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Taking the GMAT - Starting Your GMAT Studies

Planning Your Exam

Application Deadlines When to schedule your exam? Well, in order to know that, you have to figure out where you stand in the context of the application deadline cycle. So, usually Round 1 applications are due around the end of September; Round 2 applications are due around the first week of January; and Round 3 applications are due around the end of March or April.

So let's say you're applying to round 1. If you're applying to round 1, well you should budget that last month before your deadline to do your essay, to get letters of recommendation, contact your peers, etc. That basically leaves, starting from one month before your deadline and going back, the previous two months as time to study for the GMAT. So in this example, if you're trying to meet a deadline at the end of September, then throughout September you should be contacting your boss to get a letter of recommendation and writing your essays. Then some time in August, you should be taking your test. So you should be taking your test by the end of August, which means you must have started preparing either in July or August (or even earlier if you need extra time). Ideally, June or July would be best.

If you are aiming for a Round 2 application, when should you take your GMAT?
  • October
  • June
  • January
GMAT: Which day of the week? Which day of the week should you take the exam? Well, generally the work days are Monday to Friday and those are the days that you can take the exam. Which of those 5 days should you take the exam? Well, we here at GMATPill recommend you to take it after a long weekend. So typically the weekends are Saturday and Sunday and ideally, if there's a 3-day weekend that takes off Monday as well, then if you take the test on Tuesday you'll have all 3 days to prepare and mentally relax for the exam. We do not recommend you take the exam on Wednesday in the middle of the week or on Friday at the end of the week. And the reason is because something might come up during the work week that keeps you busy and mentally occupied. you want to spend the last couple days before your exam mentally ready and fresh without other distractions. And that's why we recommend you take the exam after a couple days of rest. So Saturday and Sunday would be rest and review days, and then Monday would be your exam. Or, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday would be study sessions and relaxation sessions, and then Tuesday would be your exam -- but not Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

Which day of the week should you take your GMAT?
  • Wednesday
  • Friday
  • Monday
1 Month Study Plan Here's the GMAT Pill 1 Month Study Plan. So the idea here is to spend 5 days, 5 dedicated full days on your weakest sections and then 3 dedicated days on your strongest sections. Then dedicate 2 days to IR. Then mix them all together. Then retake the GMAT Prep Software exam and review all your mistakes.

Starting off, your first step should be to take the GMAT Prep software exam. This will help you diagnose your weaknesses and strengths. Then on the second day you should start your first 5-day sequence. So let's say your weakest section is sentence correction. You would dedicate five entire days to sentence correction. So that would be days 2-6. Those are 5 dedicated days to sentence correction. So when you go to bed, you think "alright, tomorrow is going to be Sentence Correction Day".

Then when you finish those 5 days, you do another 5 days on your second weakest section. Let's say that's critical reasoning. Then that goes on for 5 days. Reading Comprehension will be another 5 days. And then, if you're strong in quant, you'll do sequences of 3 days. 3 days of Data Sufficiency, 3 days of Problem Solving. Then you do 2 days of Integrated Reasoning. Then on the 25th day, you will have finished all six sections and then you can mix up all the questions, do some practice exams, and just mix them all together. Maybe do 1 SC question, then do an RC question, then do a CR question.

Then you should retake the GMAT Prep Software exam that you took on the first day. So you definitely should be aiming to score higher now than you did on your first day. On your last couple of days, relax and review. And then on the test day, you make sure you sleep really really well and you bring in your snacks and take the exam.

Under the GMAT Pill 1 Month Study Plan, why dedicate 5 full days to your weakest section and nothing else?
  • Spend more time with that section
  • Focused study yields maximum improvement
  • It's too distracting to do a verbal question, then quant, then another kind of verbal ... you won't be improving much by bouncing around.
  • All of the above.

So once you're signed up for the GMAT Pill course, make sure you sign up for the optional daily email reminders for the 1-month study plan. Once you login, you'll have a form in the middle of the page where you can enter your name and email address. Once you do that, you're going to get an email everyday at 6am, your standard/local time. So each day, you're going to be receiving an email that tells you exactly what you need to study that day, what to click on, what to read, what videos to watch. There's going to be a mix of GMAT Pill material, Practice Pill material, and Official Guide material. And of course, there will be links where you can track your OG performance and access GMAT Prep software.

Study Material

3 Core Resources So the 3 most important resources for studing for the GMAT are 1) the GMAT Prep software 2) the Official Guide and 3) the GMAT Pill Online Course. Now, if you were to exclude #3, the absolute two resources you definitely need are the GMAT Prep Software and the Official Guide. And why is that? Well, it's because both of these resources are created by the GMAC folks. These are the guys that create the actual exam and they are the ones that write the questions. A lot of the questions in these two resources are from actual GMAT exams from the past. So that's why these are the two best resources to use.

The GMAT Prep Software is computer adaptive and gives you a score at the end to give you a sense of where you stand on the 800 scale.

The Official Guide has a lot of questions that give you good practice and you have answer explanations in a book format.

So, one is a software (on the left), the GMAT Prep. And then the Official Guide is in book format. The Official Guide also has companion Integrated Reasoning questions online. They give you a code that you enter and you can access that. For the most part, both resources are equally important. You can spend more time with the Official Guide and the GMAT Prep is good to use on your first day of studying and then again towards the 24th/25th day of studying, towards the end of your studies, to re-test yourself.

