Magoosh publishes study schedules to help folks in various situations study for the GMAT. We have plans for 1-month, 3-months, and 6-months. Three months is a good solid chunk of time to study for the GMAT, an interval that many students use, so we have four different three-month plans to focus on the needs of different students. If you are unclear about which plan is best for you, you can take our Magoosh GMAT Diagnostic Test. One month is not much time to integrate everything on the GMAT, so that study schedule has a very intense pace.
These published study plans satisfy a large number of students. What if your time-frame and/or your needs are different from those of the major study plans? I will demonstrate a few ways to adapt these plans to other situations. While we can’t address every specific situation, I hope that the following will give you some ideas about how to adapt the published plans to your specific needs.
Two months or six weeks
Where adapting a schedule is concerned, it’s easier to add than to subtract. If you need a plan for something between one and three months, think about adding to the one-month plan, rather than subtracting from the one of the three-months plans.
The one-month plan keeps a very brisk pace. If one were to take it at one-half rate, one day of the schedule equals two of your days, then you would have a quite manageable two-month plan. You can take official GMATPrep tests more than once, to get extra weekend practice sessions.
Six weeks, a month and a half, is a little trickier. Option one would be to take every three-days of real time to complete two days: that would fill six weeks. Alternately, you could just buy a few volumes from the Manhattan GMAT 10-volume set, go through the first two weeks of the Magoosh schedule, take off two weeks to read through the books and work all those problems, and then finish off the Magoosh schedule. You could even get more creative about interspersing book-work days with Magoosh days: you might want to map all that out on a physical calendar, so you can keep track. In general, switching gears is good in studying: this is why the Magoosh schedule has you doing both math & verbal every day, and mix of all topics from the beginning. The more you can adapt to switching gears to any topic and any source in any moment, the more ready you will be on test day.
Suppose you have four months between now and test day. What are your options? Well, of course, you could reschedule your exam a month earlier, to three months away, and follow a three-month plan to the letter: you could do that, but suppose you don’t want to do that. There are other options.
Basically, we will start with the most relevant three-month plan, and we have to fill out with another month of material. Again, the MGMAT 10-Volume set makes for excellent filler, because those are some of the best works in print. Alternately, if you struggle with math or verbal, you could use the extra time to watch the videos again. You can also use the extra time to increase how much you are reading.
One simple plan would be to do the entire three-month plan, at least the Day 1-5 part, in the first three months, and devote the last month to reading the MGMAT volumes, watching any lessons videos you need to see another time, and focusing very specifically on learning from the questions you got wrong. Push the entire weekend testing schedule to the end, so that you are doing the last GMATPrep tests right before the real GMAT.
Again, if you want to get fancy, you could intersperse weeks, or days, of the MGMAT volumes with the Magoosh plan. As above, if you want to do something fancy like this, map it all out ahead of time on a physical calendar so you can keep track of it. Once again, the more “switching” gears, the better.
One month, subject specific
Suppose you have one-month, or a little more, and you know you are strong in math, but you need to focus on verbal (or, vice versa). Let’s say your math is strong, but you need verbal help.
In that case, just take the quizzes at the ends of the math lessons modules. If you ace every quiz, then you probably are in good shape in math. That will also give Magoosh the message that your math skills are strong. Make sure you watch every Verbal lesson twice: watch the whole series from top-to-bottom, and don’t repeat any a second time until you have seen them all. Do all the verbal questions. For the math questions, maybe use the Practice tab to select only the hard questions, and worry about doing all of the hard questions. Don’t worry about completing the easy questions.
All that, vice-versa, if verbal is your strong suit and you want to focus intensively on math.
If you are diligent about following this strategy, then Magoosh would still consider you eligible for the score guarantee, even though you didn’t follow that to the letter.
Think of the study plans as incredible resources that you can use as best benefits you. If you need to stretch the time out a bit, add a few more resources, that’s fine, as long as you are consistently focused on the GMAT every day of your studying. This is about your life: grab it by the horns and get the most out of it for you!