Follow Alyssa Lee as she examines the daily do's and don'ts for working professionals preparing for the GMAT.
Where to start?
That question seemed a lot more daunting a few weeks ago before I had my plan of action. It’s been 6 years and counting since I took my last university exam, and a little longer since I tackled anything that required solving quant problems. Also, the last time I took a standardized test, I used a pencil, and filled in bubbles.
As a working professional who can get easily caught up with work, I needed some serious structure for my #GMATATTACK study plan.
I went first to the creators of the exam! www.mba.com. What does the GMAT test? Why is this important for business school applicants? For anyone considering the GMAT, even if you’re a year away, check out www.mba.com to get a better understanding of what exactly the test is.
— The MBA Tour (@TheMBATour) June 25, 2014
When do I want to take the exam?
For me, it’s “sooner than later!” My plan is to first get the big test out of the way, then spend the fall months furthering my school research and working on applications. I also want to take the exam early, so that if necessary I have a little time to retake. But, if the study plan goes to schedule, le GMAT et moi meet only once, get on really well, and leave on good terms.
What’s that? I only know how to work! Going back to study mode when you’re working, and have been working for a number of years is really, really, really hard.
But it’s also very good practice for transitioning back to a student. I started slow, building weekly habits. My daily commute includes an hour+ train ride, and this is my go to time to build in studying. I like having a little time when I’m outside of my house to study (and before I have the chance to go home and be faced with distractions! Thankfully Mad Men, Scandal & The Good Wife are all off-season!).
I also knew I needed a little extra structure and support for studying because summer is a busy season for me at work, and it’s hard to get off work mode (FYI it’s a recommendation to AVOID scheduling your exam and your studying during a busy work season, opps…).
I know it also helps me to stay motivated on projects when I’m accountable to other people – it’s the concept of being a lot more motivated to wake up and do a 6am workout if you promised a friend you’d be there – I knew I needed a “GMAT Study Buddy” who could one, brush me up on test taking skills and two, keep pushing the study schedule. Study Buddy = a class in my case!
There is a lot of great GMAT classes available, and I looked for one that worked well with my work schedule, and general summer time fun which seems to take up at least part of every weekend. I decided to go with Veritas Prep’s live online class. It meets twice a week from 7-10pm. Previously, I was leaning towards an in person class, I prefer the in person learning experience. But it seems now half (or more?) of general socializing is through technology, and it makes it easy to stay in touch with friends, so the logic is an online class can make learning a lot more convenient too – especially when you can do it from your apartment after a busy day at work!
Now, I definitely need to find some good study places outside my apartment. Any recommendations?
— The MBA Tour (@TheMBATour) June 18, 2014