GMAT Preparation while working crazy hours. How to do it?

A prospective GMAT applicant recently posted a question on Quora wondering how to prepare for the GMAT given his hectic work schedule.  See our answer below:

Prospective GMAT Applicant’s Question

I’m an engineering graduate working at one of the biggest infrastructure MNC’s on the planet. My office hrs. are  from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. After the office, I rush to gym (to me which is the most important thing of the day). After gym and dinner I reach home at about 9 p.m. I feel too tired to pick up a book or to even read a news article. How do I get my MBA prep (GMAT Preparation) going?

Our comments

Depending on your comfort level with standardized tests and how well you remember high-school math and english, GMAT preparation can be a month-long or a longer affair. It is important to ascertain your goals in terms of target scores and schools and get a sense of your current level of preparation prior to devising a test-prep strategy.

Many, if not all, applicants to top-tier schools would have a work-schedule as grueling or even crazier than what you have so you shouldn’t be overly pessimistic about not having enough time to study.  Follow the Pareto Principle to master your individual key problem areas before moving to the marginally important topics to get the most out of your prep time.

I would encourage you to start with a diagnostic test to get to know where you stand right now.  Analyze your weak areas and strong suits and get a good handle on areas that you will be focusing on before jumping headfirst into preparing for the exam. It is absolutely critical to note that your prep strategy need not be the same as someone else’s.  For instance, an Indian engineer might find Sentence Correction more challenging than say an American liberal arts major, whereas the latter might need to spend more time on Quant than the former applicant. In other words, Get to know what you need to improve before you start the improvement process.

As mentioned by Alex Pak rel=”nofollow”, a class might be a good way to stay motivated and on schedule but the tradeoff between flexibility (self-study) and structure (class) is an individual decision that you outta make by yourself.  The key is to closely measure your progress and make sure you stick to a plan, whether inside class or outside it.

I am assuming that you are targeting the 2014 admissions cycle so you have enough time on hand to prepare for the exam and write a solid application.  Good Luck!

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