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3 Month GMAT Study Schedule for Advanced Students

OK, you are starting more or less from scratch, and you want to prepare for the GMAT in three months.  You need a strategic plan to organize yourself.  I designed four different versions of the Three Month Plan, and I need you to start with a little self-diagnosis.  Which sounds most like you?

  • 3 Month GMAT Study Schedule for Beginners: Help!  Math and verbal both scare the living bejeebers out of me!  I need all the help and support I can get!  Help!
  • 3 Month GMAT Study Schedule (Math Focused): I have a natural affinity with the verbal, but the math is far less intuitive for me.  I would like to focus more there.
  • 3 Month GMAT Study Schedule (Verbal Focused): Me a math nerd. Me think all math easy. Me have big verbal problems.  One day, me will talk good.
  • 3 Month GMAT Study Schedule for Advanced Students: I actually feel reasonably comfortable with math & verbal; if I took the test today, I’d get around 600-650.  I’m interested in refining my understanding, and getting into the upper 700s region in the next twelve weeks.

 

3 Month GMAT Study Schedule for Advanced Students

Resources to have:

1) the GMAC Official Guide to the GMAT (OG13). (Don’t write in the book: write everything on separate paper so you can go back and do problems again with a fresh start.)

2) The code in the back of the OG will give you access to GMAC’s IR website with 50 IR practice questions.

3) a Premium subscription to Magoosh

4) the Magoosh mobile app for your iPhone or Android

5) The Magoosh GMAT eBook

6) The Magoosh IR eBook

7) a journal or notebook (yes, a physical hard copy item)

8) the two online forums:

(a) GMAT Club

(b) Beat the GMAT

These are great places to ask questions about anything GMAT related, or simply to check out the discussions and see how others are preparing

9) the MGMAT 10-volume series

10) a good 1-2 hours a day, for five days a week, and then a good 3-4 stint on the weekend (“Day Six”) — with a day off on the weekend as well. If you would rather free up some week nights, and move some of the material into the other weekend day, you are welcome to do that.  Note: Many folks find that each day’s assignments take 1-2 hours, although times to complete them will vary for different students.

 

Abbreviations:

OG = the GMAC Official Guide

PS = Problem Solving, the multiple-choice math questions

DS = Data Sufficiency math questions

RC = Reading Comprehension verbal question

SC = Sentence Correction verbal question

CR = Critical Reasoning verbal question

IR = Integrated Reasoning question, a separate section unto itself

AWA = the Analytical Writing Assessment, the essay-writing section

CAT = computer adaptive test

MGMAT = Manhattan GMAT

 

Notes:

Notice, this is a twelve-week plan.  Three calendar months are typically closer to 13 weeks, so if you actually have three calendar months to prepare, that’s great.  If you have a wedding or a camping trip or something in the middle, you could just skip a few days, and do them later.  Alternately, it would leave you more time for the concentrated review I recommend at the end of the twelve weeks.

Also, as much as possible, get enough sleep during this three month period.  REM sleep plays an important role in encoding long term memory, and in an eight hour period of sleep, the last hour has the most REM.  If you are getting 7 hours/night instead of 8 hours/night, you are depriving your brain of one of its most powerful systems for learning and remembering.  Caffeine and energy drinks will keep you feeling awake if you don’t get enough sleep, but they don’t do bupkis to replace the lost opportunity to encode more information into long term memory.

Week One, Day One

1) Go to http://www.mba.com/the-gmat/test-structure-and-overview.aspx, and read about the structure of the GMAT.  Click on each subsection on that page, to read about the individual sections.

2) Take the Diagnostic Test, found toward the beginning of the OG.   Grade it, but you don’t have to read through all the explanations today.  If you did not as well as you expected in either math or verbal, you may choose to re-evaluate which version (A, B, C, D) you are following.

 

Week One, Day Two

1) For the Diagnostic test you took yesterday, go over the explanations.  For questions you got right, simply skim the explanation to verify that you go the question right for the right reason.  If you got the question wrong, read the explanation carefully, writing in your journal any math/verbal concept you didn’t know or understand, as well as anything about the question type that you didn’t understand.

2) Watch Magoosh lesson videos:

Intro to the GMAT: all ten videos, or as many as are needed

Math: the five “General Math Strategies” videos

NOTE on Magoosh videos: I am assuming that, since you chose Version D, you already have a strong understanding of math & verbal concepts.  I am going to assign very few Magoosh lesson videos in this plan, mostly the strategy videos.  If what a video is saying seems obvious to you, just click to the end and listen to the summary to make sure you didn’t miss anything.  Also, scan the list of Magoosh videos, and if there are math/verbal ideas that you know you don’t understand as well as you could, watch those videos as well.  As you work on questions in Magoosh & the OG, you will gain understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and that might be a time to dip into some Magoosh videos to shore up specific areas. 

3) In The Magoosh GMAT eBook, read

a) from the beginning of the book up to, but not including, the AWA section

b) from the beginning of the Quantitative section up to, but not including, the DS section

c) from the beginning of the Verbal section up to, but not including, the CR section

4) In the OG

Read the introduction to the Problem Solving section, and do 10 PS

Read the introduction to the Reading Comprehension section, do 1 RC passage with all its questions

Whenever you do OG questions, always check your answers right afterwards, and read the explanation of anything you got wrong. 

 

Week One, Day Three

1) In the OG, skim the Math Review, to give yourself a sense of the range of what the GMAT asks on math.  If any concepts are rusty or unfamiliar, your next stop should be the relevant Magoosh lesson videos.

2) Watch Magoosh lesson videos:

Math:  in the “Data Sufficiency” section, 6 videos: ”Intro to Data Sufficiency”, “DS Strategy – I”, “Useful Contradictions”, “Common DS Myths – Part I”, “Common DS Myths – Part II”, and “DS Strategy – II”

3) In The Magoosh GMAT eBook, read

a) DS to the end of the Quantitative Section

b) CR section to the end of the eBook

4) In the OG

Read the introduction to the Data Sufficiency section, and do 10 DS questions

Read the introduction to the Critical Reasoning section, and do 12 CR questions

Read the introduction to the Sentence Correction section, and do 13 SC questions

 

Week One, Day Four

1) Watch Magoosh lesson videos:

Verbal: under SC videos, the first five videos and the last video in the section

2) In the OG

Do 11 PS questions

Do 6 DS questions

Do 1 RC passage with all its questions

3) In Magoosh

Do 13 DS questions

      Whenever you do Magoosh questions, if you get a question wrong, watch the video right then, and take notes in your journal about what concepts tripped you up. 

 

Week One, Day Five

1) Watch Magoosh lesson videos:

Verbal: under RC videos, the first three videos and the last video in the section

3) In Magoosh

Do 20 PS questions

Do 13 CR questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week One, Day Six

1) Go to http://manhattangmat.com/access.cfm, and register using the code in the back of any of the 10 MGMAT books.  This will give you access to the six MGMAT CATs.

2) Take the first full length GMAT CAT on the MGMAT website.  Go through the entire solution after you are done, taking notes in your journal on anything you got wrong.

