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Carving the best GMAT Self Study Plan: Tips to Follow for 2024 Exam

Updated on 24 May, 2023

Shivangi Mishra

Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

What is a good GMAT self-study plan that will meet your needs? How do you structure a self-study timetable for the test? Fret not, since you can use several tips and tricks (covered in this article) that will answer your queries and help you build a study plan to ace the examination. However, an overview of the GMAT is an essential starting point. Knowing what you have to crack is half the job done. It will help you prepare strategies accordingly. 

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Here are some key points about the GMAT:  

  • The GMAT examination is used across 2,400+ educational institutions globally and 7,700+ programs throughout 114 nations. 
  • GMAT scores help with admissions to graduate management or MBA programs. 
  • GMAT evaluates vital skills like problem-solving, critical reasoning, data sufficiency, logic, and analytical writing, which are crucial for management and business programs. 
  • It is a computer-adaptive test where each question is chosen based on the candidate’s abilities. This feature helps the GMAT precisely measure your abilities more than a regular paper-based test. 
  • Testing takes place at 600+ centers worldwide. 

The GMAT sections include the following: 

  • Integrated Reasoning- This measures data analysis and information evaluation across multiple formats. There are 12 questions spread over 30 minutes. 
  • Quantitative Reasoning- This GMAT section measures how well you analyze information and come to conclusions with proper reasoning. There are 31 questions over 62 minutes. 
  • Verbal Reasoning- It is about your capabilities of reading and understanding information, while analyzing arguments and correcting material in adherence to written English standards. It has 36 questions spread over 65 minutes. 
  • Analytical Writing AssessmentThe section measures communication and critical thinking. It has one essay question for 30 minutes. 

The total time for the examination is 3 hours and 7 minutes, without including two optional breaks of eight minutes each. 

GMAT Self Study Time Table- Preparation Aspects

Here are a few points that you should consider while creating your GMAT self-study plan: 

  • Gathering Information- Identify institutions where you wish to apply and check their deadlines. Check the GMAT score range and organize your resources for preparation. 
  • Timelines- You should ideally have ample time to cover all the sections thoroughly. Your self study time table may cover 1, 3, or 6 months, depending on the time available. Keep space in your study schedule for practice examinations, learning, and revisions. Build a plan that lists out what and when to study, choosing dates for specific areas. 
  • Foundational Aspects- Check out the GMAT Official Practice Exam as a starting point. You can use free and paid practice examinations to diagnose your strengths and weaknesses before you dive deeper into the study process. Check the GMAT Official Free Starter Kit and its questions while tracking your progress regularly. 
  • Regular Mock Tests- For regularly tracking and reviewing progress, take practice examinations and analyze your results. It will help you list out areas of improvement. 
  • Problem Areas- You should allocate extra preparation time to areas which you are weak in. Gather additional resources and practice questions for the same. Review your approach and strategies to these questions as well. 

These are a few basic preparation strategies that you can consider. Here is a break-up of the GMAT sections and preparation tips for each. 

GMAT Section Preparation Tips
Integrated Reasoning
  • For multi-source reasoning questions, analyze every data source minutely. Use only the data available to answer the questions, understanding what the question requires. It could be anything from identifying discrepancies to drawing inferences. 
  • Table analysis questions require careful examination while reading. Judge every statement based on the given condition. Does your answer fulfill the same? It should be a guiding principle for answering. 
  • Graphics Interpretation questions necessitate familiarizing yourself with the graphic data and accompanying information. Read the drop-down menu options and choose one which adds to the statement or completes it in the best possible manner. 
  • Two-Part Analysis questions require an understanding of the actual task and available answers. The same answer may be the right one for both columns at times. 
Verbal Reasoning 
  • For Reading Comprehension questions, you may either read through the passage and analyze it after you look at the questions or analyze it first before viewing the questions. Identify key facts and words, noting how they influence the argument. Check the transitions to new ideas and conclusions, if any. Read all the answer choices carefully before choosing one. 
  • Critical Reasoning questions necessitate proper strategies on your part. Understand the statement or statements in questions, noting claims, factual data, and how claims are substantiated. If there is an argument in the question, note the part which is the conclusion. Read all the answer options and understand what the question wants you to do. 
  • Check the sentence and its underlined portion minutely for Sentence Correction questions. Re-read them after using your answer choices. 
Quantitative Reasoning 

