Slow & steady - very long prep period appropriate?

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Hi all,

I am trying to set up a preliminary study plan for the GMAT... and I'd like to have your thoughts/suggestions.

I want to take several months to study for the test, because (1) I need to improve my quant section, and I've found that I just can't cram for math, (2) I am much more motivated to study when I know I only have to do 5-6 hours of work a week, instead of 5 hours of studying a night (3) I am working full-time.

I've taken a ManhattanGMAT course last summer, and scored a 620 (first practice test) and a 640 on my practice CATs. My quant was 53 percentile and my verbal was a 83 percentile.. I think. My goal is to bring quant up to 80th percentile, and verbal up to 90th percentile... would that combination bring me a 700+?

Many posts have recommended 3-4 months of studying to be "focused" - I still have 3 years before I want to apply, so I have some time. My question is, should I wait until I can "focus" for 3-4 months and take the test, or should I take the slow & steady route and study for an hour a night for 8-10 months?

My tentative plan right now is to finish doing all the MGMAT Strategy Guides, then retake the 9-week class so I can focus on the areas I am weakest at (my final sprint, if you will). My first time through the class I didn't devote as much attention as I should've because I was busy graduating and (admittedly) wanted to spend my senior year doing funner things than SC.

But now I think I am ready and motivated to put in the work necessary to Beat the GMAT - is it a good strategy to take several months to get ready to (deliver, not get) the beating!

Thanks all for your input!

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by mayonnai5e » Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:55 pm
The longer you extend your studies, the more likely it is you'll lose focus or run out of steam. I studied while working full time also. At first I was really laissez-faire about it and only did a few hours a week, but I progressively got more and more offtrack until I was studying about 1 hour a week. Afterwards, I decided to really focus and upped it to 16 hrs a week and that's when I took the test. Often people have to put other parts of their lives on hold to study for the GMAT and extending the study duration means you have to put other things on hold for that much longer. In the end it really depends on you, pick a plan, try it out then readjust if you find it doesn't work for you. ... t4899.html
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by frantastic » Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:48 pm
I agree that studying for that long will have diminishing returns. More than 4-5 months is generally going to be too long unless you have some highly focused time in there like a prep course, with 3-4 weeks of prep after it.

Even just an hour a night will help. Aim for 2 if you can do it. It can be done; you just have to rearrange your schedule a bit. Do just practice questions on weeknights, and a full test each weekend.

It might be worth taking a math class before you re-embark on your GMAT prep.

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by jimmy23 » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:12 pm
I agree with frantastic.