That software does not include an AWA question.  To simulate a full GMAT, begin by selecting randomly a prompt from the back of the OG, and then take 30 minutes to write the essay in a word processing program. This essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.  Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

As much as possible, try to mimic the GMAT conditions.  Give yourself relatively short breaks in between sections.  Only eat the kinds of snacks that you are planning to bring to the real GMAT.  Note how your sleep the night before affects your work.  Note how what you had for dinner the previous night and what you had to eat earlier that day affects your energy level and concentration.   Write any observations in your journal.

 

Week Two, Day One

1) Watch Magoosh

Verbal: under CR videos, the first four videos and the last video in the section

2) In Magoosh

Do 30 PS questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week Two, Day Two

1) Watch Magoosh

Math: under “Integer Properties” videos, the last five videos in that section

2) In Magoosh

Do 10 PS questions

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

3) In OG

Do 16 DS questions

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

 

Week Two, Day Three

1) Watch Magoosh

AWA: the two introductory videos + the three “Argument Essay” videos

IR: Watch the first four videos

2) In the OG

Read the introduction to the AWA section; skim the question prompts to get a sense of the variety

3) In Magoosh

Do 13 DS questions

Do 13 CR questions

 

Week Two, Day Four

1) Watch Magoosh

IR: Watch the remaining 13 videos

2) In The Magoosh GMAT eBook, read the AWA section

 

3) In the OG

Read the introduction to the AWA section; skim the question prompts to get a sense of the variety

4) In OG

Do 21 PS questions

Do 13 SC questions

 

Week Two, Day Five

1) Watch Magoosh

Math: in the “Algebra, Equations, and Inequalities” section, watch “Simplifying with Substitutions” video

Math: in the “Word Problems” section, watch “Double Matrix Method” and “Three Criteria Venn Diagrams” videos

Math: in the “Integer Properties” section, watch “Divisibility Rules” video

2) In Magoosh

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

3) In OG

Do 12 CR questions

 

Week Two, Day Six

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 0 “The GMAT Roadmap”, Ch. 1-5, taking notes in your journal about what you find significant or helpful.

 

Week Three and on

At this point in the schedule, there are no Magoosh videos assigned.  Again, these should be your go-to source for a refresher on any point of math/verbal content on which you need more clarity.  Starting this week, I will assign reading from the MGMAT books each day.

 

Week Three, Day One

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 0 “The GMAT Roadmap”, Ch. 6-7, taking notes in your journal about what you find significant or helpful.

2) In Magoosh

Do 30 PS questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week Three, Day Two

1) MGMAT

Skim the first half of Volume 1 “Fractions, Decimals, Percents.”  Skim the chapters, and do the “problem sets” at the ends of each section.   If you have any issues on the problem sets, go back and read those sections in more detail, taking notes on anything that’s unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 16 DS questions

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

 

Week Three, Day Three

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 6 “Critical Reasoning”, Ch. 1-2, and do the problem sets at the end of each section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 13 DS questions

Do 13 CR questions

 

Week Three, Day Four

1) MGMAT

Skim the rest of Volume 1 “Fractions, Decimals, Percents.”  Skim the chapters, and do the “problem sets” at the ends of each section.   If you have any issues on the problem sets, go back and read those sections in more detail, taking notes on anything that’s unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 21 PS questions

Do 13 SC questions

 

Week Three, Day Five

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 6 “Critical Reasoning”, Ch. 3, and do the problem set at the end of the section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

3) In OG

Do 12 CR questions

 

Week Three, Day Six

1) Take another full length GMAT CAT on the MGMAT website.  Go through the entire solution after you are done, taking notes in your journal on anything you got wrong.

That software does not include an AWA question.  To simulate a full GMAT, begin by selecting randomly a prompt from the back of the OG, and then take 30 minutes to write the essay in a word processing program. This essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.  Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

As much as possible, try to mimic the GMAT conditions.  Give yourself relatively short breaks in between sections.  Only eat the kinds of snacks that you are planning to bring to the real GMAT.  Note how your sleep the night before affects your work.  Note how what you had for dinner the previous night and what you had to eat earlier that day affects your energy level and concentration.   Write any observations in your journal

 

Week Four, Day One

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 6 “Critical Reasoning”, Ch. 4, and do the problem set at the end of the section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 30 PS questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week Four, Day Two

1) MGMAT

Skim the first half of Volume 2 “Algebra.”  Skim the chapters, and do the “problem sets” at the ends of each section.   If you have any issues on the problem sets, go back and read those sections in more detail, taking notes on anything that’s unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 16 DS questions

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

 

Week Four, Day Three

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 6 “Critical Reasoning”, Ch. 5, and do the problem set at the end of the section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 13 DS questions

Do 13 CR questions

 

Week Four, Day Four

1) MGMAT

Skim the rest of Volume 2 “Algebra.”  Skim the chapters, and do the “problem sets” at the ends of each section.   If you have any issues on the problem sets, go back and read those sections in more detail, taking notes on anything that’s unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 21 PS questions

Do 13 SC questions

 

Week Four, Day Five

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 6 “Critical Reasoning”, Ch. 6, and do the problem set at the end of the section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

3) In OG

Do 11 CR questions

 

Week Four, Day Six

1) Take another full length GMAT CAT on the MGMAT website.  Go through the entire solution after you are done, taking notes in your journal on anything you got wrong.

That software does not include an AWA question.  To simulate a full GMAT, begin by selecting randomly a prompt from the back of the OG, and then take 30 minutes to write the essay in a word processing program. This essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.  Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

As much as possible, try to mimic the GMAT conditions.  Give yourself relatively short breaks in between sections.  Only eat the kinds of snacks that you are planning to bring to the real GMAT.  Note how your sleep the night before affects your work.  Note how what you had for dinner the previous night and what you had to eat earlier that day affects your energy level and concentration.   Write any observations in your journal

 

Week Five, Day One

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 6 “Critical Reasoning”, Ch. 7-8, and do the problem sets at the end of each section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 30 PS questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week Five, Day Two

1) MGMAT

Skim the first half of Volume 3 “Word Problems.”  Skim the chapters, and do the “problem sets” at the ends of each section.   If you have any issues on the problem sets, go back and read those sections in more detail, taking notes on anything that’s unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 16 DS questions

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

 

Week Five, Day Three

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 7 “Reading Comprehension”, Ch. 1, and do the problem set at the end of the section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 13 DS questions

Do 13 CR questions

 

Week Five, Day Four

1) MGMAT

Skim the rest of Volume 3 “Word Problems.”  Skim the chapters, and do the “problem sets” at the ends of each section.   If you have any issues on the problem sets, go back and read those sections in more detail, taking notes on anything that’s unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 21 PS questions

Do 13 SC questions

 

Week Five, Day Five

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 7 “Reading Comprehension”, Ch. 2, and do the problem set at the end of the section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

3) In OG

Do 11 CR questions

 

Week Five, Day Six

1) Take another full length GMAT CAT on the MGMAT website.  Go through the entire solution after you are done, taking notes in your journal on anything you got wrong.

