How to Prepare for the GMAT in 1 Month: 2 Study Plans

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So, you’ve decided to take the GMAT and you only have one month to prepare. You’ve certainly set a lofty challenge for yourself!

While I’d suggest spending around three solid months on GMAT prep, it is possible to prepare for the GMAT and improve your score in one month. In this article, I’ll cover the key goals and learning objectives you should have if you’re preparing for the GMAT in one month. I’ll also offer two different 1 month GMAT study plans that you can use for your prep.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know exactly how to prepare for the GMAT in one month!

 

How Much Can I Improve my GMAT Score in 1 Month?

Before we look at some sample 1 month GMAT study plans, let’s talk about how much you can improve your GMAT score by only studying for one month.

Whenever possible, I’d recommend spending three months studying for the GMAT. Three months gives you enough time to cover all of the concepts covered on the GMAT in depth, while also ensuring that you won’t be jam-packing study hours into your schedule.

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In contrast, when you only have one month to study for the GMAT, you won’t be able to cover every single topic with a lot of depth and you’ll have to cram more study hours into a shorter amount of time, meaning that you’re at higher risk for suffering from fatigue or burnout. I don’t say this to scare you – it’s important to approach your GMAT prep with realistic expectations and reasonable goals so that you’re not disappointed with your score on test day.

That being said, it’s completely possible to do your GMAT preparation in one month and improve your GMAT score. You just likely won’t improve your score as substantially as someone who’s studying for three or more months.

In this guide, I’ll be offering two sample GMAT study plans – one that packs 50 hours of prep into one month, and another that packs 100 hours of prep into one month. If you study for 50 hours, you’ll likely improve your GMAT score between 0 – 50 points. If you study for 100 hours, you’ll likely improve your GMAT score between 50 – 100 points.

Keep in mind, these hour recommendations are for first-time test-takers who haven’t done much prep. It’s easier to make score improvements when you’re just starting out, because you can make big gains when learning material that’s new to you. The more you’ve prepped, the more difficult it’s going to be to make improvements, because you’ve already seen the content and strategies before.

If you’re looking to make a substantial increase in your GMAT score (e.g., over 100 points), or don’t have 50 to 100 hours to spend on GMAT preparation in one month, I’d recommend trying to schedule your test for a different date.

 

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The 5 Key Goals for Your 1 Month GMAT Study Plan

Because you’ve only got one month to study for the GMAT, it’s important to prioritize what you absolutely need to have mastered by the end of your 1 month GMAT study plan. Here are five things you should absolutely do by the time you take the GMAT.

 

#1: Learn the Format of the Exam

One of the best ways to improve your score and feel comfortable on test day is to really learn the format of the GMAT.

The GMAT is an extremely challenging standardized test, with unique and tricky question types that you won’t have seen on any other exam you’ve taken. You should spend time familiarizing yourself with the four sections of the test (verbal, quantitative, integrative reasoning, and analytical writing assessment), as well as the types of content and questions covered in each. By learning the format of the exam and the question types, you’ll be comfortable when you encounter each section on test day.

 

#2: Take Official Practice Tests

You should aim to take at least three full-length, official GMAT practice tests before your GMAT test day. Do your best to mimic test day conditions when you take practice tests, meaning that you take each practice test in one sitting, with minimal distractions or interruptions.

Taking official practice tests is a great way to build your endurance for test day (the GMAT is long), as well as to measure your progress as you practice. After you finish a full-length practice test, you should review your results to see that question types and content areas that are giving you the most trouble.

Official practice tests will mimic the content that you’ll encounter on test day more closely than tests designed by third-party test prep companies. Whenever possible, use official practice tests and real practice questions in your prep.

 

#3: Master Key Strategies for Each Question Type

While there are many different types of content covered on the GMAT, you can find several overarching strategies for tackling questions in the four GMAT tested sections. For instance, plugging in numbers is a useful strategy for the GMAT quant section and asking yourself questions while you read is a good strategy for GMAT verbal passages. Spend time reviewing and applying the top five strategies for each section. Our in-depth guides to mastering the quant and verbal sections of the GMAT are a good place to start learning these strategies.

 

#4: Use Real Practice Questions

Using real practice questions is another way you can really boost your GMAT preparation in one month. Real practice questions come directly from old, retired GMATs, which means they’ll be the closest approximation in style and content to what you’ll actually see on test day.

 

#5: Focus Your Attention

Since you’ve only got limited time to spend studying during your one month of GMAT preparation, you should focus your attention as much as possible. After doing a broad review of all of the sections and question types on the GMAT, spend time focusing on the areas that are really giving you trouble. For instance, if you struggle with geometry questions on the quant section, you’ll want to focus your energy on those question types. If you’re able to master a question type that you often get wrong, you’ll be able to make up a lot of points relatively easily.

