10 Ways to Study for the GMAT in Just 30 Days

It’s possible to get a great GMAT score after only 1 month of study, but it requires hard work and discipline. In the middle of applying for scholarships and filling out MBA applications, you’ll need to devote a good amount of time to your GMAT practice as you’ll be cramming what is typically a 2-3 month process into just one! There are excellent GMAT resources online: from free GMAT practice tests to great Test Prep articles. Follow these GMAT study tips to maximize the free GMAT resources for better scores in just one month!

1. Start with the Official Guide. Learn the format, content, and do a general overview of the GMAT test itself using the OG 12th editions. Make sure to go to MBA.com and

2. Study every day, and don’t procrastinate! You will need to be disciplined about your studies. Work backwards from your test date. Don’t cram on the weekends only! With only one month to study, you’ll need to do at least some GMAT every single day.

3. Use MGMAT SC & Powerscore CR to supplement your materials. After the OG, these are two Verbal books that can take your score to the next level.

4. Join Grockit, and Beat the GMAT. These online GMAT sites are vital to building your comfort level with the computer-based format of the GMAT. Practicing in the test-format will only increase your chances of doing well!

5. Study in short, intensive blocks. GMAT study blocks that are too long will ultimately wear you down. Make sure to rotate your study topics often and abide by it, even if you’d like to squeeze in a few more hours. Staying up all night to complete yet another practice test is not always the best choice.

6. Track down success stories to get inspired. If you have a 600 and are eyeing a 700+ score, there are many people out there who have made that leap. Success leaves footprints. Find out what strategies are commonly used by 750+ students, what study plans they keep, and how they build their content-knowledge. Beat the GMAT is an excellent tool for this!

7. Create an Error Log. Re-take quizzes and practice tests from the very beginning of your GMAT studies. Do you find yourself getting the same questions incorrect? This can be a sign that you haven’t learned the content you think you have. Be honest with yourself about what is “sinking in” and what is not. Use an Error Log to assess. You can find many templates online

8. Review all questions. Use the 40/60 rule. 40% of your time should be spent actually answering questions. At minimum, 60% of your time should be spent reviewing.

9. Take at least 1 GMAT practice test per week. Don’t take your practice tests sitting cross-legged on you bed. Utilize your desk and scratch pad as you would on the actual test. Your body needs to adjust to what it feels like to take a 3+ hour test. Because you only have one month to prepare, you should plan to take 4 practice tests, although 6 would be ideal.

10. Use a strategy for each question type. Not only do you have to choose a strategy that works for you, but you have to implement it every time, practicing enough so that is becomes second-hand. Ballet dancers practice a pirouette millions of times, so that when they perform onstage they don’t have to think about it. You want to do the same thing for GMAT.

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Tough GMAT: Critical Reasoning Question of the Day!

From the evil geniuses at Manhattan GMAT, try this interesting CR question, the read the explanation below!

Scientists recently documented that influenza spreads around the world more efficiently in the modern era due to commercial air travel. Symptoms of a pandemic-level flu are severe enough that the ill would likely cancel or reschedule air travel, but an infected person can travel across the globe before the first signs appear. Further, if symptoms develop while someone is still on a plane, the infected person’s cough can spread the virus easily in the enclosed and closely packed environment.

Which of the following would best minimize the role air travel can play in the spread of influenza during a pandemic?

(A) installing air filtration systems in the planes to kill any flu virus particles flowing through the filters
(B) requiring air travelers to receive flu vaccinations far enough in advance of the trip to provide protection against the disease
(C) refusing to allow children, the elderly, or others who are especially vulnerable to flu to travel by air during a pandemic
(D) requiring all air travelers to wash their hands before boarding a plane
(E) conducting medical examinations during the boarding process to weed out passengers with flu symptoms

Explanation:

Conclusion: Influenza spreads more rapidly b/c of airplanes.

Evidence: Infected person can travel before symptoms appear & spread illness

Question Rephrase: How could air travel stop the spread of disease?

Prediction: If there was a way to make sure people who boarded were not ill, or if there was a way they couldn’t spread it once on the plane.