That software does not include an AWA question.  To simulate a full GMAT, begin by selecting randomly a prompt from the back of the OG, and then take 30 minutes to write the essay in a word processing program. This essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.  Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

As much as possible, try to mimic the GMAT conditions.  Give yourself relatively short breaks in between sections.  Only eat the kinds of snacks that you are planning to bring to the real GMAT.  Note how your sleep the night before affects your work.  Note how what you had for dinner the previous night and what you had to eat earlier that day affects your energy level and concentration.   Write any observations in your journal

 

Week Six, Day One

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 7 “Reading Comprehension”, Ch. 3, and do the problem set at the end of the section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 30 PS questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week Six, Day Two

1) MGMAT

Skim the first half of Volume 4 “Geometry.”  Skim the chapters, and do the “problem sets” at the ends of each section.   If you have any issues on the problem sets, go back and read those sections in more detail, taking notes on anything that’s unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 16 DS questions

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

 

Week Six, Day Three

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 7 “Reading Comprehension”, Ch. 4, and do the problem set at the end of the section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 13 DS questions

Do 13 CR questions

 

Week Six, Day Four

1) MGMAT

Skim the rest of Volume 4 “Geometry.”  Skim the chapters, and do the “problem sets” at the ends of each section.   If you have any issues on the problem sets, go back and read those sections in more detail, taking notes on anything that’s unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 21 PS questions

Do 13 SC questions

 

Week Six, Day Five

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 7 “Reading Comprehension”, Ch. 5-6, and do the problem set at the end of Chapter 6. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 1 RC passage with its associated questions

3) In OG

Do 11 CR questions

 

Week Six, Day Six

1) Take another full length GMAT CAT on the MGMAT website.  Go through the entire solution after you are done, taking notes in your journal on anything you got wrong.

That software does not include an AWA question.  To simulate a full GMAT, begin by selecting randomly a prompt from the back of the OG, and then take 30 minutes to write the essay in a word processing program. This essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.  Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

As much as possible, try to mimic the GMAT conditions.  Give yourself relatively short breaks in between sections.  Only eat the kinds of snacks that you are planning to bring to the real GMAT.  Note how your sleep the night before affects your work.  Note how what you had for dinner the previous night and what you had to eat earlier that day affects your energy level and concentration.   Write any observations in your journal

 

 

Week Seven, Day One

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 7 “Reading Comprehension”, Ch. 7, passages A, B, C, & D. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 30 PS questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week Seven, Day Two

1) MGMAT

Skim the first half of Volume 5 “Number Properties.”  Skim the chapters, and do the “problem sets” at the ends of each section.   If you have any issues on the problem sets, go back and read those sections in more detail, taking notes on anything that’s unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 16 DS questions

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

 

Week Seven, Day Three

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 7 “Reading Comprehension”, Ch. 7, passages E, F, & G. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 13 DS questions

Do 13 CR questions

 

Week Seven, Day Four

1) MGMAT

Skim the rest of Volume 5 “Number Properties.”  Skim the chapters, and do the “problem sets” at the ends of each section.   If you have any issues on the problem sets, go back and read those sections in more detail, taking notes on anything that’s unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 21 PS questions

Do 13 SC questions

 

Week Seven, Day Five

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 8 “Sentence Correction”, Ch. 1-2, and do the problem set at the end of the section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 1 RC passage with its associated questions

3) In OG

Do 11 CR questions

 

Week Seven, Day Six

1) Take your last full length GMAT CAT on the MGMAT website.  Go through the entire solution after you are done, taking notes in your journal on anything you got wrong.

That software does not include an AWA question.  To simulate a full GMAT, begin by selecting randomly a prompt from the back of the OG, and then take 30 minutes to write the essay in a word processing program. This essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.  Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

As much as possible, try to mimic the GMAT conditions.  Give yourself relatively short breaks in between sections.  Only eat the kinds of snacks that you are planning to bring to the real GMAT.  Note how your sleep the night before affects your work.  Note how what you had for dinner the previous night and what you had to eat earlier that day affects your energy level and concentration.   Write any observations in your journal

 

 

Week Eight, Day One

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 9 “Integrated Reasoning”, Ch. 1. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 30 PS questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week Eight, Day Two

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 8 “Sentence Correction”, Ch. 3-4, and do the problem sets at the end of each section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 16 DS questions

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

 

Week Eight, Day Three

1) GMAC’s IR practice questions

Go to GMAC’s IR practice question website.  Your personal hard copy of the OG will contain a code that will give you access to this site.

Go to that site, and do the first 12 questions.  Set a 30 minute time limit for yourself.  Just do each question, and move on.  After the 30 minutes are up, go back, check your answers, and read all the explanations.

2) In Magoosh

Do 13 DS questions

Do 13 CR questions

 

Week Eight, Day Four

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 9 “Integrated Reasoning”, Ch. 2. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 21 PS questions

Do 13 SC questions

 

Week Eight, Day Five

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 8 “Sentence Correction”, Ch. 5-6, and do the problem sets at the end of each section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 1 RC passage with its associated questions

3) In OG

Do 11 CR questions

 

Week Eight, Day Six

1) Go to http://www.mba.com/the-gmat/download-free-test-preparation-software.aspx, download the free software.

 

2) Take one full length GMAT on the GMAC software.  Go through the entire solution after you are done, taking notes in your journal on anything you got wrong.

That software does not include an AWA question.  To simulate a full GMAT, begin by selecting randomly a prompt from the back of the OG, and then take 30 minutes to write the essay in a word processing program. This essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.  Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

As much as possible, try to mimic the GMAT conditions.  Give yourself relatively short breaks in between sections.  Only eat the kinds of snacks that you are planning to bring to the real GMAT.  Note how your sleep the night before affects your work.  Note how what you had for dinner the previous night and what you had to eat earlier that day affects your energy level and concentration.   Write any observations in your journal.

 

Week Nine, Day One

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 9 “Integrated Reasoning”, Ch. 3. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 30 PS questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week Nine, Day Two

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 8 “Sentence Correction”, Ch. 7-8, and do the problem sets at the end of each section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 16 DS questions

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

 

Week Nine, Day Three

1) GMAC’s IR practice questions

Go back to GMAC’s IR practice question website.

Reset the answers.  Do IR questions #13 – 24.  Set a 30 minute time limit for yourself.  Just do each question, and move on.  After the 30 minutes are up, go back, check your answers, and read all the explanations.

2) In Magoosh

Do 13 DS questions

Do 13 CR questions

 

Week Nine, Day Four

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 9 “Integrated Reasoning”, Ch. 4. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 21 PS questions

Do 13 SC questions

 

Week Nine, Day Five

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 8 “Sentence Correction”, Ch. 9, and do the problem set at the end of the section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

(see Magoosh Idiom List, under the “Idioms” Video in the SC section)

2) In Magoosh

Do 1 RC passage with its associated questions

3) In OG

Do 11 CR questions

 

Week Nine, Day Six

1) Take another full length GMAT on the GMAC software.  Go through the entire solution after you are done, taking notes in your journal on anything you got wrong.

That software does not include an AWA question.  To simulate a full GMAT, begin by selecting randomly a prompt from the back of the OG, and then take 30 minutes to write the essay in a word processing program. This essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.  Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

As much as possible, try to mimic the GMAT conditions.  Give yourself relatively short breaks in between sections.  Only eat the kinds of snacks that you are planning to bring to the real GMAT.  Note how your sleep the night before affects your work.  Note how what you had for dinner the previous night and what you had to eat earlier that day affects your energy level and concentration.   Write any observations in your journal

 

Week Ten, Day One

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 9 “Integrated Reasoning”, Ch. 5. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 30 PS questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week Ten, Day Two

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 8 “Sentence Correction”, Ch. 10-11, and do the problem sets at the end of each section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 16 DS questions

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

 

Week Ten, Day Three

1) GMAC’s IR practice questions

Go back to GMAC’s IR practice question website.

