My GMAT Study Plan

I just took the GMAT this past weekend and scored a 760 (Q49 / V44), so while everything was fresh on my mind I wanted to make a post here about the process that I went through. I know that there are a few threads like this already out there, but when I was trying to figure out how to tackle the GMAT, I came to WSO and the guides/accounts that people had posted here were great resources for me. I remember wishing that there were a few more threads about how people found success, so I figured that I would write one to give back to the community that helped me out so much as I went through the process.

Background - My GPA is around a 3.6. Knowing that HBS and GSB GPA averages are around 3.7, I knew from the beginning that I would need to crush the GMAT in order to account for being below the GPA averages if I wanted a good shot at either of those two schools.

What I did - From my online research it seemed like Manhattan GMAT was the best resource for GMAT prep, so I took the free practice test that they offer completely cold. I figured it would be like the SAT, but I was sorely mistaken. I scored a 620. So I ordered the entire MGMAT set of books (its like 10 of them) along with the GMAC official guide. I went through every single book and took rigorous notes, doing every practice problem and writing down everything that I didn't know.

Took another practice test with MGMAT after all of this and scored 650. I was pretty dissappointed. So I cracked open the OG and started churning out problems. I quickly found where I needed work and picked up on the patterns that the GMAT likes to test. I also bought a program called GMAT Pill. This was the turning point for me. Doing GMAT Pill in conjunction with the OG problems, I felt like I made leaps and bounds in just a few weeks. I took a GMAC practice test (you get two when you sign up for a date to take the actual test) and scored 750. Went in on test day and got 760.

My Recommendation - I think the MGMAT books are a good resource if you have absolutely no experience with some of the quant concepts or you are not a native english speaker. However, I actually don't think I would recommend MGMAT to most people. In my opinion, they are too conceptual in their approach. This is hard to explain unless you have prepared for the GMAT, but the test is more about knowing how to navigate the questions and recognize how they want you to solve the problems than it is about knowing every single concept and theory.

Instead of MGMAT, I would strongly recommend the GMAT Pill program. Especially for the verbal section, I found this platform to be extremely helpful. The sentence correction pill that they offer is seriously phenomenal. After going through the entire program, I got over 95% of the SC problems in the OG correct. GMAT Pill is based on video lectures and shows how to work through problems, what to look for in the questions, recognizing patterns, and how to go about solving them. If I had to redo my study plan, I would buy GMAT Pill and the official guide and nothing else. I found the best plan of action was to work through the official guide questions, making notes of which concepts I was struggling with. Then, I used the GMAT Pill to improve in areas that I was weak. GMAT Pill also offers an OG tracker which provides video explanations to all of the problems in the official guide, which I found extremely helpful.

Finally, I would not recommend people take the MGMAT practice tests. In my experience, the quant is significantly harder and different than what you find on the actual test. Scores also seem to be very deflated on those exams. Instead, i would recommend taking the GMAC practice tests, as they seem to be very accurate and the format is exactly the same as what you will see on the actual exam. I would take one as a baseline, and another within a week of your test date.

So that is what worked for me, I'll be happy to answer any questions that anyone might have to the best of my ability. Best of luck.

Comments (101)

 
May 6, 2014 - 7:54am

how long did all this take you?

happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please
 
May 6, 2014 - 2:40pm

For improving quant, I think the most important thing is to learn how to quickly recognize what the question wants you to do. Especially if you're at the 700 level, all of the questions are going to be taking you close to 2 minutes to solve, so it helps to be able to recognize what they are trying to get you to do. For example, immediately recognizing if you need combine/expand an exponent, when they are giving you a perfect square, when to plug numbers vs try to solve algebraically, and when to use guess and check.

I think the best way to do this is to time yourself as you go through the Official Guide questions. I just used the stopwatch feature on my iphone and any questions that took me longer than 2 minutes to answer I made a note of it and made sure to look it up.

