The GMAT is a thorough and complex exam for individuals looking to enter business school. Ideally, test takers develop their study plans several months out from the exam date. However, if this is not possible, you can still create a one-month GMAT study plan and score well on test day.
In this article, you'll find helpful tips and advice on:
- How to study one month before the GMAT
- How to study one week before the GMAT
- What to do one day before your GMAT exam
How to Study the Month Before the GMAT
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
With limited study time, knowing your strengths and weaknesses is crucial to focus your review efforts. Starting with a Grad Prep practice exam online allows you to see the types of questions on the GMAT, as well as the format and timing you can expect on test day.
A full-length practice exam takes over three hours to complete, so plan your day accordingly when you take it. After you receive your scores, look over each section in detail and see which GMAT section score you need to improve the most to give you a starting point for your study plan.
Create a Dedicated One-Month Study Schedule
While many GMAT experts suggest giving yourself two to three months, or 120 hours, of study time before your test date, achieving similar results in one month is possible, although it's not recommended. Whether you've been struggling to balance work and life obligations or have simply put off studying, you can still get the results you want with a dedicated study schedule.
Since you're on a limited timeframe, it's important to make the most of your month. Assign yourself periods throughout the day to study, taking into consideration your work schedule and personal responsibilities. You should aim for three- to four-hour daily study sessions, with short breaks in between, for at least five days a week.
Grad Prep makes it easy to stay on track with personalized study plans. You can also input your test date and how many hours a week you can set aside for studying. Our personalized plans make the most of your time over a month-long period and give you a study progress tracker that measures how well you're doing across each section.
If hours-long study sessions aren't feasible for you on some days, look for short 10- or 15-minute intervals throughout your day when you can go over your material, such as the bus ride to work or lunch breaks. Even finding smaller chunks of time throughout busy days can help you make progress. While it's okay to do short review intervals occasionally, your assigned days should be more study intensive.
How to Study a Week Before the GMAT
It's generally a good idea to reduce your daily GMAT prep workload the week before your exam to allow your mind to recharge and refocus. Take this time to study portions of the exam where you may lack confidence. You can also consider taking some timed drills to acclimate yourself to the pacing and timing of the test.
When Should I Take My Last Practice Exam Before the GMAT?
While practice tests are beneficial during your month-long timeframe, many experts recommend taking your last practice exam about a week before your testing day. It's a smart idea to use one of these days to take the practice GMAT exam and then use another day or two to go over your results and identify any remaining weaknesses.
The Day Before the GMAT
How to Study a Day Before the GMAT
It's tempting to spend the entire day studying before your exam. However, trying to remember as many last-minute facts as possible often backfires, leaving you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Instead of last-minute cramming, plan for one or two study sessions that last about one to two hours each. This can allow you to look at problem areas, review flashcards, or go over a practice test.
Use the rest of your day to double-check your list of things to bring to the GMAT. You can also prep your lunch and snacks and check your bus or driving route to the GMAT testing center. Once those items are off your to-do list, use the rest of the day to relax, unwind, and de-stress before the exam.
Getting Proper Sleep Before the GMAT
While you may think that one final late-night study session will help you cram the night before the test, sleep is far more beneficial. Lack of sleep can cause you to be groggy and forgetful when it comes time to take the exam. Getting at least eight to nine hours of sleep the night before the test will help you feel alert and well rested.
The Right Nutrition for the GMAT
As with sleep, getting proper nutrition the day before the GMAT can help set you up for success. Coffee and sugary snacks might seem smart since they can temporarily make you more alert. However, the impending caffeine and sugar crash is likely to make you feel worse as the day goes on.
Instead, opt for nutrient-dense foods with plenty of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. Consuming healthy meals the day before can help your brain stay focused during the test and may help you achieve better results. Some healthy foods to have the day before are:
- Greek yogurt
- Brown rice
- Fruits & vegetables
It's also important to ensure you're at your best during the exam, so bringing a lunch or healthy snacks for your breaks is a good idea. Consider nutritious options like protein bars, nuts, pretzels, apple slices, or hard-boiled eggs. You should also stay hydrated with smart beverage choices like water or electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks.
Preparing for the GMAT in One Month
Getting ready for the GMAT in one month can be difficult, especially without proper planning and preparation. If you have limited time to study, Grad Prep's resources, practice tests, and personalized study plans let you develop a time-effective study routine so you can achieve your goal.