Reset the answers.  Do IR questions #25 – 37.  Set a 33 minute time limit for yourself.  Just do each question, and move on.  After the 33 minutes are up, go back, check your answers, and read all the explanations.

2) In Magoosh

Do 13 DS questions

Do 13 CR questions

 

Week Ten, Day Four

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 0 “GMAT Roadmap”, Ch. 8-9. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In OG

Do 21 PS questions

Do 13 SC questions

 

Week Ten, Day Five

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 8 “Sentence Correction”, Ch. 12-13, and do the problem sets at the end of each section. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.

2) In Magoosh

Do 1 RC passage with its associated questions

3) In OG

Do 11 CR questions

 

Week Ten, Day Six

1) Take another full length GMAT on the GMAC software.  Go through the entire solution after you are done, taking notes in your journal on anything you got wrong.

That software does not include an AWA question.  To simulate a full GMAT, begin by selecting randomly a prompt from the back of the OG, and then take 30 minutes to write the essay in a word processing program. This essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.  Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

As much as possible, try to mimic the GMAT conditions.  Give yourself relatively short breaks in between sections.  Only eat the kinds of snacks that you are planning to bring to the real GMAT.  Note how your sleep the night before affects your work.  Note how what you had for dinner the previous night and what you had to eat earlier that day affects your energy level and concentration.   Write any observations in your journal

 

Week Eleven, Day One

In this week, you will be finishing up all the questions in Magoosh and all the questions in the OG.  You will also finish reading the MGMAT books.

1) MGMAT

Read Volume 0 “GMAT Roadmap”, Ch. 10-11. Take notes in your journal about whatever is unfamiliar.  (Save Ch. 12 until after the GMAT!)

Frankly, I am a bit critical of MGMAT’s Ch. 10 here, only because I don’t they don’t say enough or give enough helpful suggestions; see the closing sections of the Magoosh GMAT ebook for my views on this important topic.

2) In Magoosh

Do 27 PS questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week Eleven, Day Two

1) MGMAT

Review any sections from the MGMAT books or any notes you took on them.

2) In OG

Do 14 DS questions

Do 2 RC passages with all the associated questions

 

Week Eleven, Day Three

1) GMAC’s IR practice questions

Go back to GMAC’s IR practice question website.

Reset the answers.  Do IR questions #38 – 50.  Set a 33 minute time limit for yourself.  Just do each question, and move on.  After the 33 minutes are up, go back, check your answers, and read all the explanations.

2) In Magoosh

Do 10 DS questions

Do 13 CR questions

 

Week Eleven, Day Four

1) MGMAT

Review any sections from the MGMAT books or any notes you took on them.

2) In OG

Do 20 PS questions

Do 10 SC questions

 

Week Eleven, Day Five

1) MGMAT

Review any sections from the MGMAT books or any notes you took on them.

2) In Magoosh

Do 1 RC passage with its associated questions

3) In OG

Do 11 CR questions

 

Week Eleven, Day Six

1) Take another full length GMAT on the GMAC software.  Go through the entire solution after you are done, taking notes in your journal on anything you got wrong.

That software does not include an AWA question.  To simulate a full GMAT, begin by selecting randomly a prompt from the back of the OG, and then take 30 minutes to write the essay in a word processing program. This essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.  Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

As much as possible, try to mimic the GMAT conditions.  Give yourself relatively short breaks in between sections.  Only eat the kinds of snacks that you are planning to bring to the real GMAT.  Note how your sleep the night before affects your work.  Note how what you had for dinner the previous night and what you had to eat earlier that day affects your energy level and concentration.   Write any observations in your journal

 

Week 12 & After: Concentrated Review

At this point, if you have been following the schedule, you should have done every question in both Magoosh and in the OG at least once.  For the days of this week, and remaining days of the test, keep up work on GMAT math and verbal.  Some suggestions for what to do:

1) Go back to OG questions you did a while ago, and do them again.  (This is why it was important not to write in the book)

2) Through selecting question type & difficulty on the “Dashboard”, do Magoosh problems over again, and see how you do a second time.

3) Continue re-reading two chapters each day in the MGMT books, reinforcing whatever topics you need.

4) Go to the online forums, looking for challenging questions that folks are asking.

5) An online search will always turn up additional batches of questions to practice.

6) If you have a weekend day that is more than a couple days before the real GMAT, then take one final practice GMAT, as on the other Day Six’s.

 

Day before the test:

1) No GMAT preparation all day

2) Eat a large, healthy, leisurely dinner – no alcohol!

3) Go to bed earlier than usual.

 

Day of test

1) ABSOLUTELY NO LAST MINUTE GMAT PREPARATION!

2) Eat a large breakfast, full of protein

3) Do relaxing, fun activities to pass time until the test

 

Bring to the test

1) A liter of water

2) Healthy energy-packed snacks (nuts, protein bar, etc.)

3) On breaks, make sure to get up, move & stretch – moving & stretching the large muscles of the body (legs & torso) will get oxygen flowing throughout, which will help keep you awake and keep you thinking clearly.

For relaxation tips, see this post.

 

 

About the Author

Mike McGarry is a Content Developer for Magoosh with over 20 years of teaching experience and a BS in Physics and an MA in Religion, both from Harvard. He enjoys hitting foosballs into orbit, and despite having no obvious cranial deficiency, he insists on rooting for the NY Mets. Follow him on Google+!

66 Responses to 3 Month GMAT Study Schedule for Advanced Students

  1. Ami August 30, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    Hi Mike,

    I am planning on taking the GMAT for the first time in January’15. I decided to follow you 3 month study guide for beginners. A few things I realized and wanted to ask you is about the MGMAT books…i currently have the 4th edition books which i got from a friend (brand new)…is it necessary for me to purchase the 5th edition? Also I only have the 12th edition of the Official Guide…is it necessary for me to get the 13th edition one? I really want to score atleast a 700 so please help!

    Thanks,
    Ami

    • Mike
      Mike August 30, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      Dear Ami,
      I’m happy to help. :-) If you got the MGMAT books, 4e, new from a friend, don’t worry about buying the 5e books. The differences are slight, and the small difference will not justify the cost. Now, with the GMAT OG, you have the 12th edition, which is close to the 12th edition — fewer than 10% of the problems changed between the two editions. Since the OG2015 is the most recent edition, you may be able to find the 13th edition new at a vastly reduced price: if you can, I would still recommend buying it, but don’t spend a lot for it.
      Finally, as for your desire to get 700+, please read this blog:
      http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/gmat-study-plan-for-a-700-or-more/
      I hope all this helps.
      Mike :-)

  2. Katie August 22, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    Mike, thanks for this roadmap to conquering the GMAT! Is this available in PDF format? I’d like to print it out cleanly and get it into my agenda.

    Thanks for your time and energy. I look forward to completing your 3-month study schedule and watch my score soar. :)

    Very best,
    Katie

    • Mike
      Mike August 22, 2014 at 10:22 am #

      Dear Katie,
      I’m happy to respond. :-) Regrettably, at this time, we do not have downloadable forms of our GMAT study plans. That’s one project we have simmering on the back burner — if you check back in a month or so, we may have that feature. In the mean time, I don’t think it’s that hard to copy the text and paste into, say, MS Word. I think other users have found that this works reasonably well.
      Best of luck to you, my friend.
      Mike :-)

  3. Pablo August 19, 2014 at 7:19 am #

    Hi,

    I did the GMAT yesterday and got 680. I am not satisfied.
    I followed the 1 month daily study plan and finished it.

