GMAT Study Tip: Too tired to practice for the GMAT? A few tips on staying consistent in your preparation.
Not everything in GMAT prep is about formulas, grammar rules, and close reading. Your ability to stay consistent with your preparation in rain, sleet, or snow plays a huge part in achieving your target score. But work runs late, you haven’t spent enough time with the wife’n’kids, you’re exhausted, and keep getting distracted. How in the world could you be expected to practice every day for at least a couple of hours?!
Firstly, get out of the house. Leave… right now! Wait wait, finish reading this first. Change of venue for your preparation is A Good Thing ™. I recommend that you pick a relatively quiet and isolated place outside your home, where you don’t usually go for any reason other than to practice for the GMAT. This can be a local (or not so local) Starbucks, another cafe, a library, a hotel lobby… anywhere with plenty of lighting, not a lot of noise, and space to sit and flex your sizable intellect.
Secondly, pick a set time on the weekdays. I recommend the couple of hours immediately after work, and, this is important, before you get home. Get your GMAT practice done before you get into “home mode”, where the stresses of work life no longer haunt you (except, of course, for that dreaded blackberry). If you’re feeling particularly drained after a day of work, grab an iced coffee for a bit of that extra caffeinated kick that you’ll need for the session.
Thirdly, reward yourself for putting in the time to practice. If you are in a cafe, go get that chocolate cookie you’ve been eyeing since you came in – but only when you get to the half-way point! (After one hour if you’re practicing for two — which is a duration I recommend.) When you’re done entirely, take another cookie on your way out. 200 calories is a small price to pay for conditioning yourself to practice.
Finally, do this every weekday without exception. The first 2-3 days will be the toughest (treat yourself to more cookies on those days), but you should expect to form a habit after those first few days. Before you know it, you will be going to your practice lair for a couple of hours each day on autopilot. Once formed, the habit will stay with you unless you skip too many days – as long as you keep GMAT practice at a high priority, this should not happen.