Studying for the GMAT in a Crunch: A 2-Week Study Plan

by on January 8th, 2010

StudyingThe GMAT is not an easy test, as evidenced by the immense variety of educational products devoted to GMAT preparation. Most business school applicants require two or three months of diligent study to hit their target GMAT scores. Investment in your GMAT prep usually pays off in your MBA candidacy, since a good GMAT score can mitigate other less-than-perfect elements of a business school application.

This article describes a two-week study plan for business school applicants who are under severe time pressure to take the GMAT. With a two-week prep plan there is little time to focus on anything else except the test essentials and your weak spots. As a result, you might not perform to your full potential on test day. This usually translates into a lower score–how much lower depends on your study habits and your natural test taking abilities. However, in some cases it may be worth cramming, for example meeting the deadline for a scholarship you’ve just stumbled upon. There is an obvious tradeoff you have to face, so unless it’s an absolute necessity, try to allot more time to preparation.

Day 1 – Diagnostic Test and Preparation Plan

The very first step in your GMAT prep is to register an account on, the official site of the GMAT. This site is set up mainly to enable registration for the GMAT, but it is also a good source of information regarding the test. The different sections and scoring of the GMAT are neatly summarized in the free GMATPrep software, which also contains some review questions and two computer-adaptive practice tests (CATs). These two tests are the best predictors of your current GMAT score because they feature real, retired questions that are similar to what you’ll see on your big test day.

After going through the information in the GMATprep software, you should take your first mock test. This diagnostic CAT should help you identify the type of questions and the topics that you’re having trouble with. When analyzing your results, you need to keep in mind that merely getting a question right is not enough–you need to get it right in the average allotted time of 2 minutes per quantitative question and 1 minute and 45 seconds per verbal question. As such, when mapping out your weaknesses, make sure to take note of the types of problems that seem to take lot of your time. Proper pacing is extremely important since not finishing the test on time will have a dramatic negative impact on your score. Also, keeping an error log is advisable, since it is an excellent method of tracking your performance.

Days 2 to 5 – Targeted Quantitative Practice

Shopping list:

Two basic principles should govern the way you structure your prep: First, since you have about five days to brush up on math, you will need to focus your efforts on only the most commonly tested topics on the GMAT. Second, because you have little time for practice, you cannot afford to use anything else except official practice questions from the Official Guide for GMAT Review (OG).

In order to address these constraints, I recommend you use the three Manhattan GMAT guides listed above. These guides present a fairly dense review of their respective concepts, but they are neatly structured into chapters so that you can go over only the topics you’re sure to see on test day. Another plus is the fact that each book lists problems from OG that specifically address the concepts in each chapter. These lists are valuable, since it means that after going through the lessons in the Manhattan GMAT guides, you can then do some targeted, Official Guide practice for the topics you’ve just studied.

In my experience, the same few math topics just keep popping up in GMATPrep tests and in the real GMAT. These topics are explained in the first three chapters of the Number Properties Guide (with a special mentioning of primes) and the Word Translations Guide (rate-time-distance and work-rate problems are among the most common) respectively. Geometry problems are tested less frequently than arithmetic problems on the GMAT, but they still account for a significant portion of the quantitative section. As such, I advise you to look over chapters 1, 2 and 5 of the Geometry Guide.

Quickly browse through the chapters that feature topics where you are already strong; go straight to the last few Official Guide questions (these tend to be the hardest) that address these topics. For chapters that feature concepts where you are weak, make sure to be more thorough in your review by making flashcards out of concepts or problems you’re struggling with.

Another important piece of advice: spend equal time in your math review addressing the two types of quantitative questions on the GMAT: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. You’re probably familiar with problem solving questions already (these types of questions are tested more frequently on the GMAT math section), but Data Sufficiency is unique to the GMAT. Data Sufficiency involves evaluating two pieces of information and deciding whether they present enough data (“sufficient”) to answer a given question. You’ll need some time to get used to these problems.