 

1 Month GMAT Study Plan – 50 Hours

In this section, I’ll show you how to prepare for the GMAT in one month by studying for 50 hours. You’ll likely be able to make a modest improvement to your score with this plan.

 

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Days 1 – 2: Knowledge Building

Total Time: 6 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Build your familiarity with the structure of the test. Visit mba.com to learn about the test, how it’s scored, and to see an overview of the types of questions you’ll be asked. Make sure you register for the site so you can download GMATPrep.
      • Time Suggested: 2 hours
    • Take an official GMAT CAT on GMATPrep. Take the test in one sitting, with no interruptions. Taking the diagnostic test will help you get a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses
      • Time Suggested: 3 hours, 30 minutes.
    • Review your results. Note which sections you did well on and which sections you struggled with. For the quant and verbal sections, identify three topics in each section that you struggled with (such as inequalities or subject-verb agreement). If you’d like, start to review some of the answer explanations for questions you got wrong.
      • Time Suggested: 30 minutes.

 

Days 3 – 7: Quantitative Focus

Total Time: 8 hours


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  • To-Dos:
    • Build your knowledge in algebra. Research algebra topics that you’ll see on the GMAT. Pick the three topics that you need the most work on, based on the results of your GMAT practice test. Work through the explanation, drills, and practice for each section.
      • Time Suggested: 2 hours
    • Build your knowledge in geometry. Research geometry topics you’ll see on the GMAT. Pick the three topics that you need the most work on, based on the results of your GMAT practice test. Work through the explanation, drills, and practice for each section.
      • Time Suggested: 2 hours
    • Build your knowledge in word problems. Research word problems you’ll see on the GMAT. Pick the three topics that you need the most work on, based on the results of your GMAT practice test. Work through the explanation, drills, and practice for each section.
      • Time Suggested: 2 hours
    • Build your knowledge in number properties. Research number properties topics you’ll see on the GMAT. Pick the three topics that you need the most work on, based on the results of your GMAT practice test. Work through the explanation, drills, and practice for each section.
      • Time Suggested: 2 hours

 

Days 8 – 12: Verbal Focus

Total Time: 6 hours

  • To-Dos:
  • Familiarize yourself with GMAT Verbal Section. Start by visiting MBA.com and clicking around to learn about the verbal section. Learn about the three types of questions and the content covered. Supplement this reading with our guide on How to Master the GMAT Verbal (coming soon!).
    • Time Suggested: 2 hours
  • Build your knowledge of sentence corrections. Practice questions and build a custom bank of sentence correction practice questions on GMATPrep.
    • Time Suggested: 2 hours
  • Build your knowledge of GMAT reading. Read up on different GMAT reading strategies and find the one that works best for you. Familiarize yourself with the strategies and suggestions listed. Also, check out our guide on GMAT Tips and Strategies to learn more (coming soon!).
    • Time Suggested: 2 hours

 

Day 13: Check Your Progress

Total Time: 4 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Take a practice test. Take the test in one sitting, with no interruptions. Taking this test will help you get a better understanding of where you are improving.
      • Time suggested: 3 hours, 30 minutes.
    • Review practice test results. Make a note of any quantitative sections you would like to continue to practice with in the coming weeks.
      • Time suggested: 30 minutes.

 

Days 14 – 18: Quantitative Focus

Total Time: 8 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Review and practice for data sufficiency. First, read our guide to the Data Sufficiency section, which breaks down data sufficiency questions and suggests strategies. Using the GMATPrep Software and the online question bank that comes with The GMAT Official Guide, create a data sufficiency question workout that you work on.
      • Time suggested: 3 hours
    • Review and practice for problem solving. First, read our guide to the Problem Solving section. Using the GMATPrep Software and the online question bank that comes with The GMAT Official Guide, to create a data sufficiency question workout that you work on.
      • Time suggested: 3 hours
    • Build your fluency with flashcards. During the week, use flashcards to practice and drill on different skills.
      • Time suggested: 2 hours

 

Days 19 – 23: Verbal Focus

Total Time: 10 hours

  • To-dos:
    • Build your knowledge of reading comprehension questions. Read up on reading comprehension strategies. Practice reading comprehension questions.
      • Time Suggested: 3 hours
    • Build your knowledge of critical reasoning questions. Practice critical reasoning questions and build a custom bank of critical reasoning practice questions on GMATPrep.
      • Time Suggested: 3 hours
    • Practice GMAT verbal questions. Review the results of your prep over the last few days. What types of questions are you still struggling with? Build a practice bank that focuses more heavily on the questions you’re struggling with, while also letting you reinforce skills you feel confident about. Your ratio should be about 80% content you struggle with, 20% content you feel confident about.
      • Time Suggested: 2 hours
    • Build your grammar fluency with flashcards. Use flashcards to review grammar concepts that you’re likely to see on the sentence correction section.
      • Time Suggested: 2 hours

 

Day 24: Check Your Progress

Total Time: 4 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Take a practice test. Take the test in one sitting, with no interruptions. Taking this test will help you get a better understanding of where you are improving.
      • Time suggested: 3 hours, 30 minutes.
    • Review practice test results. Make a note of any verbal skills you would like to continue to drill.
      • Time suggested: 30 minutes.

