GMAT Preparation Guide ... A Detailed Schedule for Two Months....PART I

February 01, 2008

Hey there!! Nice to be blogging after so long! Thanks a lot for all the nice words through comments/emails/scraps. Makes me happy!

So the reason I am writing yet another post is that many of you guys thought that a step-by-step preparation chart would be of great help! So here is my humble attempt at it.

There are certain things I would like to assume here:
  1. You have atleast 2 months before actually taking the GMAT. (I don't have to say that more is better)
  2. You are willing to spend atleast 2.5 hrs daily.
  3. On weekends you have 6 hrs to devote.
  4. You have all the resources. (books and tests)
  5. You have a good study table, good lighting and peaceful place.
  6. You want to crack it big time!
Books you'll need :
  1. OG 11/10
  2. Kaplan Basic guide/Princeton Basic guide
  3. Kaplan Verbal Workbook
  4. Manhattan SC
  5. Maths Workbook : Kaplan/Manhattan/Princeton/OG
  6. Kaplan 800
  7. Additionally you can have Verbal by OG/Princeton
  8. Test CDs from GMAT, Kaplan, Princeton (and any other you can lay your hands on)
OK!! So lets start!

============== WEEK ONE ================

Day 1 (Preferably on a weekend):
1. Arrange all the books on your table. Get a bundle of blank sheets for all the rough work. Get one diary/journal to keep a daily log of your scores. And use your notebook (thin) for taking down all the notes while you are learning. Get a pen (not a pencil), preferably black ink, and a sketch pen to make charts. Also get a tiny bundle of post-its and a white and a black chart paper.

2. Read all you can about the GMAT exam on the official website and the introduction part of any of the GMAT guide (Kaplan or Princeton). Educate yourself about the CAT methodology of the test. Look at the different types of questions that come on the GMAT. See how each section looks like. Familiarise yourself!!

3. Finally take a diagnostic and feel good even if you didn't do well. Take a break and think how was it! Go over the analysis section and see what was the toughest/easiest section.

Day 2 :
Take up the Kaplan Basic guide and finish off the CR section. (Theory, examples and exercise + analysis). Do the rough work on the blank sheets and write down the answers in the diary/journal with a proper date, heading, book's name + Section name. Finally write down the score and the accuracy percentage.

Analyse each answer with utmost care and keep jotting down any stuff which you have learnt (there has to plenty of them). Make a habit of taking down notes. On the post-its write down all the silly mistakes you did and stick them on the black chart paper which you should stick to the wall infront of you.

Day 3 :
Follow the same thing for SC.

Day 4 :
Ditto for Problem solving.

Day 5 :
Ditto for DS.

Day 6 :
RC...same routine.

Day 7 :
Finish off the AWA section and take the paper based test at the end of the book. Analyze all the answers. Go through the explanations. Make notes. Write down the silly mistakes on the post-its. Also write down your experiences after you took your first test. Look back at your week. Feel good that you finished one book completely and one test.


So this week was a glimpse of what your weeks should look like...productive! Many people would feel that its a bit tough to follow this kind of schedule. But hey! Who said it was going to be easy. I don't believe in insincerity, laziness and doing things without passion. I believe that GMAT is the first step in your enedeavour. Its better to crack it on the first go rather than crying later after you have screwed it up. If you can't find time, do one thing: write down all the things you do in a day, for a week. Spot items which you can sacifice, like going to a movie, chatting, watching TV or going out just like that. I am sure you can take out 2-3 hrs daily for this. If you feel you still don't have time, you can schedule it for three months and stretch the schedule by 1.5 times. But be honest to yourself. Good luck!

============== WEEK TWO ================

From now onwards, your every session should be timed. This week we'll attack SC and PS. I would suggest you to have Kaplan Verbal Workout, Manhattan SC and OG.

Daily log keeping is mandatory. All the rough work on the sheets. Take notes after each exercise while analysing or reading the theory section. Make post-its for the annoyances.

