2-3 Month GMAT Study Plan by GMAT Pill
1 Month Calendar

 

The 3 GMAT resources you'll need:

1) Download GMAT Prep software from mba.com

2) Learn the GMAT Pill Study Method via Online Video Course (login/sign up here)

3) Get a copy of the Official Guide to the GMAT

Overview of 2-3 Month Study Plan

The 2-3 month study plan is an extended version of the 1-month study plan, leaving you with extra time for rest or more practice. We do not recommend creating a study plan beyond 3 months - it is simply too long a period with which to maintain motivation and concentration.

GMAT Study Day 1-6:

In this first week, browse around and familiarize yourself with the GMAT.

  • Read Chapters 1 and 2 in OG13 (up to page 17)
  • Log into GMAT Pill and read the introductory articles
  • View the set of videos here on Taking the GMAT
  • Schedule your exam day if you haven't. Once you've set a date, you'll hold yourself accountable to studying. And the more family and friends you tell about your upcoming test day, the more likely you are to take action to study. After all, you don't want to disappoint your family/friends, right? Social motivation is a big driver to your success - so leverage it.

GMAT Study Day 7:

Download GMAT Prep software from mba.com and go through the various question types on the computer adaptive platform so you get familiar with the test interface and the different question types you'll see. You get two practice tests with GMAT Prep. Now might be a good time to take your first practice test. This will help you gauge your general weak areas and allow you a chance to get used to the order in which the different sections appear (first essay, then integrated reasoning, then quant, then verbal). The test will take about 3.5 hours - so budget a full morning or afternoon for this.

If you are like most students, you may feel that your practice test score is not good enough. Some freak out. Don't worry, we laid out a plan for you. From your score, identify your weakest area among the 5 sections (excluding IR).

Go to bed feeling excited about how you will be studying the next day. You'll be focusing on your weakest section. Go to bed knowing that tomorrow will be dedicated to NOTHING but enhancing your understanding of your weakest section. For example, think: "Tomorrow is Sentence Correction Day"

If you have an iPad, go ahead and download videos for that section onto your iPad so that you can watch them during your commute to work the next day (if you have work). 

Shhhhhh! It's GMAT time!

Get rid of ALL distractions including
  • Instant Messengers
  • Email
  • Mobile Phone Notifications
  • Miscellaneous distractions or people

GMAT Study Day 8-12

The next 10 days are devoted to mastering your weakest section - it is split into 5 days of concepts then 5 days of application. In our 1-month study plan, this was compressed into just 2 days. Specific details on those 2 days (if SC is your weakest): 1-Month: Day 2 | 1-month:Day 3. We do the same concepts but we spread it out over 5 days. Depending on your schedule, pick what works best for you to fit the studying in over the 5 days. You can go heavy on some days and light on others. Just take a look at what you need to do. 5 days should be plenty to get through without feeling too rushed.

So, Start the GMAT Pill Course and learn the core frameworks for each section. Then apply these frameworks to the Level 600 and Level 700 questions provided and learn the most efficient way to approach each of the questions.

Based on what you saw and how you did in the different sections of the GMAT Prep software, figure out which section you are weakest on and dedicate this entire 5-day stretch to that section. Ideally, some of those days go into a wkend, allowing you to have a longer stretch of time to study without work distractions.

If you've determined that sentence correction is your weakest section, then dedicate the entire Days 8-12 to ONLY sentence correction questions and NOTHING else.  Remember, the idea here is to stay as focused as possible on one particular section so you can maximize your learning here in as little time as possible. Stopping and starting does not allow learning to accumulate and build. So remove all types of distractions including other GMAT question types.

So to get the highest level of retention learning, one of these days would be a weekend so you can budget the entire day. If so, split your day in 3 segments - each for about 2-3 straight hours with no distractions. A morning session, afternoon session, and evening session is best with breaks for lunch and dinner.

If the day falls on a weekday for you, then go through at least a few videos in the morning when you eat breakfast. You should have downloaded videos overnight the previous night onto your iPad if you have an iPad. Whether you need to commute to work via train, bus, or subway you'll be able to watch GMAT Pill videos on the go and during your lunch break.

Then when you return from work at night, budget 2-3 hours to go through more videos  and start applying what you learned to Official Guide Questions

GMAT Study Day 13-17: 

This is the next set of 5 days in your first 10-day master section for your weakest section. In our 1-month study plan, this was compressed into just 2 days. Specific details on those 2 days (if SC is your weakest):1-month: Day 4 | 1-month: Day 5 | 1-month: Day 6

Assuming you have a day-time job, you will only have 2-3 hours per night to study GMAT. During these 2 hours - make the absolute most of it. Apply what you learned in the GMAT Pill videos to the Official Guide Questions for the most realistic testing of your understanding. The goal here is to target 25% of the OG questions and 25% of the Practice Pill questions. You don't want to use up all your OG questions now -- we'll save them for month 3 when we do more practice. 

