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Almost Everything You Need to Know to Improve at Air RB (1.89)
IntroGood afternoon everyone (evening for our European, Asian and Russian friends), I’ve decided to write up another long form post.
I’ve noticed an uptick of people who are new to Air RB leaving me comments like many on this post saying that they dislike Air RB random battles for multiple reasons or are struggling to get better at it.
I’ve played every mode at least a little but have spent nearly 5 years mostly playing Air RB and would think I’m alright at it after 13,000 kills. I figured I would share as much as I’ve learned and what I’ve learned from others on the most relevant topics.
0.1 Objective of Post
Many of the people here are also old-time players; this post is not for them, but I would appreciate their feedback and help in the comments section when this gets some feedback from newer players, especially the new Xbox crowd who I’ve been seeing more of in the game mode.
At the end of the day, experience is the best teacher but some of the things I will discuss should also help those interested in getting better. I’ve been seeing the same mistakes made repeatedly, more commonly than even in the past, which suggests that a lot of the player base has churned over the years.
0.2 Competitive Objectives vs Personal Objectives
This post will be geared for those who are interested in winning as consistently as possible by focusing on the PvP element of the game, rather than just grinding for things. There are also non-combat ways to win (4 stack TU-4, B-29, or getting maps like Normandy/Poland in attackers like the AD-2 & SU-6) but those aren’t as reliable as they are map dependent somewhat.
For those interested, I will leave some links below as well.
First long post, About Allied Teams
Second long post, About Jets
0.3 Youtube content with an Air RB focus
Part 1: Before the Match1.1 Aircraft Selection
Should go without saying, this is a very fighteheavy fightemanly attacker pilot focused post. I will not be suggesting any bombers as they are not able to really dodge incoming fire and are rarely going to win a PVP situation. They unfortunately do not fit will into this game mode. If you must fly them, fly fast ones that can attack enemy planes (A-26, IL-28, B-57B & Canberra, B7A2, etc)
1.2 Don’t Main a Nation
If you’re newer to the game and don’t run premium, keep in mind you will be able to grind out all the relevant and useful planes from tier 1-3 extremely quickly thanks to Air RB’s generous reward system relative to the other modes. I recommend you do this, as you’ll learn to play many different planes and will understand what you can get away with when fighting something you’ve used yourself. The grind really gets bad at higher tiers, so if you want to follow a path at that point, I understand. But don’t pigeonhole yourself. Some of the dumbest people on this subreddit are often the 1 nation mains, do not become one. You also don’t have to get everything, pick 2-3 nations you are really interested in at the very least.
1.3 Battle Rating Spread & Likely Matchups
Before you load in, remember what you will likely fight. This might sound like a lot of memorization, but after a while you’ll instinctively remember what BRs things are at. For example, playing the P-51 (3.7) in a down-tier will be very easy against the Euro-Axis thanks to their usual team compositions at lower tiers which are usually horrendous, vs an up-tier to 4.7 where F4s, G55s, G2s, and MC205s will fill the sky.
There are some BR ranges that are not appropriate for the aircraft and thus makes it largely not worth wasting your time on. Many mediocre Japanese piston-driven planes fight jets, many mediocre jets fight 9.7-10.0 extremely often, etc. Always consider your position in an up-tier and whether the likelihood of the up-tier is high or not. 6.3 Allies fought previously airspawning R2Y2s for example, while 6.0 planes like the Tempest 2 & La-9 get pulled down relatively often. Some planes also have stupid BRs like a lot of the Ki-61s, unchanged for years and not popular for a reason.
It’s worth doing a little research on the plane you’re interested in flying. A simple google search, wiki search, browsing a YouTube video or two will at least give you a flavor. If you go to the Vehicles tab on Thunderskill, there is a bank of video resources for many vehicles you can use from multiple people and I recommend checking it out.
1.4 Know Your Role
Depending on what you select, figure out firsthand what you plan on doing. Flying a P-61? Your primary role is to remove
1.5 Muh Stock Grind
Depending on which nation you’re playing, some of these will be less important than others (For example, belts aren’t as important on Shvaks or ANM cannons, because default Shvaks are better than every belt other than tracer and the default ANM belt still turns people inside out). Some planes will also have different tiering for the same mod, so watch out for that. Generally speaking:
- Belts (Radiator for guns that are ok default or for planes that overheat easily)
- Radiator (See above)
- Engine (Horsepower increase)
- Compressor (Horsepower increase)
- Wing Repair (Across the board buff to climbrate, speed, and control authority)
- Injection (Very important horsepower increase)
- Cover (Across the board buff)
- Airframe (Across the board buff)
- Upgraded guns (Less jamming, better accuracy)
- Fuselage Repair (Drag reduction)
- Ordnance, Boosters etc (Least important)
1.6 Muh Crew Skills & SL Management
Use 1 crew since you only get one life, to maximize the crew points you get. Expert Crews when you can, will help a lot.