Days 6 to 11 – Verbal Practice

Shopping list:

After you’ve covered the basics regarding the quantitative portion of the GMAT, it’s time to address the verbal section. You’ll see three question types on test day: Sentence Correction (grammar questions), Critical Reasoning (includes analyzing an argument and answering a question regarding its content or structure) and Reading Comprehension. As with quant, with two weeks of prep there’s no time to practice unofficial material and you need to prioritize your study according to the most relevant topics.

Before you jumping right into practice problems, ground yourself in some GMAT verbal concepts. For this, I recommend the Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook. In my experience, it’s better to start off with reviewing Sentence Correction questions, since they are easiest to improve upon of the three different verbal types. In order to get the most out of the very little time you have, I advise you to practice using a 2-3 split, a useful technique when dealing with Sentence Correction. The split is a “natural” way of grouping answer choices (usually in groups of two or three), since there will always be some sort of similarity between your options (such as the tense of a verb). Once you have established that a certain element is correct (say for instance that the correct verb tense is present tense), eliminate the whole group that has this error. This saves time by helping you eliminate choices “in bulk”. Also, note that some topics are almost always tested in Sentence Correction: parallelisms, subject-verb agreement and pronouns.

Critical Reasoning should be next in your verbal prep. This type of question can actually be broken down into several other subtypes, depending on what is asked of you: to strengthen or to weaken the argument, to find an underlying assumption, and so on. The three types of Critical Reasoning questions listed above are also the most common, so review them properly.

Reading Comprehension tends to be the most difficult to improve upon quickly, especially if you are not a native speaker of English. However, the Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook features some solid tips for actively reading a passage, tips that you should integrate in your strategy for attacking this question type. Main point and inference problems will likely appear on test day, so review these questions.

For all the three types of GMAT verbal questions, do a few problems from each difficulty level from the Official Guide for GMAT Review. The questions in OG are listed in increasing order of difficulty, so practice a few from the beginning, the middle and the end of each chapter. How many questions of each difficulty depends on your weaknesses and strengths: if Critical Reasoning is not challenge for you, then you can focus on the harder questions and devote more of your time to the other two types of verbal questions.

Days 12 to 14 – Final CAT and Review

On the 12th day, you should take the second practice test from the GMATprep software. This final CAT is a good indicator of the progress you’ve made over the last two weeks.  Make sure that you take this practice test under simulated conditions, by respecting the breaks between sections and time limits. Any striking difficulties that you encounter in this test should be addressed in the last two days of your prep. Spend days 13 and 14 by doing a light review of the OG problems you were most uncomfortable with (hence the importance of an error log) and by going over some templates and tips for the Analytical Writing Assessment.

Finally, remember that the GMAT is a physically grueling experience: the test lasts for more than three and a half hours, so relax on the eve of your test day. On your actual GMAT test day, eat a nice big breakfast and stick to your normal routine; this will help you fend off any nerves.

It’s now the end of two weeks.  Congrats on completing some solid GMAT prep!  Good luck on your GMAT test and be sure to share your success story with the Beat The GMAT community.


  • Thanks Dana. I lost some tempo after almost two months of study. Hope this will put me back on track.

  • You should also hit up MGMAT guide 3.. there are alot of inequalities and equations tested on the GMAT.. especially on the DS portion.

  • Hi Dana,
    Im taking the gmat on 1st november.I have barely three weeks and getting nervous.Sometimes my practice tests are great but sometimes they are below average.the verbal is my strength but because im focusing on the math right now, i took at test yesterday and my verbal score was low.What can i do to maximise the 3weeks i have got to take the exams? how often should i take the gmatprep tests?
    Your advice is highly appreciated.
    Rine x

  • The problem with practice tests is that they can be pretty unreliable in terms of comparing your performance on one versus the other - because not all companies create the same quality questions/scoring algorithm.
    I'd say in the little time you have you should probably avoid taking many tests and really focus on building concepts. Use good quality material to learn the theory (as much as you can) and the OG for practice.
    Most importantly, don't get too nervous! It's only a test - not the end of the world!

    • Hlo Dana J,
      I am an electrical engineer when I have joined cairn oil & gas in 2008 and now I am electrical superintendent with 9 years of experience and now I am interested to pursue masters in business administration in a top B school.
      Suggest me, is this the right time to have a break in professional career and pursue MBA and I am 32 years old.
      Thanks and Regards

  • thank you so much.You are so inspiring.

