T Nation

Study Techniques

So i decided to take the GMAT, and I was wondering what kind of techniques or environments do you guys use to help you study? I’m thinking possibly like going to a coffee shop(lame right) to go and study. Never really studied outside of the house but I really want to hunker down and get a good score on it this winter break.

For me…:

  1. get out of the house
  2. find quiet room in school/library
  3. bring noise cancelling headphones if necessary
  4. leave phone/laptop at home (unless needed laptop to look up info)
  5. rewrite notes over and over again
  6. talk aloud when reading
  7. get adderall

make it a routine as well, if you’re free all day you could easily do something like 8am-noon, 1-5, then 8-11

take a lot of practice tests, a lot of my friends don’t do this because they know they’ll fail, given that their studying is 90% gchat and facebook

Study 2 hours a day for 4 months, that’s the strategy of many foreign students who want to go to school in the US.

I studied about a month for the GRE. 1-3 hours a day.

What Rico Suave said except for the adderall. Possession is a felony in many states!

The obvious approach is to look at how you studied for what you have done best at up until now, and then study like that again.

[quote]Rico Suave wrote:
For me…:

  1. get out of the house
  2. find quiet room in school/library
  3. bring noise cancelling headphones if necessary
  4. leave phone/laptop at home (unless needed laptop to look up info)
  5. rewrite notes over and over again
  6. talk aloud when reading
  7. get adderall[/quote]

everything but #7 for me … key is to separate yourself from potential distractions and focus on the work … like right now I should be writing a paper but I’m posting on this time-suck of a message board.

If I were to go do this at school I’d be done with it in probably half an hour, but now this is going to take me until the Patriots come on at 1…and who knows if I’ll be finished with it before then…

Incidentally, re: #7, if you get adderall, be sure to also be on adderall when you take your test.

Apparently recall is much improved the more you replicate the biochemical situation that existed when you learned the information in the first place.

(I’m going to find a ref for that, I was just reading it a few weeks ago)

^^ pretty much essential for all-nighters

[quote]Trocchi wrote:
The obvious approach is to look at how you studied for what you have done best at up until now, and then study like that again.
[/quote]

Honestly my study habbits are pretty poor I have only been able to keep a decent GPA(3.1).

Here’s the thing about standardized tests: despite what many think, these tests are NOT a measure of intelligence, ability but rather measure your ability to score well (and quickly and vs others) on that particular test.

The point: scoring well is often a learned skill, so practice practice practice.

Rico’s list seems pretty good and similar to mine. For me the important things are:

  1. Start early so you only have to master a topic/sub topic of whatever you’re studying each time. You’ll absorb more, and actually develop an intuitive understanding of the material. Seems tedious, but it’s actually easier in the long run.

  2. DO NOT study at home if you don’t have to. Go to school, a library, coffee shop, or whatever. If the weather permits, study outdoors somewhere on campus.

  3. Avoid computers and your smartphone as much as possible. Anything that’ll have you online, really.

  4. Vitamin B complex. I notice a big difference in my ability to focus with it. Others have suggested more intense stuff, I don’t know maybe that’s better you’ll have to look into it. I’m personally going to start looking into other supplements that help with brain function and focus.

  5. Read over notes/text once and quickly, then do some problems right away. You’ll get a lot wrong, and then you’ll have to go back to the material to correct yourself. But this is far more conducive to maintaining focus than rereading the text/notes several times without solving anything, which is boring and has diminishing returns. I also think it’s more effective preparation since you’ll get more practice which is more important than anything.

6)Do have something to block out noise. Headphones work, even with some music, but I find that songs with lyrics can also be distracting. There’s a cool app called “Study” that plays a 45 minute soundscape that’s supposed to be ideal for studying. I use it a lot and it works really well. I don’t know about Droids but it’s available for the iPhone.

7)If you can form a study group that you can meet up with regularly it will help, IF you do it the right way. Don’t meet up whenever you want to study, because then you’ll slack and hope they’ll make up for it. Meet up once in a while, with a clear set of topics you’ll cover the questions on as a group. Study more often than your meetings and use them as public accountability to motivate you to get some work done. You want to be the guy that’s helping the others.

From a guy with previously shitty study habits, who is getting a lot better with the above. Good luck.

I guess I never mentioned when I plan on taking the test, I plan on taking it around end of January of next year and then applying for Grad school for the fall semester. So I wont be able to 100% study for GMAT until the end of the semester Decemeber 14th, is a Month a decent amount of time? I won’t be working during the break so I think if I study like its a full time job I could be ready by end of January.

And as for the whole avoiding online thing my only problem is all my study material I have is downloaded, I guess I could print it out. Except for the Official Gmat book which is like 900 pages.

[quote]Elegua360 wrote:
Incidentally, re: #7, if you get adderall, be sure to also be on adderall when you take your test.

Apparently recall is much improved the more you replicate the biochemical situation that existed when you learned the information in the first place.

(I’m going to find a ref for that, I was just reading it a few weeks ago)[/quote]

State dependent memory. If you use any stimulants, make sure you are in approximately the same state when you take the test.

Very good tip- Study for about an hour before you go to sleep. Helps your brain store the info for a bunch of reasons. That one was the advice of my psyche professor.

  1. Get Adderal
  2. Listen to Slayer and study for 10 hours straight.
    3)???
  3. Profit.

This is how I got my degree.

[quote]optheta wrote:
So i decided to take the GMAT, and I was wondering what kind of techniques or environments do you guys use to help you study? I’m thinking possibly like going to a coffee shop(lame right) to go and study. Never really studied outside of the house but I really want to hunker down and get a good score on it this winter break.[/quote]

I highly recommend a library, coffee, and nicorette. Leave your phone, computer, etc, in your car. Too many people in a cofee shop.

I also recommend Kaplin or whatever study group. In person, not online. Not so much for the class, but the structure and forced test-taking.

I loved tests like the GMAT, LSAT etc. Sick, I know.

Most people’s study techniques don’t work for me.

Mine don’t seem to work for anyone else either.

But here goes:

  • Block out 4-8+ hours.
  • Sit down with the book and your notes.
  • Start at the beginning of the material, and read everything. Take a zero-tolerance policy for not completely understanding something. When you hit something you don’t understand, go back in the book (or find the material from a previous class) and make sure you understand that 100%. Keep going back and filling in the gaps until you’ve got it.
  • Take some very abbreviated notes just to make sure you’ve got the key points. For math/science classes, the most important formulas. For most everything else, just bullet points of major things in every chapter.
  • Work through the entire book, re-reading, re-learning everything.
  • Then, take your abbreviated notes, and review those. If you find anything is missing from your memory, go back and hit the material again.
  • If you have old tests and quizzes to work through, current year or previous years, go through and review those and identify gaps your memory. Again, hit the material hard where you find a gap.
  • Also, work on understanding the concepts and overall patterns more than anything… when you understand those, a lot of the details just sort of fall into place.

Basically, this is like 20-rep squats for studying. You can call it cramming, except I actually retain the memory of everything, and usually all I have to do is review my super-abbreviated notes now and again.

Just don’t do this the day before. Make sure you have time to get through all of the material, and then give it a day or two to see where you actually forgot stuff. And then fill in those gaps and reassess. And repeat, until you know the stuff cold.