I suggest the following program that worked very well for me. The total cost of these books will be expensive(it took me a while to get enough money for these books). If you want to know what specific areas to improve in and how, I suggest you buy The Chess Exam and Training Guide. The book specifically assess you in different areas and assigns you a rating for each. After that, it gives tips on how to improve on the areas you found weak.
Anyway, the program that I used for about 2 months over the summer(unfortunately I have no time now) consisted of the following books. It made me jup 120 points.
Winning Chess Tactics (Tactics)
Winning Chess Strategies (Strategy)
Winning Chess Endings (Endgame)
Winning Chess Openings (Opening)
Winning Chess Combinations (Tactics/Combinations)
All by Yasser Seirawan
Just Facts! (Endgame)
The King in Jeopardy (Attack and Defense)
by Lev Alburt
The Chess Exam and Training Guide by Igor Khmelnitsky (General)
Unbeatable Chess Lessons for Juniors --(Don't be fooled by the title! Not just for juniors) by Robert Snyder (Game Collection)
Winning Chess Touraments for Juniors by Robert Snyder (General)
Chess Tactics for Beginners by Convekta (Software) (Tactics)
Chess Master 10th Edition by Ubisoft (Software) (General)
This is very costly, but I don't recommend you start studying one book and not the other or you may become inbalanced in terms of skill(I.e., you may be very good in strategy and not as good in tactics). I think it would be better if you waited until you saved enough money at least for the winning chess series, and then bought them. That's just what I think.
THE STUDY PLAN
Once you purchase(try getting them cheaper through ebay, half.com, used and new on amazon, etc.) the above mentioned products, I recommend the following program which really worked for me.
1) Develop an opening system. Follow the format outlined in Winning Chess Tournaments for Juniors. All the lines and information is in Winning Chess Openings. Make sure you note the main lines and main variations(don't bog down with details) for white, and good responses to 1.e4 and 1.d4 as black. The goal is not to get fancy dancy openings but just to survive through the opening and get to the middle game.
2)Play OTB tournament games at least every two months, and make sure you notate them. Put a star on games worth analyzing.
3)Analyze the game first by the Method in The Chess Exam and training guide, and then enter it into Chess Master with Blunder Check on.
How to study books:
Here's how I did it.
I made a notebook for each category- endgame, strategy, tactics/combinations, and Attack and Defense. Then, I would set the position being discussed on the board, and any important positions I would create on the computer(you can get free ware or buy the one I use at www.alphaprime.com/chessmaker) and print it out. I paste it into the notebook, writing some of my own notes and some of the book notes. I feel this helps me absorb the information better.
I also recommend working through Yasser Seirawans engame book first, and then moving on to Just the facts!
Oh and get a yahoo! account and play chess there.
Here's what I did
Book Study: Strategy(30 min)
1 G/30 game against Chess Master(from here on abreviated as CM)
Analyze and un-analyzed starred games
50 Chess Tactics puzzles on Chess Tactics for Beginner(from here on abrieviated as CTB)
A slash indicated that that should be done every other day. (I.e., tactics/combinations means on one week do tactics, the next week do strategy)
All book studies are 30 minutes
Book Study: Endgame(30 Min)
1 game on Yahoo! Chess
1 G/20 game against CM
50 Puzzles on CTB
Chess Master Academy for 30 min
Analyze any un-analyzed games
1 Unbeatable Chess Lessons lesson (Here on referred to as UCLL)
Book Study: Tactics/Combinations
1 G/15 Game agaist CM
50 Puzzles on CTB
Work on opening system(Work on memorizing, etc, updating lines)
Analyze any un analyzed games
Book Study: Chess Exam/King in Jeopardy
1 G/10 Game against CM
50 Puzzles on CTB
Work on Opening System
Look at analyzed games and try to discern a pattern
1 Yahoo game
1 G/15 game agaist CM
Winning Chess Tournament for juniors/Tactics
Sorry, I'm too tired from typing. I'll post the rest tomorrow.(Yawn) I think I'll go to sleep.