Done with course. How should I study with the Official Guide?

Suggestions for working through the GMAT Official Guide (after having done a GMAT class of some sort)

You have taken a GMAT online class or video course and worked your way through what seems like and very well could very well have been a never ending series of GMAT content videos and quizzes.

It’s been an every day commitment and you have stuck with it.

Now with the progress bar near 100% the question starts to loom: what next?

Most people turn their attention the GMAT Official Guide, a tomb of high quality official GMAT questions which should be centerpiece of your preparation.

In the Atlantic tutoring program we stick to official GMAT questions because they are by far the best. We also use LSAT questions because they are extra tough but that is another discussion.

Don’t panic if you haven’t touched the OG yet or done any official questions

It tends to be that online classes and video courses focus on their own materials and somewhat ignore the official ones.

But all is not lost.

You are here now and ready to work on the good stuff.

Here are a few things to help organize this GMAT Official guide work:

  1. If you are excelling on a section (quant or verbal) then stick to medium and hard questions. In the book that means work from back to front or from middle to back. If you are using the OG online question bank then you can simply select the appropriate difficulty. You might make an exception for Sentence Correction because you can learn some good stuff even from easy SC questions.
  2. If you are struggling a bit then stick to easy or easy and some medium. Save the harder questions for later on when they will be more valuable.
  3. Stay strict with timing. No pause button. You need to learn how to think under pressure.
  4. Commit to a high quality review. This is the most important thing. After you are done with a set take as much time as you need to review everything. Don’t just review with your eyes! Put pen to paper and work everything out. Also, it is an excellent idea to review correct answers as well to make sure that you got the question correct for the right reasons. You can also explore different solutions that might be superior to the one you used or simply expand your pallet. You may learn something that while not perfect for the question at hand either expands/deepens your understanding and is potentially a great solution for another question.
  5. I would limit sets to 10 questions or so. You can also do short 5 question sets. But I would avoid tread-milling through material. Stay thoughtful. Leave plenty of time for high quality work and review.
  6. If you are nearly 100% prepared then you could set up full sections, 31 questions on quant and 36 on verbal to get extra test like practice.

Probably the most important things are to stay consistent with your work (avoid cramming) and to approach studying in a high quality way. Keep at it and you will see meaningful improvements in your GMAT score.

Remember though: learning isn’t linear. And it could take time to see the results on practice tests or Official GMATs.

Hopefully that gives you some ideas to help guide your GMAT prep. Follow up with any questions!