1. So you have 4 weeks to prepare for the GMAT. For whatever reason, you need to do in 1 month what most people do in several. 30 days, no time to fool around. Say goodbye to your friends and family and promise to call them in a month or so, when you have time to restore your relationships…

    The cons of this situation are obvious: the pressure, first of all. Secondly, The difficulty to find a work-study balance: it’s a good bet you won’t be too much fun over the next couple of weeks.

    There are, however, a few pros to your situation: studying over such a short time literally means you don’t enough time to forget much. People studying over a longer period have to start reviewing material at a certain point before they start forgetting, but you’re not going to have to do that. Plus – examPAL automatically feeds you questions which incorporates material you’ve already done: for example, Coordinate Geometry questions repeat the principles of Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Circles, and Polygons. This means you’re constantly revising even as you’re learning new material.

    In each new topic, examPAL incorporates ideas and tools from previous topics, so that each progression has an element of revision in it.


    Reality Check

      • Did you not know the material well enough? No choice but to go back to the basics and relearn it. Having a firm grasp of fundamentals is essential.
      • Did you run out of time? Build a detailed plan for the test.
      • Did you make ‘silly’ mistakes? Think of techniques that can stop you from repeating them, such as what to write on your scratchpad, remembering to look at each DS statement separately and crossing out answers one by one.

    You may want to get an Enhanced Score Report for more information on your performance.


    The first rule for first timers: Mastering the GMAT is not about knowledge – it’s about developing a skill. Devote enough time to develop your cognitive flexibility.

    The first rule for retakers: If you wish to improve, you must do everything you did last time – but more and better! Don’t assume you remember anything or can skip any topic before putting it to the test.

    Be a Man (or Woman) with a Plan

    Before doing anything else, make a detailed study plan! Know what you are doing for each of the next 30 days. Your plan should include:

    • Daily study. With 30 days to go, you don’t have the luxury of too many days off. Be realistic, though – try and think ahead of time of all the non-GMAT things you’ll have to do over the next month, and build a schedule around them. It is, however, advisable to take one day off every week and do something really fun!
    • Budget about 100-120 study hours overall, the recommended amount of time. This makes for an intense month, but is realistic if you devote yourself to it.

    Below you can find an example for a study plan we created for an imaginary Larry. Larry has 3 hours to study every weekday, and 14 hours for the weekend.

    First 20 days

    • Do the examPAL course, following the trail schedule exactly:
      • Introduction to PAL
      • Integers
      • Geometry Basics
      • Vocabulary and Memorization
      • Algebra Basics
      • Critical Reasoning
      • Sentence Correction Basics
      • Fractions and Percent
      • Analytical Writing
      • Interest
      • Reading Comprehension
      • Triangles
      • Powers and Roots
      • Ratio and Proportions
      • Sentence Correction
      • Quadrilaterals
      • Expressions and Equations
      • Rate and Work
      • Circles
      • Sets
      • Positive and Negative numbers
      • Polygons
      • Counting Methods and Probability
      • Coordinate Geometry
      • Descriptive Statistics
      • Integrated Reasoning
      • Solids
    • Each section consists of the following:
      • Review fundamental material (on examPAL this means going over the Intro and Lesson). While doing so, keep two different lists going:
        • A summary of the material, if it helps you absorb the subject matter.
        • A list of practical tips for question solving.
      • Solve subject-related questions (on examPAL this means completing the Practice phase, starting with the Diagnostic, moving on to Improvement and finally Optimization).
        • Review your mistakes after each section.
        • Update practical tips list continuously.
    • What’s left is dividing your time between the different sections in accordance with your situation. Generally, you should plan to to hit about one subject a day. But if you have exactly 30 days, you will have to fit a few topics which you find easier into more than one day.
    • As far as your schedule allows, create a daily routine of reading articles and going over your vocabulary lists (taken from the vocabulary and Memorization section).  If you’re a non-native speaker, this part is essential in coping with the Verbal section, and should take at least 1-1.5 hours daily.
    • Take one day off a week – you’ll need it.

    Days 21-28

    • Review: Every other day, go over two or three major topics – skimming the material, going over notes you wrote while studying, and redoing questions you found difficult. Give yourself more time for topics you found harder during the first 20 days.
    • Practice tests: On every other day not devoted to review, start taking the GMAC CAT’s, start to finish. Do a test in the exact same hour your real test is going to be, and then spend the afternoon reviewing it. The rest of the day will be used for solving questions similar to those you got wrong (either on examPAL or in the Official Guide for GMAT) and figuring out how not to repeat similar mistakes again.

    Day 29

    • Take it off: Give yourself the day before the test to relax and breathe. Plan ahead that delicious (but also light and early) dinner you’re going to have (no alcohol!), the movie you’ve been wanting to watch, that massage… You’ve earned it!

    Day 30

    Ace it.


    1. No distractions – put your phone on silence in a different room under a pillow, leave your computer unconnected when possible, and find a study space without many other people.
    2. Not grasping something entirely?
      1. Is it something small, to do with technique for instance? Don’t let it throw you off – postpone it till the review days.
      2. Feel you fundamentally haven’t understood something fully? Lengthen the time devoted to it, shortening the time given to some other subject. However, by no means erase any subject from your schedule entirely – even one you feel confident about. If you’re good at it, why not become great?
    3. Mistakes are opportunities: research every mistake – why did I make it? What should I have done differently? Keep a running list of different mistake types, examples – and tips on how to approach them correctly. It’s better to do 500 questions and really understand them then it is to do 10 thousand robotically.
    4. Get 8 hours of sleep. No excuses. Exercise is recommended.

    Study for the GMAT in 1 month using this study plan template

    To make it easier for you to implement this schedule, we created a template you can use.
    Register below in order to view Larry’s in-depth schedule, and use it in order to build your own.
    You can either download the template as a spreadsheet file and adjust it to your schedule, or simply add it to your Google Calendar with just a few clicks.
    The plan will always start on Monday in order to make it easy to grasp what needs to be done every week. You can, of course, choose to start your preparation whenever it works for you.


    Customize & Download a Study Plan

    Enter the day you intend to start studying and your email and we'll create a perfect one month GMAT study plan specially for you.

    One last word

    A month of preparation should not, by any means, be stressful. It should be intense. Stress is a result of feeling that “I have so much to do, no way am I going to make it on time.” In other words, stress is a result of not following a plan. Your plan gives you guidelines as to what to expect from each day, so that instead of worrying about what you haven’t done, you become focused and know what has to be done day by day, one day at a time. Cross out every assignment you’ve completed, and keep a flexible attitude: if you completed your daily tasks ahead of time, bring forward a future task; and if you were unable to complete your daily tasks, don’t just postpone them to another day – correct your schedule if needed, or (and this is) ok, put them aside for now. Hey, you’ve only got a month!

    Dave Green
    Senior tutor and professional test-prep writer. Interdisciplinary wizard, with Master’s degrees in economics, philosophy, and political science at HUJI.

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