You will need an understanding of several mathematical concepts for the Quantitative Reasoning section. These include the following: 

 

  • Value Order and Factors- This category should include Numbers, Factors, Number Line, Divisibility, Multiples, Exponents, Remainders, Place Value, Decimals, and Properties of Operations. 
  • Algebra, Equalities, and Inequalities- Brush up on Linear equations, Algebraic Expressions and Equations, Quadratic Equations, Factoring, Functions, Measurement Conversion, and Formulas.
  • Rates, Ratios, and Percentages- You should focus on Ratio and Proportion, Percentages, Fractions, Rate, Converting Decimals, Work, and Mixture Problems. 
  • Geometry- This section will require understanding Angles, Lines, Triangles, Polygons, Circles, Quadrilaterals, Cylinders, Rectangular Solids, and Coordinate Geometry. 
  • Examine Statistics, Counting, Sets, Estimation, Probability, and Series. 

 

Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Your response to the topic/statement should read like a discussion, with complete sentences, an organizational structure, logical transitions between core concepts, etc.
  • Use well-developed illustrations and examples to support your observations. 
  • Pace yourself smartly; leave time to revise your essay and make changes if required. 

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GMAT Self Study Plan- Tips for Preparing at Home 

A few general tips will help you refine your GMAT self study plan. Some of them include the following: 

  • Practice numerous question types across GMAT sections as part of your learning schedule. 
  • Replicate actual conditions for testing. Do not use calculators for the Quantitative section.
  • Practice time management and remember not to get stuck on one question for an excessively long time. If you cannot work it out, take your best guess and move ahead. 
  • Practice tests should take up 30% of your study calendar, covering multiple types of questions and all the sections. 
  • Allocate specific days for particular test sections without trying to cover multiple concepts simultaneously.

Here are some additional tips that you may find helpful: 

  • Create a suitable study corner- Have a designated study zone if possible. Ensure that it has proper lighting and low noise levels. Use noise-cancellation earphones to keep distractions away. Keep your phone on silent mode while studying. 
  • Take breaks and do not neglect your well-being- Eating well and getting sufficient rest before the examination is essential. It will ensure optimal productivity and higher energy levels overall. Take periodic breaks to recharge your mind. Power naps may also help if you are studying throughout the day. 
  • Gather official GMAT study and practice resources- The GMAT Official Guides can help with their repository of questions from earlier examinations, answers and explanations, and more. There are GMAT Official Practice Exam Packs and GMAT Official Practice Questions to boost your confidence. 
  • Using suitable books and study materials- Along with the official study guides, you can also rely on other books and materials. Choose from the GMAT books by Manhattan Prep, GMAC’s Official Advanced Questions, PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible, Kaplan GMAT Prep Plus, and the Princeton Review GMAT Premium Prep. You can also find several free online resources like ebooks, video lessons, forum content, and more. 

Use these tips to build your GMAT self-study plan at home. Suitable time allocation and resource-gathering are two crucial steps for your study blueprint. Acing the GMAT is possible with hard work and the right strategies. Your study plan automatically assumes importance in this regard. . 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I prepare for GMAT on my own?

Yes, you can prepare for GMAT on your own. You will need a self-study timetable with proper allocation across GMAT sections and practice examinations. At the same time, you need the right resources to succeed on your own. 

How long does it take to prepare for GMAT from scratch?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution in this regard. It may take 2-3 months to prepare for GMAT or even up to 6 months, depending on your level of familiarity, strengths and weaknesses. You should also note the time available before the examination.

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Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

She is an experienced writer and journalist who has extensively covered the education sector in India and Abroad. Now helping Indian aspirants realise their foreign education dream by providing them with relevant content and information through upGrad Abroad. Amateur traveller, loves to read Architectural Digest!

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Disclaimer

The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.