    I was wonderig if you have a study plan to get me over 700, preferably a shorter one, maybe 2 months or so.

    Also, i dont think doing the OG again would help me. MGMAT could be a good idea.

    Please help.

    Thanks,
    Pablo

    • Mike
      Mike August 19, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      Dear Pablo,
      I’m sorry to hear about your disappointment. First of all, let me recommend this blog:
      http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/lower-on-the-real-gmat-than-on-practice-tests/
      It discusses the reasons people often score a bit lower on the real GMAT. If you have ambitions to score over 700 on a retake, I strongly suggest implementing as many of those stress reduction practices as you possibly can.
      Now, my friend, there’s a subtle and deep paradox here. You want a “plan” to get you over 700. Well, in that one-month plan you just completed, every piece of information, every piece of content and every strategy, that a student would need to score over 700, is already there. That was the one-month plan to get 700+. You see, a 700+ score is a top 10% score — it’s elite. Few people achieve that — only the top 10% — precisely because there’s a large combination of skills needs to perform at that level. Students naively imagine that we could write a “plan”, and if students simply follow the step-by-steps of this plan, they will get over 700. If there were such a plan, then many more than the top 10% could score 700+, and it wouldn’t be elite anymore. No step-by-step plan, in and of itself, produces excellence, because excellence comes from the heart.
      My friend, this is very hard part about being a student. This is precisely where you need to take a hard look at yourself. If all the information was there, then why didn’t you retain it all? Why didn’t you understand it as deeply as possible? For example, have you kept an error log, so that you are deeply familiar with the patterns of your mistakes? When you make a mistake, are you committed to reviewing it until you are sure that you will never make that particular mistake again? If you go back to the topics that you think you understand, what crucial pieces of information did you overlook? The more responsibility you can assume, the more initiative you can take.
      The mediocre student says, “If I just do A, B, and C, then can I consider myself done?” That mindset leads directly to mediocre results. The excellent student says, “After I am done with A, B, and C, what else can I do? If I already feel I understand this topic, how can I understand it even more deeply?” In order to achieve an excellent score, you need to hold yourself to the lofty standards of excellence in every single aspect of your GMAT preparations. If you are able to take deep responsibility for your own learning process and radically rethink the ways that you assimilate and retain information, then you will have an excellent chance of crossing the 700 threshold. The MGMAT books are wonderful, and the OG Verbal & Quant Review books & additional questions for GMATPrep are good sources of more official problems. It’s important to recognize though — where you are right now, the answer will not come from outside. The answer is not about finding the right book or the right plan to follow. The answer is not some step-by-step recipe. The answer is much more about shift in your own attitude, in your own fundamental work ethic, in your own level of passion and dedication and commitment. Excellence comes from the heart. Whatever standards you have for yourself, raise them. You have to transform yourself in every way into an excellent GMAT student, and this will enormously increase your chances of achieving an excellent score. And, if you can make a habit of working at the level of excellence, it will pay huge dividends throughout your career.
      My friend, I sincerely wish you the very best of luck in challenging yourself to meet these high standards.
      Mike :-)

      • Pablo August 21, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

        Thank you Mike.

        This was very helpful.

        • Mike
          Mike August 21, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

          Dear Pablo,
          You are quite welcome. :-) Best of luck to you, my friend.
          Mike :-)

  4. Rodrigo June 28, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    Hi Mike, I have everything required for this plan but instead of 3 months I only have 2 to prepare my exam. I won’t have any other duties so I can focus solely on it. Do you think is it doable or should I focus on the 1 month plans? (If its of any help I got a score of 570 in a mock test)

    thanks!

    • Mike
      Mike June 28, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

      Rodrigo,
      I’m happy to respond. :-) If you have the time, you could do essentially 1.5 days of work — in other words, finish three days of work on the schedule every two days. You could omit a few of the essay-writing weekends, in favor of the practice test weekends. That would be a brisk pace, but if you are faithful, and if your schedule remains relatively clear, then you can sustain it.
      How does this sound?
      Mike :-)

      • Rodrigo June 28, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

        perfect!… I just wasn’t sure if it was wise to start and then find out at the end of the two months that I could’t review all the topics.

        Thanks for the prompt response!

        • Mike
          Mike June 29, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

          Dear Rodrigo,
          You are quite welcome. Best of luck to you!
          Mike :-)

  5. Lou June 3, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Hey Mike,

    Just finished week 1 and planning on staying the course throughout the three month period.
    Question: How is it possible to take 4 GMAC practice tests. Don’t they only provide 2?

    • Mike
      Mike June 4, 2014 at 9:35 am #

      Dear Lou,
      The GMAC PowerPrep has two tests, but it has enough questions in the hopper so that you can take each one twice. Thus, you can take a total of 4 tests. Does this make sense?
      Mike :-)

      • Lou June 4, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

        Got it, thanks!
        640 on first CAT btw. I’ll let you know how I end up.

        • Mike
          Mike June 5, 2014 at 10:39 am #

          Dear Lou,
          You are quite welcome. Best of luck to you, my friend.
          Mike :-)

  6. Pam May 6, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    Hi Mike,

    I am devoting 3 months to prepare for the GMAT, and I can study for about 4-5 hours a day. I have decided to combine both the beginner and the advance study plans. I’ve already gone through around 60+ Quant and Verbal Magoosh videos, and I’m currently on week 3 of the plan. I’ve started with the MGMAT books and it presents different concepts and strategies from Magoosh, which I would rather not use. I’ve taken 2 practice tests so far with the following scores:

    1st week – MGMAT CAT – 640 42Q 35V
    2nd week – GMAT Prep – 680 44Q 39V

    If I’m aiming for a score of 750+, do you think it’s essential for me to read the MGMAT books? Or can I just solve the problem sets at the end of each chapter?

    Thanks!

    • Mike
      Mike May 6, 2014 at 11:53 am #

      Dear Pam,
      I’m happy to respond. :-) Think about this. You are aiming for an elite level of excellence, 750+. Knowing only one way to approach or solve a problem is not very powerful. A student with an appetite for excellence is always interested: “What’s another possible approach? What’s another strategy?” I would recommend, as much as you can stomach: think about the MGMAT strategies — why would they be good strategies, and what would be the advantages of them? Then, think about the Magoosh strategies in the same way. Imagine if, during the test, you could look at a problem and say with confidence, “Of the many strategies I know, I think this strategy will be the best for approaching this problem.” That’s mastery!
      The question, “Can I just do this and no more?” is an insidious question, because it can be a question that leads to mediocrity. The question, “What else can I do to improve myself?” is one of the questions of excellence. My friend, excellence is my genuine wish for you.
      Does all this make sense?
      Mike :-)

  7. Sads May 3, 2014 at 5:55 am #

    Hey Mike,

    I have begun with the advanced plan, and took the first GMAT CAT on MGMAT website and scored 540 only, I took GMAT Prep last week and scored 600 and 620 in the Veritas CAT!

    Please suggest is the advanced plan feasible for me? I have limited time but my target is 700+!