 
May 6, 2014 - 2:35pm

I'm a senior in undergrad, so I was able to study a lot more than someone working full time could. I studied really hard for about a month leading up to my exam (a couple hours a day), but took probably another month to go through all of the MGMAT books at a leisurely pace prior to that. All in all I'd say I put in around 100 hours.

 
May 6, 2014 - 8:56pm

Chinouk35:

Haha sorry to hear that. But I do know that there are bands within each level of both quant and verbal. So a 49/44 could be a 750 or 760 depending on how you do within each. (A "low" 49 vs a "high" 49)

Haha not a big deal, still got into my first choice school, but suck that I JUST missed out on those sweet $100 an hour tutor jobs only available to you 1%'ers.

 
May 6, 2014 - 3:21pm

Thanks for the post, I'm definitely going to he following your advice. Do you think studying over a longer time period and then studying harder as it gets closer would result in the same score, or would studying 2-3 months before be the same?

 
May 29, 2014 - 1:00am

Chinouk35:

Finally, I would not recommend people take the MGMAT practice tests. In my experience, the quant is significantly harder and different than what you find on the actual test. Scores also seem to be very deflated on those exams. Instead, i would recommend taking the GMAC practice tests, as they seem to be very accurate and the format is exactly the same as what you will see on the actual exam. I would take one as a baseline, and another within a week of your test date.

So that is what worked for me, I'll be happy to answer any questions that anyone might have to the best of my ability. Best of luck.

Thanks for this, I gave you a banana. Whats your advice for someone with a very poor quant background. I dont know the first think about calculus.. or as you say, "combine/expand an exponent, when they are giving you a perfect square, when to plug numbers vs try to solve algebraically, and when to use guess and check"..

In fact, my maths background is pretty weak although maybe i"m underselling myself.. but still.. id like to learn all the concepts from scratch assuming I had no background and then smash the test..

 
May 29, 2014 - 1:38am

Assuming you have a really weak quant background, I think I would advise you to get the MGMAT books. As I mentioned above, those really try to teach you the concepts that are being used. I think working through those and doing as many practice problems as you can are my two best pieces of advice. I had to put in a lot of work on quant, but I think i learned most from the practice.

 
Jun 20, 2014 - 2:06pm

100% vouch for this. I did it independently, but I also got a 49Q/44V 760 using Manhattan Prep and GMAT Pill. My "cold" test was a 710, but it took me just as long to improve (and at certain points I even regressed). My advice is to get GMAT Pill, the official guide, and grind. You will need to do a lot of practice problems in order to pick up the patterns of the test. The only recommendation I would have is to also pick up the Quantitative Review 2nd Edition if you, like me, struggled with math.

 
Jul 16, 2014 - 10:47am

So i took the test Nov '12 and got a 620 (Q35 V40). Then i buckled down about a year later and used the mgmat guides to really try and learn the quant concepts. Oct '13 and I got a 640 (Q44 V34). I know why my Verbal slipped. I didnt dedicate any time at all to studying it because I was hyperfocused on Quant. I also think I got a bit lucky with it because I got more questions I noticed.

Long story short. I didn't learn all the Quant concepts but my major problem is learning how to apply the concepts. I look at a question and think what in the world do they want me to do. It's the absolute worst with data suff. Will the GMAT pill help in this situation and what advice can you offer to help me improve my score as I plan to take it again. I want to break 700. 640 just isn't high enough for Villanova msf as an English major. Thanks

 
Jul 26, 2014 - 11:09am

Hard to say how much work you have left without knowing anything about how you take tests, how much time you have to study, your score split etc. But if you're just aiming for 600, I think the easiest thing to improve on is verbal, and within that sentence corrections. There are only a few rules they test on sentence correction, and if you can learn them then your score will jump up. Depending on how much time you have to study, I would bet you can get up to 600 in a months time. However, some people just aren't good standardized test takers, and if you fall into that category then it might take longer. I'd still recommend GMAT pill if you're serious shout improving.

