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1 Month GMAT Study Schedule

Note: While we make small updates to all of our study schedules as needed, this GMAT schedule was fully updated in July 2015!

OK, suppose you are starting from Square One (like, “What is the format of the GMAT?” basic) and have just a month to get yourself in shape for the GMAT.  That’s not a whole lot of time, but here’s a GMAT schedule to make the best of what you have. 🙂

This GMAT schedule supposes six days/week of preparation.  It will actually help you integrate even more deeply if you have one GMAT-free day a week.  I am assuming you have 3-5 hours a day, with occasional days (presumably on weekends) when you will put in more time.  It could be a comfortable rhythm, for example, to do a few hours each weeknight, a larger session on Saturday, and then take Sunday off.  I know it will be hard to stick to this GMAT schedule if you have a full-time job; if you are working full time, you may consider postponing your GMAT. If possible, give yourself more time to study, and follow a three-month or six-month plan.  Alternately, taking some vacation time to complete this study schedule could be helpful.  If you are between jobs, or don’t have to work, then that would be ideal.  NOTE: Many folks find that each day’s assignments take 3-5 hours, although times to complete them will vary for different students.

Also, very very important: even though you are doing more work preparing for the GMAT during this month, you must get 8+ hours of sleep every night.  Memory encoding takes place in REM sleep, and it’s in that last hour of an eight-hour session of sleep that we get the most REM.  Getting an average of 8 hours of sleep vs. an average of 7 hours of sleep every night between now and the GMAT could be as much as a 50 point score difference.  Getting enough sleep is very important!

Do you need to adapt this study schedule to meet your needs? Check out this blog post for adjustment tips!

GMAT schedule

Essential Materials

1) GMAC’s The Official Guide for GMAT Review (OG): The newest edition is the OG2016. If you are going to buy a new guide, get that one. If you happen to own either the OG2015 or even the previous OG13 (those two versions are identical in their print form), then it would be no problem using either of those with this study guide.

IMPORTANT: don’t write in the textbooks.  Do all your work on separate paper or on a computer.  You will want to keep the textbooks clean, so that later, if you need to look at a problem again, it is still fresh and unmarked.

2) Magoosh GMAT– sign up for the Premium subscription

3) the official GMAT website, mba.com – register on the site

4) a journal (paper or on the computer): throughout this GMAT schedule, I will ask you to take notes.  The actual act of writing or typing creates important links in your brain because you are using your hands.  Even if you never have time to review what you have written, just the act of writing it will help you learn a little more deeply.

Optional/Supplemental Resources

1) GMAT Club, online forum

2) Beat the GMAT, online forum

3) Magoosh GMAT Math Flashcards

4) Magoosh Idiom Flashcards

5) The Magoosh GMAT Diagnostic Test

Because this one-month GMAT schedule is already filled to the brim with material, we do not include formal practice with the flashcards.  If you find these helpful, please integrate work with them where you can.

Abbreviations Used in this Plan

In this plan, we use standard abbreviations for the question types on the GMAT.

Quantitative Questions

a) PS = Problem Solving

b) DS = Data Sufficiency

Verbal Questions

a) RC = Reading Comprehension

b) CR = Critical Reasoning

c) SC = Sentence Correction

In addition, AWA denotes the Analytical Writing Assessment (the essay at the beginning of the GMAT) and IR denotes the Integrated Reasoning section.

NOTE: this is one INTENSE plan.  It will be time-consuming and will take hard work, dedication, and focus to get through.  The plan was designed so that you would exhaust most of the questions in the OG (remember, that stands for GMAC’s Official Guide for GMAT Review ); most of the questions in the Magoosh product; and would watch all the Magoosh video lessons.

If you are going to cut things out for efficiency, it’s most important that you don’t deprive yourself of any lessons you need to see.  If you know some of the simpler math at the beginning (e.g. how to add and subtract positive and negative numbers), then don’t sit through those videos: click ahead to the summaries to verify that you didn’t miss anything.  This way, you can quickly jump through lessons that are too easy for you.  If you are particularly strong at math, you could just jump to the quiz at the end of the module: if you ace the quiz, you probably know the module well.  That’s one way to save time with the lessons.

In general, it’s better to cut questions rather than the lessons (unless you have a good motivation for cutting lessons).  If you need to do fewer questions some days, or all days, then push yourself to do as many as you can, but don’t feel that you need to finish every last question.  I would recommend cutting back equally on OG questions and Magoosh questions so that – on average – you see about the same quantity of both.

Week 1 GMAT schedule

Week One, Day One of the One-Month GMAT Schedule

1) In the OG

Read the first half of the Math Review, before the math questions in the OG. As you read, write down concepts that are fuzzy/rusty/unfamiliar in your journal.

