How to Crack the GMAT in 30 Days: One Month GMAT Study Plan

by Maximilian Claessens
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How to Crack the GMAT in 30 Days - One Month GMAT Study Plan

Preparing for the GMAT exam in just one month isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely possible. The difference between success and failure is entirely dependent on how well you can plan and then execute the plan. Some of us love to plan, but those who plan well aren’t always the same as those who follow through. Read on to get our one month GMAT study plan which will allow you to ace the GMAT in 30 days.

Before You Start: Make Sure You Are Motivated

Studying for the GMAT in 30 days effectively is going to take a lot of time, patience, and calculation, so it’s important that you understand why you’re taking the test and never lose sight of what really matters to you. Some people like to start their study by attaching a picture of their dream university onto the wall above their desk. Looking at the dream result can be enough to motivate many to push themselves to achieve the score they want. Understanding why you’re doing this study is important because the study itself is going to be so difficult that it may make you question why you set out to achieve this dream in the first place. You may get halfway through and feel that it’s too difficult to go any further, and that’s when you need to look up and remember your motivation. So once you’ve established the why, it’s time to get started on exactly what you’ll be doing to achieve the result.
Once you have made sure that you are properly motivated, you just need to follow our one month GMAT study plan to crack the GMAT in 30 days.

One Month GMAT Study Plan Week By Week

Week 1: Planning and Difficulty Curbing

Let’s get started on your one month GMAT study plan. The official GMAT exam site gives you two practice exams for free, so the best way to get started is to take the first practice exam right away, but only if this is your first time taking the GMAT exam. For many, if you’re beginning your study a month away from your test date, it’s because you’re retaking the exam at the earliest date that the GMAT will allow you. If that describes you, then don’t worry about taking the official GMAT test right away because you already know what to expect from the real exam. For everyone else, this will be an educational experience. You’ll learn exactly how the test is structured, what’s expected, and what you need to focus on. While taking the test, you should be taking extensive notes on exactly what you’re seeing, and, more crucially, which parts of the test you foresee yourself struggling with. Once you’re done, go over your results and take very careful note of everything you did well and, much more importantly, what you did badly. This will form the basis of your study plan. Once you’re done, rank everything you’ve noted down in order of difficulty, it’s this ranking that will determine the amount of time you’ll give to each section of the exam.

Over the next four weeks of the one month GMAT study plan, you’ll be studying for at least five hours each day. It’s not easy to achieve a high score on the GMAT in 30 days, and it’s going to be an enormous time and energy commitment[1]. Write out a plan for what you’ll be focusing on each day, and ensure the lion’s share of time (up to three hours each day) is dedicated to the top 30% of your ranked list of difficult subjects in the exam. Whether that means quantitative problem solving specific to a certain mathematical theory, or understanding academic English, ensure that you’re filling most of each day with these subjects.

This first week, focus on the top 10% or top two most difficult challenges on the list. It’s important that you level out the difficulty curb as quickly as possible, ensuring that the exam feels linear and not a series of unclimbable mountains and valleys. Cutting off the tops of these mountains in the first week of your one month GMAT study plan will go a long way in helping you make the most of the next four weeks. You can do this by researching these topics online and watching as many videos as you can on the topics while taking furious notes. To ensure you’re able to apply what you’ve learned, you’ll need to take a practice exam every day. You can take any of the many free practice exams available online, and thanks to the fact that you’ve either taken the real GMAT exam already or the official practice test, you’ll be able to quickly determine which tests are authentic and which should be avoided. This will be very useful in the coming weeks.

Week 2: Absorbing and Note Taking

You’re planning to ace the GMAT in 30 days, which means you have a lot to learn in a very short space of time. This means prioritizing your time well and absorbing information, and, most importantly, understanding it as quickly as possible. During your first week, you learned the most difficult subjects on your list of what you find challenging; you also took a practice GMAT and figured out how the test is laid out. Now it’s time to fill the rest of the gaps in your knowledge.

