Before beginning their GMAT prep, a lot of students often look for some tips to plan their studies in the most fruitful manner. You can always find plenty of success stories to take inspiration from. However, you can save a lot of your time and find the best ingredients of your study plan at the same time by going through this post.
Here’s how you can plan your studies to ace your GMAT:
Step 1 – Creating a Study Plan
Since we are talking about planning studies, it is best to start with a study plan first. For most students, creating an actionable, exhaustive, and personalized study plan is the biggest hurdle. However, if you know what the key ingredients of a great study plan are, you can keep your preparation period well-sorted. Here’s what you will need:
1. Defined Goal
If you have a target score in mind, your study plan should be structured around this goal. Your target GMAT score will determine how many hours you need to invest in preparation.
2.Time to Prepare
The time you need to prepare depends on two factors-
- Your current performance (You can take a diagnostic test to know your current score)
- Your pace of learning
Generally, a 10-point improvement in your GMAT score requires around 10 hours of effort. Let’s take an example to understand how you can calculate the time you need to prepare:
Suppose your current GMAT/mock score is 480 and you are aiming to score a 720. This means, to be able to score a 720, you will need to devote somewhere around (720-480) 240 hours. But that’s not it.
To target any score beyond 700, you should account for at least 20% more time. Which means, 48 hours more. Similarly, if your starting score is less than 500, you also need to keep aside another 20% extra time, which means another 48 hours.
So, the total time you ideally require for a 240 points improvement is- (240 + 48 + 48) hours= 336 hours.
3.Right Order of Learning
By right order I mean before moving to an advanced lesson, you need to ensure that your foundation skills are strong. For instance – it is important to understand exponents before learning prime numbers. Similarly, a running knowledge of linear equations is required to be able to solve the word problems. In other words, haphazard learning or studying randomly from any resource that you have in proximity will only waste your time.
Some students may be good at Verbal, while others may find Quant to be their strength. In either case, devoting equal time to both sections will not help. But a good study plan is one that focuses on devoting more time to your weak areas.
5. Progress Monitoring
As your GMAT preparation moves forward, it is common for working professionals to fall behind schedule. So, you should create a study plan in a manner that you set clear milestones that allow you to check progress at regular intervals.
6. Legroom for Practice and Revision
A good study plan should have enough room to revise concepts, practice questions, and brush up your weaker sections.
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Step 2 – Studying from the Right Resources
Now, the definition of right resource can be different for different people. While some students say they focus better when studying from a book, others may find an online course to be more useful. Books, in general, are more restrictive compared to an online course. When you study from an online course, learning is a lot more effective because:
- Online courses contain video lessons that are 5 times more effective than books,
- They leverage technology to track your progress and provide relevant feedback
- Online resources are more convenient when it comes to learning on-the-go
- They provide access to forums where you can connect with experts to clear your doubts in real time
To select the most suitable online course for you, you should ideally take a free trial. I would also recommend that you refer to an Official Guide to practice questions.
Step 3 – Start Learning
Now that you have your resources and study plan ready, you are ready to start learning. Go over concepts as per your study plan and monitor your progress at regular intervals through regular assessments. The intent behind progress monitoring should be to identify areas where you could not make a significant improvement and modify your study plan accordingly.
I hope my mantra of planning studies is clear to you. So, are you ready to plan studies?