How long should you prepare for the GMAT?

The ideal time quoted by most GMAT Prep Companies and experts is 3 Months. More importantly it is not the time but the plan that you have during the 3-Month that will help you reach the 700+ target.
Let us look at the most recommended approach:

1st Month

Take the GMAT diagnostic test in the Official GMAT Prep Software, and note the weak topics. But don’t straightaway start attempting problems in your weak areas. Do as many practice problems from Official GMAT Guide and from other resources and monitor the performance in each section – Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction, Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency.

Find out your weakest section. For most GMAT test takers, it would be Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning. For students weak in Math, Problem solving is often cited as a weak area.

Just understanding the weak areas is not enough. Go through the answers and explanations and find out why you are missing the correct answer choice. Is it lack of knowledge about a particular topic or lack of application? Whatever it is, note them down.

2nd Month

Once you have attempted 100s of practice questions, go back to the basics. Most often, a lack of clear understanding about Verbal and Quant fundamentals might be the reason why you were getting the answers wrong. Read the Veritas Prep Guides to learn the fundamentals. They have summarized the concepts into easy to read nuggets.

Although the 2nd Month should be devoted in understanding the fundamentals, simultaneously devote 1-hour everyday on practicing GMAT problems from all the section.

3rd Month

This is a crucial month to improve timing. Solving the toughest GMAT questions in 3-4 minutes will not do any good for your GMAT score. Most GMAT Prep companies recommend focusing on timing from the get go. This might work for some test takers but most GMAT test takers would have been in the workforce for the past 3-4 years and would be out of touch with Quant and Verbal section.  Learning the fundamental and improving your understanding about the fundamentals should be your primary focus. The third month should be spend on improving the timing, learning shortcuts for GMAT Quant, note taking tricks for GMAT RC and other time savers.

Attitude and Approach

We have discussed about the 3-month plan but it is not going to be easy. As we had mentioned in Motivational Strategies for GMAT Prep, how you approach the prep process will decide whether you can learn the fundamentals successfully during the first 2 months and perfect the timing in the third month.

To summarize the Best Motivational Strategies for GMAT Prep

1) Believe in Yourself
2) Imagine Obstacles

Read 3 GMAT Prep Mistakes and Motivational Strategies, to get a deeper understanding of the motivational strategies.

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