  • Dear dana,
    Im going to make the gmat on 16 november. So far I have studied all the theory and am trying to make as many excercisess as possible. Today I made the math excercises, bin 2 from the princeton review, but I made it really bad. What should I do to improve it?

  • dear dana,
    i scored recently 570 in the not at all happy with it.i used to score 640 in the giving it again on 31st dec.i gave to MGMAT n i have got 610,590...please help...

  • Without more information, I cannot make a detailed recommendation. However, since you've got so little time on your hands, I'd advise you to focus on your weaknesses first and foremost.

  • well i scored v25 and Q43 in my first attempt.but in GmatPrep i had scored
    640: v35 q41
    then my verbal score dropped and quant increased
    640:v31 q47
    640: v31 q47
    i gave MGMAT twice but not with full concentration...
    610:v34 q41
    590:v34 q36
    i can cope with maths...i dint pratice maths for 10 days n therfore performed badly in the MGMAT...whenever i analyse my verbal section...i always have a new in sometimes its rc or cr or sc....
    im gving the GMAT in 15 days..please suggest me something..also i have gven all the 4tests of gmatPrep so i dont have any tests remaining except 4 very tensed as i know i have the potential to get a good score but am lacking somewhere...
    in the actual gmat i didnt have time for both the sections...i marked blindly last 4 q in quant and lat 7 in verbal...
    i am very slow in verbal...
    another important question..
    is it wise to ship a few quest inbetween rather than marking the last few questions blindly as i feel the last questions are not that impotant and the score doesnt get that affected...please correct me if i am wrong..

  • sorry for the spelling mistakes...i meant that is it s it wise enough to skip a few quest inbetween rather than marking the last few questions blindly as i feel the last questions are not that impotant and the score doesnt get that affected...please correct me if i am wrong..

  • It seems to me like you have little time on your hands and don't have a specific weakness (i.e. like SC only). I would probably still focus on verbal, since your quant score is pretty OK. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes to speed in verbal - it usually comes down to reading stuff in English every day for a bit. However, SC is the most "technical" part of verbal, so you may want to spend more time on it simply because it's more about rules than subtleties (which would take you a bit of time/effort to master).
    The last questions are pretty important. They are penalized quite heavily by the algorithm: your percentile ranking drops by 3 for each question you leave unanswered. If you absolutely have to, you can use the strategy to guess randomly at certain points during the test. I would probably avoid doing this all at the same time (i.e. guess 5 questions in the middle), because clusters of errors also impact your score a lot. Guess randomly once in a while if you have to!
    Good luck!

  • hey i never have enough time for verbal n i always end up marking the last few randomly.i dont leave them the gmatprep i did that for maths i got 8 back to back wrong but my sectional score was i was under the impression that the last few questions dont matter so much...i was thinking of marking the last passage questions randomly so that i can answer the next few questions towards the end..please suggest a good option for me.
    n how often should i give tests?
    i have realised that my hit rate is quite good when i solve each topic separately(only rc or onlysc,etc) but it never happens so in a test.

  • Actually they all matter and it's the most important to mark them all. Don't leave stuff unanswered! You can either randomly guess at the middle or in the end, but try not to put 8 guesses in one cluster.

  • Dana,

    i havent tried any practice tests at all but im scheduled to write on the 25th of Feb, 2011. I am pretty tense right now...what to do?? im focusing on the quantitative area now, since that seems to be my weak spot after i took the diagnostic test. Kindly advice on the way forward.

  • Hmm... What books are you using? I'd like to know more about your materials before I make any recommendations. However, it is true that you should focus on your weaknesses for the remaining time!

  • Hi Dana,

    I am planning to give GMAT in May 2011. So i have some 3 months time for preparation.
    Please help me in narrowing down the best GMAT material for both quants as well as verbal.
    Yes, OG is a must. Please suggest other materials as well...

  • Here are some recommendations:
    - Manhattan GMAT set of 5 quant guides
    - Manhattan GMAT SC guide
    - PowerScore CR Bible
    - Veritas Prep RC guide
    - the OGs as you yourself said

  • Thanks Dana,
    Wat about Kaplan Online Premier Online ??
    Wat abt the practice test available ones...