Do NOT go to bed until you understand why you get each question wrong during the 2-3 hours of study. Wake up the next morning and review those same GMAT questions as you eat breakfast before going to work.

Repeat the process on the night of the fifth day.

GMAT Study Day 18-27: 

Congratulations! By now you should have improved your weakest section by a good amount. It's time to mix it up and introduce your second weakest section (e.g., critical reasoning) and change your thinking cap to something a little bit different.

This second master section is also 10 days. In our 1-month study plan, this was compressed into just 5 days. Specific details from the 1-month corresponding days are here: 1-month: Day 7 | 1-month: Day 8 | 1-month: Day 9 | 1-month: Day 10 | 1-month: Day 11

The process is the same as it was with your first master section. Login regularly - allocate the first 5-day segment to covering the GMAT Pill videos for your second weakest section. They can be done in 2 days but feel free to fit in rest days or busy days for other things going on in your life - so long as it is done in 5 days. In the second half of this 10-day cycle, apply the thought process that you learned to Official Guide Questions and Practice Pill Questions -- remembering to limit yourself to about 25% of the questions. If you have extra time, focus on reviewing your mistakes, re-doing the questions faster as if you did not know the answer in the first place.

GMAT Study Month 1 Day 28 to Month 2 Day 6:

Repeat the process for your 3rd weakest section (e.g. Reading Comprehension)

This third master section is also 10 days. In our 1-month study plan, this was compressed into just 5 days. Specific details from the 1-month corresponding days are here:1-month: Day 12 | 1-month: Day 13 | 1-month: Day 14  | 1-month: Day 15 | 1-month: Day 16

GMAT Study Month 2 Day 7-16:

By now you should be approaching your stronger sections (e.g., Data Sufficiency). In our 1-month plan, this was compressed into 3 days. But in this longer 2-3 month study plan, I'll let you decide how many days is appropriate to allocate here. For a full coverage of the concepts, allocate the same 10 days -- but you may not need all of them since you are stronger in this section. So it's up to you. Shorten if you'd like.

The process remains the same. Repeat and continue to build this mental endurance.

This fourth master section is also 10 days. In our 1-month study plan, this was compressed into just 3 days. Specific details from the 1-month corresponding days are here:1-month: Day 17 | 1-month: Day 18 | 1-month: Day 19

GMAT Study Month 2 Day 17-26:

Repeat the process for your 5th weakest section (e.g., Problem Solving)

You may not need the full 10 days, so here I'll let you decide how many days is best. If you finish early, then move on since this is supposedly your strongest section. In our 1-month plan, this was compressed into 3 days. Specific details from the 1-month corresponding days are here:1-month: Day 20 | 1-month: Day 21 | 1-month: Day 22

GMAT Study Month 2 Day 27-30:

These next 4 days are dedicated to Integrated Reasoning. This section will appear before you can start the big verbal and quant sections of the exam. you will first see the analysis of an argument essay, then the 30 minute integrated reasoning section, then an optional break, then the quant and verbal sections. So keep that in mind.

Note that you will get a separate score for your integrated reasoning section and that it will not affect your overall 800 score. Preview the GMAT Pill IR Ebook to get an overview. There are 4 types of IR questions. Generally, if you cover 1 type each day, it will cover the 4 days.

The corresponding details for IR in the 1-month study plan are here: 1-month: Day 23 | 1-month: Day 24

GMAT Study Month 3 Day 1-8:

Now at this point, we are finished with months 1 and 2. The last month, month 3, is all about doing practice questions, reviewing. Then improving on speed and accuracy. We previously finished 25% of the OG and Practice Pill Platform. Now is the time to finish the remaining 75% in each of these question banks. Keep in mind that month 3 is going to accelerate. You're going to spend more time practicing and watching video explanations to make sure you understand things before moving on. So keep in mind that month 3 is more *intense* since you're down to the last few weeks before the real big test.

GMAT Study Month 3 Day 9-10:

Go to bed on the 8th knowing that you will take the GMAT Pill Practice Test. Now, allocate 3.5 hours to go through this test. Some of the questions are pulled from our question bank - so you may have seen a few of them already. If you have, you should be getting them right. The goal here is to score above your target score range. If you can't even score above your target score range on questions you've seen, how will you possibly reach your target score on the real test which has questions you've never seen? You *have* to score high on the GMAT Pill practice test - this increases your understanding of why some answer choices are correct and why others are incorrect. It also increases confidence which is crucial to continued motivation throughout this last stretch.

Go over mistakes from the GMAT Pill Practice test in the next day.

GMAT Study Month 3 Day 11-15:

Continue working on practice questions from the OG and Practice Pill Platform. Start choosing questions at random and doing practice sprints. Practice sprints are crucial to increasing speed and stamina on the real test. You need to be able to quickly jump into relaxed mode into focused test mode.