And of course, the last resource is the GMATPill Online Course, which you'll be using every single day from Day 2 all the way down to the actual day of your exam.
Practice Pill Platform Now, from the Practice Pill Platform you can access the Sentence Correction area for additional questions. You can download the PDF guide, and you can view video explanations for Official Guide questions. This is the list of all the questions in the Practice Pill Platform going down all the way to over 100+ questions. Each one records your response whether you got it right or wrong, tells you the type of question, how many people viewed the question, and what percent of them got it correct. If we click through to one of the questions, you'll see the question up on top and the answer choices below. You can choose a response and click "Show Answer" to show the answer. Notice I got this question wrong. If you scroll down, you'll see the video explanation for that question. Simply click "play" and the video will start loading.

If you still have questions, then you can scroll down and see the other questions other students have asked, as well as GMATPill's response. If you still have a question, just add it right here and click enter.

No you can scroll further down to see links to other questions, and also what other students have posted for that same question -- whether they got it right or wrong, where they're from, and you can also see other questions from other students in the "Other Comments" section.

If you want to move on to the next question, just click "Next" right here. Or, just click the tab at the top and visit other questions in your online error tracker. This is basically your tracker that keeps track of which questions you got right or wrong, what percentage of other students got it correct, and what type of framework to use for that question.
OG Tracker The OG13 Tracker is the online tracking tool that lets you record your responses to questions from the Official Guide and then keep track of which ones you got right, which ones you got wrong, and how much time you spent on each question. You can also post your questions in the discussion section to get reply and get an answer from GMAT experts. SOme questions might even have a video explanation. So go ahead and record your answers in the online tracker and see how it works for yourself.
Full-length Practice Test First, diagnose yourself. The best source to do this is with GMAT Prep software from GMAC. This is the best software. It's created by the guys that created the exam. So that's the #1 resource you should be using right off the bat. So, take the practice test there and figure out where you're strong and where you're weak. Alternatively, you can also take the GMATPill Full-Length Practice Test online. The test interface is just like the real thing and afterwards, you're going to see time analytics and performance analytics.

At the end of the GMATPill Full-length Practice Test, you're going to see time graphs. These time graphs tell you how much time you spent per question, and how much time you spent exceeding the average suggested time per question. So here, you should be spending about 2 minutes per question and this graph up on top shows you how much time you exceeded that by. The bottom graph shows you a cumulative time graph during the exam. So for these 37 questions, if you were behind, then the blue line will be above the suggested red line. If you were ahead, then the blue line would be below the suggested red line.

When was this student most behind during the test?
  • At question #20
  • At question #15
  • At question #3
  • At question #29

The student below is generally
  • Weak in RC but stronger in SC and CR
  • Weak in CR but stronger in SC and RC
  • Weaker in SC but stronger in CR and RC

At 10 minutes remaining, the student was how many questions behind
  • 4
  • 1
  • 0
  • 3
  • 2

About GMAT Pill

Course Interface This is the Practice Pill Platform and notice that you have section tabs for each section of the exam. Then you have "enter course". And you also have a live activity feed of what's going on inside the Practice Pill Platform. If you go into the course, you'll see information about your progress, you'll get links to course materials in each of the section links, and you'll have access to the OG Tracker, the Practice Test, and other links. Once inside, you can also scroll down and sign up for our email list following the 1-month study plan. You'll get an email everyday for 30 days detailing out exactly what you need to do for that day in terms of the 1-month study plan.

Now, if we click "Sentence Correction" to access the SC Pill, you'll see the 3-steps. First, core training involving the 10 Core Frameworks and SC Flashcard videos, along with PDF downloads to accompany your learning. And then step 2, apply that thought process you learned in step 1 to level 600 and 700 questions, as well as the OG questions. And of course during this process, you should be recording your answers in the OG Tracker We even divide OG questions by Framework to help you identify them as you study.

Then you should time yourself with these mini-quizzes. And lastly, you should access the Practice Pill Platform for additional practice, acting as an online error tracker to track your responses for each question. If you have any questions, just post them along with the other 336 questions and and counting, all the way down here. Just go ahead, ask your question, and click submit.

If for example, we enter the SC Level 600 questions, you'll see a video playlist. And from this playlist, you can jump video to video. It'll load instantly. And, if you have a question, you can go to the individual question link, you can see the question video on top. And below, you can see the questions that other students had and GMATPill's response.
GMAT Pill Stories Students at the GMAT Pill come from all kinds of background. We have students who are native-english speakers. We have students who are non-native English speakers. In both cases, we have students who have done very well on the GMAT, leading to half-tuition or full-tuition scholarships. There's Kang, he's currently at the Darden MBA program. And we have native english speaker James who scored a 770 and ended up with a full tuition scholarship to London Business School. We also have a lot of indians including Raghu who scored 570 three times on the actual exam and then did not improve until he took the GMAT Pill course and then he rocketed up to 710. So, there are a lot of stories here, click the "watch" or "listen" buttons and hear for yourself.

Taking the GMAT

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