  • I think that if you buy all the books mentioned by me, you won't need the Kaplan book. Or you can use that book in combination with some of the resources I mentioned.
    The best tests by far are official tests, that you can download from However, there are only two of those tests! Other than that, Manhattan GMAT tests are also pretty accurate. Most companies will also let you sample one of their tests for free! Check out official websites of Kaplan, Veritas, Manhattan GMAT etc. for that!

  • Hello,

    I will be taking the GMATS in two weeks. I have been studying using The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition. I am not where I want to be in terms of my score on practice tests. Do you have any suggesstions or tips to prepare myself in the next two weeks and get my score up where I want it do be.

    thank you

  • Hey Nicole,
    You're really pressed for time and I have the feeling that the OG is not going to be enough, especially if you're not that strong in the theoretical side of stuff. You need to buy a book that covers the theory better and use that in conjunction with the OG. Depending on your weak areas, you should buy one book or the other. You'll find some suggestions in the article!

  • Hey Ekta, verbal is a tricky section especially for non natives. You did not mention how much time you have before the test. In case you have a few months to prepare, then I recommend that you read stuff in English every day to practice dealing with challenging material. Here's a list of publications that might help:
    Also, try to use the right resources:
    - SC: MGMAT SC guide
    - CR: PowerScore CR Bible
    - RC: Veritas Prep RC book or MGMAT RC guide

    • Thanks a lot Dana. I have 2 weeks in hand. I will try to go through the MGMAT books and others suggested by you.

  • Hi Dana, could you please give me some tips for improving my verbal? I m done with kaplan verbal workbook and little bit of OG but still I am not confident. I am still making mistakes with verbal questions.
    Your help is appreciated. Thanks a lot..!!

  • What does VIC, as in "Equations, Inequalities, & VICs GMAT Strategy Guide", stand for?


  • I can't remember exactly what words the letters stand for, but they mean equations with variables like a, b, c, d etc. For instance, in a DS question, you'd have something like this:
    Is ab > cd?
    1. a > c
    2. b > d
    (hehe, this is not a very good DS question, but it's just an example...)
    Since you have just variables denoted by letters (in this case, a, b, c and d), then it's a "VIC"

  • HI Dana,

    I have 5 days before my exam. I have just gotten through the Kaplan test prep book. I am struggling in the critical reasoning and the data sufficiency sections. Do you have any suggestions? I also have not taken a practice test yet, which i was planning to at least take 2.

    Thank you!

  • My advice is to take a practice test as soon as possible, but I also suggest not taking the second. This test will help you really understand how you're doing with timing, pacing and what gives you the most trouble in a test-like environment. You have too little time to waste it on a second simulation. Right now you need to focus on practicing from official sources, such as the Official Guide 12th edition. If I were you, I'd pay very close attention to the structure of problems, particularly for CR: the GMAT is known to feature the same types of arguments over and over again.

  • Hi Dana,
    I am planning to give GMAT in late Nov (haven't fixed the date yet). I have given the test twice, got 690(Q48, V35) last year in first attempt (even though i left a 3-4 Q unanswered and blindly marked another 4 in verbal as I wasnt feeling well then). I got 630(Q47, V32) in my second attempt, 3 weeks back. I think my low confidence level brought me down. While practicing for the second attempt I was not doing too well in verbal, which I considered to be my strength in the first attempt. I scored 710 in both gmatPrep test before second attempt and was scoring in the range of 670 - 730 in Kaplan test series.
    There is no set consistency in my mistakes and I dont know where to begin. Also, the low score in second attempt is not doing good to my confidence level.
    I appreciate your help. Thank you!

  • It happens! Sometimes you just have a bad day. I'd say for you, it'd important to focus less on the practice tests and more on theory and targeted practice. You haven't mentioned the resources you've used. If I were you, I'd focus most of my energy on verbal. Here are my favorite books: Manhattan GMAT SC, PowerScore CR Bible and Veritas Prep RC. Good luck!