 
Nov 5, 2014 - 8:20am

Thanks for the insight - wondering which components of the OG you purchased? Just the practice problems? Looking at the premium study collection in conjunction with the GMAT pill - is all of this necessary? Thanks again.

 
Feb 12, 2015 - 12:02am

I definitely agree that the MGMAT tests are more difficult than the actual GMAT on the quant section, but I'm not sure that is necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are aiming for a 700+. Because the test is computer adaptive, practicing with harder material can be pretty beneficial. Although your MGMAT score might be deflated during your practice tests, you may get a higher score on the actual GMAT as a result. And that's the score that really matters anyway.

Eliza GMAT Tutor http://bestgmatprepcourse.com
 
Mar 18, 2015 - 3:19pm

I don't agree with you about not taking the Mgmat test. I think some quant exercices take definitely too long to complete compare to the real test, but I is a great exercice. Personally I scored 46 in Mgamt and 48 in the real test.

 
Jun 18, 2015 - 5:35pm

My best advice would be to dedicate 2-3 hours per day learning/solving problems and take at least one test per week over the weekend. If you are diligent and do this consistently for two months, your score will improve by over 50 points, whether you go with Princeton review, manhattan GMAT, etc.

 
Jun 29, 2015 - 12:04pm

GMAT score inflation is definitely a real thing, especially on the quant section. From this article: http://www.wsj.com/articles/on-b-school-test-americans-fail-to-measure-…

"In 2004, a raw score of 48 in the quantitative section yielded a ranking in the 86th percentile, according to GMAC; today, that same score would land the test-taker in the 74th percentile." It is insane that a Q49 is only 79th percentile. That means you have 21 percent of test takers scoring within 1 point of perfect on the quant.

 
Jul 5, 2015 - 10:31am

That's not exactly how it works. They actually have made the questions harder and reduced the granularity in scoring at the high end. I wouldn't be concerned over the actual numerical score any longer. Total score is based on your percentile scores, not your Q and V score - those are just a cutoff. For instance, if you score a 50Q you have scored between 80th and 88th %Ile quant and you can have to individuals with 50Q and same verbal with a different score out of 800

 
Sep 8, 2015 - 12:21am

I did my GMAT earlier this year. Prepared for a month and half.
Pretty much just studied official guide, Manhattan Sentence correction booklet and 4 Prep exams.
I think Manhattan sentence correction is very very helpful.
Being a Math major, quant section and logic was fairly straight forward.

GMAT Prep exams are very valuable. It helps you with the time management and get you into the test environment. And what you get from the Prep is pretty much in line with what you get in the actual thing.
I scored 760-770 on Prep and end up with 750 on my exam. So it's worth the money to purchase the extra two prep exams and save them for mock exams before your exam.

 
Sep 8, 2015 - 8:13pm

GekkotheGreat:

I did my GMAT earlier this year. Prepared for a month and half.
Pretty much just studied official guide, Manhattan Sentence correction booklet and 4 Prep exams.
I think Manhattan sentence correction is very very helpful.
Being a Math major, quant section and logic was fairly straight forward.

GMAT Prep exams are very valuable. It helps you with the time management and get you into the test environment. And what you get from the Prep is pretty much in line with what you get in the actual thing.
I scored 760-770 on Prep and end up with 750 on my exam. So it's worth the money to purchase the extra two prep exams and save them for mock exams before your exam.

Which GMAT Prep Exams did you use, an where did you get them?

What are the essential study items I need to buy if I want to score 750+?

 
Sep 9, 2015 - 6:42am

GMAC has a software called Prep. I used those. 4 exams. 2 for free and the other two you have purchase. There are websites overseas that has some past GMAC exams. There are copyright issues. So I won't be able to tell you exactly where to find those. You can google it however. Others, you an use Veritas, Kaplan. but I would stick with OG and Prep. DO those problems 2-3 times. Really understand them and try to see what the exam maker is looking for.

