The Ideal GMAT Study Session

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There's more to studying smart than just picking the right materials and putting in as much time as possible. It's crucial that you structure that time intelligently, as well.

Recognize that GMAT preparation is hard work. Especially if you haven't done math in some time, studying for the exam places unaccustomed demands on you. Thus, you won't be able to maintain a high level of intensity for as long as you might hope.

I generally recommend that you should study no more than 90 minutes to two hours in one sitting. Any more than that and you probably aren't learning as much as you would if you spread the same amount of time over multiple sessions.

This doesn't mean that you can't study more than two hours in any single day. By all means, if you have you weekends entirely free, try two or three sessions. Separate them as much as possible, perhaps with breaks for meals or exercise.

In this ideal GMAT study session, expect to spend at least half of your time reviewing practice questions and brushing up on content. Too many students spend nearly all of their time doing one question after another. That isn't a waste of time, but it's not nearly as effective as carefully analyzing your weak points and relentlessly addressing them.

This is hard work. If you find yourself losing focus, don't hesitate to take a short break, or even a long one, if you can't get back in the GMAT groove. One hour of intense, focused study is better than two hours of mediocre effort.



About the author: Jeff Sackmann has written many GMAT preparation books, including the popular Total GMAT Math, Total GMAT Verbal, and GMAT 111. He has also created explanations for problems in The Official Guide, as well as 1,800 practice GMAT math questions.

Total GMAT Math

The comprehensive guide to the GMAT Quant section. It's "far and away the best study material available," including over 300 realistic practice questions and more than 500 exercises!
Click to read more.