    Dana.... I have 1 months for GMAT exam. I have done Manhattan series (60%) for math ,math and SC problems of OG 10 and 11 half-hazardly, I want 500 score to enter my preferred school.... what should be my preparation stategy at this time..... I am too much sucked up by PROBABILITY, combination and RC problem. I could not understand probability problems in math after hours of study. How can i make up my weakness regarding probability problems in math before 24 days of the EXAM date?

  • I feel like your English is not the best, so maybe it's time to focus on verbal right now. You should probably take a practice test and assess where you stand and figure out your weaknesses. I recommend GMATPrep from, it's the most accurate. Other than that, don't stress too much about probability and combinatorics. You don't need to know those topics to get a 500! If you see a question cover these topics and feel you can't solve it, then just guess and move on.

    • Thanks DanaJ... :)

  • Hi Dana
    I am taking the GMAT on 18th January, 2012. I started to prepare for GMAT from December 3rd 2011and  Just completed manhatttan books 1,2,3 ( excluding Advanced part)  few CR from OG...I only want 500 score to enter into my school.What should i do to complete my GMAT preparation before exam?

  • Seems like you're on the right track with the manhattan materials! I'd also advise you to try and do some practice from the Official Guide if you can get your hands on it. The Manhattan books point you to some of the relevant practice questions at the end of each book. Good luck!

    • Thank you.

  • Hi Dana, i have KPMG aptitude tests which are GMAT based in less than 2 weeks and i know little to nothing about GMAT . Please would you recommend the most effective way to prepare for this test. Thank you

  • Ahh yes, great stuff! Love aptitude tests. I'd take a look at the Manhattan GMAT Number Properties and Word Translations plus the PowerScore CR Bible. These are the three most important resources for what you need. Also find a short review of Geometry somewhere. Best of luck!

    • Good looking out Dana, Thanks.  Happy New Year

  • Thank's a lot for your advices and your schedule Dana!
    I've taken the GMAT 2 months ago and I stopped working on GMAT since! But I was desapointed with my score so I scheduled a new GMAT for the 23rd of February, so now I've got 3 weeks left...
    Do you think I can make it if I follow your schedule, even if I stopped working on it for 2months?
    By the way, for each day of practise, how many questions of each topics, do you recommend to do, following your schedule?
    Thank's for your help!

  • You need to give me more details, Tozma, like your first score (and quant and verbal scores) and your target score. You need to also mention your weaknesses. I believe I can make better recommendations for you then. In terms of questions, do 20 to 40 of them, but be careful! You need to first make sure you're good on the theoretical side.

    • Days before the test my score on the last MGMAT CAT was 580 (Q38-V31) so I expected to score a little bit more...
      But I finally scored 520 (can't remenber my Q et V scores, must find my report) on the real GMAT. :(

      My materials were the OG (I've done it entirely), all the MGMAT books + I did the 2 GMATprep tests and 2 MGMAT CATs.

      I'm an engineer, so Arlgebra is not a problem my main weakness is,I think: PACING, tried to work on it but never really achieved to find the good pace... (so always finished the QUANT without answering 4 or 5 questions)
      Then I got real weaknesses in probabilities, permutations and combiantions (never got them... :$) , interests, and on the verbal: CR and SC ( since I'm not a native english speaker).

      My target score is 580-600.

      Thank you for your help Dana, i really appriciate it!

      Hope I'm not a lost cause! :)

  • You're definitely not a lost cause! Here's the thing: you have all the right books, but there must be something wrong with the way you approach the test. You mention pacing is an issue. Here are a couple of articles that can help with that: and
    I'm also wondering whether or not you're needlessly stressing about stuff that doesn't really matter. Probability, permutations and combinations are comparatively a small part of the quant section. Even if you get the all wrong, you can still score very well. Focus on fixing your pacing, practice some more from the two more important MGMAT quant guides (Number Prop and Word Translations).
    For CR and SC, the MGMAT books should be enough for you. Have you gone through them with a pen and paper, taking notes? If not, you have a problem. These are the types of books you should make flashcards for, with the most important concepts.
    Again, I believe that going from a 520 to a 580-600 is totally doable if you fix your timing and focus on working the stuff you're not so good at!