After this week, there will be no more time for further learning, so this week, you’re going to watch copious amounts of educational videos and taking endless notes. You’re also going to continue taking a practice exam at the end of every day, except this week; you’ll spend time after each practice exam running through your results and taking careful note of which areas need improving and why[2]. If you’re lacking information, this is the week to sort it. After you finish your exam, you need to take careful note of what knowledge you’re missing so that the next day, you can add it to the videos you’re watching and any readings you’re doing.

By the end of this week, you should know the theory of absolutely everything in the exam, especially any elements you were missing information about previously. Once that’s done, it’s time to really buckle down and apply the theories.

Week 3: Practical Application of Theories

You’ve learned everything you need to know to ace the GMAT exam, and your one month GMAT study plan is being executed perfectly. The trouble that now comes can trip up many people, but thanks to your plan, you’re not going to trip over this incredibly important hurdle. Everything you need to know is currently in your head; all that’s missing is the ability to apply it practically to problems and theories that are in the GMAT exam.

People are so confident that just because they know something intellectually, they can apply it in practice, but that’s not the case, and certainly isn’t the case in a stressful situation that only gives you two minutes per question to calculate and come up with correct answers. This week, you’ll need to up the practice exams to two per day, one at the beginning and one at the end.

One big goal of this week is to apply what you’ve learned and to time your answers. You need to know how long it’s taking you to do everything you need to do in the exam, and then you’ll need to shave that time down to as fast as you can make it[3]. This week is all about developing muscle memory. The brain can be trained to calculate at incredible speeds, but it will only do so if it feels that this energy expenditure is worth it. It needs to be convinced, and the only way to do that is to force it to keep calculating faster and faster. Start every day with a practice exam, then spend time going over the results and taking note of where you’re falling down. Hopefully, time is the main issue. Take this time to use a calculator to wrap your mind around problems you’re not solving in your own head, then once you’re done, re-take the exam. Once you’re done with the second exam, take notes once again and prepare for your first exam the next day.

Week 4: Fine Tuning

Last week of the one month GMAT study plan! Your 30 days to prepare for the GMAT are coming to an end. This week you can reduce the practice tests back down to one per day, but you need to replace them with a lot of theory-based problems and practice questions from online, for instance with our free GMAT Quant practice tests. You’ve learned all the theory, you’ve figured out how to apply it, and you’ve taken time to get your time per question down. Now it’s just about fine-tuning your brain so that you can get the time down even further while still getting the answers right.

This is best achieved by deciding on a set number of problems per day and whizzing through them as fast as possible. After every ten problems, check them, and make sure they’re correct. Don’t accidentally exchange speed for accuracy. Try to achieve more and more problems each day, but ensure you leave time for the end-of-the-day practice exam. On the last day of the week, it’s time to take the second and final free official GMAT exam. Take your final chance to examine the results and prepare for the real thing.

Closing Words

Acing the GMAT exam in 30 days isn’t impossible, but writing and then executing a perfect and airtight plan is everything in ensuring your success. When developing this exam, the GMAT committee knew that only the planners would be able to ace it because that’s who they want running the businesses of tomorrow. So plan to succeed, and ensure you plan your GMAT exam preparation perfectly. Here is a summary of the key points that you’ll need to know to execute the one month GMAT study plan:

  • Ensure that before you begin planning, you stick your goal university or a motivational picture up on the wall above your desk. You’re going to need it before the end.
  • Each week needs to be planned precisely, and each ramps up the difficulty.
  • First, it’s all about filling in the missing information in your brain. Then, you’ll need to train your brain to apply it properly. Finally, you need to reduce the time you’re spending on each question.
  • Anyone can ace the exam as long as they plan properly and, more importantly, execute the plan.

[1] MBA, GMAT Preparation Best Practices, Graduate Management Admission Council, Accessed 2022, https://www.mba.com/exams/gmat/before-the-exam/perform-your-best-on-test-day/gmat-preparation-best-practices

[2] Newsroom, GMAT: What to Study and When, Bentley University, Accessed 2020, https://www.bentley.edu/news/how-prepare-gmat-what-study-and-when

[3] Verma, Ayush, Nguyễn, Jen, GMAT Exam, Magoosh Blog, 2022, https://magoosh.com/gmat/how-to-prepare-for-gmat/

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