7 Ways to Make Studying for the GMAT Fun

Did I just use “GMAT” and “fun” in the same sentence? While months of prepping for a standardized test may not sound like a weekend at Disneyworld, it doesn’t all have to be drudgery and disappointment. Here are some quick study ideas to make your GMAT sessions a little more entertaining.

1.   Use music as motivation.

If you’re someone who needs to have background noise as you study, assign a genre of music to each GMAT question-type. Planning to do 20 minutes of Sentence Correction? It’s Britney Spears and Katy Perry! Moving on to Data Sufficiency? It’s Macklemore-time.

If you think those hits may be distracting, try playing classical music as a more mellow alternative!

2.   Set the timer: every 30 minutes = 1 minute dance party!

Never underestimate the power of a 3-minute dance party. Even if you plan to study in silence, standing, stretching, and hopping around for 1 minute to “Fell in Love with a Girl” will get you out of your chair and keep the blood pumping through your brain! Create a playlist of your favorite songs.

If you’re studying in a group, switch up who gets to choose the song. See who can choose the most ridiculous songs from childhood. Always good: “Insane in the Membrane.”

Dancing not your cup of tea? Try doing jumping jacks for 1 minute instead.

3.   Invite some healthy competition.

While I wouldn’t advocate a GMAT Fight Club, it IS more fun to treat your GMAT study sessions as a game, with a clear winner and loser. Do timed drills from the same books with a friend or a group. Put your scores on a whiteboard and invent fun (and perhaps fiendish) punishments for the losers. Best out of 3 wins.

4.   Bribe yourself with food (or television).

I’m a sucker for gourmet desserts and serialized cable drama. When I have a big project I know I have to finish, nothing gets me to the finish line like the reward of a slice of Princess marzipan cake or an episode of The Walking Dead. This is a really great trick to do with your GMAT Practice Tests.

You should ALWAYS have a small reward waiting for your at the end of each section, and then a big reward for the grand finale.

5.   Play GMAT-Jeopardy.

Just like you did in high school, a GMAT-themed Jeopardy game can be a fun way to remember grammar rules, formulas, and strategies. It’s also a great way to blow off some steam with fellow studiers, while still keeping your eye on the prize.

6.   Decorate your study area.

Buy some white butcher paper to hang on the wall above your desk – write out your strategies for every question-type in bold markers and cover with stickers, inspirational quotes, and whatever else may inspire you. Keep a vase of fresh flowers at hand.

The more bright and cheerful your study corner, the happier you’ll be to go there.

7.   Teach your incorrect questions.

Make a “teachback” date with a friend once a week, and choose 10 questions that you found the most fiendishly difficult. Go step by step and teach each other the questions, looking precisely at the traps and tricks of the questions, deciphering exactly what you fell for and how you’ve been applying what you learned to other questions. Not only will you have mastered those 10 questions cold by the end of your teachback, you’ll be hearing 10 more harder questions from your friend!

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Vivian Kerr is a regular contributor to the Veritas Prep blog, providing advice to help students better prepare for the GMAT and the SAT.