Most important are (especially in jet battles)
- G force tolerance
- Weapon maintenance
- Pilot stamina
- Keen vision
- Pilot vitality
You should also be spamming your C key and looking around constantly. I want you all looking around like you're a coked-out schizophrenic owl at all times
(Thanks Channel_Dedede For reminding me about this)
Finally, turn off auto-repair. Especially on expensive aircraft like the G.56 or half the
1.7 ”But X is too op to fight!” Some battle ratings will be incredibly difficult due to FOTM meta chasing. Anything that gets uptiered to fight 4 formerly airspawning R2Y2s, or an entire team of K4s with 4
While people are whining about Germany & Japan in props now (some complaints are valid, others are not) every single nation has at some point had a clubby Bvehicle range and still do to this day.
Over the years I've seen:
Spitfires with magic FMs
Invincible and fusion generator powered Yaks
Old D30 with nearly 6.0 performance and no compression beating the shit out of 3.7s
The old N1K FM
Hunter F1 stomping top tier
MiG-17 with old compression-free FM and higher velocity gun (unrealistically modeled)
F2Hs with airspawns clubbing props
The dark days of the P-47/F82 spam
Vautours at 8.0 (lel)
Yak-23 at 7.3
F-84G at 7.3
Going it alone is going to be rough due to the lack of coordination on most teams, especially Allied ones (refer to my allied teams post). It’s worth making at least a friend or two and cooperating with them, will make both your lives a lot easier.
You can also join a squadron that’s active and see if you can find people to hang out with or check out the many WT-related Discords. I highly recommend you do this.
Part 2: During the Match (General)2.1 Pre-Match Setup
- Select the appropriate belts for the guns you’re using, subreddit FAQ has a list at the bottom for this
- Select convergence (400-600 is recommended for props) and whether you want to use vertical targeting. VT will make some shots easier (deflections) but other ones harder so keep that in mind.
- Consider your gun placement as well. I add 100 to my convergence on nose-mounts at the bottom of the nose, and I will never go higher than 500 for wing-mounted guns. For planes with laser beam cannons like the J7W1, F2 Sabre, or F86K I'll run up to 800 at times.
- Select fuel amount. 20 minutes is the standard as most battles don’t last that long but consider taking 30 on large maps like Norway. Fuel will be discussed in detail later in section 3.1.
- Make sure you spawn at the right place if you have an airspawn available.
- Make sure you know your aircraft’s relevant speeds for compression, rip speeds, G limits etc.
- Right after taking off, figure out if your climbrate justifies climbing straight in or not or in planes like the Hornet how aggressive you plan to be. Consider the enemy’s commonplace climb routes (you will remember them naturally after a while, most people just go straight off the runway) and adjust your initial path to altitude accordingly.
- Do not be the first person spotted. People tend to doggypile on the first target even if its stupid to go for it.
- Consider the 5-minute rule. This is how long you should spend getting some altitude at the maximum, 6-7 if your plane can’t climb well, or you’re on a bigger map. Boulogne is the only exception. Second part of the 5-minute rule, if 50%+ of your team is dead in the first 5 minutes, you’ve probably already lost through no fault of your own. And this will happen.
- Read the flow of the match at all times, and check the scoreboard to see how many enemies are left and how many allies you have/what they’re in.
- Target selection is extremely important, go for the highest energy and most threatening enemies first if you can help it.
- That being said, it’s often more beneficial to go for people on the 6 of an ally. See a friendly getting swarmed by a few people but 1 pansy in a J2M2 is sitting and staying at 7000 meters? Go for the swarm. Killing/spooking those and keeping an ally alive is far more of a value than trying to deal with someone staying super high and playing ultra-passively.
- When selecting your target, try to go after enemies that are weak to you. Have .50 cals and a big dick American engine? Ally in a Yak? Have him smack the 109 at low altitude around while you go for the slow and easily-combustible Zero with poor engine power at altitude.
- As mentioned before, side climb appropriately. For some planes, that means stop fucking climbing. If you’re going beyond 6000 in a Tempest, Corsair, Lavochkin, etc. you are putting yourself in a situation you will end up fighting where you have a lack of engine power. Climb to 5000 in those planes aggressively then shallow/level the climb out.