    What extra steps should I take I have access to Magoosh Premium as well as the Manhattan GMAT Guides; but honestly 540 is disappointing.

    Thanks
    Sads

    • Mike
      Mike May 4, 2014 at 11:56 am #

      Dear Sads,
      Understand, my friend, the inherent contradiction in what you are saying. You are saying you want an excellent performance (700+), but you are saying you want to get there with efficiency. Excellent is a matter of thoroughness, not efficiency.
      I would suggest: follow this plan, read all the MGMAT books thoroughly, and watch more Magoosh videos than you think you need. Do as many Magoosh questions as possible, and watch the video explanations of all those you get incorrect and any of which you are unsure. If you want to increase from 540 to 700+, that is doable, but you really need to commit to it with extraordinary devotion and perseverance.
      Does all this make sense?
      Mike :-)

      • Sads May 5, 2014 at 1:03 am #

        Thanks Mike for your reply, could you please throw some more light as to what do you mean by thoroughness and how do u differentiate it from efficiency in terms of GMAT prep?

        I mean in terms of actions :)!

        Thanks a lot!
        Regards

        • Mike
          Mike May 5, 2014 at 10:39 am #

          Dear Sads,
          A good question. Someone focused on efficiency might simply be concerned with how many questions he has accomplished — e.g. I did 50 questions today. Someone who is exceptionally thorough would do fewer questions but would read very carefully the OE of each and every question, keeping an error log and taking detailed notes on anything about which she was unclear. Someone focused on efficiency following this plan might decide to watch few or no lesson videos: it would be very efficient to be able, as it were, to check all the lesson videos off one’s “to do” list. Someone more thorough would watch several lessons, taking nothing for granted, wanting to make absolutely sure that he understood everything. Someone efficient may simply skim the OE of a question she got wrong, and think, “OK, that was my mistake” and move on. Someone thorough will invest considerable time and energy into each question he got wrong, making sure he understands the concept he missed and will be able to recognize it and apply it the next time it appears. Someone efficient might race through a MGMAT volume in a single sitting, scanning examples and thinking, “OK, I have this.” Someone thorough will read every single word, will summarize in her own words the main idea of each chapter, and will review this summary until she owns it.
          The questions of mediocrity: “What’s the least I can do? How can I be done with this as quickly as possible?” The questions of excellent, “How can I learn this more thoroughly? What else can I do?”
          Does all this make sense?
          Mike :-)

          • Sads May 5, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

            Yes Mike it does, I shall keep you updated on the same! And be thorough in my preparation!

            Best Regards
            Sads

            • Mike
              Mike May 6, 2014 at 11:45 am #

              Dear Sads,
              I’m very glad you found that helpful! Best of luck to you!
              Mike :-)

  8. Vikas March 8, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Hi mike,
    Just started with Gmat prep (initial stages though), planning to give it in first week of july .., As f now the free tests that I have taken on Manhattan or somewhere else I am scoring 520-550 without any prep at all. I just want to ask you which 3 month plan should i follow Beginners or advanced one ?? I have the resources required premium access to magoosh, Manhattan 10 strategy guides and all. Aiming for 700+ … Please revert asap.

    Thanks

    Regards,
    Vikas

    • Mike
      Mike March 8, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      Vikas,
      This advanced plan has folks skipping most of the Magoosh videos. I would say, follow the beginning plan. It’s one of the habits of excellence to take absolutely nothing for granted. Watch every single Magoosh video — even if it’s relatively familiar, ask yourself, “What could I understand more deeply about this?” Follow the beginner plan and use all the MGMAT books — that will constitute extremely thorough preparation. Does all this make sense?
      Mike :-)

      • Vikas March 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

        Thanks for your prompt reply …. To be very honest what I make out from your reply is that I should follow the beginners plan in addition to the MGMAT books followed religiously for the relevant topics that I ll be doing in the beginners plan. hope this is what you want to convey !!! Any tips on how to include MGMAT in the beginners plan so that it is thoroughly covered … !! Plus one more question to you …. If I go through the beginners plan with all the sincere efforts will it be able to help me surpass 700 ??

        Thanks

        Regards

        • Mike
          Mike March 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

          Dear Vikas,
          Following the beginners plan and using all the MGMAT books is an aggressive plan — I recommended it because you have high aspirations. You will have to work through about a volume a week of the MGMAT books — fit them in when you can, and finish them on the weekends.
          Will following all this, with complete determination and dedication, guarantee you a 700+ score? My friend, nothing in this world is that guaranteed. Risk and uncertainty is the very nature of the world to which an MBA will grant you access. Your chances on the GMAT depend largely on how quickly you learn and understand, how well you remember and retain, your ability to make connections, etc. etc. All I can say is that, following the beginners plan + the MGMAT books will expose you to all the information you will need to excel; following this plan will give you your best chance to hit that high mark, but whether you do so depends very much on the talent & skills sets & dedication you bring. Put in a sincere effort: believe it or not, the best way to achieve a high score is to ignore the score completely and absolutely put it out of your head while you are studying.
          Does this make sense?
          Mike :-)

          • Vikas March 9, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

            Thanks mike :)

            • Mike
              Mike March 10, 2014 at 10:23 am #

              Dear Vikas,
              You are quite welcome. Best of luck to you, sir.
              Mike :-)

  9. Greg February 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Mike –

    I am currently following the 12 week beginner plan with about 8 weeks before test day. Can you give me a quick summary as to the main difference between the two 12-week plans? It looks like the advanced plan has a MGMAT component but the other “lessons” remain on par.

    As I am fairly comfortable with both the math and verbal, I’ve been doing more than the “recommended” daily tasks. Should I instead focus on this plan and is it imperative that I purchase the MGMAT if I want an “elite” score? WIll not following the plan hurt? I am aiming for a 720+

    • Mike
      Mike February 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

      Greg,
      In the advanced plan, I suggest that an advanced student could skip many of the Magoosh lessons — of course, watching them all is a diligent move that can only support excellence. The MGMAT books are not essential for an elite score. They are another perspective on these ideas, and they are very well written, so they could only help. If you find yourself with extra time & energy beyond what’s recommended in the beginner plan, then I certainly would recommend getting some or all of the MGMAT set. Hearing another perspective on ideas can be an excellent way to deepen your understanding.
      Does all this make sense?
      Mike :-)

  10. Prasoon February 12, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    Hey Mike,
    I want to practice RC passages from Magoosh. Is there a way I could filter on complete passages instead of number of questions?
    Thanks!

    • Mike
      Mike February 13, 2014 at 11:44 am #

      Dear Prasoon,
      I would very much like to answer your question, my friend, but I must confess: I am not precisely clear about what you are asking? Precisely what is the information you seek?
      Mike :-)

  11. Nikhilesh Jha February 10, 2014 at 4:12 am #

    Hey Mike,
    First of all thank you for this schedule. I followed this schedule and am in week eleven. Giving GMAT next week (fingers crossed). This was a great help and I want to add a suggestion. It is very helpful if after doing a question in OG one also watches the video of you doing the question on youtube. It doesn’t matter if student gets the question right or wrong. Video serves as a revision of concepts as well as reminder of best possible techniques.