2) In the OG

Read the introductory section to PS questions, DS questions, RC questions, and CR questions.  You will find these introductory sections before the banks of that question type.

3) In the OG

Take the first half of the 3.1 Diagnostic Test, pp. 19-26, the mathematics section.

When you are done, correct your answers.  For questions you got right, glance at the solution, to make sure you got it right for the right reason.  For questions you got wrong, study the solutions in detail, taking notes on anything unfamiliar.

4) Read the official page on the structure of the test, and follow the four individual links to read about individual question types.

5) Watch the following Magoosh Videos

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

Under the Verbal section: the first five videos

Under the Math  section: the first eight video

(As you watch these Magoosh videos, take notes in your journal.  You will not have time to watch all of them more than once, so take notes to get the most out of each one.  Even if you never again look at what you write, the fact that you are writing – and therefore, processing – what is being said will help you remember it.)

6) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 math Problem Solving (PS) questions

16 verbal Sentence Correction (SC) questions

1 verbal Reading Comprehension (RC) passage and the associated questions

Upon completion of each Magoosh question, watch the video following the question whether you got the question right or wrong.  As time goes on, and you are comfortable with why you go a question right, just watch the videos for questions you get wrong.

NOTE: when you do Magoosh practice questions, do not select individual topics that are familiar.  When you learn a particular lesson, resist the urge to practice that material right there and then.  This plan is based on the philosophy that you should see a random mix of topics every time you practice as you move through the OG.  Yes, this means you will make some mistakes in the beginning, especially with topics you haven’t learned thoroughly yet, but if you study those mistakes carefully, that will prime your mind for understanding these ideas more deeply when you get to them in the lessons.  Getting questions wrong at the beginning may seem frustrating, but remember that you are playing a “longer game”: the point is not instant success at the beginning, but building deeper understanding over time.   Also, it’s important to get accustomed as soon as possible to the random mix of topics you will see, one after the other, on test day.

Week One, Day Two of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, finish the Math Review; as you read, either write down in a separate journal concepts that fuzzy/rusty/unfamiliar.

2) In the OG, read the introductory section to SC questions, including the “Basic English Grammar Rules” section: as you read, either write down in a separate journal concepts that fuzzy/rusty/unfamiliar.  Read the introduction to the AWA and read the entire IR section.

3) In the OG

Take the second half of the 3.1 Diagnostic Test, pp. 27-44, the verbal section

When you are done, correct your answers.  For questions you got right, glance at the solution, to make sure you got it right for the right reason.  For questions you got wrong, study the solutions in detail, taking notes on anything unfamiliar.

4) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

Under the Analytic Writing Assessment (AWA) section: all five videos

5) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 SC questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week One, Day Three of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 PS questions

15 SC questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

When you do each batch of OG questions, correct yourself right after, and then read the explanation given whether you got the question right or wrong.  At the beginning, be religious about reading the explanations, making sure that, on questions you got right, you got them right for the right reason.  As you continue in your studies, you can just scan explanations for question that were easy to get right.

Note that not all the OG explanations are of high quality, and some are not good at all.  As an alternative, for all the questions in the OG, you can see much better explanations in our video solutions.

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

NOTE: as you finish lesson modules, take the quiz at the end of the module.  If you don’t “pass,” then keep reviewing and take it again, until you can pass that quiz.

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 SC questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week One, Day Four of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 math Data Sufficiency (DS) questions

15 verbal Critical Reasoning (CR) questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 CR questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week One, Day Five of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

15 SC questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 SC questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week One, Day Six of the One-Month GMAT Schedule (BIG Day):

1) Go to the MBA website and download the free software.

2) Take the first 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. Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

Shortly after you are done, check all your answers, and read the explanations of everything you got wrong and everything for which you were unsure.  Write in your journal anything you need to learn from the mistakes you made.  The essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.  See this blog for other options.

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 2 GMAT Schedule

Week Two, Day One of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 PS questions

15 SC questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

Under the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section: the first ten videos

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 CR questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week Two, Day Two of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

15 CR questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

Under the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section: the remaining eleven videos

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 DS questions

16 SC questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week Two, Day Three of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 PS questions

15 SC questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 CR questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week Two, Day Four of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 DS questions

15 CR questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 DS questions

16 SC questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week Two, Day Five of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 PS questions

15 SC questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 CR questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week Two, Day Six of the One-Month GMAT Schedule (BIG Day):

1) Take the second 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. Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

Shortly after you are done, check all your answers, and read the explanations of everything you got wrong and everything for which you were unsure.  Write in your journal anything you need to learn from the mistakes you made.  The essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.