For your second question, everyone is different. Use OG, figure out which part you need practice on the most and make improvements. If sentence correction is your weakness, then I would use Manhattan SC guide, 200 some pages. easy read. SC is also the easiest way to improve your verbal score. I didn't review math, as I was undergrad math major, scored 51 on the exam. That stuff comes natural to me.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:12pm

Studying for the GMAT (Originally Posted: 03/05/2008)

There was a "test drive" at my college recently, so I figured I'd go take the GMAT and see what I'm in for in a couple of years (I'm a sophomore now). I'm just wondering how much studying will improve my score. I got a 640, but scored in the damn 63 percentile on the quant section (turns out I don't know shit about data sufficiency).

Personally, I feel like probably not having math for a couple semesters is what made me fuck up so bad. I'm just wondering if anyone has any personal experience really improving their quant section either through a GMAT course or studying on their own (which i would prefer). It seems like I pretty reasonable possibility, and I'm looking to score about 100 points higher by the time I'm out of undergrad.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:15pm

Just do a buncha practice exams. Manhattan, Kaplan, Petersons and the official GMAT exams will be more than enough to prep you for the gmat.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:16pm

not having math for a couple semesters has nothing to do with it---the concepts tested are all 9-10th grade math just turned up a notch. you can easily brush up on your skills by purchasing some practice material and going over some formulas. but keep your head up because kaplan is a HORRIBLE predictor of actual exam potential. they deflate your score 50-100 points to stay true to their 'higher score guarantee' and to shake your confidence and make you take their classes.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:17pm

lehmanbanker:
not having math for a couple semesters has nothing to do with it---the concepts tested are all 9-10th grade math just turned up a notch. you can easily brush up on your skills by purchasing some practice material and going over some formulas. but keep your head up because kaplan is a HORRIBLE predictor of actual exam potential. they deflate your score 50-100 points to stay true to their 'higher score guarantee' and to shake your confidence and make you take their classes.

really? so if i use Kaplan I should add 50-100 on what I am getting right now?

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:18pm

Haha yeah, they're definitely all about persuading you to take the prep course, but I don't fall for that bullshit (especially since I might teaching SAT classes for them). As far as the 10 grade math formulas go, I guess I forgot a lot of geometry and I feel like maybe it would have helped to remember logorithms and shit like that. If theres any correlation to the SAT, I feel like I should be scoring above the 90th percentile on the quant section.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:19pm

DON'T bother with logarithms!!! they're not on the test

The math tested on the GMAT is basic, only through roughly 9th or 10th grade.
Buy the official GMAC book, do all of the problems, and you'll be fine.
After doing a bunch of Data Sufficiency questions, you will develop a strategy of your own.

One thing I hated was the amount of annoying numerical computation you need to do.
(as you know, you can't use a calculator)
Practice doing manual computations and develop shortcuts to help you save time.

I got a 740 (97th%ile), not perfect...but I did get a 50 on Quant (95th%ile) so I guess I'm pretty decent at this stuff.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:20pm

I agree with the sentiment that you need to do a lot of practice exams just to get a feel for the questions.

I basically bought a book on the verbal section, a book on the quant section, and then bought the official GMAT book from the GMAT company and did problem sets morning, afternoon and night for a week before the exam.

I ended up getting a 750 (98th percentile) with a 45 on the verbal (98th percentile) and a 48 on the quant (86th percentile). Hopefully the low quant score won't matter too much since i was a math major and I got a perfect score on the quant section of the GRE. (I studied for the GRE the same way I studied for the GMAT... just practice exams... lots and lots of practice exams.)

--------
Right now this is a job. If I advance any higher in this company, then this would be my career. And um... Well, if this were my career, I'd have to throw myself in front of a train.

-------- Right now this is a job. If I advance any higher in this company, then this would be my career. And um... Well, if this were my career, I'd have to throw myself in front of a train.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:29pm

Can someone recommend a solid verbal and math book (or any material) that will focus on pushing you over the 750 level? I feel that the common books out there don't really prepare you for really high scores.

