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How do I study for the GMAT in 3 months?

With 3 months to prepare, you can think about dividing your study time into two parts. During
the first two months, focus on mastering the strategic approaches to each type of question on the
GMAT, as well as the grammar and math content knowledge you’ll need to get questions
correct. During the third month, focus on answering questions more quickly by doing timed
practice. Also, challenge yourself with tougher questions.
Before you get started, you’ll need to gather together your study materials. Here is our
recommended list:

● Understanding the GMAT

If you don’t fully understand what is tested on the GMAT, check out GMAC’s
Demystifying the GMAT Exam page. Kaplan also provides guidance on What’s Tested
on the GMAT.

● GMAT Full Length Tests

Take a free online GMAT practice test with Kaplan. The test is online and realistic. At
the end, you’ll receive a Smart Report that will tell you what areas that you should focus
on. Other practice tests come with GMAT prep books or prep packs. Kaplan also offers
an Official Test Day Experience.

● GMAT Sample Questions

Kaplan offers three different practice packages for the GMAT. Each package includes
over 2,300 adaptive practice questions. Other options include access to four to eight and
fourteen hours of recorded instruction.

● Kaplan's GMAT Complete 2019 Book Set

With Kaplan's GMAT books, you not only get the printed resources that cover the subject
matter from all the test sections but also access to five full-length practice tests online and
an additional 2,000 practice questions.

● Online calendar

An online calendar can be a great tool for keeping track of and accessing your personal
study plan from almost any location. Plus, you can share your calendar with others so
they know your schedule and can help you stay on track.
● Take a GMAT Course

If you're daunted at the idea of studying completely on your own, as well as the challenge
of making a complete study schedule, consider taking a GMAT such as Kaplan's
Instructor led GMAT Prep. Six live video sessions cover the strategy and skills needed to
succeed on the GMAT, and the study plan helps you determine what you should study,
when to take practice tests, and how to pull it all together for Test Day. GMAT courses
include Kaplan’s Official Test Day Experience.

With these or similar resources in hand, it’s time to start studying. With three months, you will
want to focus on completing a broad overview of the test content so you can pick up points from
every section. Don’t completely neglect your strengths, but also don’t allow yourself to focus
solely on them; although it can be comforting and easier to review material that is fresh for you,
it won’t earn you as many points as going back over content you were once strong with but
haven’t reviewed in many years. Use the following plan to guide your studies.

Week 1
● The GMAT testmaker, the Graduate Management Admission Council®
(GMAC®), offers two free practice tests with its GMATPrep™® software at
www.mba.com/us/store/download-free-gmatprep-software.aspx. Kaplan Test Prep offers
free proctored practice tests online; sign up at www.kaptest.com/gmat/enroll?tab=events.
Kaplan’s Smart Reports provide you with detailed breakdowns of your strengths and
opportunities for improvement, as well as comprehensive answer explanations.
● Start by taking a practice test to familiarize yourself with the GMAT and establish your
baseline performance. Kaplan’s GMAT Practice Test is a great resource for this. There
are also five Full-Length tests including with the Kaplan GMAT Books.
● Use your initial test results to determine which content areas you need to work on.
Modifying the study plan below accordingly. For example, if you did well on all
integrated reasoning questions, you might only study those topics briefly and spend more
time on a quantitative subject you didn’t do as well with, such as data sufficiency.
● Build a weekly study schedule. Proactively fill in your calendar with study blocks,
planning to study at minimum for one and a half hours per day, five days per week. Take
at least one day off from studying each week so you have time to recharge. Put specific
topics to study into each block so that you ensure that you have sufficient prep time set
aside.
● Set up a rotating schedule that works through these topics:
o Data Sufficiency
o Problem Solving
o Critical Reasoning
o Sentence Correction
o Reading Comprehension
o Integrated Reasoning
Start with the fundamentals of each subject area, and split your time between different topics
each day. You'll want to spend at least an hour to an hour and a half on each topic in order to
really focus. Here's a sample calendar of what your first week of study might look like:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Self Study Practice Verbal 1.5 Quant 1.5 I.R. 1.5 AWA 1.5
Test & hours hours hours hours
Review

Instructor Practice Class 3 Verbal 1.5 Class 3 Quant 1.5


Guided Test & hours hours hours hours
Review

Weeks 2-8
● Devote study blocks on a rotating basis of:
o Data Sufficiency
o Problem Solving
o Critical Reasoning
o Sentence Correction
o Reading Comprehension
o Integrated Reasoning

● With three or more months to study, you can also devote more time to practicing the
Analytical Writing portion of the GMAT. Try to do one prompt each week.
● For test-like practice, use Kaplan’s adaptive Qbank and review questions based on the
content areas you have reviewed.
Organize your time around your existing commitments. Some days you may be able to schedule
more than one topic; on other days, you may be able to fit in only one subject. An example week
might look something like this:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Self Study Verbal 1.5 Quant 1.5 I.R. 1.5 hours Practice 1.5 AWA 1.5
hours hours hours hours

