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

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.

SUMMARY:

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)

SUMMARY :

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

SUMMARY :

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

SUMMARY :

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.