Goal-seeking, busy professionals, who want to apply to an MBA program for broadening their professional aspects, experience a hard time fitting GMAT preparation into their hectic schedules. It is a tough decision when deciding when to prepare for the GMAT between a busy 9-5 schedule. But remember, nothing is impossible so long as there is desire.
The GMAT is a type of test that necessitates both accuracy and time management in order to achieve a high score. Hence, sometimes a tight working schedule actually helps with time management skills. In many cases, the more you manage your time, the more productive and efficient you can become. If you are a busy professional striving for a top MBA, but struggling to make a decision on whether to start preparing for the GMAT or not, this article will guide you through the decision making process. Even if you have already made the decision to proceed, you will learn some tips and strategies that will guide you throughout the entire process while helping you to come up with the most perfect schedule.
1. Never say never
Self-hesitation is very common. Hearing about someone’s bad or good experience with the GMAT is helpful for guiding your own journey, but don’t let their experiences dictate your own. Just because you hear some opinion from the other person, doesn’t mean that the same principle can apply to you. Remain motivated and do not fall into the trap of self-deception. Humans have a strong tendency to stick to what is easier rather than looking for multiple solution paths to their problems. Concentrate on the idea that your problem is combining a helpful GMAT prep schedule with a busy life.
Eliminate excuses completely. There are no excuses holding you back. No matter how busy life gets. We unconsciously tell ourselves that we are so busy and do not have time. By doing this, things get even harder to swallow and our brain is close to exploding. However, if you were to calculate the hours you put towards social media sites, you’d be shocked how much time is wasted! Taking a Brain Break can be helpful, but not at the expense of your studying. The first tip is never to reject opportunities for studying. You can always find a moment to study for the GMAT with a busy life and schedule.
2. GMAT is temporary, but long-lasting success is not
Your life can always be busy. Maybe you work a lot or have kids, but it becomes busier with the idea of preparing for the GMAT. Important to remember is that this stress is ‘temporary’.
A working professional’s GMAT preparation can take anywhere from 2-4 months. If your day starts at 9 am, you can make yourself wake up at 7 am to do some studying in the morning. For some, their brain works best in the morning, while for others the afternoon or evening is best for studying. Whichever it is, be sure to start the day with some brain stretching, such as doing GMAT preparation tests or quizzes that will facilitate delving deeper into the topic. Do the main exercise in the morning, and whenever you have time during the day, such as during your lunch time, you can do GMAT reading or solve some quant problems in order to be involved in active learning.
Bonus Tip! Avoid passive learning. Do not spend too much of your time preparing with GMAT videos.
3. Have an established approach on do’s and don’ts
You know that you should make time for studying, but it might be the case that you don’t have a predetermined plan for the day. The most significant thing is to maintain consistency. Develop a regular plan which prioritizes studying, as even the busiest professionals can make themselves prioritize things that have a high probability of falling behind on the list.
Do not underestimate the result of your GMAT cramming in five minutes spurts during the day. Even if you have 5 minutes, create quality study techniques by reviewing your work. The materials learned can fall into your short-term memory and be easily forgotten afterwards. Do a math exercise regularly and do not focus on too many things several days in a row. Try to split everything equally during the day so you do not get tired out by the same GMAT section.
Finally, keep it fresh. Go back and forth between the sections but always remember that reviewing what you have done and even planning the review process beforehand is a must.
4. Enjoy the GMAT process
Making things work for a busy life is intimidating especially if you do not like it, as including one more thing can actually ruin your entire mood and attitude towards the other things. It is true that concentrating on multiple tasks or things at once can break your mind and result in less productive outcomes. This is why time-management is a key strategy in your GMAT prep schedule. If you have a specific time for each one of your tasks, you are able to enjoy the process and focus on one thing at a time.
Suppose you have developed a plan to study for half an hour during your break, it means real-time studying without noise and distractions. Make it a habit to study during your allocated time and fall into deep amnesia regarding the other things that are currently disturbing you. It is hardly the case that you will think “I am so happy the GMAT prep time has come! I need to study during my one-hour break that I was supposed to be resting.”
However, at least the inner aim of looking at the bigger picture of what will happen after the temporary challenge and time sacrifice will make you enjoy the GMAT journey. Sometimes it is better to look into the future rather than the present. The future goal is the satisfaction of future GMAT success.
It might take time, but adopting these four tips into your preparation process can help you create an efficient GMAT prep schedule. Remember what you are working towards. Your GMAT journey is not only about the final result, but also about the skills learned in the process. We here at Apex are more than happy to support you on your journey. You can sign-up for a 30-minute complimentary consultation call with one of our instructors!
Contributor: Ruzanna Mirzoyan