    • Mike
      Mike February 10, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      Dear Nikhilesh,
      Thank you very much for your suggestion. I will discuss with others at Magoosh whether we should add that to the study schedules. My friend, I wish you the best of luck next week!
      Mike :-)

      • Nikhilesh Jha February 19, 2014 at 3:15 am #

        Hey Mike,
        Scored 760. Big thanks. :)

        • Mike
          Mike February 19, 2014 at 9:46 am #

          Dear Nikhilesh,
          CONGRATULATIONS! That’s wonderful! You are very welcome, my friend! Good luck in B-school!
          Mike :-)

  12. Jacob February 9, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Mike,

    I had a questions about suggested study plans for my GMAT retake and the 3 Month advanced study plan you have posted. I took the GMAT in Feb. of last year and scored a 680 (48Q34V). I have access to the MGMAT study guides and also have access to the full on demand VeritasPrep course that my work paid for. In addition, based on recommendations by others, i purchased the Magoosh GMAT Premium access.

    My goal is at least a 730 or 740, but I would be ok with as low as a 720. I am the type of learner than learns best by somebody showing my how to do something and then practicing it myself. Based on the looks of your 3 Month Advanced study plan, it looks like it has the studier move successively through each question type, rather than the typical study a particular subject (i.e. algrebra, geometry, etc.) and do questions based on that subject.

    Since it has been a year since I last looked at anything for the GMAT, would you recommend that I try to alter the study schedule to incorporate more of the videos from Magoosh or try to incorporate the structured VeritasPrep course lessons with the practice question regiment from the study plan?

    • Mike
      Mike February 9, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      Jacob,
      I am gong to be honest with you. I believe you are setting an artificial ceiling for your achievements by your self-definition. You wrote: “I am the type of learner than learns best by somebody showing my how to do something and then practicing it myself.” What you need to understand is: that’s the ultra-safe, ultra-comfortable way of learning that is virtually everybody’s default choice, and it is absolutely 100% inadequate if you want any chance of achieving an elite grade on the GMAT. Isolated focus on one subject until you are very comfortable with it — that method of studying imposes significant limits on the kind of understanding you can achieve. In this blog, I discuss levels of understanding:
      http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/understanding-the-gmat-practice-vs-exam-performance/
      The isolated focus approach only will get you to level 3 in that scheme, but for any chance of a high performance on the GMAT you need at least level 4. That’s precisely why these plans are designed the way they are. Here’s a blog explaining more about this design:
      http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-study-approaches-systematic-vs-random/
      Yes, this design will be challenging and uncomfortable for you, as it is for many many people. In fact, many people naturally do exactly what you want to do — they avoid plans such as this, plans that enforce mixed practice all the way through, and they stay with the nice, comfortable, safe approach of isolated focus, one topic at a time. My friend, do you know what the recipe for mediocrity is? Do more or less what everyone else does!
      What’s hard about mixed practice from the get-go is that you have to wrestling with your own uncertainty and intuition and to endure getting things wrong frequently: you have to endure working with questions well before you are completely comfortable with that topic. This process is, in fact, highly beneficial pedagogically, but it’s a very difficult experience. It’s very hard work. I discuss this a little in this GRE blog:
      http://magoosh.com/gre/2013/good-i-got-it-wrong/
      Sure, use the MGMAT material and the Veritas material — that’s all great. Just stir all that in, but don’t make any effort to systematize things. If you learn concept X one week from MGMAT, then a couple weeks later from Magoosh, then a couple weeks later from Veritas, that reinforced perspective over time will deepen the connections in your brain. The more you switch gears, the deeper you will understand.
      Forgive me for being so blunt, but I can tell that you are a very talented individual, and I don’t want to see you sell yourself short. You want excellence, and I believe excellence is well within your capabilities, but you will not be able to achieve simply by following a safe & comfortable mode. As they say in Boston, “Can’t git there from here!” To achieve excellence, I believe you are going to have to push yourself to go beyond this extremely limited self-identification with isolated focus practice. To be outstanding, you need to stand outside your own comfort zone. To shrink from what is challenging and difficult is precisely the road that leads to mediocrity. To make a habit of choosing that which challenges you and forces you to grow in ways that are difficult for you — this is the road that leads to excellence, and that is precisely what I would wish for you, my friend.
      Mike :-)

      • Jacob February 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

        Mike, Thanks for the help. I really appreciate it. I just wanted to make sure I got started on the right foot, given that It has been a year or so since I took the exam. I’ll planning on staying the course laid out in the study plan. I do agree that the quintessential “baptism by fire” approach can work well.

        Jacob

        • Mike
          Mike February 10, 2014 at 9:55 am #

          Dear Jacob,
          You are more than welcome, my friend. Best of luck to you!
          Mike :-)

  13. Justyna February 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Dear Mike,

    I have an issue that I believe you could help me with. So, last year I took GRE test and now I am required to take GMAT. Hence, my question is, would you recommend me to start with GMAT study schedule for advanced students or should I focus on beginners one?

    Thanks,
    Justyna :)

    • Mike
      Mike February 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

      Dear Justyna,
      I’m happy to respond, but this question is a little difficult to answer in the abstract. Let’s say that about 80% or 85% is a percentile cut-off. If you were above that in your GRE, in both Q & V, use the advanced plan. If you were above for one of the two, Q or V, and not the other, use one of the focused plans. If you were below that percentile in each of the components, use the beginner’s plan. Does this make sense?
      Mike :-)

      • Justyna February 7, 2014 at 8:51 am #

        Dear Mike,

        Yes, that does make sense. Thank you so much for your response and help! Now I know what I should focus on.

        Have a great day,
        Justyna

        • Mike
          Mike February 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

          Justyna,
          You are quite welcome, my friend. Best of luck to you!
          Mike :-)

  14. Tariq Syed January 28, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Hi,

    I was looking thru the different plans and i wanted to know is there a difference between the beginner and advanced plan schedules? They seem pretty similar to me. Please do let me know if I missed something.

    Thanks,
    Tariq

    • Mike
      Mike January 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

      Tariq,
      Well, for starters, the beginner schedule has the student watch every single Magoosh lesson video, whereas the advanced plan involves watching almost no lesson videos beyond a few introductory lessons. Also, the advanced plan involves reading through the entire MGMAT book series, whereas the beginners don’t even touch that series. Those are two of the more salient differences. Does this make sense?
      Mike :-)

  15. Roopa January 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    Hi, Thanks and I appreciate your help in designing the 3-month study schedule. Great help!! KUDOS!!

    I have a question, I have Third edition of MGMAT 10-volume pack. And the latest is 5th edition in the market. Prepraring from third edition fetch the purpose?? Are there any changes made in the latest edition?