Any advice in general regarding getting Ivy League scores? Thanks

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:33pm

Study Plan For GMAT for MSF/MIM (Originally Posted: 03/13/2012)

I took my first CAT from GMATPrep to get a sort of baseline, got a 580. I plan to take the GMAT in May prior to the changes. My verbal was significantly better than my quant, so I know I need to focus on that. Verbal was ok, my question is how to get ready in the next two months, should I get any particular online course or just self-study?

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:35pm

First off the GMAT is a very 'study-able' test that tests fairly basic mathematical concepts, the trick on the GMAT as you probably know is that they hide the answers, ask questions in ridiculous ways, or layer concepts. To that end, I think you'd do fine just using the Manhattan GMAT and OG guide. There are a number of detailed plans laid out on GMATClub.com that are helpful as an aside it seems to be consensus that it takes roughly 3-4 months to achieve a 700 from a mediocre starting point [you'll just have to spend more time in a compressed study period].

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'
 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:38pm

What do I realistically need to get to get into a good MSF/MIM, I know for top-15 B-Schools a 680 seems the bare minimum, with 700+ being necessary for the top-8. I know the higher the better, but what should I be targeting? Also my verbal was strong, (41V 37Q I believe, was the raw score) on the GMATPrep 1. My math was awful, I basically haven't had to do it without a calculator since high school. I bought MGMAT Foundations of GMAT math, I'll buy OG next. But any other books worth it?

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:39pm

Kaplan blows... TBH the only useful Kaplan resource IMO is the Quant book only b/c its so ridiculously hard.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'
 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:40pm

Sorry for the double-post... futurectdoc I don't think there is really one set combination for acceptance to an MSF/MIM; there are always unusual cases that surprise people. That being said, I think there are minimums that can help make your package more competitive in the process, but again there are always the surprises.

You touched on the first element: a strong GMAT score that has a solid Q and V split is always helpful, but again it varies so for example if you have a low GPA in non-quant major/concentration then you may need a higher GMAT than someone that is coming from an Engineering background.

Takeaway: A high GMAT never hurts, but a low one will have different consequences based on your background and total package as a whole.

To check for your target scores I'd look up the 20-80% distribution of GMAT scores for accepted students that are usually available on the websites for MSF/MIM schools.

I'd recommend against using up an excessive amount of study time on the Verbal as you seem to have a good grasp on that portion. For first month I'd recommend [as do many others] to focus on Quant only and pick up the MGMAT books: Number Properties [absolutely necessary], Word Translations [absolutely necessary], Fractions, Decimals & Percents, Geometry [absolutely necessary], and Equations, Inequalities & VICS. Start with these books and just work through them [read cover-to-cover] and practice the problems at the end. The MGMAT go over every single potential topic/question that the GMAT can throw at you without confusing you with the GMAT lingo which disguises questions. By introducing the mathematical concepts first, the MGMAT allows you to learn the basics of what really drives the questions. After working through the books I'd move on to the OG guide and then you'll learn the GMAT specific ways in which they ask questions/try to confuse you, but with a solid foundation from the MGMAT in the basic concepts, the OG guide won't be as shocking as if you just started doing problems.

Tip: Don't waste your OG problems until you exhaust the MGMAT material and are understand the concepts that drive GMAT problems.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'
 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:43pm

Yeah, you really need to get that Quant up. It's not hard - just gotta relearn all those silly little things that you thought you'd never have to use again.

On a side note, improving your Verbal score is also a great way to bump the total up. Of course, you'll still have to get your Quant score up first, but a few points of Verbal is worth many more points of Quant. Just something you'd like to take note of.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:45pm

6 Week GMAT Study Plan (Originally Posted: 07/06/2014)

I plan to take the GMAT in roughly 2 months. I am taking a week vacation, and when I return, I will have 6-7 weeks to prepare. Planning to give myself 15-18 hours of prep time per week. What are your thoughts on the following options for preparation materials? How would you rank them for effectiveness? My goal is to score above 750.

