GMAT Habits for Success

I would like to pass along a helpful habit for those of you preparing for the GMAT or GRE right now. And, this is also helpful if you are preparing your applications.


Many GMAT students feel that to get results, they need to spend 5 hours a day after work sloughing through problem set after problem set. The idea that “more is better” and by doing more problems they will increase their score.

Not really, though.


I have found it is far, far better for my clients to wake up 90 minutes earlier each day and those 90 minutes are worth a million times more than 5 hours after work, when you are ragged and run-down. The idea is to give it your freshest energy; the best of you and not the rest of you.


When you are learning something new, it requires high concentration and not the tattered remains of the day.


Have a clear focus on your learning objective like, “today I am going to work on modification questions” – drill down beyond verbal or quant or even the subsections. Get close enough to see the problem.


And of course, observe what you are doing, do more observation than working problems. I remember when I was struggling with the GMAT I was kind of trying to impose my will upon the test rather than LISTEN to what the test was trying to TELL ME. The test has its own ways and you need to be in OBSERVER MODE rather than try to bulldoze through problem sets.


My last piece of advice on good habits with the GMAT would be to try out coworking. Right this moment, I am on Skype with my Zoom coworking partner, so it creates a set up “container” for getting things done. Try as I might, I a better at showing up for myself when it involves another person and makes it all more fun.


We use the Pomodoro technique which I strongly recommend – 25 minutes of intense focus and then 5 minutes of doing something active and away from the computer (no phone stuff – like, a real break.)


Then rinse and repeat 2 more times for a total of 90 minutes. You will be very amazed how productive you are when 1.) you have a clear focus for the next 25 minutes 2.) there is a timer and 3) you see your buddy working too, in front of you.


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