Day 8 :
Go through chapters on 3 C's, Subject Verb Agreement, Tense, Mood & Voice (1, 2 and 3) from Manhattan. Do the exercise.

Day 9 :
Go through chapters on Pronouns and Modifiers from Manhattan (4 & 5).
Finish chapter 2 (SC) from Verbal workout. Do the practice questions.

Day 10 :
Finish Parallelism from Manhattan (6).
Do practice set 1 & 2 of SC from Verbal Workout.

Day 11 :
Open the Maths section from the Workbook you have. Finish the theory part and go through the formulae. Do the practice exercise.
Finish the chapter on Comparisons and Idioms from Manhattan.
Do the practice set 3 from verbal workout.

Day 12 :
Do the practice sets for PS from whichever book you are following.
Finish off Manhattan. Revise all the theory. Go thorough your notes.
Go through any other SC material you have.

Day 13 :
Take out your white chart. Make a section for SC on it. Count the number of sums in your OG for SC. Divide it by 50 and make as many blocks besides SC. I followed OG 10 (which I recommend). There would be 6-7 blocks. Paste it on your wall.

Take out the OG. Do the first 50 questions at a stretch. (1:30 hrs)
Against each answer option you write, you should write the keyword for it. And you should check how many are you able to spot correctly. Analyze the answers, go through explanations, make a note of errors/mistakes you did...basically try to minimise wrongs for your next session. If you have any doubt in any of the explanation, go back to Manhattan to clarify it as much as possible.

Day 14 :
Do the next 50 questions SC from OG. (1:30 hrs)
Do 50 questions from PS from OG as well. (1:30 hrs)
Analyze. Learn formulae, theory...and revise everything (3 hrs)


So you have finished Mahattan SC. Great! You have also crossed out two blocks for SC on the white sheet. And one block for PS.

============== WEEK THREE ================

This week we'll target CR and finish off the remaining questions for PS from OG and Workbook.

You will have 6 blocks for CR OG. 35 questions each. So we'll target finshing these six blocks, each a day. And I recommend doing 500 questions for PS and DS each. So this week we'll finish 5 blocks (=250 questions) for PS. Excited!! Lets start!

Day 15:
Take out Verbal Workbook and go through the theory and practice exercise. Thats it for today. Rest of the stuff (analysis, log keeping) will not be told again and again. That should become a habit. Every session has to be well documented.

Day 16:
Finish the practice set 1. Then 1 block from OG for CR.

Day 17:
Finish 1 block from OG CR and PS.

Day 18:
1 block from CR OG and practice set 2 from Verbal workbook.

Day 19 :
1 block CR OG and PS.

Day 20 :
1 block CR OG and practice set 3. 1 block of PS.

Day 21 :
1 block of CR OG and 2 block PS


You should be quite comfortable with CR, SC and PS by now. If you are able to match up with this schedule, you are doing great. Three good weeks. We'll target RC and DS in the next week. So one month would be over. And you would have finished Manhattan, Verbal Workbook, Maths Workbook and OG.!! Next month it'll be redoing the OG the smarter way, Kaplan 800 (the next step), making notes, and taking lots tests!!

============== WEEK FOUR ================

This week we'll target RC (from OG and Workbook) and DS (from OG and Workbook).

You will have 6 blocks for RC OG. 35 questions each. So we'll target finshing these six blocks, each a day.

Day 22:
Take out Verbal Workbook and go through the theory and practice exercise for Reading Comprehension. Thats it for today. Rest of the stuff (analysis, log keeping). Document your session.

Day 23:
Finish the practice set 1. Then 1 block from OG for RC.

Day 24:
Finish 1 block from OG CR and

Day 25:
1 block from CR OG and practice set 2 from Verbal workbook.

Day 26 :
1 block RC OG and DS.

Day 27 :
1 block RC OG and practice set 3. 1 block of DS.

