New Year’s Resolution: Create a GMAT Study Schedule

January 1, 2010
Gina Allison

It’s that time of year again—time for resolutions and re-assessing your priorities.  If getting an MBA is one of your priorities in the near future, then creating an effective GMAT study schedule should be one of your top January goals.

You would be surprised at how many ways there are to fit GMAT study into your busy schedule.  As I’ve worked on the GMAT Revision and looked at the new material and resources that we will be offering our students, I’ve thought more than ever about how success on the GMAT is inevitable if you devote enough time and attention to the materials that Kaplan offers.  For many of my students, juggling a full-time job, a family or relationship, a social life (what’s that?), and all the other assorted and sundry components of life along with focused GMAT study seems difficult, if not impossible.  I know that although it is hard work, incorporating adequate study time into your already busy life is definitely not impossible!

Here are a few pointers I often give on how to make it all happen:

Schedule GMAT study like you would a trip to the gym or a doctor’s appointment – write it on your calendar, put it in your PDA, do whatever you need to do to make it “official.”

If you have an active family life or live with roommates, be sure to post your study schedule somewhere that everyone can see it.  Well-meaning friends and family can sometimes interrupt your study, but will be more careful to give you respectful peace and quiet if they know about your study “appointments.”

If your home space is too hectic for study, use your local Kaplan center or library to study – the computer lab or wifi will allow you to work on your syllabus in a more studious environment.

Break up your study into manageable pieces. If you know you will be too exhausted to devote 2 hours to study after work, try doing 30 minutes when you first wake up (Quiz Banks are a great breakfast companion!), 30 minutes on your lunch break (GMAT study can seem downright exciting when it gives you a break from work-related tasks), and then an hour at night.  On this schedule, you can work in 2 hours a day, which goes a long way toward satisfying the 8-12 hours of out of class study that you should aim for after each in-class session.

Reward your hard work! In order to jolly yourself through an intensive 2-hour Saturday morning study block, plan a lunch out with friends for that afternoon.  To refresh yourself after working 20 Data Sufficiency problems in your Official Guide, go out for a walk around the block with your dog or your kids.  Even while studying and focusing, you can make time to do things that keep you in the balanced frame of mind you need as you approach Test Day with confidence!

Gina Allison Gina Allison has been a Kaplan instructor for over six years and was named Teacher of the Year in 2008. She has an MBA and would like to further her studies in Education or Botany. Gina loves working with students to help them develop study schedules and to motivate them to achieve success on test day and beyond. She likes to read, see movies, and work in her garden.

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