10 tips to ace the GMAT in 30 days
In a perfect world, you would have allotted months to prepare for the GMAT exam. However, life is rarely perfect and many business school hopefuls find themselves frantically cramming for the GMAT mere weeks before admissions deadlines. While more time is always better than less when it comes to test prep, it is possible to score well on the GMAT with little prep time. Here are a few things you should know if you only have one month to study.
It is crunch time and you have a lot of work to do! The next month will be challenging, but the most important thing to do is keep your head on straight and focus on what needs to be done. Going into a panic attack will only waste more of your limited time.
Make a strict study schedule
Most study plans assume a roughly three month time span, but many can be adapted to work for shorter time frames. Whichever plan you choose, the most important thing is to keep these two ideas in mind. Firstly, your plan should not be overwhelming. There will be a lot of material to cover in the next 30 days, but you still need to study at a pace that you can keep up with. Secondly, you need to stick to your schedule. With a shortened timeline, there is very little wiggle room and it is absolutely imperative that you follow your plan precisely.
Take the time to learn the structure of the GMAT
Your first instincts are probably to dive right into the meat of the GMAT and focus on the content. This is the wrong approach. Spend your first day or two learning the structure and design of the GMAT. Understanding the nature of the GMAT is every bit as important as learning the verbal and quantitative skills needed for the test. This knowledge will serve as the framework for the rest of your studies.
The very fact that this website exists should tell you that studying for the GMAT requires a special skillset. Taking the GMAT is a unique testing experience, at it requires unique study methods. The good news is that this website is filled with articles on how to study the right way. You will want to focus on understanding the GMAT’s structure, mastering its specific question types, and nailing your question timing.
I know this sounds counter intuitive, but trust me. Pulling 30 straight all-nighters will not help you ace the GMAT, but it probably will drive you insane. While you cannot afford to take a full day off, it is important to work short breaks into your study schedule. Everyone has a unique threshold for how long they can focus. If you feel yourself reaching yours, take a short break. If you cannot focus, you cannot retain new information and any time spent on information that is not retained is wasted. You cannot afford to waste any time!
Block off ample time during the day to study
At a bare minimum, I recommend two hours each weekday and five hours each Saturday and Sunday devoted to GMAT prep. If you can fit more time into your schedule than this, great!
Identify your weaknesses
Time is not on your side and you need to find out where to make improvements immediately. To do this, take a practice test and see where you come up short. Once you know where to improve, give extra time to these sections or question types.
Take a practice test every week
Sometimes you may need to fine tune your study plan to address specific areas where you are lagging behind. Weekly practice tests will allow you to have the data necessary to monitor your progress and understand where adjustments are needed.
Drilling yourself with endless questions will not do you any good if you do not understand why you keep missing them. Carefully go over your mistakes and learn how to correct them.
Study every day
Admit it, you saw this tip coming a mile away. With only a month to study for the GMAT you simply cannot afford to take a vacation. This means studying every day, no excuses!
The GMAT is a daunting test, and at first glance it can appear insurmountable to tackle it in only a month. To be honest, this will be a tough month for you but if you study correctly, a month of preparation can be enough time. If you are currently scrambling to study last minute, or if you had to study for the GMAT with limited time in the past, we want to hear from you. Please give us your tips in the comments below.