Day 28 :
1 block of RC OG and 2 block DS


Let's look Back at the last month :-) We have finished OG completely. Your Verbal Accuracy at this stage is expected to be above 80% assuming you have done all the analysis and log keeping religiously. The next month is going to be rigorous. This month we'll target doing Kaplan 800, Redoing the OG and taking as many tests as possible. So get ready!! It's going to be fun.

And one more thing...I am sure some of you will be able to achieve the targets set in this schedule and the rest of the junta can just sit back and complain that it is a tough schedule and come up with excuses as to why it didn't work out for them.

All the best...keep checking out the site for updates on this post. You can subscribe.

PART II is out!!

Leave your comments...this will help me fine tune it. And others can draw inspiration from folks who are benefiting from this schedule.

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  1. man you are too good.. i am gonna follow up with this 3 weeks schedule religiously..

  2. Anonymous1:15 PM

    hey really helpful blog..
    btw wat happ wid ure admissions.. still gatherin work ex or is there good news for us poor souls
    also i was thinkin of givin my gmat as soon as i finish a year of work and then waitin another year or more before applyin.. is it too early for the test ?

  3. Just awesome....Very good stuff for someone very new to GMAT preparation. I was just confused about the material to use for my preparation, this blog has helped me to narrow down on my study material. Very good effort, Keep up the good work..CHEERS!

  4. DAY 13 Comment

    Could you please elaborate on the blocks. Do you recommend OG10 over OG11 for SC? What is implied by the keyword for the question? Thanks for helping all of us!


  5. @Ankur...

    The blocks...OK...
    So basically its just a visual representation of a chunk of sums. So Basically what you do is...Take a chart paper. Then write SC, RC, CR, DS, PS in separate rows. Against each topic you make a row of blocks. It should look something like this...
    SC (300) |1|2|3|4|5|6|
    It means you have 300 questions in SC OG and each block means 50 questions (50X6=300)
    Now you sit for one session and finish off the 50 questions and just cross out the first block.

    This way you keep a progress chart...Hope that helps..

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Day 1 Kaplan CR done...
    Thanks Mukul! I am on Day 2 of the plan. I have read numerous gmat stories all over the net. One thing I need to tell you is that your blog works for me. The best feature about your blog is the concision and precision of information.

  8. Thanks a ton!! Sharing is the best thing all of us can do here...keep us posted...
    I am happy that all of this helps u folks!

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Hey Mukul,
    I am starting my GMAT prep and found your blog. It is very informative and inspiring. I already bought most of the books you suggested. It will be one of the most important part of my prep. Thank You!! I think some more information on AWA would be really helpful. I haven't read the entire blog so there is a possibility I may have missed it. Is there a good book for AWA?

    Great Job Man!! By the way what is the status of your application process?

  11. Yeah buddy u r rite!!
    I have missed out on the awa part....i will be posting some more on the way...theres a doc on AWA in my downloads section which is more than enuf for most of the awa needs..infact its very gud and helps you with cr as well...

    Hope that helps!

  12. Hi Mukul

    I am chugging along nicely in the prep mode. I am taking about 40% more time each week, but I am doing all that is specified. I do have 3 months to take the exam, so it may be beneficial, and I won't have a burn out!
    Could you have a special section on subjunctive mood please? I have seen a lot of resources on the web, but get confused in that area all the time. I am looking forward to your reply and posts!

  13. @aragorn
    Okie dude...if not a new post, i will certainly update my grammar post on it...i am not a grammarian but i will certainly post some useful pointers on how to deal with them..


  14. Thanks! I will look forward to it. I have begun to realize the quality of questions now. Some questions (available free thru the net) are just NOT gmat type, others hide some built in defects, and few others are just out of scope.

  15. Hi
    Just wanted to share an update. I have completed all of 1st month tasks now except the RC from OG. I gave Gmatprep test 1 to see where I am at. I got 650 V31 Q48. I haven't really devoted much time to develop RC and CR concepts as my SC is the weakest. I have now brought my weakness (SC and DS) with close range of strengths (CR and PS). I am taking a break this weekend, but going to start on the next month study plan from Monday! Thanks for all the help!
    And looking forward to the post on subjunctive sometime.