Practice Sprints: Pick questions at random (whether OG, Practice Pill, or elsewhere) and do practice sprints on them. What I mean by this is you pick the question, then take a deep breath and at the count of 3, start the question and try to blaze through it as fast as possible. Your goal is to apply everything you've learned and answer the question extremely fast. Once you've done that, check your answer and take a breather. Try to figure out why you got it wrong if you did. Then rest for a few seconds before repeating the process.

GMAT Study Month 3 Day 16-17:

Take your second GMATPrep practice Test. See how much improvement you made. Note where your problem areas still lie. Spend these two days reviewing your mistakes and also reviewing the mistakes you made the very first day. Always keep track of which questions you got wrong so you can refer back to them later. This is a big day because it will be your last big predictor of what you will actually score on the test. The remaining days will focus on increasing the probability that you will score at this score level or higher. Probability is key -- remember there are plenty of stories of students who score high on practice tests but then go into the real test and score much lower. You don't want to be one of those stories. Focus on practice sprints to increase your probability of scoring at this level or higher. Review your test in the following day.

GMAT Study Month 3 Day 18-24:

Spend the last few days reviewing the "stupid" mistakes that you make and brushing up concepts and thought processes. If your exam is early in the morning, practice waking up early for several days and going through your entire pre-test routine.

If you normally eat a light breakfast, don't all of a sudden eat a breakfast on your exam day!

Start visualizing yourself going towards the test center and going through any mental processes you might expect. Make sure you bring gatorade or light snacks with you so you can access them during your break.

Get up and do jumping jacks if it helps. Just get mentally prepared with a positive attitude. You can reference this article on GMAT psychology and timing strategies.

Go through more Official Guide questions and also take a look at the essay. As long as you structure your essay in the manner suggested by the OG, you should be fine. Structure matters the most in your essays. It doesn't matter whether you argue for or against the argument.

GMAT Study Month 3 Day 25: (Test day)

Test day. Wake up early. Eat a few snacks before the test start time. Do not drink lots of liquids or eat high fiber foods (like bananas) right before your test. Try to eat at least 1.5 hours before the test. You don't want to end up using the bathroom during your test. This logistical problem can severely affect your score so plan ahead to de-risk this issue.

Be alert. You do need enough carbs in your body - that's why some light carb snacks are good. Your brain needs glucose. Glucose comes from carbs. Switch into test mode -- that means once you see your first GMAT question, sprint. Sprint the same way you've done so in practice, in it will be familiar to you.

Test structure is the essay, IR, then quant or verbal. Good luck.

Syllabus: Detailed 10 Day Master Plan For Each Section


Generally, you should be covering these 5 steps in each 10-day Master Session.

Step 1: Learn & Absorb - watch the GMATPill videos covering Core Frameworks and Application of Thought Process to GMAT questions. This section is the most crucial part to rethinking how you approach GMAT questions and is the core of the GMATPill Program.

Step 2: Sprints - review the questions in the section pill and use the Practice Quiz to time yourself. The goal is to take questions you are familiar with and answer them as fast as possible and as accurately as possible. The questions are chosen at random. You should find yourself taking a deep breath, hitting start, sprinting through the question, and then confidently say what the answer is before hitting next. This entire thought process must be repeated and will simulate what you actually do on test day.

Step 3: OG Practice - practice with real questions and review the explanations.

Step 4: OG Sprints - Just as with the GMATPill questions, you want to pick questions at random (even though you may have gone through them before) and challenge yourself to answer as quickly as possible.

Step 5: GMATPill Practice Pill Platform - When you've exhausted those questions, get more practice here and practice sprinting through. Jot down your thought process in the comments section below - even the ones you got wrong. It will help retain the strategy you need when answering the question on exam day. When you have a question, leave a comment and Zeke will provide commentary to help you out.

 

GMAT Study Plan Strategy and Why It Works

What You Will Do #1: Dedicate ENTIRE days to a particular GMAT section - beginning with the section you feel weakest in - and focus on NOTHING else.

Why It Works: By dedicating an entire day to Sentence Correction, for example, you will be able to reduce your anxiety about worrying about all the different sections and instead just focus in on your weakest section. With all distractions aside, you will be able to maximize your improvement in as little time as possible. 

What You Will Do #2: Eat, sleep, and breathe nothing except one particular section (like GMAT Sentence Correction) for 2 full days.

Why It Works: Scientific studies show that you maximize and retain learning during REM sleep, which usually happens after the 7th hour of sleep for most people. So make sure you budget in a good amount of time for sleeping - preferably 8-9 hours.

If you can review your GMAT mistakes immediately before going to bed and then wake up the next day to review those mistakes again while eating breakfast, you will be better able to ensure that you don't make the same mistakes again. You will also maximize your study efficiency and understanding of the test.

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Created by Zeke Lee. Follow Zeke Lee @ GMAT Pill on Google+ for more GMAT Pill Tips
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