How To Prep For the GMAT On Limited Study Time
Sometimes, time just seems to sneak up on you. If you’re applying for an MBA, you have a lot of things to worry about: making sure your GPA stays in good standing, locking down those important recommendations, scheduling interviews with school officials, and this is all on top of your regular coursework and non-school responsibilities. So if you looked up from all this chaos and realize that the GMAT is looming and you haven’t started studying yet, you may feel hopeless. Luckily, if you plan right, study every day, and take a lot of practice tests, you can get a good amount of studying done in a short amount of time.
Create a Study Plan
The first step to study for the GMAT is to outline a game plan, and if you’re studying on a limited schedule, then the plan is all the more important. Get together all the prep materials you will be using as soon as you can and determine a schedule for testing what you know. Decide which sections you will be studying on which day and stick to the plan. Regardless of how much time you have, devising a structured study plan is one of the best ways of how to prep for the GMAT.
Study Every Day
If you’re short on time to study for the GMAT, every day counts. It’s time to hit the studying hard, and you should really be setting aside time every day to crack the books. If you have a busy schedule, try to set some time in the morning and at night to study. Do not sacrifice too much sleep, however; it’s important to remember that you should still be getting more than six hours every night if you want to be performing at your best.
Identify Your Weaknesses Early
Knowing what you’re good at and what you aren’t good at are essential to any study plan, but there’s no time to waste if the test is looming. The easiest way to identify your problem areas is to take practice tests and evaluate which sections you score poorly. Once you figure this out, when you go back to the material, you will have a good idea of what you need to focus your efforts on, so you don’t waste your time on parts of the test you know pretty well already. Speaking of practice tests…
Take A Lot of Practice Tests
If you’re running short of time before the GMAT (let’s say one month), it’s a good idea to take at least one practice test per week; the reason for this is two fold. As previously mentioned, practice tests are the best way to identify your weaker areas and can help you focus when it comes to study time. Practice tests can also help you get over the inherent stress of taking the GMAT. The more you take the practice test, the more comfortable you will be with what the test will eventually cover. If you suffer from test anxiety, taking multiple practice tests will help demystify the whole process of the GMAT.
Study in Short Sessions
As mentioned earlier, if you’re cramming for the GMAT, you should be studying every day, but you shouldn’t be doing marathon study sessions every day. This is a recipe for burnout, so even though you may feel like you need to spend your entire weekend with your nose in your textbook, studies show that this type of studying is not beneficial and will cause burnout. Set aside your studying for 30 minutes to an hour at a time and learn to vary the subject matter which you study. For example, if you study for the quantitative section one day, tackle the verbal section the next time you sit down to study. Varying the content will help you keep focused.
Preparing for the GMAT on a short amount of time is no easy task, but it can be done. Stay focused, take practice tests to identify your weaknesses, and have a plan to help you get the job done.