Now that you have decided to attempt the GMAT exam, there is a common dilemma aspiring MAB candidates are likely to face. This is, of course, the confusion between preparing on your own for the exam or opting for coaching classes for the same. If you decide to go for GMAT preparation on your own then there are many essential steps that you have to take so that you can ace the exam and gain admissions into the business school of your choice. In this article, we provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to start and progress with your GMAT self-study plan.

Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Your GMAT Self-Study Plan

Step 1: Start with a Mock Test

We would advise you to attempt a mock test since these will help you to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are. In addition to this, it will also assist you to become familiar with the testing conditions of the GMAT exam like – the time which needs to be allocated for every section in the exam, the marking patterns, the adaptive testing techniques, etc. This will help you in the next stages of your GMAT preparation as well. Now that you have a basic idea of which topics you are lacking in, you will be able to map out a detailed GMAT self-study plan corresponding to your requirements.

Step 2: Prepare a Self-Study Plan

Preparing a study schedule or plan is extremely essential because it will develop a routine and avoid any room for procrastination. Furthermore, your GMAT self-study plan will prove to be beneficial in many ways during the course of your GMAT preparation journey. It will act as a guide for you and help you to track your progress made so far. Moreover, it will ensure that you don’t miss out on any important topics either. A good GMAT self-study plan helps you to allocate time to every section so that you don’t have to worry about not having enough time or becoming complacent with your preparation efforts. It is essential that you ensure you prepare your GMAT study plan based on the amount of time you have until your exam date. Set yourself realistic targets so that you can easily achieve them instead of getting frustrated by the same. You will have to divide the entire GMAT syllabus into weekly schedules and make sure that you diligently follow the same without going off track.

Step 3: Get the Relevant GMAT Self-Study Material

Next, you will have to concentrate on obtaining the appropriate study materials which will aid you further with your preparation. With the rapid growth in technology, it has become easy for every individual to gain access to various study materials over the internet. While this is certainly a good feature, there is, however, a flip side to the same as well since not all the materials are authentic and consist of exam-like questions. Hence, it is highly recommended that you opt for the GMAT Official Guide for all the sections of the exam (Verbal, Quant and Practice questions). The GMAT official guide is the best GMAT self-study material you can rely on. Moreover, you’d be pleased to learn that it is also available in section-specific guides known as GMAT Verbal review and GMAT Quant review. Therefore, if you need more focus on a particular section the official sector-specific guides should be helpful to gain more practice. 

In addition to the official guides, here are some GMAT self-study books we recommend you can utilize to study. Mentioned below is a list of books for each section:

  1. Quantitative Aptitude:
  • GMAT Advanced Quant: 250+ Practice Problems & Bonus Online Resources (Good for Advanced Math)
  • GMAT Geometry (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides) (Good for Geometry preparation)
  • GMAT Algebra Strategy Guide (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides) (Covers all topics of Algebra)
  1. Verbal Reasoning:
  • GMAT Sentence Correction (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides)
  • 30 Days to More Powerful Vocabulary
  1. Analytical Writing Assessment:
  • MBA Admissions Strategy: From Profile Building to Essay Writing (Magical Book on essay writing)
  1. Integrated Reasoning:
  • GMAT Critical Reasoning (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides)
  • A Modern Approach to Verbal Reasoning (Fully solved)

When you are preparing on your own it is necessary for you to equip yourself with the best learning methods and material that act as the best GMAT self-study guide. When choosing between GMAT self-study vs coaching, there are certainly many advantages to studying on your own compared to learning in a classroom. 

When you prepare by yourself you have the freedom to study as per your learning methods and pace. Furthermore, you can study at a time convenient to you and don’t have to worry about missing classes. Another distinct advantage of studying on your own is that you will not have any distractions or external disturbances which is usually the case in-classroom training. 

In case you have any doubts, you have the option to reach out to your mentor or post your queries on online forums. When you are in the final stages of your GMAT preparation it is important that you regularly attempt mock tests to gauge your progress. However, it is essential to note that these practice tests only give you an idea about what score range you are likely to attain in the final exam and may not always be 100% accurate. So don’t rely on mock scores completely. 

While you are preparing for the GMAT exam, it is also important for you to work on your overall profile such as SOPs, LORs, work experience, extracurricular activities, online certifications, etc. In addition to your academics, other factors help you secure admissions in business schools of your choice and you should give them equal importance. 

In most cases, MBA aspirants are indeed individuals who are balancing a full-time job along with preparing for the GMAT. While balancing between work and study may seem like a very difficult task, it is certainly not impossible. We strongly recommend you not quit your job just to prepare for an exam like GMAT. Quitting a full-time job to prepare for an MBA impacts your profile and leaves a negative impact on the admissions committee. Therefore, adopt effective strategies like those mentioned above to easily overcome the GMAT exam and score high on the test while working full-time.

Now that we’ve mentioned to you how to carry out a GMAT self-study plan and what GMAT self-study material you should rely on, you’re better positioned to start your preparation and carefully progress through the admission process. 


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