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How to create the perfect GMAT self-study plan

By Edvoy• Last updated: Oct 18, 2023
How to create the perfect GMAT self-study plan
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Preparing for the GMAT can be a challenging task, but with a well-structured self-study plan, you can effectively navigate through the test content and boost your chances of success.

Creating a personalised GMAT self-study plan allows you to tailor your preparation according to your strengths, weaknesses, and schedule.

In this guide, we will provide you with the advantages and disadvantages of GMAT self-study and valuable tips to help you develop the perfect GMAT self-study plan to ace the GMAT exam.

Also read: Creating a customised GMAT study plan: Tips and tricks

Advantages of GMAT self-study

GMAT self-study offers several advantages for test takers who prefer to prepare on their own. Here are some key advantages of GMAT self-study:

Also read: How to prepare for an online GMAT exam: Tips and strategies

1. Flexibility

Self-study allows you to create a study schedule that fits your personal commitments and learning style. You have the freedom to choose when and where to study, giving you the flexibility to balance your preparation with work, school, or other responsibilities.

Also read: The top books for GMAT success: Boost your score with these must-reads

2. Personalised approach

With self-study, you can tailor your study plan to focus on your specific areas of weakness. You can allocate more time to concepts or question types that require extra practice and review. This personalised approach helps optimise your learning and improve your performance in the areas that matter most.

3. Cost-effective

Opting for self-study can be more cost-effective compared to enrolling in expensive GMAT prep courses or hiring tutors. You have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of study materials, including books, online resources, practice tests, and official GMAT guides, which are often more affordable options.

4. Independence and autonomy

Self-study empowers you to take control of your GMAT preparation journey. You can set your own study pace, focus on the areas that need improvement, and explore various study materials and resources that resonate with your learning style. This independence allows you to build confidence and take ownership of your progress.

5. Time efficiency

Self-study enables you to use your time efficiently by focusing solely on the topics and strategies that require attention. You can skip over areas that you are already proficient in, eliminating the need to spend unnecessary time reviewing concepts you are already comfortable with.

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6. Continuous progress monitoring

With self-study, you can regularly track your progress through practice tests and self-assessment. This helps you identify areas of improvement and adjust your study plan accordingly, ensuring that you are consistently working towards achieving your target GMAT score.

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Disadvantages of GMAT self-study

While GMAT self-study offers several advantages, there are also a few potential disadvantages to consider. Here are some of the key disadvantages of GMAT self-study:

1. Lack of guidance

Self-study means you are solely responsible for your preparation, which can be challenging if you require guidance or clarification on complex concepts. Without an expert or instructor to provide immediate feedback, you may face difficulties in understanding certain topics or resolving specific doubts.

2. Limited accountability

When studying on your own, it can be easy to procrastinate or lose motivation without external accountability. Without the structure and deadlines provided by a structured course or tutor, it may require additional discipline and self-motivation to stay on track with your study plan.

3. Potential knowledge gaps

Self-study materials may not always cover all the nuances and intricacies of the GMAT test. Without proper guidance, there is a risk of overlooking important concepts or strategies that could impact your performance on the exam.

4. Limited access to resources

While there are various study materials available for self-study, some high-quality resources, such as official GMAT practice tests or comprehensive study guides, may come at an additional cost. Without the guidance of a course or tutor, you may also miss out on supplemental resources, such as interactive practice sessions or customised study plans.

5. Lack of peer interaction

Self-study may limit opportunities for collaboration and peer interaction. Engaging with fellow test-takers in a classroom or study group setting allows for discussions, sharing of strategies, and learning from other's perspectives, which can enhance the overall learning experience.

How to create an effective self-study plan

Developing a self-study plan for the GMAT requires careful planning and organisation. Here are some key steps to create an effective self-study plan:

1. Assess your strengths and weaknesses

Start by taking a diagnostic GMAT practice test to identify your areas of strength and weakness. This will help you prioritise your study focus and allocate more time to areas that require improvement.

