Tip #2: How long should I spend studying for the GMAT?
Knewton GMAT Verbal TeacherB.S. New York University
This is another big question from students trying to plan their study schedule, applicationcycle, and GMAT test date. The short answer, of course, is that there is no one-size-fits-allsolution.That said, at Knewton we generally recommend a prep period of around three months. It givesyou enough time to build a solid foundation in every key area of GMAT study, but not so muchtime that you’ve burned out by the time exam day rolls around.If a 3-month study schedule is something you’re considering, here are some guidelines andtips for spending your time wisely:
Take a diagnostic practice test to see where you stand overall. Learn the basicparameters of each section including scoring and question types.
Do as many practice problems as possible for each section and read explanationsfor any wrong answers. The goal is not just to see whether you are better at Verbal or Quant,but specifically which sections (Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction) and which questiontypes (strengthening arguments, usage of idioms) are the most difficult for you.
Now that you have a lot of practice questions under your belt, you want to focuson the bigger ideas behind them. If Sentence Correction is killing you, work through a goodguide to essential GMAT grammar rules. If Data Sufficiency algebra is your weak spot, thencrack open a math textbook and brush up on your fundamentals. During this middle phaseyou should keep doing practice problems for every section—not just the ones you strugglewith!—but the real goal should be mastering the content.
For the last month, focus on strategy. We recommend doing this last becausestrategies are what you will want to have in your head if you ever get stuck on the content of aquestion. Try plugging in numbers on the Problem Solving section. Work on sketching quickoutlines for passages in RC. Practice negating assumptions in CR. These methods don’t involvemastery of any GMAT material, but they can save you serious time once you have them down.In addition to strategy work, review any math or grammar content that still feels foggy duringthis period, and be sure to take one more practice test before the last week.
The final week before the GMAT is best spent working on your timing strategies.Complete entire sections of the GMAT and time yourself so that you have a sense of how longyou should spend on each question type. Don’t try to learn complex new math concepts ortest-taking strategies during this period; instead, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally bygetting more sleep and maintaining healthy eating habits. Shorten your study sessions and