A – Yes, this stops the spread on the plane, but could still let the ill people fly
B – Yes, this stops the ill people from flying
C – No, this only stops certain ill people from flying
D – No, hand washing doesn’t prevent those already ill from flying
E – No, the passage states that people can travel before “first signs appear” so the examinations would likely be ineffective

Between A and B, my choice would be B since it prevents the ill from flying altogether and would therefore “best minimize.”

Remember that the correct answer is going to be the one based on the information from the passage. The passage only gave 2 pieces of evidence: (1) sick people travel before symptoms, and (2) sick people spread illness within the cabin.

Repeated vaccinations and whether a person would reschedule/cancel travel are two issues that are not mentioned and are entirely outside the scope of the passage. Be careful not to use outside information. Follow the logic of the passage.

Tough GMAT: Problem of the Day!

Political Analyst: Because our city is a border city, illegal immigration is an important issue in the current race for mayor. Of the two candidates for mayor, one supports a plan that would attempt to deport the city’s 9,000 illegal immigrants and the other does not. Surveys consistently show that about 60% of the city’s residents are opposed to the plan, while about 35% are in support of the plan. Therefore, the candidate who does not support the plan will win the election for mayor.

All of the following statements weaken the analyst’s argument, EXCEPT:

A) In the city at issue, most voters make their voting decisions based on the candidates’ positions on abortion.

B) Of the 35% of residents who support the plan, some are willing to consider alternate plans for addressing illegal immigration.

C) Many of the residents who oppose the plan are not registered voters.

D) The candidate who supports the plan is the incumbent mayor, and has been elected to four consecutive terms despite taking controversial positions on many important issues.

E) Just under 30% of the city’s residents are illegal immigrants who cannot vote.

Explanation:

Conclusion: Candidate who does NOT support the plan will win.

Evidence: 60% of the residents oppose/35% support.

Assumption: That the majority of the voters support the plane (i.e. the 60%/35% breakdown accurately represents those who will vote).

Question: What will STRENGTHEN or be IRRELEVANT?

Prediction: Anything that aligns the resident-poll with voting accurately, or tips the favor into the hands of those against the plan. Or does not relate to the argument (neither weakens, nor strengthens).

A. Abortion is out of scope…so potentially “irrelevant”
B. If the 35% who are supportive might change their minds, this would strengthen the anti-plan contingent. Correct.
C. This hurts the conclusion.
D. This hurts the conclusion by showing the city re-elects the candidate who only has 35% support.
E. This only tells us info about those that support it — we need to know whether the 60% who don’t support it can/will vote.

The correct answer is (B).

GMAT Critical Reasoning Question of the Day!

This Complete the Passage comes to you from the Official Guide!

Which of the following most logically completes the argument given below:

The irradiation of food kills bacteria and thus retards spoilage. However, it also lowers the nutritional value of many foods. For example, irradiation destroys a significant percentage of whatever vitamin B1 a food may contain. Proponents of irradiation is no worse in this respect than cooking. However, this fact is either beside the point, or else misleading, since ________________.

(A) many of the proponents of irradiation are food distributors who gain from foods’ having a longer shelf life
(B) it is clear that killing bacteria that may be present on food is not the only effect that irradiation has
(C) cooking is usually the final step in preparing food for consumption, whereas irradiation serves to ensure a longer shelf life for perishable food
(D) certain kinds f cooking are, in fact, even more destructive of vitamin B1 than carefully controlled irradiation is
(E) for food that is both irradiated and cooked, the reduction of vitamin B1 associated with either process individually is compounded

Here’s how we can break this passage down:

Irradiation = less spoilage, but less nutrition
Irradiation destroys vitamins (but no worse than cooking)

The “no worse than cooking” argument is misleading BECAUSE…we need something that continues to show that irradiation IS worse than cooking (“misleading”), or something that shows the comparison is not valid (“beside the point”).

