GMAT Exam Preparation: A Study Timeline
In a perfect world, the ideal study timeline for the GMAT is three months or more. It’s much more pleasant to take your time and approach studying for the GMAT with a slow and steady mentality. However, no one lives in a perfect world. It is possible to complete a deep and fast study routine for your GMAT test preparation in only 30 days, but that requires a lot more daily hours. This article will cover the one-month approach to studying for the all-important GMAT exam.
1. Set a Goal for Starting School
Studying for the GMAT is a big commitment. You will need all the motivation you can get. The largest motivating factor that helps you stay on schedule is knowing when you want to start your business program. Select a school, or narrow your list down to a few you want to attend. Then, do some research for application deadlines. That will tell you how much time you have to study for this test.
2. Register for the GMAT Exam
Visit mba.com to register for your exam. Again, earlier is better. Be sure you select an exam date that is before the application deadline for your selected school.
3. Know Thyself
To start studying for the GMAT, you must know your own strengths and weaknesses well. If you’re great at math, you should study that section a bit less. The same goes for the verbal section. Magoosh offers a wonderful diagnostics test to help you find out where you stand among other test-takers. You can click here to see how you would score today, before studying.
4. Record your Baseline
It’s important to record your progress while studying. Take a practice exam or visit the Magoosh diagnostics test. Don’t stop there. Write your scores down. This is your baseline, and this is what you will measure you progress on as you go.
5. Start Studying
Daily study time: approximately 2 – 3 hours.Give yourself one day without studying. It’s very important to give your brain a break! Each week is based on a 6-day study schedule.
Take a practice exam. Establish a baseline.
Analyze your results. Then, choose to study each section more or less based on your personal strengths and weaknesses. Do not ignore studying for any section. Instead, break it down to 70%/30% or 60%/40%.
Studying using your online or textbook material.
There are many books to choose from. You can select the format and style you prefer. Be sure you purchase sponsored materials that are affiliated with the GMAT.
Complete a practice exam at the beginning of the week.
Now is the time to see if you have made any improvements. Also, it’s important to simulate the exam while you study for the GMAT. That means no food, drink, or music while you take the exam. Also, do it in a room with no noise or distractions.
You’ve heard of circuit workouts, not apply that same principal to studying. Do not study one section for a very long time. Instead, do short, frequent drills on all of the sections. You should complete no more than 15 questions per question type and section. Then, rotate to the next section and question type. Do a maximum of 15 there as well. Do as many rounds as you successfully and carefully can in a 2 – 3 hour time frame. Complete these circuit studying sessions 4 days in a row.
Complete a second practice exam at the end of your study week
Take another practice exam. Look for improvements in score. Notice places where you need to study more. Like all practice exams, it should be taken in a quiet room that’s free from distractions. Also, do not keep any food, drinks, or music near you for comfort. You want to get used to taking the exam in this way.
You’ve completed two weeks of studying. You are tired and you’re feeling bored. Now is the time to change up your study aims. Week three is all about pinpointing your specific areas of weakness. It’s no longer enough to focus on your worst section. Now it’s time to zero in on the question types you have problems with. Here’s how it works:
1) Answer five questions in a certain section.
2) Stop and look up the correct answers.
3) If you get an answer wrong, look at the type of question that’s being asked.
4) Keep an informal list or tally sheet of how many times you get that specific question type incorrect.
5) Continue with five more questions in that section.
6) Analyze your answers. Record the question types you are struggling with.
7) If you incorrectly answer the same question type, mark it on your tally sheet so you can see the frequency in which you have that same problem.
Repeat this process every day for the first three days of your study week.
Focus on the specific question types you struggle with
You kept a tally sheet of questions you got wrong for three days. Now it’s time to apply that knowledge to your studying from here on. Use this tally sheet to study only those question types you get wrong. Learn what you’re doing wrong. Go through your study material, either on paper or online, and focus only on those question types.
Take a practice exam
By now, you know what to do! Remember to record your progress. This time, however, compare your progress to your initial baseline score from week 1. Have you improved? Where is your area of least improvement? Which section did you score the lowest on today?
Study all sections equally
Now is not the time to favor one section over the other. Study each section for about 30 minutes each.
Take your FINAL practice exam
This is it. Your final practice exam. This score will most likely match the score you will earn on the real exam. Be sure to adhere to the same time limits on the actual GMAT exam, and do not keep music, food, or drink near you.
Don’t Have the Discipline? Take a GMAT Course!
This schedule looks great, and it works for anyone who sticks to it, but your life might not allow for this kind of discipline. Consider registering for a GMAT prep course. Skilzi.com offers boot camp courses that are disciplined and designed to get you to the score you need. There are two schedules to choose from, each with classes that are in three hour blocks. You can attend the boot camp after work since courses are located in Kuwait City at nighttime.
If that’s still not convenient enough for you, our team also provides GMAT prep online. We know everyone’s life is complicated, and, while you care a lot about your business school, you might not have enough time to come to courses in-person. Our online GMAT course can help you with all the GMAT exam preparation you need. Feel free to contact us at any time. We will be happy to help you however we can.