  • Hi Dana, 

    Im writing the GMAT on April 11, this is the very last day I can write the exam in time for application for Fall programs. 
    I've had the Official Guide 12th edition for a few weeks...but was spending little time on it as I was confused about where to start. 
    In the diagnostic test I scored below average in the Quant section but above average or excellent in the verbal section.
    I'm hoping that I can cram enough study for the quant in order to score at least 550. 
    I'll be taking 12 days off from work in order to study full-time. 

    Do you have any suggestions on how to maximize the little time I have? Any books in particular that I should buy? (i.e.; that could really be worthwhile in less than two weeks?)

    I'm finding the 60 day prep emails helpful, but I will obviously only benefit from the first 14 or so emails.
    Any similar outlines that I could look at?


  • One thing you should keep in mind is that the OG won't be enough on the concept review side. It's a great book for practice, but not so great when it comes to theory. Since you're short on time, I recommend getting the Kaplan Premier book, it's OK for both quant and verbal. If you want something more thorough, I would recommend the Manhattan guides (especially the Number Properties and Word Translations), but I feel you might not have the time to go through them.
    Sorry but can't say I have any other outline besides the 60 day study guide!

  • Thanks for this crunch-plan. It's probably the best thing I've found for my situation. I'm taking the test in 2 1/2 weeks and I'm just starting my prep now as an opportunity has come up - and a bit of a procrastinator . I'm not going for an MBA but rather an MS in Logistics and Operations, plus I have a bit of professional experience including as a military officer, so I'm hoping a mediocre score will not doom me.

    I'm not working currently so I have nothing but time. Any other advice you'd offer to help me crunch this? I have been out of school for about 8 years so my brain is rebuilding those stale connections; but I always work better under the gun.


  • I really advise you to take a diagnostics test from and see where you stand in terms of weaknesses: Given your description, I can't really tell if you need more help in quant or verbal, so I can't make any specific recommendations. The books listed above should about cover it, but for instance if you're really strong in quant but weak in sentence correction, I'd normally recommend dropping some of the quant books and buying the Manhattan GMAT SC guide. Again, it all depends on what you need to work on.

  • Right. Thanks for the tips. I immediately bought all the quant books you listed as my weakness is basically anything related to math. I'm not too worried about the verbal sections. Again, thanks for the tips. This 2-week crunch plan is great.

  • Hi Dana,
    Just took my gmatprep1 and scored q-42 and v-21-scored pretty badly in SC got 10 out of 17 qns wrong, RC could not focus much- in fact completed verbal section 25 mins early, quant, got 8 wrong in DS and 7 wrong in PS, some of them careless errors for some dint know the funda;

    Started with mh-sc, did all chapters except verb tense and advanced chapters, but still finding SC problematic..
    Done completely with CR bible and doing good in CR; RC need to read the passages more clearly...
    MH-quant books, yet to scrape them through..

    Have 2 weeks(dedicated full time) for my gmat exam;
    Kindly advise me on a strat to maximise my score to the max..

    V N Balaji

  • I think you are rushing through verbal. Your first step would be to slow down and take a closer look at each question. I have a feeling that your overall prep may be a bit rushed. My advice is to focus your days on verbal and just brush up on quant. You have the good books, so this isn't about resources, it's just about you taking your time when reviewing the materials (as much as possible given the timeline).

    • Thanks Dana, I shall keep you posted of updates-thanks a ton

  • Hi Dana. I am planning to write GMAT test in Oct 4th week. Kindly suggest me on CR and DS sections for best results. I m referring MGMAT books along with KAPLAN verbal book.

    Thanks in advance. 

  • For CR, I prefer the Poewerscore CR Bible. For DS, MGMAT should be enough but if you need more practice try the dedicated Veritas Prep DS book.

    • Thank you Dana.

  • Hi Dana, I am planning to take GMAT sometimes in the last week of Mar'13/first week of Apr'13, but have not yet started to prepare. I am trying to get familiar with structure of the exam, appropriate study materials stc. Thinking to prepare regoursly for two weeks to get a glimpse of all the sections of the test and then take test1 from and then work on my week areas starting 4-5th Feb'13. Please help me with appropriate study materials and if my plan sounds fine or if you want me to change my strategies? You advice is highly sought. Thanks in advance!