OPTION A:
Kaplan Premier 2015 w/6 Practice Tests
Kaplan GMAT 800
Practice tests from GMAT website

OPTION B:
GMAC Official Guide + Quant Guide + Verbal Guide
Practice tests from GMAT website

OPTION C:
Manhattan GMAT Official Guide (13th addition)
MGMAT Roadmap
MGMAT Verbal Foundations
MGMAT Math Foundations
MGMAT Advanced Quant

OPTION D:
Manhattan GMAT Official Guide (13th addition)
GMAT Pill

I'm also considering taking a course if my company will pay for it. Suggestions on Kaplan vs. Manhattan vs. others?

Thanks.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:46pm

I'm in the process of studying now. How good of a test taker are you? The OGs are a must so you'll definitely need Option B. Depending on how well you remember Quant/Verbal stuff then the Manhattan guides might be good too. The Roadmap book is garbage though. The Foundations books do a decent job of covering all the material you'll need to know. Basically in my opinion the studying process for the GMAT breaks down into two sections. Part one consists of learning/relearning the content. So in this case you would want to use MGMAT books, GMAT Prep Now Videos, Magoosh Videos, basically making sure you can do all the math and know all the grammar rules. Part two is just taking tests, practicing problems, and learning strategies which can really only be done by doing problems and looking at the answers. The amount of time you'll need depends on how fast you get through the content learning part and how good of a test taker you are. I've heard of some people doing it in weeks while it takes others months.

The materials I'm using are the Official guide + math + verbal workbooks, Empower GMAT, Magoosh (kind of a waste imo), and ran through both the MGMAT foundation books. Good luck.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:48pm

mrharveyspecter:

I'm in the process of studying now. How good of a test taker are you? The OGs are a must so you'll definitely need Option B. Depending on how well you remember Quant/Verbal stuff then the Manhattan guides might be good too. The Roadmap book is garbage though. The Foundations books do a decent job of covering all the material you'll need to know. Basically in my opinion the studying process for the GMAT breaks down into two sections. Part one consists of learning/relearning the content. So in this case you would want to use MGMAT books, GMAT Prep Now Videos, Magoosh Videos, basically making sure you can do all the math and know all the grammar rules. Part two is just taking tests, practicing problems, and learning strategies which can really only be done by doing problems and looking at the answers. The amount of time you'll need depends on how fast you get through the content learning part and how good of a test taker you are. I've heard of some people doing it in weeks while it takes others months.

The materials I'm using are the Official guide + math + verbal workbooks, Empower GMAT, Magoosh (kind of a waste imo), and ran through both the MGMAT foundation books. Good luck.

So it sounds like Options B and C combined (minus the roadmap) might be good? I'm fairly good at test taking. Took the GRE 2 years ago and scored in the top 1% with 3 or 4 weeks of prep time. I get that the GMAT is different though.

Did you consider the GMAT Pill as a resource? I see one thread in the forum touting this as a useful resource.

 
Oct 18, 2016 - 2:10pm

I'm about to start re-studying for this stupid test, curious why you thought Magoosh was a waste of money? I saw one or two videos on there and I thought they did a great job explaining how to get the answer.

...
 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:51pm

I would go with Option C. I found the Manhattan prep course material useful. If you have a solid background, you'll fly through the Foundations books. Focus on the advanced stuff and just keep doing problems.

GMAT material is fairly easy; the questions just contort themselves into tangled problems that disguise the easy material. Being able to recognize problem, problem types, and disguises is the key to getting 720+. The only way to do that is keep going over problems.

I think 6 weeks is plenty if you do about 20 hours a week. I studied for 2 weeks over Christmas for about a total of 60-70 hours and I got 750+. It's all about honing your problem recognition and being able to manage GMAT frustration. Good luck mate.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:54pm

Length of GMAT Study Plans (Originally Posted: 05/20/2015)

So I've seen a lot of posts about people cramming for the GMAT in a month or so - 2 weeks in one case. And I'm about to begin my study plan over 90 days, since I don't start my fourth year of my undergrad until just after that.