- Understand what altitudes your plane is best at and try to keep the fight there. You are in much more danger going 250 IAS at 6000 then doing 500 in a straight line 1000 meters below.
- Manage your energy well, it will be tempting to prop hang for a juicy target. If even 1 other enemy is around: Don’t.
- Many planes are incredibly maneuverable at high speed (Mustangs for example) and will beat out all their usual opponents, but you will have to get to that speed first and make sure you don’t end up outnumbered. AND LEARN HOW TO USE FLAPS
- Try and time your passes while the enemy is already tied up by someone else
- One of the most common ways I see people die is by blowing away an energy advantage by doing high G maneuvers. If you have a massive energy advantage, make use of it and slow the guy down as much as you can. You may have to make multiple passes but since you dictate the fight there’s no reason to worry.
- Another common way people die is committing to every head-on. Stop. Fire a small burst at a bit over 1km and pull off, try and merge into the enemy if you’re more maneuverable and extend away if you aren’t. And don’t head-on someone prop hanging up to you, let them stall
- Sometimes there’s no shame in extending. It’s boring, but if you can keep people at bay until help arrives, you will win more often than trying to 1-man army against 4 people by yourself.
- You will have to deal with enemies with more energy at times. Make use of shallow dives, handling differences at different speeds, compression variances etc. If you can 1vs1 someone confidently, drag them away from their allies first so you don’t get jumped while blowing energy away and converting it into maneuvers.
- Avoid tunnel visioning on 1 enemy. If they dive away but you know several are still up, let them go. You’ve already done a positive thing by forcing them down.
- Critting is often good enough, don’t go to the deck to secure the kill as tempting as it is.
- Climb rate and Turn time matter far less than people think they do. Energy Retention through maneuvers & speed are more important overall, as well as handling at different speeds. Some planes can effectively crowd control a large chunk of the enemy team because of this (Tempest 2, MB.5, etc)
- Try and take as many enemies out as possible while also positioning yourself well. Start from the top, work your way down, adjust accordingly and expect at least 1-2 people to screw off until 9 minutes in and finally show up in orbit.
- By now, you should know who’s likely going to win by how many are left on both sides.
- Check the enemy airfield to see if any are hanging out there. It’s risky in props to strafe, so its usually better to let them take off and get out of range. If they circle, then you’re stuck dealing with it until they grow a pair.
- Now is the time to use orders, or repairearm yourself if you think it’s safe.
- Now is the time you may want/need to switch to ground pounding loadouts to prevent a ticket loss
- Leading some weapons can be a challenge. Use the Mission Editor to get a feel for things and get some practice in, custom battles can also help.
- Ammo conservation is one of the most important things in the game, and one of the things people are worst at. Fire small tap bursts, no matter what. After a while the game just calculates it like a ray trace anyway, you’re just wasting it.
- Avoid fighting in dark clouds, or clouds in general if you can. Their rendering is terrible.
- Ticket Bleed is sometimes impossible to counter on some maps, it’s why planes that can late-game ground pound are useful.
- Use Orders when needed, both to find enemies and to block them from blind hunting you if late game ends up being a 1 vs 2 or 3. (Which is winnable)
- You will have to deal with passive people and airfield campers. Getting the tickets down is usually your best bet in this situation.
Part 3: Jets3.1 Minimum Fuel
- Min Fuel is commonplace here because it gives you a much bigger performance advantage than in lower tiers.
- I strongly discourage you load minimum fuel or lower loads for supersonics.
- Your staying power and ability to carry will go down significantly, and if you play it smart you don’t need the extra performance anyway
- There is no shame in strafing people who took 7-10 minutes if you took 20 while they're landing. You can usually get away unscathed in Jet battles, and they have only themselves to blame. Is it annoying for them? I'm sure it is, it was annoying for me when I kept getting strafed in my MiG-17 by Hunters a few years ago. But I chose to risk lower staying power for better performance.
- Some of you might not be interested in props and want to jump into top tier right away.
- I also strongly discourage this, but if you must I would recommend the F35 or F40. They’re relatively easy to play if you mind your Gs.
- Boosters on F Sabres are useful for experienced players; don’t use them if you aren’t familiar with top tier and Sabre handling. You will rip.
- Jets climb differently from Props. You want to gather as much speed as you can before starting to climb
- Other than the Hunter F.6, some early German jets, and MiGs, most non-afterburning aircraft don’t want to climb much higher than 3000 meters where their thrust will start to drop off hard.
- While you want to climb at certain speeds in props, in jets its generally better to max out then shallow angle it.
