What are the biggest mistakes and myths you see in studying and taking up GMAT? What are the biggest wastes of time?
What are your favorite instructional books or resources on the subject? If people had to teach themselves, what would you suggest they use?
If you were to train me for four weeks to take up the GMAT, what would the training look like? What if I trained for eight weeks?
What are your key principles for better, more consistent scores on the GMAT?
What does the progression of studying look like for GMAT?
What are the minimal learning units, I should be starting with?
Which 20% of the information should I focus on for 80% or more of the outcomes I want?
In what order should I learn the subjects?
These are good questions, and some of the answers depend on where you are starting.
For starters, here are some GMAT study plans that you may find helpful:
A one-month plan:http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/1-month-gm ... -schedule/
One version of a three-month plan (the links at the top of the page link to other versions of the three-month plan)http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/3-month-gm ... beginners/
For printed material, I would recommend the MGMAT books
very highly --- I think almost everyone does. Here are some more book reviews:http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/barrons-gm ... ok-review/http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/kaplan-new ... ok-review/http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/princeton- ... ok-review/http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/kaplan-gma ... ok-review/http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/petersons- ... ok-review/
You will find the rest of that free blog loaded with GMAT study tips that will help you.
I'll also add a few more things in response to your questions.
= there are individual mistakes folks make, say in math or in SC, but I don't see any big "wastes of time". You seem to be looking for some fast-track short-cut to high scores, but nothing takes the place of sustained hard work and continual efforts at self-improvement.
= key principles for better, more consistent scores on the GMAT --- practice, practice, practice. It is very hard to do, but it is the mark of an excellent student never to make the same mistake twice.
= In my understanding, there's no "20% of the information" that will give you most of what you need. Beyond what you already know cold, there may be a few topics that will give you the most gain --- that would depend very specifically on where your knowledge ends. Overall, though, I would say that this attitude of trying to put the least into it to get the most out of it is a purely poisonous attitude. This attitude seems a guaranteed recipe for a mediocre performance.
= Ironically, focus on the score is one thing that doesn't help you do better. You need to focus on --- how can I understand math better? how can I understand grammar and language better? how can I understand individual strategies for the different question types better? You need to focus on the content of the test. Focus on the score only takes valuable energy & attention away from where it should be for maximum performance.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Magoosh Test Prep