As I am studying to take the GMAT and improve my 710, many of my friends are asking me for GMAT tips. As I was speaking to one friend in particular, I emphasized how important a strict study regiment is for a top GMAT score. After my long drawn out explanation, they replied, “Oh, it’s basically like dating someone.” After thinking about it for a long time, I realized there were some definite parallels of studying for the GMAT and dating a significant other.
Make sure to get to know them
You should always get to know your crush! (Which is now the GMAT, of course!) How many sections are there? What sections are there? How many questions are there? How many types of questions are there? There are so many elements of the GMAT that are very strange to new test takers, and it is incredibly important to familiarize yourself with all the little intricacies of the GMAT.
All the best test takers I have met not only know the layout of the test, they know each question type, each question sub-type, and the corresponding strategies. If you really want to get that dream score, make sure you spend time learning the basics! Which leads us to the next point . . .
Consistent & meaningful contact
Just like you wouldn’t call/see your crush once a week, you really shouldn’t be “visiting” your GMAT study material once a week. Consistently studying every day helps for several reasons. For one, it will help you learn the material faster (studying everyday has been proven to be much more effective than crazy cram sessions right before the test). Studying every day will also help you build your endurance and help you build momentum to get your dream score.
It’s not just enough to study every week though. Are you studying correctly? Are you utilizing an error log, focusing on problem areas, and taking several practice tests? Don’t just rack up the hours; make sure you are using them wisely. I recommend a system of learning the basics, taking practice exams, tracking your errors, focused study sessions on your problem areas and then practice exams again. Keep testing until you know not only why the certain choices are correct, but also why the other choices are incorrect.
Prioritize them over other items in your life
Would you choose going to happy hour or a game over a significant other? Maybe, but if you do it enough times, you may not have the greatest relationship ever. As you are preparing for the GMAT, I found it to be really effective to limit my extracurricular activities. In fact, for my current study period, I have not gone out the entire time for anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary to my career or my b-school apps. Ultimately, I’m hoping this sacrifice today will pay big dividends in the future. No pain, no gain!