The most common asked by a student who is preparing for GMAT is how he or she can achieve 700+ GMAT score. But they should understand that there is no fixed or general plan for everyone. Each student has a different skill test and aim for a different target score. Therefore, there is no sense to give all the students the same study plan.
Here in this article, there are GMAT study plan for 3 case scenarios – 150 points score improvement, 200 points score improvement and 250 points score improvement.
So with any further ado, let us see some of the important aspects of a GMAT study plan.
1. BENEFITS OF A PERSONALISED GMAT STUDY PLAN
Making up a personalised study plan takes a few hours of effort. You might wonder why you should spend all this time preparing a study plan when you already have a lot to study. Read the following section to understand some crucial benefits of making your own personalised study plan.
– EITHER SAVE A FEW HOURS OR SCORE SOME POINTS HIGHER
If you have your personalised study plan, you can reduce your study time by 30 per cent in order to achieve the same score. And perhaps if you have a lot of time & insist on using it entirely for GMAT prep, then it can help you add 50 points to the score you would have got if you had a general plan or no plan at all.
– ENHANCE YOUR CHANCES OF ADMISSIONS TO TOP COLLEGE
A personalised study plan enhances your chance of reaching your target score, which could be the difference between getting an admission or being waitlisted or being out of the race for your dream institute.
– GET A SCHOLARSHIP OR FELLOWSHIP
Though a 700 score may open the doors of quite a few good institutes for you, a 750 will make sure that you obtain scholarships or fellowships from these colleges. As mentioned earlier that in the same duration you could add 50 points to your score – the difference between 700 and 750).
Now that you have read and understood the benefits of following a personalised study plan for your GMAT exam, let us understand the steps to create one.
2. HOW TO CREATE A PERSONALISED GAMT STUDY PLAN FOR YOURSELF?
Broadly speaking, a study plan is personalised on the basis of two things – the first one is your starting score and the other one is your target score. You must know that it is extremely crucial that you decide on a target score early in order to make your study goal oriented and also the most important part of a goal is that it must be measurable.
Nobody knows you better than yourself. Therefor while setting up your target score, you must make a target which is achievable and measurable.
STEP 1 – DECIDE ON YOUR TARGET QUANTITATIVE AND VERBAL SCORES
You can achieve a 700 plus score on the GMAT by scoring Q50 and V34. Also on the other hand, you can do the same by scoring Q432 and V44. Where a Q50 indicates 85th percentile on GMAT Quant, a Q42 is just a 43rd percentile.
Obviously, the study plans for the GMAT Quant in both the above cases will be vastly different. Therefore it is really important to decide upon whether your strategy is quant driven or is verbal driven.
STEP 2 – ANALYSE THE AMOUNT OF TIME YOU NEED
Once you have made a clear mind of where you are and where you want to be, it is all about the time needs and the journey to get there. So let us look at the time needed & then the journey in the subsequent sections.
If you are dedicated, consistent and data driven towards your GMAT preparation, you would need around 7 hours of study to improve by 10 points (on a scale of 800) in the total score. This is usually when you are doing some online course as they are more engaging and provide active feedback.
This ensures that the students concentrate for longer durations and it also ensures that the students require half as many revisions to reach a higher level of competence. But if you are studying through books, you would need around 12 hours per 10 points (on a scale of 800) of improvement.
But does this estimate work uniformly for all starting scores and percentiles? Well, for around 90 per cent of the students, this score improvement estimate works quite well as long as:
– They put at least 12 hours per week and are studying consistently.
– They are studying using one resource
– They do not change their study direction frequently. This means they don’t follow a strategy to study Sentence Correction for 3 days, and then switch to studying Critical Reasoning or Quant without completing Sentence Correction.
The only exception that may arise would be if you are extremely weak in a specific topic. For instance, if your starting percentile in Sentence Correction is 25 per centile then you should put in additional 25 per cent to this time estimate for Sentence Correction only. The same thing holds true for other sections as well. Let us name this aspect as Confidence Building Time (CBT) which can take value of 0.0 or 0.25.