- Negative Gs become much more useful here for defense, but keep in mind some planes (Like the SuperSucc) struggle with them.
- Missiles are rarely reliable kills, but are worth noting
- Don’t bother loading them on some vehicles as the performance hit is extreme (FJ-4B, F9F) while on others it’s not (MiG-19, Cl-13B, Hunter F.6 etc).
- Use them mostly to slow people down as they run away rather than as ways to get kills, especially after the recent rework
- Use them on people who are stalled out but you can't reach with guns, they will almost always kill or crit in that situation. A lot of my F-86K Aim-9 kills are from F-100s who try to hammerhead me without realizing I climb nearly as well as they do.
- While only some Props have airbrakes, (P-47M, P-38L etc) most jets do. Make use of them when necessary but remember that 90% of the time you want speed and should be used sparingly.
- Some people will ride their airbrake on you until they eventually die, stall out, or kill you. This is an annoying feature of top tier but something you will have to manage. Vertical scissors tend to help as most people who do this don’t close the airbrake when going up.
- Taking off/landing is a bit different in jets in terms of touchdown speed. Airbrakes help you with landing Jets on Gaijin’s often poorly modeled runways.
- MiGs are the only exception, where you will need to really learn to time the airbrake usage properly to make sure you slow down enough to actually pull lead as they compress super hard past 800.
- Stop doing last second head-ons and watch out for them. You have far less time to react than in lower tiers.
- There will be smaller firing windows & harder lead and you will have to adjust as you advance through the tiers.
- Ammo conservation is your lifeline in some vehicles like MiGs, which have very little ammo to work with. So don’t be like how I used to be and spray like post-intimacy urination.
Part 4: After the Match4.1. Dealing with Losing Streaks
- You will run into multi-match losing streaks.
- If you get frustrated, the more on tilt you get, the worst things will be for you. It’s worth walking away for a bit, or changing BRs/Vehicles/Nations
- When you die, identify and accept your mistakes. Or share the replay and have others do it for you, which is welcome on this Subreddit.
- Figure out what you’re doing wrong most often, and try to figure out which shots/planes/styles fit you best.
- Try to avoid making your most common mistakes going forward. When you have a great match, think about why it was great. Many 5-6 kill matches are less skill intensive than 2-3 kill matches if 3 of the 5 were low energy or inferior planes or bombers or something.
Finally, there will be a small number of times where you simply put get Gaijined. 4 Tu-4s or B-29s, AD-4 spam, phantom planes in clouds, random mid-map AAA will set you on fire, etc. It’s just something we have to live with.
Part 5: TLDR
- Thou shall know your plane
- Thou shall know your enemy
- Thou shall protect and expect nothing from random
- Thou shall not tunnel-vision
- Thou shall not spray and learn to aim
- Thou shall not ride your airbrake
- Thou shall not blame everyone except yourself
- Thou shall not commit to head-ons
- Thou shall not tail-sit bombers in Spitfires
- Thou shall make some friends
Brian McElroy's Guide to GMAT Test Prep (cross post from Amazon Reviews)
I am a Harvard grad, 99% GMAT scorer and professional GMAT tutor since 2002, and am fairly obsessed with this test. I also take the GMAT once every few years to stay up-to-date, including personal bests of 770 composite, 50Q, 48V, 8 IR (2 times) and 6.0 AWA (4 times). The GMAT Official Guide 2018 Bundle (currently $49) receives my strong recommendation because it provides a great source of real GMAT questions at a decent price.
The GMAT Official Guide 2018 Bundle includes the following 3 books, which you might want to consider purchasing separately (the product listings for the individual books also include the option to purchase the Kindle e-book versions):
1) The GMAT Official Guide 2018: GMAT Official Guide 2018: Book + Online (Official Guide for Gmat Review) 2) The GMAT Official Guide 2018 Verbal Review: GMAT Official Guide 2018 Verbal Review: Book + Online (Official Guide for Gmat Verbal Review) 3) The GMAT Official Guide 2018 Quantitative Review: GMAT Official Guide 2018 Quantitative Review: Book + Online (Official Guide for Gmat Quantitative Review)
One aspect of these books that you must understand is that they are not meant to teach you GMAT test-taking strategy. For that, look elsewhere (see product links below). However, they include some of the very best practice materials available, straight from the test-maker, and although the answer explanations are often convoluted, they are still useful in understanding how the GMAC thinks.
