Developing Your GMAT Study Schedule
Your study schedule depends on who you are in terms of study habits, what is going on in your life, what your strengths and weaknesses are in terms of the skills necessary for this exam and how much time is available to you. Many GMAT students work full time, attend school or have families, so that is quite a bit to juggle. But don’t despair! The best advice is to set a schedule that you feel comfortable with. Try to balance what you can-do with what you must-do.
The can-do hours are those during which you have the energy and time to study; this is time you set aside or suddenly find yourself having. The must-do are those hours that you absolutely need to put in to complete your journey from A to Z to give yourself the best possible chance to beat the GMAT. For example, a student with very weak Mathematics skills may need to spend some extra hours catching up in basic arithmetic, algebra and geometry. That is simply a must-do. You may sometimes fall behind in your schedule, but that is not a big deal as long as you are consistent.
Consistency relates to setting a schedule and keeping to it as best you can. Your study schedule can be altered but, as much as possible, you should study at least three to four times per week. Seven days per week is not really necessary. You do want to refresh, enjoy a day off from the GMAT and do other things.
Of course it is not possible, especially with a busy schedule, to study four hours per day and in a row; that is not even necessary. You can aim to study for a half hour to two-and-a-half hours per work day. Be sure to gauge yourself and your concentration levels! You may be able to study a bit more on the weekends. It is certainly better to do shorter sessions (thirty to forty minutes at a time and up to an hour max, then break), rather than overly long sessions. If you find that you are not absorbing information, then stop. It would be counterproductive to continue when you are tired. Ideally, about eight to eighteen hours of studying per week is good, but this can easily go up or down based on availability and need.
Part of your study hours should also involve reviewing summaries and notes you take on the summaries and stop signs, as well as notes from sessions you have with an instructor. Later, those hours will also involve simulation tests. You can even split up the studies into an hour earlier in the day, and perhaps a bit more time later in the day. Again, the trick is to stay within a schedule that you feel comfortable with.
This post appeared first on the Economist GMAT Tutor blog.