You should understand that is not about completing a course but about reaching a particular level of competence. As per the above principle, a student aiming 100 point improvement should be able to achieve this using a data-driven online course in as few as 80 hours.
Similarly, for a 200 point score improvement he needs to put in 160 hours of effort using the same online course. But now the question arises why do you need to spend more time on the same course to attain higher score improvement. This is because acing the GMAT is not about knowing the content; it is about mastering the application of content.
The extent of score improvement is based on the extent of your mastering the application of content. It needs revising the same course material again and again, understanding the nuances, and ensuring that you do not repeat the same mistake again.
To sum up all the above things, we can use a simple formula to estimate the time requirement:
Time needed = [Target GMAT Score – Starting GMAT Score] X [7/10] X [1+CBT]
Where
1. Target GMAT Score is the final score that you want to achieve
2. Starting GMAT score is your Starting score on an official mock test
3. 7/10 means 7 hours of effort for every 10 point score improvement
4. CBT, as discussed earlier, is Confidence Building Time factor; its value can be 0.0 or 0.25
STEP 3 – SELECT A MECHANISM TO TRACK YOUR IMPROVEMENT
Now that you have all your scores and have scheduled ample time for your prep, it is time for you to get studying. While you must regularly check your improvement but that does not mean ‘constantly’. Some students get anxious and start tracking weekly mock tests – a practice which is extremely counterproductive early on during your prep.
But what are you really tracking? Well, it is to what extent you have improved your ability to apply the concept.
Some students are extremely confident about a particular topic but do not do as well what that concept is tested on GMAT. This is because while they understand the concept they lack the ability to apply it and therefore it is a best practice to keep tracking your understanding at regular intervals.
But keep in mind that tracking is not sufficient. Rather act on the information that you get from tracking. In case you are weak in some topic, you must go back and revise it. Once you are done with it, go and check again how much that revision has helped in your ability to solve questions on that concept. You must do so until you reach your target ability in each sub-section and section. To do this, you must have a mechanism to track and get feedback.
Now that you have all the general principles, let us put these principles to create a few study plans.
3. PERSONALISED STUDY PLAN FOR GMAT 400 TO 650 SCORE
Let us now create a study plan to improve from a starting score of 400 with a target to score 650 on the test. We will use the above mentioned 3 steps to do the same.
STEP 1 – Defining target quant and verbal scores
A score of 400 points implies 10 per centile, whereas a score of 650 out of 800 corresponds to 73 per centile. These date points clearly indicates 2 things:
– That the student is seeking an extremely high score improvement – 250 points on a scale of 800 or 63 percentile points (73 – 10 = 63).
– And he or she is likely weak in both Quant and Verbal.

Let us understand this by an example. A student’s starting score is 400 (Q20, V23) – a Q20 is 6 percentile whereas V23 is 32 percentile. As obvious, the student is weak in both the sections, but is relatively strong in verbal. Here a verbal driven strategy makes more sense. This is because for the students who are weak in Quant, it is comparatively easier to improve GMAT verbal.
Therefore, the break up for 650 would then be a V38 (85 percentile) and Q42 (43 percentile), implying that this student would need to improve by 52 percentile points in Verbal and 37 percentile points in Quant.
STEP 2 – Estimating the amount of time needed
Using the above formula, let us calculate the time required to improve from a starting GMAT score of 400 to 650 (250 points).
Baseline time requirement
Starting GMAT Score 400
Target GMAT Score 650
CBT Applicable Yes, as the student is weak in both Quant and Verbal sections
Medium of Learning Data-driven online course

Overall Time needed (using online courses) = [650 – 400] X [7/10] X [1+0.25] = 218.75 hours ~ 220 hours
{But the student would need 375 hours if he is studying using books.}
Now these 220 hours are to be allocated between Quant and Verbal sections. Seeing the target scores, this student will need to invest an approx. of 115 hours in Verbal and 80 hours in Quant.
