4 days before the GMAT part 2: Days off

Part 2: 4 day GMAT plan

You’re taking the GMAT on a Monday or Tuesday or after a few days off.

This gives you the weekend to finalize prep and decompress from work. It also however gives you the chance to over-study. The last thing you want to do is cram all weekend. Case in point, my student “Mark” (name changed to protect the foolish).

Mark was a mid-700s student. He was totally ready to go. We had covered everything we needed to cover. He had maybe 2-3 areas that could use a little more work, but nothing to keep him out of 760+ territory. He took the test on a Monday, 10a.

710Despite my recommendation, he crammed all weekend – 12+ hours a day. I get it. You’re used to working crushing days and 12 hours doesn’t seem that bad. Unfortunately the over-work leads to

1. Brain Fatigue – your brain is a muscle just like your thighs
2. Concentration on practically irrelevant topics – worst offender = Combinatorics

So Mark hit 710 on test day. Remember, he was in 760+ range. He knew he blew it. He followed the plan below second test. Second and final score, 770. Do you really want to spend any more time thinking about the GMAT than you have to?

So here’s what you can do to get yourself in great shape no matter what your strengths and weaknesses are. The schedule assumes you will take on Monday with Saturday and Sunday totally free. Adjust accordingly.


– 1-2 hours Critical Reasoning Questions and 2 long Reading Comprehension Passages (all the questions)
– 2 hours on Common Geometry problems and other minor areas – deep review, probably only 20 problems total


– 1 hour Critical Reasoning and Sentence Correction
– 2 hours divided: mixture of 10-15 low – hard Data Sufficiency questions (before verbal), followed by a mixture of 20 low – hard Algebra and Mechanics questions (both PS and DS)
– make sure you’re getting enough water. Studies on dehydration and IQ show a 10 point IQ drop with mild dehydration. Did you know that the fluids you consume on Friday influence how hydrated you are on Monday?! Make sure you get a steady supply of water all day especially this week.


– 1 hour refresh on Sentence Correction
– Mock essay and IR – run through the GMAC questions provided on GMATPrep (download at mba.com)
– 90 minutes on medium math questions
– If the Testing Center is not familiar, go visit. You want to know what the area looks like and where you might park or which bus/train you’ll need to take.
– Up to 3 hours open study – mix it up with DS/PS on quant, and rounds of SC/CR/RC on verbal.

gmat and computerSunday:
– up to 2 hours on verbal, mixed set, finish no later than 4p
– up to 2 hours on math, mixed set, finish no later than 4p
– Get physical, whatever your sport or exercise, go do it. It helps to get out of study focus. Your brain is crunching the hard work you’ve done and making it useful.
– early to bed (by 10p if possible!)


– Get up at normal time – you want to be totally alert for your test. No sense changing your morning routine unless you test starts before you normally get up.
– Basic push-ups, lunges, and jumping jacks for 10 minutes or do a modified gym routine to get your blood pumping – not to exhaust you.
– Have a “normal” morning. Eat breakfast, or if you don’t normally eat breakfast, consider a protein snack that includes some healthy fat (avocado or almonds for example).
– Aim to be at the test center 20-30 minutes ahead of time. Check-in can be a pain.
– Before you sign in, work on a handful of medium level questions (medium for you). These should be questions you know you will know how to do. Getting a few things right will take the stress edge off and actually helps your brain persist on the next set of challenges.

While the material you study this week can help you refine, you aren’t likely to Move Mega GMAT Mountains with content in the final few days before the test. If you prove me wrong, blast us in the comments below, please! If you want to do crunch study, you need a GMAT Master (Call us: 646.535.2838) or you need to do the cram session a few weeks in advance, more than 14 days in advance is great. It takes the material some time to gel in useable form.

Let us know how you do. Good luck!


***How can you tell if you are a 760+ caliber candidate? Take a practice test from mba.com or come in for the assessment session – book assessment here.



4 Days before the GMAT – Don’t drop the ball now, part 1


4 Days before the GMAT part 3: No time off

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