Instructor Verbal Class 3 Practice 1.5 Class 3 Quant or


Guided OR I.R. hours hours hours AWA 1.5
1.5 hours hours

Weeks 9-11
● Devote study blocks on a rotating basis to quantitative, verbal, and integrated reasoning.
● For test-like practice, use Kaplan’s adaptive Qbank and review questions based on the
content areas you have reviewed.
Organize your time around your existing commitments. Some days you may be able to schedule
more than one topic; on other days, you may be able to fit in only one subject. An example week
might look something like this:
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Self Study Practice Quant 1.5 I.R. 1.5 hours Verbal 1.5 AWA OR
Test & hours hours Problem
Review Area 1.5
hours

Instructor Practice Quant 1.5 I.R. 1.5 hours Verbal 1.5 AWA OR
Guided Test & hours hours Problem
Review Area 1.5
hours

Week 12
Once again, start the week by taking and reviewing your practice test, looking over every
question and using the results to modify your study plan if needed.
● Early in the week, take a GMAT Practice Test either online, in a prep book, or through
Kaplan’s Official Test Day Experience. Set aside time to review the test as well.
● For your remaining few days, spend time reviewing the content areas that were your
biggest opportunities on your last full-length test. If you’ve never truly mastered a topic,
though, now is not the time to attempt to learn it. Instead, focus on the material that you
struggled with the first time through but that you think you can master given just a little
more time.
● If you have time, travel to the testing center first to ensure you know how to get to the
correct building, where to park, and which room your test will be in. Having all these
logistics out of the way will help reduce your stress on Test Day—and ensure you aren’t
late!
● Take the day before the test completely off; your brain needs to rest before the marathon
of test-taking to come! Eat healthy, balanced meals and get a full night of rest so you are
mentally and physically prepared for Test Day. On the day of the GMAT, wake up with
plenty of time to spare, and be sure to eat breakfast before leaving to give your brain the
fuel it needs.
Example Study Calendar
With this plan, you should be well on your way to success on Test Day. But remember: if you
don’t feel prepared for your test after 30 days or aren’t scoring anywhere near where you want to
be on your practice tests, then you may want to change your test date so you don’t end up with a
less-than-ideal score on your GMAT application. It’s much better in the long run to push your
plans back a bit than to not do well and then have to retest anyway.
During the last week before your test, emphasize your strengths. For example, if you get most
Reading Comprehension questions correct, then practice Reading Comprehension several times
this week to boost your confidence and ensure that you can count on this skill.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Self Study Practice Final Final Review Final


Test & Review Review
Review

Instructor Practice Final Final Review Final


Guided Test & Review Review
Review

Step 2: Set Your Study Schedule


When Test Day is 3 months away, there is a danger of procrastinating. After all, you probably
have a lot of things that need to get done today, so it can be hard to carve out the time and energy
to study for the GMAT. However, the days and weeks will slip by faster than seems possible,
and before you know it, the test will be a week away—and then tomorrow! Don’t let Test Day
take you by surprise.
Studying most days of the week will improve your score more than studying one or two days a
week. Many students find that studying for 5 days a week in three 30-minute segments, for an
hour and a half each day, helps them make significant progress. In addition, if math content or
grammar is an area you have targeted for improvement, plan to carry a quick reference of some
kind, such as flashcards or a phone app, and work on commonly tested formulas and rules
throughout the day.
Block out time to take four more full-length practice tests. Take a practice test a month before
your GMAT and then each week after that, taking the last practice test 1 week before Test Day.
Take practice tests to measure your progress, become more familiar with the test’s timing and
format, and build your mental endurance. After each test, invest at least 1.5 hours in reviewing
the answer explanations.
Schedule your study time and practice tests on your calendar and then keep those appointments
with yourself. The same way you show up for class or work on time, you are going to “show up”
for GMAT studying on time.
Step 3: Develop Your Study Plan
How should you study? An effective approach is to first use a resource such as a GMAT book or
class to learn some strategies or content and then follow up by practicing what you just learned
with test-like questions. Applying what you learn right away to the types of questions you’ll see
on Test Day will help you solidify your knowledge so it sticks with you. Kaplan’s GMAT
Premier book includes a 200-question Quiz Bank, and the full Quiz Bank contains over 1,000
test-like questions for GMAT practice. You can use it to target specific content areas and
question types at the right difficulty level for you.
What should you study? That depends on the results of your practice test! Focus mostly on
material that is (a) difficult for you and (b) most often tested. On the Quantitative section, for
example, many questions require you to solve for the value of a variable or to know what
information you would need to solve for a variable, so if you are uncomfortable manipulating
equations and inequalities to isolate a variable, you will have trouble throughout the section.
Questions dealing with probability may be tough for you, too, but probability does not appear on
the test nearly as often as algebraic manipulation, so you should focus on the content with the
higher payoff.
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