Why are the 2018 Official Guides the very best place to start your GMAT preparation, other than the free GMATPrep software? Because the questions in these books are super-realistic. They are just like the questions on the real GMAT, because these books are written by the test-maker and use actual, retired GMAT questions. Don't waste your time and money practicing on questions made by any other companies--these are merely inferior imitations of the real thing. If you must use other materials for test strategy, then that's fine, and in most cases necessary, but try your best to stick to official questions whenever possible.
Pro tip: You can take each of the 6 GMAT Prep CATs more than once, because the GMAT is an adaptive test (it adjusts the difficulty level of later questions based on your previous responses). There are about 4 to 16 times as many questions in the GMAC's question pool as there are in any given test, which means that every test you take will be different. Tests 1 and 2 draw from a (gigantic!) pool of about 1,500 questions, and tests 3, 4, 5, and 6 draw from a more modest pool of about 400 questions each. To re-take your GMAT Prep tests, click "reset" in the lower-left hand corner of the GMAT Prep software window, but make sure to take screenshots of your previous test sessions beforehand--frequent screenshots are a good idea anyway because the software is prone to crashing and losing your data. For your screenshots, use either the "Print Screen" (Windows Key + PrtScn) button on a PC or (Shift + Command + 3) on a Mac.
It's important to remember that although physical GMAT books are extremely helpful, the GMAT is still a computer-based test, which means that you should still spend at least 50% of your preparation time reading a screen instead of reading a piece of paper. For this reason, consider buying the Kindle versions of the guides, as well as making full use of the computer-based practice options (Exam Packs, Question Packs, Mobile App, etc.) available from the GMAC (see detailed product links below). Or, if you prefer to buy the physical books, then you can also use the access codes located in the sealed pouches in the back covers of the books to access a free web-based version of the books, where you can try most of the questions in the books in an online format, and organize quizzes by question type / difficulty level (easy, medium, hard). You will also have to create a Wiley account, which is mostly painless. I strongly suggest that you save your login information on your browser so that you won’t have to enter your username / password every time you access the Wiley site.
Instead of giving you a paper and pencil, the GMAC also requires you to use a water-based maker and a laminated sheet like this one: Manhattan GMAT Test Simulation Booklet w/ Marker I don't recommend always using the laminated sheet when you study, because it's messy and harder to keep track of your notes that way. But it makes sense to at least use it a few times, just to get the feel of it before test day. ——
“220 NEVER-BEFORE SEEN QUESTIONS” / 15% NEW QUESTIONS
Approximately 15% of the questions in these 2018 editions of the OG are new to the Official Guides. However, it is worth noting that “never before seen” is not entirely true, since all of these questions are retired questions from past GMAT computer exams (it says so right there on the cover). A more accurate description would be “never before seen on paper,” but that probably wouldn’t sell as many copies.
(For explanations and classifications of every question in the 2017 Official Guide, google "GMAT Club Guide to the GMAT Official Guide 2017.”)
Are the questions from the 2018 versions any better than the questions they are replacing from the 2017 edition? No, not really. All of the questions in the books are old questions from past GMAT exams (“retired questions”), so there is no guarantee that these 220 “new” questions are either any newer or any more helpful than are the questions they supplant from the 2017 Editions of the OGs. Moreover, early adopters of the 2018 editions will find that certain questions are so new that it’s hard to access online explanations until GMAT tutors like me (GMATClub username: mcelroytutoring) start posting them, which could take weeks or even months.
While I will concede that the questions in this book are roughly ordered from easy to hard, there are some curious places where low-numbered questions are quite difficult for most of my students, and vice-versa. Thus, I think that we can’t necessarily take GMAC at its word here, especially since there has already been evidence in past official guides of the GMAC moving the exact same questions to radically different locations in the books, which suggests that we shouldn’t trust the GMAC at its word in this regard. If the questions are truly ordered from easy to hard, for example, then why would a question numbered in the 30s suddenly show up numbered in the 90s in the next year’s edition? — —
A WARNING ABOUT THE DIFFICULTY LEVEL OF THE QUESTIONS IN THE OFFICIAL GUIDES:
It is important to note that the difficulty level of questions in these books is sufficient for most test takers, but is admittedly a bit lacking on the high end. High scorers take note: If you are aiming for a GMAT score of 700-plus, then you should spend more time practicing on questions from the GMATPrep software and Exams Pack 1 and 2, which offer more difficult questions that will bear a closer resemblance to the questions you will see on your actual test day.
Remember: the GMAT is an adaptive exam. If you answer a lot of questions right, then the test keeps getting harder (as your score rises), and if you answer a lot of questions wrong, then the test keeps getting easier (as your score lowers). And especially on the Quant section, the questions on the test are “front-loaded” so that the first 1/3 of questions have a much larger impact on your score than does the final 1/3 of questions. (There is a SEVERE penalty for not finishing the sections, however, so make sure that you give yourself time answer all the questions before time expires, even if they are just random guesses. At all costs, make sure to answer every question before time expires.)