2. Set realistic goals

Establish clear and achievable goals for your GMAT score and timeline. Break down your overall goal into smaller milestones to track your progress and stay motivated throughout the study period.

3. Gather study materials

Collect a variety of study materials, including GMAT prep books, online resources, official GMAT guides, and practice tests. Ensure that you have access to quality materials that cover all sections of the exam.

4. Create a study schedule

Design a study schedule that fits your availability and learning preferences. Allocate dedicated time slots for each section of the GMAT, focusing on your weaker areas while also reviewing and reinforcing your strengths.

5. Study content and concepts

Begin by reviewing the content and concepts tested on the GMAT, such as arithmetic, algebra, grammar, and critical reasoning. Use study guides and materials to reinforce your understanding and practice-related questions.

6. Practise regularly

Regular practice is crucial for success on the GMAT. Solve a variety of practice questions and practice tests to familiarise yourself with the exam format, pacing, and question types. Analyse your performance to identify areas for improvement.

7. Review and analyse mistakes

Carefully review and analyse your mistakes to understand the underlying concepts and develop strategies to avoid similar errors in the future. Take note of common traps and patterns in the questions to enhance your problem-solving skills.

8. Utilise official GMAT resources

Make use of official GMAT resources, such as practice tests and question packs, to gain a better understanding of the test's structure and difficulty level. These resources closely align with the actual exam and can provide valuable insights into your performance.

9. Seek additional support if needed

If you encounter challenges or need further clarification on complex topics, consider joining online forums, study groups, or seeking guidance from GMAT experts or tutors. Their expertise can help address your queries and provide additional insights.

10. Monitor progress and adapt

Continuously monitor your progress through regular practice tests and self-assessment. Analyse your results to identify areas that need more focus and make necessary adjustments to your study plan.

5 tips on how to ace the GMAT exam

Here are five tips to help you ace the GMAT exam:

1. Understand the exam format

Familiarise yourself with the structure and format of the GMAT. Understand the different sections, question types, and time constraints. This knowledge will help you develop effective strategies and manage your time efficiently during the exam.

2. Focus on weak areas

Identify your weak areas by taking practice tests and analysing your performance. Allocate more study time to these areas to improve your skills and knowledge. Use targeted practice materials and seek additional resources or guidance if needed.

3. Develop a study plan

Create a comprehensive study plan that covers all sections of the GMAT. Break down your study sessions into smaller, manageable tasks and set specific goals for each study session. Consistency is key, so make sure to adhere to your study plan and allocate sufficient time for practice and review.

4. Practice with official GMAT material

Utilise official GMAT practice tests, question packs, and other resources provided by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). These materials closely resemble the actual exam and can help you become familiar with the question types and difficulty level. Regular practice with official material will enhance your test-taking skills and build confidence.

5. Analyse and learn from mistakes

Review and analyse your mistakes from practice tests and practice questions. Understand the concepts or strategies behind the incorrect answers and learn from them. This will help you avoid similar mistakes in the future and improve your overall performance.

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Creating a perfect GMAT self-study plan requires careful consideration and personalization. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can develop a comprehensive plan that suits your strengths, weaknesses, and schedule. With a well-crafted self-study plan, you can optimise your GMAT preparation, boost your confidence, and maximise your chances of achieving a high score on the exam.

Frequently asked questions

What are the advantages of self-study for the GMAT?

Self-study offers flexibility, personalised approach, cost-effectiveness, independence, time efficiency, and continuous progress monitoring.

How do I create an effective self-study plan for the GMAT?

To create a self-study plan, assess your strengths/weaknesses, set realistic goals, gather study materials, create a schedule, study content and concepts, practice regularly, review and analyse mistakes, and seek additional support if needed.

What are some tips to ace the GMAT exam?

Tips to ace the GMAT include understanding the exam format, focusing on weak areas, developing a study plan, practising with official GMAT material, and analysing and learning from mistakes.

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