We asked GMAT test prep expert and personal tutor, Chiranjeev Singh, to share a 2-month GMAT study that working professionals can follow without leaving their full-time job.
A question that you must ask before creating a plan is whether the plan will work. If you need 6 months to prepare but create and follow a 2-month study plan, what do you think are your chances of succeeding?
With such a plan, you may end up consuming all your resources in ineffective ways (rushing through to complete within 2 months) and find yourself, at the end of 2 months, unprepared and without resources to prepare.
So, how much time do you need to prepare? This article (GMAT prep: How long does it?) lists out various factors that impact the time you need to prepare.
Generally, however, it’s very hard to know upfront how much time it will take. Thus, it is always a good idea to start as early as possible.
The main principle underlying the plan is that you should master one skill at a time.
When you try to master multiple skills at a time, you may not spend enough time on any skill,and thus your mind may not make the required inter-connections and grow in that particular skill.
Thus, you need to focus on one section at a time if you have 2-3 hours a day. If you have 4 or more hours a day to prepare, you may takeup 2 sections at a time.
To avoid getting out-of-touch with a section after it is over, you should continue practicing 3-5 questions of the section everyday or on alternate days.
Here’s a 60-day GMAT study plan you can follow with a full-time job.
Solve about 10 questions each from Quant and Verbal sections from the GMAT Official Starter Kit (link to the kit given at the end of the article).
If the questions seem alien to you, or in other words, you are not comfortable with the questions at all, start with the items mentioned for Day #2. If the questions seem manageable, take one mock out of the two mocks in the Starter Kit.
After taking the mock, don’t review the questions since you’ll want to use the same mock after you are done with your preparation. Just look at your performance – in terms of sectional scores and accuracy within subsections.
Then, start your preparation by working on your strengths first. By working on your strengths first, you’ll boost your confidence that you can ace the test.
Devote about 14 days to your stronger section – out of Verbal and Quant – and 25 days to your weaker section. For this discussion sake, let’s say your stronger section is Quant.
Practice Quant from the Official Guides. If you need help with the concepts, which the official questions will not teach you, you may look at books (MGMAT), online/classroom courses, or private tutoring.
Practice Verbal from the Official Guides and the resources mentioned at the end of this article. Ideally, start with CR, then do SC, and lastly RC. If RC is your weakest area, you can do RC before SC.
However, I suggest that CR should be the first section you do in Verbal. The reasons are that CR takes the longest time to improve and that the skills built in CR are helpful in RC too.
These five days should be devoted to analysing the past mistakes and doing timed mixed practice. Practice questions from different topics and sections together within timed limits. Do about 10-15 questions at a time.
After doing any set of questions, go through each question in detail and learn from your mistakes. The Official Question Pack (Link #3 in the resources below) will come in handy at this stage.
Take the 2nd mock from the GMAT Official Starter kit mentioned above. Make sure that you take the test in test-like conditions and when you are fresh. Only then can you expect the score to be a correct assessment of your ability.
Thoroughly analyse the 2nd mock. Go through each of the questions and pay attention to not only whether you got the question right but also whether you got it right for the right reasoning. A question that you got right for the wrong reasons should be considered wrong.
Based on this question-by-question analysis, try to figure out topics/concepts in which you faltered the most.
Then, spend these four days working on these concepts – by revisiting the concepts and its questions you got incorrect before and by solving more new questions on the concept.
Repeat the above process by taking the 3rd, 4th, and 5th mocks on Day #51, Day #55, and Day #57 respectively and analysing them in the days in-between.
As you can notice, the time difference between two consecutive mocks keeps going down. It’s logical because the number of areas you need to work on should go down with every mock.
Look at AWA and IR sections too during this time.
Yes. Take the whole day off. You’ve put in a lot of effort over the last 58 days. Now, the best you can do for your GMAT score is give your mind some rest.
Take the pressure off your head. Focus on preparing a calm and composed mindset for the GMAT tomorrow. Be relaxed.
If you want the 3.5 hours of the test to reflect your ability, you need to avoid going into the test overly worried about not getting the desired result and the cataclysmic effect it’ll have on your career and life.
Remember that you’re not going to lose all your wealth, health, and relationships if you don’t get your desired score.
Your life is not going to crash!
So, be at peace. Just accept that the outcomes of life are not in our control; only efforts are. And then, let go of the result.
If you let go of your hold on the result, you’ll feel the stress leaving your body. And then, you’ll be able to work at the best of your ability. Congratulations on your score! 😊
Obviously, the above plan need not be followed to the letter. You can customize the plan per your needs. If you want to create a 1-month or a 3-month study plan, you can proportionately increase or decrease the number of days devoted to different topics. You can also choose to devote much more time to one section than to the other, depending upon how you fare relatively in the two sections.
It is said that the perfect plan, poorly executed, will fail while a lousy plan, well executed, is often successful. Therefore, focus a lot on executing the plan well. The following three articles will help you a long way in that.
The minimum average number of hours one needs to have an effective preparation is 1 hour a day. However, on an average, working professionals spend 2-3 hours a day. Should you aim to spend even more hours per day?
Why not? If you have a job and life that allow you to take out more than 2-3 hours a day, you can spend more time per day. The more time spent per day will bring down the total number of days you need to hit the target score.
The only thing one should keep in mind is that more hours should not come at the cost of quality. If more studying hours will mean less than 7 hours of sleep, you better sleep.
Studying only over the weekend is highly ineffective. If you have so many commitments during the weekday that you cannot take out even an hour per day for GMAT preparation, try for 30 minutes or even 15 minutes a day.
However, do it daily. Daily practice is needed to allow the mind to make interconnections among concepts and to retain past learnings.
If you are focused too much on continually assessing yourself rather than focusing on the improvement, you’ll soon build so much negativity within because of the repeated failures that you’d either give up GMAT preparation or prepare in a highly disengaged way.
Either way, your career will suffer. Therefore, focus on whether you’re improving every week, not on whether you’ll hit the score next week.
Here are a few resources that I recommend for the 2-month GMAT study plan:
About the author: A passionate teacher and learner, Chiranjeev Singh is a private GMAT tutor based out of Delhi. CJ (as he is commonly called) is an IIMA Alumnus and has scored 780 on the GMAT (we’ve verified his score from the Pearson VUE site). He follows a skills-based questioning-driven methodology and takes online sessions for students across the world.
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