’s how:
Weeks 1-4: Get Familiar With the GMAT
In the first month your goal should be to get as familiar as you can with the exam. You’ll need to start with the The Official Guide for GMAT Review, and you may want to purchase the Quantitative and Verbal guides as well, depending on your strengths and weaknesses. Take a practice exam to see what your baseline is and choose your target score. Read all the information at MBA.com and download the two GMAT Prep practice tests so you’ll have them at the ready.
Your goals by month’s end should be to know what’s on the GMAT, have taken at least two practice tests, and have a thorough understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.
Weeks 5-8: Attack Weaknesses, Reinforce Strengths
Going into month two you’ll want to evaluate your progress. If you haven’t done so already, start using an Error Log to track your incorrect questions. Rotate concepts on a weekly basis, choosing three big weaknesses to systematically address each week. For example, in Week 6 you might focus on data-sufficiency questions involving number properties, harder-level sentence correction questions involving verb form, and inference reading comprehension questions. Buy supplemental books if necessary.
Make sure you’re also using this period to cement your strategies. Now is the time to set up a few sessions with a private tutor if you need extra help.
At the end of Week 6 take a practice test, evaluate your progress, and then, on the basis of your results, set your plan for the next week. It doesn’t mean you won’t study outside these weekly concepts, but it’s nice to give each week of your plan a specific focus.
By the end of the second month you should have taken at least two more practice tests, addressed your main weaknesses, and put solid strategies in place.
Weeks 9-12: Looking Toward Test Day
With four weeks left it’s time to kick your studying up a notch. You should take one practice test a week, using it to build stamina and work on your pacing. Still struggling to finish the quant section? Work on identifying even more specifically which types of questions are slowing you down.
Continue rotating concepts, but don’t let more than three days go by without hitting all of the question types. This is especially important for reading comprehension: Too much time away from those passages can definitely lead to atrophy. Work hard but don’t burn yourself out. Emphasize quality of study over quantity. It’s better at this point to dive into the nitty-gritty and seek out the toughest questions you can find than to simply answer a ton of easy or medium-level questions.
By the 90-day mark you should be capable of finishing all sections within the time limits and have written a few Analytical Writing Assessment essays and gotten feedback on them. But again: Don’t burn out!
Above all, remember that success leaves footprints. There’s no one way to study for the GMAT, but do a quick Internet search on “GMAT score 700+” and you’ll see the same methods and materials mentioned over and over again. Read about the struggles and successes previous test-takers have had and learn from them.
Vivian Kerr has been teaching and tutoring in the Los Angeles area since 2005. She graduated from the University of Southern California, studied abroad in London, and has worked for several test-prep giants tutoring, writing content, and blogging about all things SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT.
For more GMAT advice from Veritas Prep, watch “How to Adapt to the GMAT’s Adaptability”