Why does the vast majority of WSO users seems to study over such a short time frame? Do they simply not have the time to spread it out? Is the GMAT over hyped on its required study commitments?

Do people think that a 90 day strategy isn't adventageous for some reason?

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:55pm

It's the time. When you have a full-time job that is sometimes unpredictable it isn't easy to make time to study consistently.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:56pm

When talking to MBAs at the top schools, the general consensus I found is that the 3 month study plan didn't work very well. Heck, it didn't work for me either. Good job on planning early, but I would advise that you not be disappointed if it takes longer to get to your target score.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:57pm

i studied for about 2.5 months, 25 hours/week or so. Jumped 120 points from first practice to actual. 90 days should be fine if you put in the time but a lot will also depend on your baseline score (practice w/o any prep) and your goal.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 2:58pm

I did the 8 week Manhattahn GMAT class, and took the GMAT one week after. Didn't start studying until the class. Did about 10-20 hours of studying a week...less in the beginning, more closer to the test date. Got 750. Manhattan GMAT advanced quant guide was the most useful resource once I got to 700 range.

I think tighter time frames (~2 months as opposed to 3 months+) is probably better. As information definitely atrophies, and you're likely to study less per week the longer time frame you give yourself. If you can keep up intensive studies for 3 months, power to you...but most people peak too soon and get lazy.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 3:00pm

check out gmatquantum.com for math prep. i did their online course after going through the mgmat math books and saw a huge boost in my quant performance.

 
Best Response
Dec 10, 2015 - 3:01pm

Length of time is different for everybody. What is important is developing a mental mindset - you really need to engage yourself in the test prep, not just go through the motions. As a tutor I've seen some real sad cases where people 'study' for months, pay $$$$ for tutoring, but just can't discipline themselves to really learn the content, master the material they haven't, and put in a ton of practice problems the 'right way' (that is, re-reviewing and reworking every single problem you weren't sure about or got wrong to nail home the concepts). A few months is fine if you approach it right.

First time I took the test I did a bunch of problems but didn't really force myself to engage in not just the answers but in how I could have improved on every problem. I scored fine but just barely missed the 700 barrier so I retook. Second attempt I spent 3-4 weeks fully engaged, really mastered a bunch of arithmetic shortcuts and thoroughly reviewed everything I wasn't sure of. Scored in the 1%. Mindset is everything. Treat every problem as a challenge, not a chore.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 3:05pm

Seeking Advice- One month study plan for GMAT (Originally Posted: 06/02/2015)

I'm taking the GMAT on June 30. My first diagnostic exam without studying was a 550 (MGMAT). Target is still 700+. Practice exams will come from MGMAT, OG, and Princeton Review.

Do you guys think its possible with this study plan? I will have absolutely nothing on my plate besides this until the exam.

 
Dec 10, 2015 - 3:06pm

Keep in mind that the GMAT is very much not about how much you study, but how you study. MGMAT are notoriously more difficult than the real deal (for quant, for verbal it is actually fairly accurate), but is a great resource to figure out what your strengths/weaknesses are. Making a schedule like you have is a good first step, as it makes it mentally easier to stick to schedule, but really focus on figuring out where your weaknesses are before doing any studying. Certainly do not take another practice exam until you figure out/improve on those weaknesses (practice CATs are best used for timing practice, not a general study method).

In general I would say from 550 to 700+ in a month is super ambitious. It is doable, but put emphasis on mastering all of the "medium" level questions before tackling any of the 700-level Qs. Take an official GMATprep exam a week before your scheduled, and if you are not within shooting distance of your target score, just push it back (you have plenty of time until rd1 apps).

Finally, time management is the other half of the battle once you have the principles down. My first attempt, I stumbled on some RC passages for verbal which crushed me, and on my second I ran out of time on quant. I hit 710 on my second attempt, but should have been 740-750 if my quant didn't take a dive. Make sure you are doing a lot of timed drills, especially with one month to go and try to develop an "internal clock" of how long 2mins is. I didn't do this nearly well enough and it cost me big time.

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