    • Mike
      Mike January 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      Dear Roopa,
      I’m glad you are finding this schedule helpful. As regards the MGMAT books, I don’t believe the 3rd edition has anything about Integrated Reasoning, and may be preparing your for the old two-essay AWA. The stuff on Quant & Verbal has had minor changes at most. There’s also a new volume, an overview of the GMAT they call the “Roadmap”, but the Magoosh intro to the GMAT series will give you most of what you need there.
      Does all this make sense?
      Mike :-)

  16. Chris January 10, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Hi Mike,
    I was wondering what way of studying you would suggest if you can already score 730 without any preparation (96th percentile Verbal, 78th Math using the official GMAT simulation software). I found some of the test questions very easy, so that I was really surprised to get such a good score because I suspected I had missed many questions. My mistakes were very random, no clear pattern emerged. Do you think I would get a similar score on the actual test, or is it possible that I was just lucky?
    Thanks,
    Chris

    • Mike
      Mike January 10, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      Chris,
      Well, as they say, better safe than sorry. I would recommend go through this particular study plan with due diligence, taking further practice tests along the way. To whatever extent this first performance might have been a fluke, diligent preparation would “de-fluke-ize” it, if you see what I mean. It sounds as if you are really starting your preparation in the catbird’s seat. Congratulations and best of luck, my friend.
      Mike :-)

  17. Frank November 8, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    Hi Mike,

    I just took the GMAT and didn’t do so well (490…Q36 V21). Would this plan be something I should follow in order to meet my goal of 550? If so is it okay if I use the 4th edition of MGMAT books? I don’t know what the difference is between the 4th and 5th editions other than number of books (8 vs 10). I’ve got OG 12 and 13.

    • Mike
      Mike November 8, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      Dear Frank,
      I would recommend plan C, “Verbal Focus”, for you — you seem relatively strong in Math, but weaker in Verbal. I don’t think the difference between 4e & 5e of the MGMAT books is particularly significant.
      Mike :-)

  18. Aslan August 24, 2013 at 1:20 am #

    I sat for the GMAT last year (650, V48, Q31) and i have a three month prep time ahead. I hope MAgoosh will help me break 700.

    • Mike
      Mike August 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      Dear Aslan,
      I believe you will find this plan and the Magoosh material helpful —- if course, our score guarantee says that if you don’t increase by 50 points to 700, you will get your money back. That’s how confident we are that you can improve that much. Best of luck to you!
      Mike :-)

  19. Rishabh March 19, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    HI Mike,

    Came to know about magoosh through a friend who strongly recommended. While going through the 3 month study plan (advanced), i observed that you require MGMAT 10 book set. I got the latest used set from a friend. Now, the issue is I don’t have the 6 online exam which you get on MGMAT purchase. So, is there any other providers of GMAT test available which is can separately buy or should I get a new MGMAT book specifically for the test. I checked on their site too but they don’t sell 6 exams separately. Kindly advice.

    Thanks
    Rishabh

    • Mike
      Mike March 19, 2013 at 10:37 am #

      Dear Rishabh-
      First of all, each volume should have a separate code, and if they haven’t expired, any one of them would give you access to the online tests. I don’t know when the codes expire — after 6 months or a year or ???— but if the books are older than that, none of the codes will work. There are really no other online tests remotely as good as the MGMAT CATs, so I will say: buy one more volume new, any volume, and this one new volume will give you access to the online tests. I hope this helps.
      Mike :-)

  20. Kumar Dipankar January 31, 2013 at 7:43 am #

    Hi Mike…Could you clear something for me. When you say we need Manhattan 10 book series, can we supplement the hard copy version with the soft copies? I mean the whole set is quite expensive and if the objective can be met by a soft copy will that suffice??As for the free tests that come together with the books i could buy just one of the books to avail the 6 tests.

    • Mike
      Mike January 31, 2013 at 9:52 am #

      Dear Kumar,
      In my understanding, MGMAT only makes hard copies, so any soft copies would be illegal. As such, we at Magoosh cannot recommend illegal copies. Buy as many hard copies as you can afford, concentrating in the areas in which you need the most review — in my understanding, any single volume of set will give you access to the online CATs. Also, notice that the Magoosh GMAT product, in its entirety, is cheaper than the MGMAT book set —-
      Mike :-)

      • Kumar Dipankar February 1, 2013 at 4:05 am #

        Hi Mike
        Thnx for the info….Just forget about the Soft Copies as if they never existed :)
        Another query(I m not sure if this the right place to ask it but i will take my chances :D)
        I have just subscribed for the 1 week free trial of Magoosh…FYI I have just finished my GRE and Magoosh was my only companion in that….I just love Magoosh’s interface and would have loved to just go entirely with Magoosh for my GMAT prep…However when i looked up on your study schedule I realized that you were prescribing MGMAT books together with Magoosh to complete our prep material. I perceive that since you have just launched your GMAT course you are wary of Magoosh being able to provide a comprehensive prep alone by itself and hence the MGMAT books(and i love this forthrightness your part in that you are not deceiving the students with lofty inflated claims)
        To cut to the chase now could you guide me as to how updated is Magoosh regarding the GMAT prep; i saw an issue task video in the lessons. Does GMAT has an issue task like the GRE or is there only an argument task. Then I saw idioms being tested on the Verbal questions and i saw somewhere on the GMATclub blogs that idioms are no longer being tested?
        Just curious Mike, since I dearly wish to make Magoosh my primary prepping source just like it was for my GRE :) (Pardon me for this rigorous investigation :P)

        • Mike
          Mike February 1, 2013 at 10:49 am #

          Kumar: Great questions. Magoosh gives you everything you need for a successful GMAT. Our 1 month plan recommends only Magoosh. In this 3 month plan, we already recommend the MGMAT books, which are excellent. Why does a student need them as well, if Magoosh gives you everything you need? Well, sometimes hearing something in a new way can make it “click” on a new level — even if that doesn’t happen, just hearing the same stuff twice, once from Magoosh videos and once from MGMAT books, will deeply reinforce long-term learning.
          We had left the AWA Issue task videos up in case folks were curious about them —those will probably come down soon. Notice we have a full IR section of videos. Magoosh will fully prepare you for the *current* GMAT.
          On idioms — are they a focus of the GMAT SC? Well, in the OG13, thirty-one of the 140 SC questions list “Idiom” as a topic —- that’s 22% of the SC questions in the OG. Are idioms the single most important topic on GMAT SC? No. But if you are a non-native speaker, you better know your idioms!
          I appreciate your probing questions.
          Mike :-)

          • Kumar Dipankar February 1, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

            Thnx Mike :D…So it is Magoosh now for my GMAT :)
            Which means I will keep bothering u in times to come :D
            Dipankar

            • Mike
              Mike February 5, 2013 at 11:57 am #

              Glad to hear it. Best of luck to you.
              Mike :-)

  21. Taru Gupta September 1, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Hi

    I have a question regarding your suggested 3 month study plan for advances students,I gave GMAT 4 years back and scored a 640 and I’m planning to give the exam again.I have been preparing for the last 1 -1.5 month and have completed the OG-11 & OG 12 and also I enrolled in the Knewton prep program which I have almost finished.

    I recently took the 1 week trial offer for Magoosh and have been really impressed by the course & question content and thus I’m planning to take the Magoosh 1 month prep program.In your suggested study material you have mentioned Manhattan strategy guides, I have frankly always thought them to be for students who are just about to start with their prep but you havning mentioned as a recomended study material has caught my attention.I was frankly planning to enroll in the Magoosh program and end my prep, but would you suggest me going ahead with the Manhattan strategy guides along with the Magoosh prep program cause Im very sure o Magoosh so thats a definite but just confused about the Manhattan guides. Please help

    Regards,
    Taru

    • Mike
      Mike September 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

      Dear Taru: the MGRE books are very thorough — yes, they can be a good place to start for someone just beginning, but they have something to offer to almost anyone preparing for the GRE. If you learn everything in the MGRE books and everything Magoosh has to offer, you will be unstoppable.
      Does that make sense?
      Mike :-)


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