GMAT Study Tips
Written By: Sean Ginley, GMAT, LSAT, and Math Tutor
A Guide to Setting a Realistic Study Schedule and GMAT Study Tips
There’s no avoiding it. You absolutely have to study for the GMAT. Maybe you were able to do well on the SAT without much preparation, but the GMAT is a different beast. The most important thing you can do when preparing to take the GMAT is set a realistic study schedule.
Setting a GMAT Study Schedule
Many students make the mistake of not setting a schedule ahead of time, figuring they will “see how they feel” after a day at work in order to determine whether they should study that day. Spoiler alert: You won’t feel like studying for the GMAT. It’s a draining test intellectually and emotionally. If you don’t set a schedule, you’ll end up putting off studying for too long and be forced to take the test unprepared or to push back your test date repeatedly.
Other students, though, set overly ambitious study schedules. They’re going to take a test every other day and do practice problems in between. The problem with setting an unrealistic study schedule is that you can’t possibly stick to it and maintain your sanity. Once you start skipping sessions, you’ll be in the same position as the people who didn’t set any schedule at all.
That’s why it’s so important to set a realistic study schedule in preparation for the GMAT. Only you know how busy you are. Nobody else can set a schedule for you. You have to look at your schedule and figure out how often and how much you can put into studying for this test.
Helpful GMAT Study Tips:
- Take practice tests all in one sitting. Practice problems are helpful, but the speed of the GMAT is one of the most challenging things about the test, and that’s something you don’t get a feel for unless you are taking full-length practice exams. Every study ever conducted has shown that students improve the most by taking practice exams. I know that sometimes it’s hard to find the time during the week to sit and take an entire test – including the essay and integrated reasoning, you cheater – but the benefits are clear. If you want to succeed on the GMAT, you need to find time to take practice tests.
- Review your exams and be honest with yourself. I think this is the hardest thing about studying for the GMAT. Ultimately, your weaknesses are laid bare before you. If you have trouble looking at your own weaknesses, you will struggle to improve on the GMAT. If an answer was a guess, admit to yourself that it was a guess. Don’t mark it correct and pretend you understand why the answer you chose was the credited one. It’s okay to struggle at the GMAT. It’s a difficult test, but if you can’t face those struggles and recognize your weaknesses, you’re not going to improve.
- Give yourself days off. I think this is one of the most important tips I can give a student. You can’t cram for the GMAT. You can’t study 10 hours a day, 7 days a week for this test. Know that it’s okay to take days off to get away from the test and refresh yourself. Schedule those days off into your schedule just like you schedule your practice tests!
Simply said, the key to studying for the GMAT is patience. You won’t see improvements overnight. This is a gradual process. Give yourself the time you need to understand the material and understand how you want to approach the questions. The test is hard, but having a good plan is the first step to success!
Need Help Studying for the GMAT?
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