  • I have a feeling you will need to focus on verbal more than quant. The MGMAT set of 8 guides should be good for you, coupled with practice from the OG. Before you jump into it though, you should take a practice test to see where you need more work. Then you can choose the best materials out there for the particular area you are struggling with.

  • Hi Dana,
    I took the GMAT 4 months ago and got a 340 on it and I studied for approximately 2 days (big mistake.) I am now taking the exam on February 2nd 2013 and I have been doing practice problems (300 just in the last 2 days) and I am worried about not doing the right thing I read the official guide and done questions out of this. I also have the manhattan GMAT books which I havent touched. I need some help also I am planning to take a practice test this coming saturday.


  • You seem to realize yourself you are not doing the right thing. Just practicing with no theoretical base won't get you too far. The proper way to do this is to go through the Manhattan books first and either practice from the OG as you go or practice more towards the end. I am not sure what to say about your plans to take the GMAT a week from now... You give me the impression that you've only started to study, which will potentially lead to another low score. IMHO, if you want to move from a 340 to a 600, for instance, you will need about 2-3 months.

    • I am aiming for a 400 though and I feel like I am doing well with the questions from the official guide. My scores were Q22 and V15 I need to improve the score by as little as 50 points do you think this is possible considering what you just said and what I am doing right now?

    • Hmm... That might work, actually. I still think it may be worth your time to quickly browse through a couple of Manhattan books. If that's not possible, just continue to focus on the OG. Do the first 100-150 questions in each section, you do not have time for more. The practice test should be a good indication of where you stand.

    • Hello Dana I just took the practice test yesterday and I got a 450 on it which is above the score I wanted to get. So since I got this score what do you recommend I do over the next week?

  • I think you should continue practicing from the Official Guide and perhaps still give a browse to some of the Manhattan books for the chapters you're not too comfortable with.

    • Dana thank you so much for all of your help i got a 460 which was considerably higher than I thought I would do considering the questions were getting harder and I felt I wasn't getting anything right. To all those who doubt believe in yourself and you will do well

  • Congrats!!! Good luck moving forward with the rest of the application stuff!

  • In your experience, how close do you think the the practice scores are to the actual test? Also, if you had to narrow down 1 or 2 topics from both the quant and verbal parts to study the hardest, which would you choose?

  • It depends which practice test you are using. If it's the one from, then I believe they're pretty close. I can't say for more obscure tests. The Manhattan GMAT ones are also pretty OK. Kaplan used to be a bit more wonky, but maybe they have fixed that in the meantime. For quant, I would study number properties the most and maybe some word problems. For verbal, I would probably look at the most common SC mistakes, such as subject-verb agreement, misplaced modifiers etc. I'd also take a look at the following CR questions: assumption, strengthen and weaken.

  • Hi Dana,

    I am an engineer and a post-graduate in Human Resources from India where the CAT exam decides your MBA school. The CAT is similar to GMat albeit it is tougher on Quants and less so on Verbal. I had prepared for this exam in 2009 and scored 99 percentile. However, my overall score leaned heavily on verbal. 

    Coming to GMAT, I would love to do an MBA in marketing now that I ve relocated to US. As the dates for most schools are over for the Fall 2013 intake I intend to do part-time MBA, for which the application deadlines are in July or so. Also I look forward to doing internships during the course. Given that I ve about a month to take my GMAT, I intend to spend about 4-5 hrs per day. I have the Kaplan Premier 2013 and the MGMAT foundations of GMat verbal books.  On taking the pre-test I scored only 550( 22 right answers from quants and 29 from verbal). Of the 12 wrong answers in verbal , 7 are SC. So I intend to but the MGMAT SC guide and the OG 13 for practice. 

    Could you suggest the best 1 month GMAT strategy for me?

    • Adding, my target score is 700+

  • Here's a one month study plan: Focus less on how many answers you get wrong and more on what percentile you get on each section. You may get a higher score even if there are more wrong answers.

  • looking to start preparing.. if you could recommend where to start... and books ... need a 530-600 but at least 550 score would make me feel ok with the profiles i've seen of ingoing classes

    would appreciate it if you could provide help on books and starting point

  • I recommend going for the Official Guide to the GMAT and also the Manhattan GMAT series of books. These are some of the most comprehensive books available.