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 3 GMAT Schedule

Week Three, Day One of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 PS questions

15 CR questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 DS questions

12 Integrated Reasoning (IR) questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

Week Three, Day Two of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 DS questions

15 SC questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 CR questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week Three, Day Three of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

15 CR questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 SC questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

4) Go to GMAC’s official IR practice questions: Use the access code given in the back of the OG, logging in here. This site contains the online version of all the questions in the OG, in case you want to practice the identical questions online instead of on paper; in addition, the official IR practice questions live here. Uncheck everything else and do the first twelve Multi-Source Reasoning questions, questions #1-12, setting yourself a 30 minute time limit.  When you are done, go back and read carefully the full explanation for each question.  Take notes on anything you need to remember.

Week Three, Day Four of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 DS questions

15 SC questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 DS questions

16 CR questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week Three, Day Five of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 PS questions

15 CR questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 SC questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week Three, Day Six of the One-Month GMAT Schedule (BIG Day):

1) Retake the first full length GMAT on the GMAC software. Because the software has a larger question pool than the number of questions on each test, you will usually see many new questions as well as a few repeats (which are great for review).

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. Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

Shortly after you are done, check all your answers, and read the explanations of everything you got wrong and everything for which you were unsure.  Write in your journal anything you need to learn from the mistakes you made.  The essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.

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 4 GMAT Schedule

Week Four, Day One of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 PS questions

15 SC questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

8 more verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 CR questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

4) Go back to GMAC’s official IR practice questions: Use the access code given in the back of the OG, logging in here. This site contains the online version of all the questions in the OG, in case you want to practice the identical questions online instead of on paper; in addition, the official IR practice questions live here. Uncheck everything else and do the last six Multi-Source Reasoning questions, questions #12-18, and all six Table Analysis questions, setting yourself a 30 minute time limit for all twelve questions.  When you are done, go back and read carefully the full explanation for each question.  Take notes on anything you need to remember.

Week Four, Day Two of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

15 CR questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

the last 4 verbal video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 DS questions

16 SC questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

4) Go back to GMAC’s official IR practice questions: Use the access code given in the back of the OG, logging in here. This site contains the online version of all the questions in the OG, in case you want to practice the identical questions online instead of on paper; in addition, the official IR practice questions live here. Uncheck everything else and do all ten Graphics Interpretation questions, setting yourself a 25 minute time limit.  When you are done, go back and read carefully the full explanation for each question.  Take notes on anything you need to remember.

Week Four, Day Three of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 PS questions

15 SC questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 CR questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

4) Go back to GMAC’s official IR practice questions: Use the access code given in the back of the OG, logging in here. This site contains the online version of all the questions in the OG, in case you want to practice the identical questions online instead of on paper; in addition, the official IR practice questions live here. Uncheck everything else and do all sixteen Two-Part Analysis questions, setting yourself a 40 minute time limit.  When you are done, go back and read carefully the full explanation for each question.  Take notes on anything you need to remember.

Week Four, Day Four of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 DS questions

15 CR questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Read the AWA Argument prompts in OG; pick one at random, write an essay in half an hour; get a friend or mentor to critique it, or submit it on the online forums for critique.

3) Watch the following Magoosh videos

10 more math video lessons

4) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 DS questions

16 SC questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week Four, Day Five of the One-Month GMAT Schedule:

1) In the OG, do:

25 PS questions

15 SC questions

one RC passage with the associated questions

2) Watch the following Magoosh videos

any remaining math video lessons

3) In the Magoosh product, do:

25 PS questions

16 CR questions

1 RC passage and the associated questions

Week Four, Day Six (BIG Day, if this is NOT the day before the real GMAT):

1)  Retake the second full-length GMAT on the GMAC software. Because the software has a larger question pool than the number of questions on each test, you will usually see many new questions as well as a few repeats (which are great for review).

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. Then, take the rest of the GMAT using that software.

Shortly after you are done, check all your answers, and read the explanations of everything you got wrong and everything for which you were unsure.  Write in your journal anything you need to learn from the mistakes you made.  The essay you will either share with a trusted friend or mentor, or post in the online forums asking for feedback.

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.

Any extra days:

1) In the OG, sample the remaining SC & CR questions

2) Write another essay, and get a critique of it

3) Do any remaining Magoosh questions for which you have time.

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.

Any questions on this plan?  Just leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to help!

 

Note: If you began prepping with this schedule before July 2015, we recommend that you complete your prep with the same schedule that you started with. You can find the previous, older version of this study plan here!

By the way, sign up for our 1 Week Free Trial to try out Magoosh GMAT Prep!