If you do run out of official GMAT Prep computer tests (the first two are free, and you can buy four more from GMAC), then I can recommend the Manhattan GMAT CATs (computer adaptive tests). Just buy one book from the Manhattan GMAT series, and it will give you access to all 6 online CATs: GMAT Sentence Correction (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides)
For free video explanations to all the math questions in these books, google "GMAT Quantum," or if you prefer to read your explanations, then just try google searching the first few lines of your question's text. I would also strongly recommend that you check out informative websites such as GMAT Club, Beat the GMAT, and Atlantic GMAT, and that you consider retaining the services of a qualified private tutor such as myself. — —
For those of you who are just getting started, here is the overall structure of the GMAT:
1) Analysis of an Argument Essay (AWA or Analytical Writing Assessment): 30 minutes, 1 question. 2) Integrated Reasoning (Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, Graphics Interpretation, Two Part Analysis): 30 minutes, 12 questions. Please note: unlike the Verbal and Quantitative sections, the IR section is not adaptive. For this reason, every time you try a GMATPrep Exam you will see the same 12 IR questions. 3) Optional 8-minute break 4) Quantitative Section (Problem Solving, Data Sufficiency): 75 minutes, 37 questions (2 minutes per question) 5) Optional 8-minute break 6) Verbal Section (Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction): 75 minutes, 41 questions (1.8 minutes per question)
The GMAC also recently rolled out a program, starting July 11, 2017, where GMAT test-takers are now able to select (out of 3 possible options) the order of their test sections! This promises to be a huge advantage, because the Verbal and Quant sections, which are not only the two toughest sections of the GMAT, but also the only two sections that contribute to one’s 200-800 composite score, have always been located at the end of the 4-hour test, when it’s harder to maintain focus. Now, you will have the option to choose 1) Quant, 2) Verbal, 3) IR and 4) AWA or 1) Verbal, 2) Quant, 3) IR and 4) AWA. Personally, I prefer the final option.
Keep in mind that on the GMAT you cannot go back or skip any questions, and that the first 12-15 questions of the Verbal and Quantitative sections have the most impact on your score due to the adaptive scoring algorithm. A correct answer will yield a slightly harder question in most cases, and vice versa, and the GMAT will gradually determine your score as you go. The largest adjustments are made at the beginning of the test, which is why the first 1/3 of questions are so essential. Also, approximately 10 to 25% of the questions on the actual GMAT (and 4 of the 12 IR questions) are experimental—you don’t know which ones they are, and they don’t count toward your score.
HOW TO STUDY FOR THE GMAT:
My core philosophy: use official GMAT questions only! It’s OK if you end up memorizing all the solutions and answers—that’s part of the point, as is repetition of certain questions until you fully understand them. There are thousands of real GMAT questions available from the GMAC, so it’s unlikely that you will ever run out. Imitation questions are not quite the same, so why settle for anything less than the real deal?
For purposes of brevity, I am only including a one-month study plan, but the truth is that most students need at least 3-6 months to study for the GMAT. To turn this 1-month study plan into a 3-month or 6-month study plan, simply break the study plan into smaller increments.
Ideally, your studying should be done at regular intervals throughout the day, instead of one large chunk, to maximize retention. Take frequent breaks, but also try to get used to working for 4 hours straight at least once a week, to simulate test conditions.
If you don’t have time to take a full section, then don’t use the GMAT Prep Exams, because you will need to finish the entire test in order to review the questions afterward. Even if you only want to try a Quant section, for example, you will have to click through the rest of the test, or wait for time to expire, which is annoying. Better to use the Question Packs, the OGs or the Mobile App for smaller increments of time. Also, if you’re a Mac user like me, then you should know that the “Escape” button does not work on the GMAT Prep software. Instead, try (Command + Tab) to switch to other open applications.
Don’t forget to utilize GMAT club for explanations to any questions whose explanations in the books don’t make sense. Just google search the first few lines of your question’s text. — —
MY RECOMMENDED GMAT STUDY PLAN:
"Section" = a timed, scored section from the GMATPrep Software (Exams 1 through 6). Helps you practice test-taking techniques, and leveraging the GMAT algorithm. "Practice" = unscored (no composite score, only correct/incorrect) and the time limit is less strict. Take as long as you need for understanding.