  • thanks for the response

    which editions? saw the 12th reviewed on here.. as well as the other books make sure I get the most up to date books available

    thanks again!

  • Best look on for the latest editions. For the OG, it would be edition no. 13. For Manhattan, it would be no. 5.

  • thanks

    asked an ex professor of my on any recommend.. he sent me kaplan gmat

    your input on it?


  • Kaplan is a little less detailed/deep vs. Manhattan GMAT, but if you really are short on time, then go for Kaplan.

  • i plan to study for 3-4 weeks?

    should still go with kaplan?

  • Probably Kaplan is better then because you won't have enough time to properly finish manhattan GMAT.

  • so the books you recommened on here are so what time period of study? says 2 weeks crash course .. ?was about to buy these books , what time frame then do i need with them so i can plan it out

  • Here's the thing: using all these books in 2 weeks means you need to skip a few chapters or just browse through them. If you have the time, then besides Kaplan also buy the Manhattan GMAT set that covers your weakness, i.e. verbal or quant. I felt Kaplan was stronger in covering verbal vs. quant. That's why taking a practice test asap to figure your weaknesses is really important, since you can then do a targeted study in the little time you have. If you are a non native speaker who's also an engineer, then you most likely should go for extra verbal practice. If you're a literature major, the probably the Manhattan quant books will do. I personally think that for someone who hasn't ever studied for the GMAT and doesn't have time to study more than 4 hours a day, it's going to take more than a month to finish te entire Manhattan set of 8. That's why I recommended Kaplan: it's not bad, but not as deep either.

  • Thanks

    you mention set of 8

    but on the list you have the 3 manhat(math) books plus the gmat 13th edition

    and then the kaplan verbal and the gmat official again

    would be 5 books total

    but you mention 8 manhat books? 

    i assumed based on your suggestions to study the 3 math manhat books and the kaplan verbal and these 4 plus the official cover the entire test? 

  • 1)The Official Guide for GMAT Review - 13th edition
    2)Number Properties GMAT Strategy Guide (Manhattan GMAT Instructional Guide 5) - Manhattan GMAT; 

    3)Word Translations, 4th Edition (GMAT Strategy Guide, No. 4) - Manhattan GMAT;
    4)Geometry GMAT Strategy Guide (Manhattan GMAT Instructional Guide 4) 
    5)Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook -7th Edition

    are these all the books I need? or which others are needed?

  • Please note that the entire Manhattan set also includes additional quant books as well as verbal books. I think you should be fine with the ones I recommended initially.

  • which of those other manhat books should we get? or with these 5 books is sufficient?

  • Integrated Reasoning -?

    what do you suggest for this part of the exam? 

  • Again, as I mentioned above, use the ones I recommended initially. Integrated reasoning should be covered in the Kaplan book.

    • Hi Dana,

      I am going to take my exam on OCT4. Can u please suggest me few B-schools which are expertised in MIS (MANAGEMENT IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS)or Finance MBA programs.In order to send my scores to those b-schools.

      Thanks in advance.

    • Sorry but I am not familiar with these kinds of programs!

  • 5)Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook -7th Edition

    this is the book which you suggested

    is this to make sure where IR will be covered?

  • Hello 
    I am planning to do the gmat Exam in order to apply for MBA 
    But I don't know to to pass the Exam 
    please any help ASAP 

    tnx in advance 

  • HI
    I am thinking to give my exam in 2-3 weeks but have not taken my test date yet. My score in practice exam is very poor so please give me a test strategy because I am really losing my confidence. Thanks in advance.

  • I am planning to do the gmat Exam, I want to study guidence about gmat preperation or study plan

  • thanks dana, i will do it

  • Hello Dana,

    gave two kaplan online tests (cam alongwith Kaplan Premier 2016 book ) with scores:-
    Kaplan diagnostic Test 1 : 660, Q46,V35 and Kaplan Test 2 : 680, Q49,V34. My target is 730 + and 20 days are left for the real gmat. What would be my probable score?
    What should I concentrate on?

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