If you are reading this at any time other than the morning, you’re probably not getting your optimal yield out of your self-prep time. Let’s talk about how the time that you spend preparing and the relative yield you get from that time can change.
1. Time of Day
Most of us have good times and bad times of the day, and that’s tied in very deeply to our biology and our circadian rhythm. Most people are at their sharpest mid-morning. However, if you’re constantly sleep-deprived this might change. In fact, it might never be optimal.
In order to get the best out of your self-prep time, you need to be capitalizing on the best times of the day to study. This also means to not overdo it. Don’t force yourself into studying when you’re not up for it. If you’ve worked a 10-hour day, whether on a desk, on the street, or doing big projects and travelling to a client as a consultant, your study time is very limited. Studying when you’re exhausted is not only going to be low-yield but it’s also going to take a lot out of you so that you’re not able to capture those high-yield times.
2. Small Increments of Study Time
Instead, try self-prepping in smaller units throughout the day. Particularly in those times when you are sharpest. If you can grab 15 minutes at 10 o’clock in the morning, even if it’s a bathroom break or 20 minutes on your commute, do so. Those are really good times to prep. Doing little increments throughout the day increases your contact density but also decreases the burden from your daily schedule.
Many of you out there are working crazy jobs, balancing a social life, and family obligations, and the GMAT can take over. Particularly, if you’re spending 10, 20, or 30 hours a week self-prepping. If you are, you’re spending too much time. You’re better off getting stronger results out of smaller increments of high-yield time rather than killing yourself and studying 3-6 hours at a time on the weekends or in the evenings.
3. Quality Over Quantity
When you study for the GMAT and how you prepare for it are much more important than how much time you prepare. Be mindful of when you’re sharpest during the day and take at least a portion of that time and devote it to your GMAT prep, because what you’re ultimately doing is personal development.
As much as you might be devoted to a job, it’s not going to be there forever. Your personal growth, a high GMAT score, and also getting into the next step of your career or the next step of your education. That should be your priority and you need to make sure you balance that with your other obligations.
4. When To Study For The GMAT?
So remember: incremental short study breaks, or in other words, breaks from everything else you’re doing to study, can increase your contact density. If you’re tired, and this is probably the biggest takeaway, don’t force yourself to study because you’re just spinning your wheels. You are not going to get a good yield out of it. You’re better off putting on Netflix, taking a nap, spending time with loved ones, going out with friends, and getting yourself on an even keel. So that the 60 to 90 minutes a day that you can devote to GMAT is the best 60 and 90 minutes you can give it. Try to get some rest cause I know 90% of you are reading this while tired. Best of luck on your GMAT Prep Journey!
Did you enjoy When To Study For The GMAT? Watch some of our other videos including: How to select a GMAT tutor.