How to Create the Best GMAT Study Plan for You |

How to Create the Best GMAT Study Plan for You

By Niamh O

Updated May 10, 2019 Updated May 10, 2019

Preparation is key when taking any major exam – and the GMAT is no exception. It’s normal to feel nervous about the exam that plays a huge role in your acceptance into business school, but the thing to remember is not to panic and to create the best study plan for you.

Getting GMAT ready

It takes a lot of hard work, time, and determination to get ready for the GMAT. But to ensure the smoothest exam prep period, test-takers should find the best study approach for them.

For the best results, test-takers should follow their study plan closely, make the most out of practice tests, understand how you learn, and tackle the run-up to the exam and test day with a positive, calm, can-do attitude.  

Steps to follow

  • Choose a test date and plan your study schedule backwards from the date you choose
  • Keep monitoring your progress
  • Be sure to devote a realistic amount of time for your studies each week
  • Try different learning environments and prep tools to choose the best one for you
  • Keep track of the GMAT questions and topics that give you trouble after every study session, this way you’ll know which topics still need closer study
  • Although it’s tempting to cram studying into several weekend sessions, it’ll be more valuable to you to study a little and often every day – even if it’s just 30 minutes

How best to prepare

1)      Have a plan

If you want to be regarded as a strong GMAT test-taker, you’ll need a robust study plan. This way you’ll hold yourself accountable to your study regime and can keep on track week by week. Try to determine the subjects you’ll cover on specific days and the activities to complete, like answering practice questions or taking a full-length practice exam.

2)      Know how you learn

To earn a high score, you need to understand your strengths and use them to maximize your study time to perform well. Of course, there isn’t one way to study for the GMAT that guarantees success, everyone is different and learns in their own way.

3)      Practice makes perfect

Practice is one of the most important elements while preparing for your GMAT exam. Whenever you take a practice test, imagine you’re sitting down to take the real deal. This will get you into the habit of being able to focus for long periods of time, move at a reasonable pace, and of course keep up your endurance.

Creative study methods

If you’re a more hands-on learner, you may find thinking outside the box will help you prepare.

  • Flashcards are very helpful if you’re a visual learner. By writing concepts, definitions, or strategies on flashcards you’ll have quick, easy, and portable access to review the material. Both visual and tactile!
  • Sitting down for long periods while studying can be pretty hard going. So, if you’re getting a little fidgety and losing your concentration, why not try standing up and doing your work at a high counter or kitchen bar? This works well for more kinesthetic learners as it allows you to keep your body moving so you can focus your mind.
  • Repetition is key to memorization and understanding a topic, so if you’re having a hard time remembering a formula or method, why not try writing it multiple times on a sheet of paper? If it worked for you in grade school, it’s likely it’ll still help you now.
  • If you’re having a hard time with a problem or concept, why not try teaching it to someone? Find a “student” interested in learning about Critical Reasoning or Data Sufficiency. Teachers weren’t wrong making us prepare and present lessons/presentations to our peers – you actually learn a lot when teaching someone else material.

Many students learn through a combination of different learning styles. If your learning style is verbal or social, you may learn material best in a group setting, creating notes based on the discussions you have with others.

But, if your learning style is aural or solitary, you may learn best by making jingles or rhymes to help you memorize your notes. 

As an auditory learner you’ll naturally be drawn to conversation, for example you may prefer to read your notes or textbook out loud to help the information sink in. It may be beneficial to attend a group revision session for the GMAT, as lectures often help auditory learners understand the dense material to accompany the test.

This article was originally published in May 2019 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (;, creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  


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