Studying The Right Material For The GMAT

The GMAT can be an intimidating test for a lot of people. In a lot of cases that leads people to study upwards of 100 hours in hopes that higher study hour numbers will surely lead to a higher score. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. You can study the wrong material for 200 hours and you won't see any improvement in your GMAT score. You could also study the right material in the wrong order!

Maximize The Value of Each Study Hour

I cannot stress enough the importance of a study plan. Giving conscientious thought to what you spend your study time will have a massive affect on how helpful that study time is.

There are two main things to consider when giving thought to how you will allot your next study hour.

Am I Studying The Right Section?

If you are studying for the writing or integrated reasoning section than the answer is likely no. If you aren't sure why that is then you should first understand How The GMAT Is Scored.

The next thing you will need to consider when deciding whether to study for the Quantitative or Verbal section is the amount of incremental score improvement (out of 800) that you can get from each based on your practice test results. If you haven't taken practice tests yet, check out The Best GMAT Practice Tests.

If you want to maximize the potential benefit for your study hours then you should ignore your individual section percentile scores. Just compare the sub-score number you received (out of 51). Whichever section has the lower sub-score is going to offer you the most potential improvement in points on your 800 score.

I have seen it all too often from my tutoring clients: they enjoyed (or were better at) either math or verbal and that caused them to want to dedicate their hours to achieving a higher score on that section. In reality, the section that you are better at deserves less of your study time. The closer you are to a perfect score in one section, the more time you will have to devote to see a 10 point improvement in your GMAT 800 score.

Am I Studying The Right Question Type

This comes back to studying the right material in the right order. A great example of this would be permutation and combination questions. Found in the Quantitative section, these questions are one of the more complex concepts tested on the GMAT. 

As someone with extensive GMAT background as both a tutor and a test-taker I have the benefit of knowing that until your quant score is around the 49-51 range, it is extremely unlikely that you will see more than 1 or 2 of these questions.

Quite frankly this means that you are wasting your time if you pour hours into learning how to tackle this question type before your quant score is in that range.

A Better Way To Study

If you want to cut out the BS and get more to-the-point tips like this, I recommend checking out my GMAT study guide. It includes helpful insights and information that used to only be available to my tutoring clients as well as the study plan that I used to get a 780 GMAT score on my first attempt, with just 45 hours of efficient preparation.