 

Day 25: Analytical Writing Assessment Focus

Total Time: 2 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Review AWA strategies.
      • Time suggested: 2 hours
    • Practice AWA prompts. You can use prompts that come with your full-length practice tests or you can purchase GMAT Write for $30, which gives you access to four auto-graded essays.
      • Time suggested: 1 hour

 


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Day 26: Integrated Reasoning Focus

Total Time: 2 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Visit MBA.com to learn about the IR questions and overall structure of the section.
      • Time suggested: 1 hour
    • Practice real IR questions using the GMAT IR prep tool. If you’re looking for free unofficial resources, check out our guide to GMAT Integrated Reasoning practice for more information (coming soon!)
      • Time suggested: 1 hour

 

Days 27 – 30: Rest and Light Prep

  • To-Dos
    • As you prepare to take the test, I would recommend resting as much as possible. You’ve done a lot of studying over the last 30 days and last minute cramming won’t take you much further. Use the GMATPrep software and the Official GMAT Guide question bank to go over any question types that still give you trouble but mainly, rest up and prepare to show your hard work on test day.
      • Time suggested: 5 hours, maximum.

 

1 Month GMAT Study Plan – 100 Hours

In this section, I’ll show you how to prepare for the GMAT in one month by studying for 100 hours. You may be able to make a larger improvement to your score (50+ points) by following this plan.

 

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Days 1 – 2: Knowledge Building

Total Time: 9 hours

  • To-Dos
    • Build your familiarity with the structure of the test. Visit mba.com to learn about the test, how it’s scored, and to see an overview of the types of questions you’ll be asked. Make sure you register for the site so you can download GMATPrep.
      • Time Suggested: 4 hours
    • Take an official GMAT CAT on GMATPrep. Take the test in one sitting, with no interruptions. Taking the diagnostic test will help you get a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses
      • Time Suggested: 3 hours, 30 minutes.
    • Review your results. Note which sections you did well on and which sections you struggled with. For the quant and verbal sections, identify three topics in each section that you struggled with (such as inequalities or subject-verb agreement). If you’d like, start to review some of the answer explanations for questions you got wrong.
      • Time Suggested: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

 

Days 3 – 7: Quantitative Focus

Total Time: 20 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Build your knowledge in algebra. Research algebra topics that you’ll see on the GMAT. Pick the three topics that you need the most work on, based on the results of your GMAT practice test. Work through the explanation, drills, and practice for each section.
      • Time Suggested: 5 hours
    • Build your knowledge in geometry. Research geometry topics you’ll see on the GMAT. Pick the three topics that you need the most work on, based on the results of your GMAT practice test. Work through the explanation, drills, and practice for each section.
      • Time Suggested: 5 hours
    • Build your knowledge in word problems. Research word problems you’ll see on the GMAT. Pick the three topics that you need the most work on, based on the results of your GMAT practice test. Work through the explanation, drills, and practice for each section.
      • Time Suggested: 5 hours
    • Build your knowledge in number properties. Research number properties topics you’ll see on the GMAT. Pick the three topics that you need the most work on, based on the results of your GMAT practice test. Work through the explanation, drills, and practice for each section.
      • Time Suggested: 5 hours

 

Days 8 – 12: Verbal Focus

Total Time: 15 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Familiarize yourself with GMAT Verbal Section. Start by visiting MBA.com and clicking around to learn about the verbal section. Learn about the three types of questions and the content covered. Supplement this reading with our guide on How to Master the GMAT Verbal (coming soon!).
      • Time Suggested: 5 hours
    • Build your knowledge of sentence corrections. Practice questions and build a custom bank of sentence correction practice questions on GMATPrep.
      • Time Suggested: 5 hours
    • Build your knowledge of GMAT reading. Read up on different GMAT reading strategies and find the one that works best for you. Familiarize yourself with the strategies and suggestions listed. Also, check out our guide on GMAT Tips and Strategies to learn more (coming soon!).
      • Time Suggested: 5 hours

 

Day 13: Check Your Progress

Total Time: 5 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Take a practice test. Take the test in one sitting, with no interruptions. Taking this test will help you get a better understanding of where you are improving.
      • Time suggested: 3 hours, 30 minutes.
    • Review practice test results. Make a note of any quantitative sections you would like to continue to practice with in the coming weeks.
      • Time suggested: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

