Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My GMAT study plan

I am sure by now you would want to know how I studied and fared in my GMAT exam. Well I scored a 710 (93%tile) overall. The breakup was
Verbal - 37 (82%)
Quant - 50 (95%)
Analytical writing - 6.0 (89%)

I studied for about 2 and a half months for the exam. From mid-may to July end (My exam date was 31st July 2007). I used to study for about 3-4 hours on weekdays and maybe slightly more on weekends, say about 6 hours. I had reserved my weekends for analytical writing practice and test taking.

I suggest that you start studying about 3-4 months in advance. More than 4 months of study is not required unless you cannot study for more than 1-2 hours a day.
Make your study plan such that you can study each section comfortable without rushing through it. Remember that working on each section is important and going ahead with the myth that its standard 10th English and math would land you in trouble.

I divided my time between verbal and quant based on my areas of weakness. For instance I found sentence correction and data sufficiency a little tough compared to the other sections. Hence I put in more time for practice on these sections. I gave time on understanding the technique in solving each type of question so that I do not have to go back to the theory once I start my practice tests.

It is also important to understand the given explanations for any questions you don't answer correctly so that you don not make the same mistake again. All questions on GMAT fall into defined categories and hence if you know each category well you would face no problem answering these questions.

You should take one practice test before starting your study to diagnose your strengths and weaknesses. If you are good in math and score well on that section you can probably channelize your energies to verbal and analytical writing. This would be the starting point of your study program. Once you have identified difficult areas concentrate on strengthening them with the help of the tips and tricks available in the books. With time you would be able to make your own tricks and tips on solving particular type of problems!

The analytical writing section requires a different practice regime compared to the other two sections. With no fixed answers to any questions you are being tested on your thought process, writing ability, coherence, consistency and paraphrasing. You would be able to perfect all of these only by writing as much as you can. The analytical writing questions on GMAT would come from this big pool of questions already available to the students. The format of writing is also well defined in the books.

Although I myself did not practice writing everyday, I would suggest you to write atleast one essay everyday. More importantly getting the essay reviewed by an experienced person is a must. I use to get my essays reviewed by my friends who were writing GMAT too. You could also do the same or send them across to me too and I promise to review them If I do get time!

Start studying early and practice practice practice. Thats the key to conquer this exam!