The remaining 20 to 25 hours are reserved for mocks.
STEP 3 – CREATING GMAT STUDY STRATEGY
Now, you need to take a few other decisions –
1. Which section to study first – Verbal or Quant? What should be the order of studying GMAT Verbal section?
2. Where to spend time on, i.e. on which section?
3. How to track your improvement and how often?
STUDYING FOR GMAT VERBAL SECTION
As here the student’s strategy is verbal driven, he should start with the GMAT verbal or Sentence correction specifically, to reach at least 80 per centile ability in Sentence Correction, then move on to Critical Reasoning and finally the reading comprehension.
STUDYING FOR QUANTITATIVE SECTION
As compared to the verbal section, this student needs only 43 per centile in GMAT Quant. The 80 hours of the Quant Section should be allocated to three sections – Number Properties, Algebra, and Word Problems, without spending much time on Geometry and Advanced Topics (P&C, Probability etc.).
Doing every section in Quant may be counterproductive as this student may not be able to achieve the level of mastery needed in the required sections.
TRACKING SCORE IMPROVEMENT?
The best way to track your improvement so far is by using ability quizzes as they provide much more accurate ability estimates as compared to mock tests. They also give a reliable estimate of your ability, and also provide useful insights into the areas to focus to improve your ability to the next level.
4. GMAT STUDY PLAN FOR 500 TO 700: 200 POINTS SCORE IMPROVEMENT
Now let us consider another example – how to improve from a score of 500 (Q47, V15) to an impressive 700 (88 percentile). We will again follow the same steps as outlined earlier.
STEP 1 – DEFINING TARGET QUANT AND VERBAL SCORES
Now, the score improvement in this case is from 500 to 700 points that is from 24 per centile to 88 per centile. Hence, the student is
– Aiming an exceptionally high score improvement of 200 points on a scale of 800 or 61 percentile points (88 – 27 = 61).
– Very weak in Verbal but is stronger in Quant.
Well in this scenario, a Quant driven strategy makes more sense.
Now the starting score is 500 and starting percentiles are 61 and 10 for Quant and Verbal respectively. As the Quant section is stronger here, we would aim for higher scores in Quant than in Verbal.
So, the final score is 700 (Q51, V32) and the final per centiles are 96 and 66 for Quant and verbal respectively.
The required score improvement would be 56 and 35 per centile points in Verbal and Quant section respectively.
STEP 2 – ESTIMATING THE AMOUNT OF TIME REQUIRED
As discussed earlier, the required time to improve from a starting score of 500 to 700 would be as follows:
Baseline time requirement
Starting GMAT Score 500
Target GMAT Score 700
CBT Applicable Yes, as the student is quite weak in Verbal section
Medium of Learning Data-driven online course

Overall Time needed (using online courses) = [700 – 500] X [7/10] X [1+0.25] = 175 hours
{The same student would take around 300 hours if he is studying using books.}
The student needs to allocate 40 hours to Quant section and 110 hours to verbal section out of these 175 hours. He should reserve the remaining 20 to 25 hours for mocks.
STEP 3 – CREATING A STUDY STRATEGY
Now, you need to take a few other decisions –
1. Which section to study first – Verbal or Quant?
2. Where to spend time on, i.e. on which section?
3. How to track your improvement and how often?
STUDYING FOR QUANT
As this strategy is Quant driven, the student will maximize his score in Quant and only work on getting the minimum required score in Verbal to reach the target score. Therefore, he must pick up the Quant section first. As the quant section is his strength, it will also set momentum to the prep. Since Q51 is the highest score, he needs to ace all the sections in Quantitative. Q47 implies a good understanding of concepts and so he must not focus on redoing all the concepts but refine his preparation using the following approach:
– Evaluate topic level preparedness with the help of ability quizzes.
– Segregate weaknesses and work upon them using the study material.