 

Days 14 – 18: Quantitative Focus

Total Time: 13 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Review and practice for data sufficiency. First, read our guide to the Data Sufficiency section, which breaks down data sufficiency questions and suggests strategies. Using the GMATPrep Software and the online question bank that comes with The GMAT Official Guide, create a data sufficiency question workout that you work on.
      • Time suggested: 5 hours
    • Review and practice for problem solving. First, read our guide to the Problem Solving section. Using the GMATPrep Software and the online question bank that comes with The GMAT Official Guide, to create a data sufficiency question workout that you work on.
      • Time suggested: 5 hours
    • Build your fluency with flashcards. During the week, use flashcards to practice and drill on different skills.
      • Time suggested: 3 hours

 

Days: 19 – 23: Verbal Focus

Total Time: 12 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Build your knowledge of reading comprehension questions. Read up on reading comprehension strategies. Practice reading comprehension questions.
      • Time Suggested: 3 hours
    • Build your knowledge of critical reasoning questions. Practice critical reasoning questions and build a custom bank of critical reasoning practice questions on GMATPrep.
      • Time Suggested: 3 hours
    • Practice GMAT verbal questions. Review the results of your prep over the last few days. What types of questions are you still struggling with? Build a practice bank that focuses more heavily on the questions you’re struggling with, while also letting you reinforce skills you feel confident about. Your ratio should be about 80% content you struggle with, 20% content you feel confident about.
      • Time Suggested: 3 hours
    • Build your grammar fluency with flashcards. Use flashcards to review grammar concepts that you’re likely to see on the sentence correction section.
      • Time Suggested: 3 hours

 

Day 24: Check Your Progress

Total Time: 5 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Take a practice test. Take the test in one sitting, with no interruptions. Taking this test will help you get a better understanding of where you are improving.
      • Time suggested: 3 hours, 30 minutes.
    • Review practice test results. Make a note of any verbal skills you would like to continue to drill.
      • Time suggested: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

 

Day 25: Analytical Writing Assessment Focus

Total Time: 8 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Review AWA strategies.
      • Time suggested: 4 hours
    • Practice AWA prompts. Practice writing prompts for AWA. You can use prompts that come with your full-length practice tests OR you can purchase GMAT Write for $30, which gives you access to four auto-graded essays.
      • Time suggested: 4 hours

 

Day 26: Integrated Reasoning Focus

Total Time: 8 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Learn about IR questions. Visit MBA.com to learn about the IR questions and overall structure of the section.
      • Time suggested: 4 hours
    • Practice real IR questions using the GMAT IR prep tool. If you’re looking for free unofficial resources, check out our guide to GMAT Integrated Reasoning practice for more information (coming soon!)
      • Time suggested: 4 hours

 

Day 27: Check Your Progress

Total Time: 5 hours

  • To-Dos:
    • Take practice test. Take the test in one sitting, with no interruptions. Taking this test will help you get a better understanding of where you are improving.
      • Time suggested: 3 hours, 30 minutes.
    • Review practice test results. Make a note of any skills you would like to continue to work on over the next few days.
      • Time suggested: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

 

Days 28 – 30: Rest and Light Prep

  • To-Dos:
    • As you prepare to take the test, I would recommend resting as much as possible. You’ve done a lot of studying over the last 30 days and last minute cramming won’t take you much further. Use the GMATPrep software and the Official GMAT Guide question bank to go over any question types that still give you trouble but mainly, rest up and prepare to show your hard work on test day.
      • Time suggested: 5 hours, maximum.

 

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Review: Completing a 1 Month Study Plan

While learning how to prepare for the GMAT in one month is hard, it’s not impossible.

If you work really hard, you can improve your score between 0 and 100 points in one month of GMAT prep, depending on how much time you have to study and how much you’re looking to improve.

If you have the time, I’d recommend studying for three months before the GMAT. Three months is a solid amount of time to cover the content and strategies you’ll need to build a really in-depth understanding of the GMAT.

 

What’s Next?

Looking for other GMAT study plan options? We’ve got plenty! In our GMAT study plan guide, we outline the strategies you need to boost your prep and offer four different GMAT study plans to meet your goals.

If you’re ready to focus in on one specific GMAT section, check out our content area guides to the GMAT verbal and GMAT quant sections. Each guide offers an in-depth look at a specific GMAT section and helps you learn the content and strategies you’ll need to master the different question types.

Are you thinking about rescheduling your GMAT so that you’ve got more time to prepare? In our guide to when to schedule your GMAT exam, we go over everything you need to know about when you should take the GMAT. We’ll also review how your GMAT scores actually get to the schools you’re applying to.

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