  16. dude these things help!!
    it was d best help i cud probably hope for..i'v got 1 question though-i'v heard McGraw-Hill's GMAT Edition '08 is really helpful n along with that 've got Manhattan CR & RC..PLS SUGGEST


  17. Hey dude....I am planning to take GMAT after 6 months or so...although it seems like i got enough time here, i am tied up with my work everyday and the only time possible for my prep is on start with, I just want to buy one book (kaplan or official guide or something else) and then later proceed with this strategy...can you suggest the best book to start with? thanks

  18. hey Sumedh!

    The best book wud be Kaplan guide...


  19. Anonymous10:15 AM

    Hey man, I'm just starting to study, I need more than 700(but obviously the higher the better).
    I took a kaplan adaptive test for the first time and I got u think it's possible improve through practice up to 700?
    Consider that i am an international student, I have problems with verbal section..What did u get the first attempt on a

  20. Anonymous10:15 AM

    Hey man, I'm just starting to study, I need more than 700(but obviously the higher the better).
    I took a kaplan adaptive test for the first time and I got u think it's possible improve through practice up to 700?
    Consider that i am an international student, I have problems with verbal section..What did u get the first attempt on a

  21. Anonymous6:54 AM


    thanks for all the information. But do you know any good training centers in the USA for gmat coaching.

  22. Anonymous2:23 PM


    I found your blog by mistake!.. and I am veryyyy glad I made that mistake!.. & I have 2 months only to score above 700 on a GMAT!...

    Keep up the great work!

    & Thanks a bunch for this blog!!


  23. hey Kukul,

    Thanks a ton for ur prep guide.
    Do you think it is enough to just study OG and kaplan for a 700 + score. I keep hearing about the 1000 series, your comments on tht..

  24. Are the certain versions for these book we should be using?

    Also for the Maths Workbook do i buy the Kaplan, Manhattan, Princeton and OG books? that's all of books for math.

  25. Oh my God! thats all i could think of when i came across your blog.
    This stuff is just awesome, and thats the least i can say.
    Well done and ppl who read this r gonna shower their blessings on you..i surely will.
    The info that i have managed to read so far has inspired me tremendously and will make it a point to follow all ur instructions..
    Once again thank you..and God bless ppl like you.

  26. Hi
    Thanks for your kind attempt at sharing the strategy.

    I was wondering whether you recommend purchasing all the books/material you have you mentioned Maths workbook kaplan/manhattan/princeton/OG -did you mean by all or buy either one?

    Thanks again

  27. hey.. i have been following the schedule you gave but the verbal accuracy is below 50% forget about reaching 80%....what should i do ??
    please help....

  28. Hi Mukul,

    God Bless you for this blog! I will be starting your guide soon to prepare for my GMAT test in August, I am excited that this exists!

  29. Anonymous6:12 PM

    Nice information ...wondering if you can create a spreadsheet with this information that folks can easily download :)

  30. Hi Mukul,

    Your blog and all the information is so amazing. I am currently overseas and do not have access to any of the coaching institutions, so I am blindly following your 'Gyan'. Thanks heaps for all your help...cheers!

  31. Really a very nice creative and helpful content
    thanks for this..

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  32. This would be fantastic if the CD-Roms worked with Windows 7... FML.

  33. Anonymous1:00 PM

    Hey Mukul....I took GMAT and got 470.....I am planning for the next attempt in a month or 2. I guess ur kind of schedule would do wonders for me as I really screwd up my first attempt...


  34. Anonymous5:04 PM


  35. thank u so much

  36. Anonymous11:16 AM

    GMAT Preparation Questions is important for GMAT Exam

  37. Anonymous12:18 AM

    hello ,i m planning to give gmat in october /nov .....can u tell me what is the revised section in the new gmat .....nd books i should refer now

  38. Anonymous11:39 PM

    Nice post..Just awesome to start up for the GMAT preparations with a proper guide and methods...Very inspiring and I assure I would follow it. Please keep on posting...

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