Remember that you don’t necessarily need to pay for Exam Packs 1 and 2, because there are approximately 1,500 potential questions in (free) Exams 1 and 2, so you can just keep resetting the tests and using them again. The IR sections will be exactly the same (not adaptive!), but the quant and verbal sections will be different every time.
Another option is to install the GMAT Prep software on 2 different computers. 2 different computers = 2 different versions of the test = nearly twice as many questions to practice.
Here is a sample weekly schedule that I would recommend IF YOU ARE TRYING TO PREPARE IN ONLY ONE MONTH (see modifications for 2-6 month study plans below).
Day 1: COMPUTER DAY
1) 75 minute Quant Section - GMATPrep 2) 75 minute Verbal Section - GMATPrep 3) Review Incorrectly Answered Quant Questions + Math Concepts and Strategies 4) Review Incorrectly Answered Verbal Questions + Verbal Concepts and Strategies 5) 30 minute IR Section or Practice - GMAT Prep / IR tool from Wiley 6) 30 minutes Essay Practice
Day 2: BOOK (OG) / WILEY DAY
1) 37 Quant Questions in OG / Wiley 2) 41 Verbal Questions in OG / Wiley 3) Review Incorrectly Answered Quants 4) Review Incorrectly Answered Verbals 5) 12 IR Questions - Any Source
Day 3: COMPUTER DAY
1) 37 Quant Questions in GMATPrep (Question Packs) 2) 41 Verbal Questions in GMATPrep (Question Packs) 3) Review Incorrectly Answered Quants + Math Concepts and Strategies 4) Review Incorrectly Answered Verbals + Verbal Concepts and Strategies
Day 4: BOOK (OG) / WILEY DAY
1) 37 Quant Questions in OG / Wiley 2) 41 Verbal Questions in OG / Wiley 3) Review Incorrectly Answered Quants + Math Concepts and Strategies 4) Review Incorrectly Answered Verbals + Verbal Concepts and Strategies 5) 12 IR Questions - Any Source
Day 5: COMPUTER DAY
1) 75 minute Quant Section - GMATPrep 2) 75 minute Verbal Section - GMATPrep 3) Review Incorrectly Answered Quants + Math Concepts and Strategies 4) Review Incorrectly Answered Verbals + Verbal Concepts and Strategies 5) 30 minute IR Section or Practice - GMAT Prep / IR tool from Wiley 6) 30 minutes Essay Practice
Day 6: BOOK (OG) / WILEY DAY
1) 37 Quant Questions in OG / Wiley 2) 41 Verbal Questions in OG / Wiley 3) Review Incorrectly Answered Quants + Math Concepts and Strategies 4) Review Incorrectly Answered Verbals + Verbal Concepts and Strategies 5) 12 IR Questions - Any Source
Day 7: Take a rest! You’re only human.
Repeat for three more weeks, and you’ve completed approximately 2,160 real GMAT questions out of the approximately 4,000 official GMAT questions available.
Here are my modifications for 2-6 month study plans:
2-month study plan: complete 3 assignments (numbered above) per day. 3-month study plan: complete 2 assignments per day. 4-month study plan: complete 1-2 assignments per day. 6-month study plan: complete 1 assignment per day.
The founder of the GMAT Club forum has also written an excellent GMAT Study Plan on GMAT club. To see it, google “GMAT Study Plan - 2016 Edition : General GMAT Questions and Strategies.” — —
A QUICK AND IMPORTANT NOTE ON HOW TO REVIEW INCORRECTLY ANSWERED GMAT QUESTIONS:
Yes, the correct answers (along with mildly helpful explanations) are all right there in the books. But at all costs, don’t check the correct answer right away, because in many ways it ruins the utility of that question.
When it comes time to re-try the questions that you answered incorrectly, I recommend that you either buy a 2nd copy of the books to keep blank, or that you simply re-try the questions on your computer screen…BEFORE checking the answer. It's what I call a "blind review": going over all the questions you got wrong without first checking the correct answeexplanation, or seeing any of your previous work.
Yes, I know…when you get something wrong that you thought you got right, your first instinct is to immediately check the correct answer choice. However, try your best to avoid this temptation.
In my opinion, blind review is one of the key facets of effective test prep. Thus, when using the physical book, you should only mark your answers in the book as correct or incorrect (this is easier when working with a partner). Most importantly, don't write down or look at the correct answers before you get a chance to review / re-try them at least once.