– Again track your improvement via ability quizzes.
STUDYING FOR VERBAL
As compared to the GMAT Quant, the student needs to attain 66 per centile in the Verbal section. In order to attain 66 percentile, he can either ace the sub-sections (SC/CR/RC) he is comfortable in or can balance the preparation across all the sub-sections.
But the student must use a GMAT planner to estimate the scores needed in each sub section which can be tweaked based on current scores.
TRACKING SCORE IMPROVEMENT
As discussed earlier, the best way to track improvement is via ability quizzes. They provide much more accurate ability estimates and also the useful insights into the areas to focus in order to improve your ability to the next level.
5. PERSONALISED GMAT STUDY PLAN FOR 150 SCORE IMPROVEMENT FROM A SCORE OF 600 TO 750
Let us now craft a study plan to improve from a starting score of 600 (Q40, V39) with an aim to score an amazing 750 on the GMAT test. Here also we will follow the steps outlined earlier.
STEP 1 – DEFINING TARGET QUANT AND VERBAL SCORES
As this student is seeking an improvement from a score of 600 (56 per centile) with a break-up of Q40 V39 to a score of 750 (98 per centile) from which we can clearly see that he is
– Seeking a high improvement of 150 points on a scale of 800 or 42 per centile points
– Weak in Quant but strong in Verbal.
Here in this scenario, a Verbal driven strategy will make more sense.
Now the starting score is 600 (Q40, V39) and starting percentiles are 39 and 88 for Quant and Verbal respectively. As the Verbal section is stronger here, we would aim for higher scores in Verbal than in Quant.
So, the final score is 750 (Q49, V32) and the final per centiles are 74 and 98 for Quant and verbal respectively.
Hence, the score improvement needed is 10 percentile points in Verbal and 35 points in case of Quant section.
STEP 2 – ESTIMATING THE AMOUNT OF TIME NEEDED
Using the above formula, let us calculate the time required to improve from a starting GMAT score of 600 to 750 (150 points).
Baseline time requirement
Starting GMAT Score 600
Target GMAT Score 750
CBT Applicable Yes, since the student is comparatively weaker in Quant
Medium of Learning Data-driven online course

Overall Time needed (using online courses) = [750 – 600] X [7/10] X [1+0.25] = 131.25 hours ~ 130 hours
Here the same student would need 225 hours if he is studying using books.
The student needs to allocate an approx. of 40 hours to Verbal section and 65 hours to Quant section out of these 130 hours. He should reserve the remaining 20 to 25 hours for mocks.

STEP 3 – CREATING YOUR GMAT STUDY STRATEGY
Now, you need to take a few other decisions –
1. Which section to study first – Verbal or Quant?
2. Where to spend time on, i.e. on which section?
3. How to track your improvement and how often?
STUDYING FOR VERBAL
As this strategy is verbal driven, the student should begin from the GMAT verbal section. To be more precise, he must start with Sentence Correction, reach at least 96 percentile ability in Sentence Correction, then move on to Critical Reasoning (reaching 95 percentile ability), and finally study reading comprehension.
STUDYING FOR QUANT
Here the student needs only 74 per centile as compared to the 98 per centile of the Verbal section. Therefore, he need not ace every topic in GMAT quant. He should study with the aim to achieve a 75 per centile ability in each section of Quant.
TRACKING SCORE IMPROVEMENT?
As discussed earlier, the best way to track your improvement so far is by using ability quizzes as they provide much more accurate ability estimates as compared to mock tests. They also give a reliable estimate of your ability, and also provide useful insights into the areas to focus to improve your ability to the next level.
FINAL WORDS
There is no fixed or general study plan for every student. Every student is different and possesses different level of abilities. The study plan for the GMAT prep must be made keeping in mind these abilities and also the weaknesses so that more can be achieved in the fixed time span of the GMAT prep.
Following the above steps for devising a personalised GMAT prep will help the students craft a well-structured study plan in order to achieve the desired GMAT score.