A – doesn’t relate to cooking
B – doesn’t relate to cooking
C – about cooking
D – about cooking
E – about cooking

It comes down to C, D, and E. So how are they different? C shows 1 fact about cooking and 1 pro for irradiation. D shows cooking can be worse than irradiation, which is the OPPOSITE of what we want. (E) shows the comparison is not valid b/c the argument doesn’t take into account that combining the processes may be worse.

Your MBA: Pros and Cons of “Big Schools”

As you begin your MBA research, and start studying for the GMAT, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is where you want to apply. There’s a huge range of business schools out there, and one way to help you narrow down the list is to consider what size school you want to attend. The Best Business Schools are typically a bit larger, but there are cons to even the most reputable program. What will be the best business school for you depends a lot on your individual personality and post-academic goals. Here’s a few things to consider before choosing a “Big School”!

PROS

1 Name Value. There’s no denying that larger schools tend to have more name recognition. This doesn’t guarantee job security, but if you’re planning to work in New York or Washington DC, a world-famous program such as Oxford, Stanford, Wharton, etc. can be a big plus.

2. Traditional MBA Industries. If you’re looking to study traditional business sectors (i.e. finance/consulting) then a bigger school with more prestige could help you stand out in your field.

3. More alumni. Bigger schools mean more alumni working around the world, which could potentially lead to job opportunities later on.

CONS

1. Less individual attention. If you’re the type of person who thrives with a bit more attention, the cutthroat world of a larger business program may not be beneficial for you. Smaller schools typically have greater access to the faculty and you’ll likely develop a closer relationship with your advisors.

2. The Cost. The “bigger” schools (both in size and prestige) tend to be more expensive. Many students opt for a “B+” level school and get a great education for a reduced fee. Remember that expensive is not always better.

3. Tough Entry Requirements. Schools that appear regularly on the “ten best” or “world’s best” lists published annually by magazines such as BusinessWeek or U.S. News and World Report are incredibly competitive to get into. If you have a limited amount of time to devote to application and GMAT study, you may want to look at a few less-competitive options. Is spending another six months getting your GMAT score 80 points higher worth it for you?

Learnist: How to Conquer Pacing on the GMAT

Struggling to finish your GMAT practice tests? Not sure how much time to spend on each question? Here’s how conquer the challenge of pacing yourself on the GMAT’s 4 sections: AWA, IR, Verbal, and Quant.

Remember, there are two optional breaks on the GMAT (in between the IR and Quant sections, and in between the GMAT Quant and Verbal sections). Take them! Get up, stretch, and give yourself a mental rest!

As this post from Magoosh wisely warns, however, don’t go over the 8 minutes! The test will resume even if you’re not back in your chair! So by all means take a walk in the hallway outside the testing room, but only for about 5 minutes!

Clueless about where all that time’s going? Keep a single-problem time-log!

This MGMAT blog offers some above-average ideas for how to conquer GMAT pacing, but my favorite is the paragraphs describing the purpose of a “single-problem time-log.”

The goal of the single-problem time-log is so you can get a feel for where you’re losing those extra seconds. The “time position” column lets you know how you’re faring on average compared to idealized pacing per question for that specific question-type.

Check out more tips for How to Conquer Pacing on the GMAT on Learnist!

Learnist: An Overview of GMAT Integrated Reasoning

The Integrated Reasoning section was designed to measure test takers’ ability to interpret data from a variety of sources, and to draw meaningful conclusions from this information. It launched in June 2012!

To answer IR questions, first understand what the question is asking, then stop and consider which table, graph, chart, or part of the passage provides the relevant information you’ll need to solve for the correct answer. Harder IR questions will require you to use more than one screen or ask you to take information or figures from one screen and apply it to another. Pay attention to the trends in the presented information.

To make the calculations simpler on IR questions, look for ways to use relative math. To do this:

  • Determine which values are relevant to a correct answer
  • Estimate those values whenever possible
  • Calculate values only when the estimates are too close to call
  • Remember that the logical setup for the values is typically the crux of the question, not the calculation itself

Integrated Reasoning scores will range from 1-8, in single-digit intervals, and will not alter the existing Quantitative, Verbal, Total, and Analytic Writing Assessment scores. To get more fact about how to approach IR, check out this Learnboard!