Obviously, this type of study is much easier with a partner. If you’re working by yourself out of the physical books or the Kindle editions, then there is no way to check your answers without actually looking at the correct letter answers. So, if you’re studying solo, then I recommend that you write your answers—only your answers, not your work— on a separate sheet of paper. Do at least 40 questions at a time, to get a feel for what a GMAT Quant or Verbal section feels like. When you correct them, don’t indicate the correct answers in the book yet—simply mark incorrect answers as incorrect. And try to correct your questions all at once instead of one at a time, so that when you review the actual question afterward, you are less likely to remember the correct answer.
In contrast, if you go over questions by checking the correct answers right away, then you can create false confidence by fooling yourself into thinking that you understand the questions fully, when in fact you are still prone to those types of mistakes. The best way to know for sure is to try the questions again, from scratch, *without* the aid of the answer key, your previous answer, or the answer explanations. Only then should you confirm the correct answer and read the explanation provided. — — Here are my recommended GMAT Resources:
Practice: 1) Free GMATPrep Software - 2 diagnostic CATs (Exams 1 and 2: 180 questions total) and 90 practice questions out of 1,500 possible questions 2) GMAT 2017 Official Guide Bundle - 1 diagnostic test and over 1,500 practice questions and answer explanations (you are here) - about $45 3) GMATPrep Exam Pack 1 - 2 diagnostic CATs (Exams 3 and 4: 180 questions total) out of 400 possible questions - GMATPrep Exam Pack 1 [Online Code] $50 4) GMAT Prep Exam Pack 2 (New Release with 2 New Tests -- not yet available on Amazon) - 2 more diagnostic CATs (Exams 5 and 6: 180 questions total) out of 400 possible questions - $50 Please note: you can save $10 by buying #3 and #4 together as an Exam Pack Bundle from the GMAT website for $90. 5) GMATPrep Question Pack 1 - 404 questions with answer explanations and ability to sort questions by type and difficulty - $30 GMATPrep Question Pack 1 [Online Code] 6) The Official Guide for GMAT® Review 2016 Mobile App The Official Guide for GMAT® Review 2016 -$5 for 50 questions and $30 upgrade for an additional 800 questions 7) GMAT Focus Quizzes - 24 questions per quiz (math only) - $30 per quiz and 4 total. GMAT Focus Online Quantitative Diagnostic Tool: Single Use GMAT Focus Online Quantitative Diagnostic Tool: Single Use [Online Code] 8) IR Prep Tool - 48 Integrated Reasoning Questions GMAT IR Prep Tool [Online Code] - $20 9) GMAT Write - 4 Auto-Graded Essays for $30 10) GMAT Enhanced Score Report - Technically this is not a practice tool, but it provides an in-depth look at your score, including overall rankings, rankings by question type, time management information and a summary of your strengths and weaknesses, which can be helpful if you plan to take the test more than once. - $25
Strategy: 1) GMAT Club Forum - Free explanations to nearly every official GMAT question, as well as questions written by other companies (I do not recommend practicing on non-official questions). 2) GMAT Quantum - Free video explanations to nearly every official GMAT quantitative question. 3) GMATPrepNow - Free video explanations to many GMAT questions in both Quant and Verbal. 4) Manhattan Prep GMAT Series: $144 for the entire series Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides) or about $49 for access to 6 online CATs. 5) Ace the GMAT by Brandon Royal: $8 for Kindle version Ace the GMAT: Master the GMAT in 40 Days 6) LSAT Preptests for Extra Critical Reasoning and Critical Reading Practice: $20 for 10 tests 10 More, Actual Official LSAT PrepTests: (PrepTests 19 through 28) (Lsat Series) 7) Magoosh Free Online Materials 8) Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible: $21 The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible 9) Powerscore Reading Comprehension Bible: $35 The PowerScore GMAT Reading Comprehension Bible 10) The Complete GMAT Sentence Correction Guide by Erica Meltzer The Complete GMAT Sentence Correction Guide
Princeton and Kaplan are OK for strategy too. I prefer Princeton Review’s GMAT guide (full disclosure: P.R. is my former employer) to Kaplan’s (in my humble opinion, a mediocre, corporate behemoth who somehow always manages to rank #1 on Amazon with lots of suspect 5-star reviews), but any effort to write an "all in one" guide to a test as complex as the GMAT is destined to be at least a partial failure. The Kaplan and Princeton guides can be helpful if you are a below-average scorer trying to obtain an above-average score without too much effort, but the perfectionists among us will be frustrated by their lack of depth and unrealistic practice questions.
Finally, you can google "GMAT Action Plan - McElroy Tutoring" to read my personal, frequently updated recommendations for GMAT Prep.
Please feel free to leave comments and/or ask questions below--I enjoy analyzing the intricacies of this challenging test. Best of luck with your studies!